The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a blow to President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, upholding an injunction from a lower court against the plan to protect millions of illegal aliens from deportation.
The three judges opinions were split 2-1 in favor of the plaintiffs in Texas v. United States. Texas is joined by 25 other states in the suit against the federal government.
In the majority opinion, Circuit Judge Jerry Smith defended Texas against the federal government’s claims they had no grounds to sue, the state argued that Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) would have a damaging financial impact to the state, thus requiring comment and notice by Congress. Smith agreed, “DAPA undoubtedly meets [the substantial impact test] — conferring lawful presence on 500,000 illegal aliens residing in Texas forces the state to choose between spending millions of dollars to subsidize driver’s licenses and amending its statutes.”
Part of the reason why the court upheld the injunction was due to the binding effect Obama’s executive action had on agencies. Obama’s comments that DHS officials must follow his orders came back to bite him.
“In denying the government’s motion for a stay of the injunction, the district court further noted that the President had made public statements suggesting that in reviewing applications pursuant to DAPA, DHS officials who ‘don’t follow the policy’ will face ‘consequences,’ and ‘they’ve got a problem,'” wrote Circuit Judge Smith.
The majority opinion also shot down the notion from the dissenting judge that, “DHS … has been removing individuals from the United States in record numbers.”
“At the very least, the statistics on which the dissent relies are highly misleading. Although DHS claims that a record-high of 0.44 million aliens were deported in 2013, it arrives at that number by using only “removals” (which are deportations by court order) per year and ignoring “returns” (which are deportations achieved without court order). If, more accurately, one counts total removals and returns by both ICE and the Border Patrol, deportations peaked at over 1.8 million in 2000 and plunged to less than half―about 0.6 million―in 2013. In that thirteenyear interim, the number of aliens deported per court directive (that is, removed) roughly doubled from about 0.2 million to 0.44 million. The total number of deportations is at its lowest level since the mid-1970’s. “
The National Immigration Law Center now is pushing for a Supreme Court appeal.
“The most directly impacted are the 5 million U.S. citizen children whose parents would be eligible for temporary relief from deportation,” wrote executive director Marielena Hincapie in a news release.