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New York City Lawsuit Challenges Nationwide Application of DAPA Injunction

Federal Courthouse BrooklynThe White House’s 2014 executive actions on immigration have been cause for controversy from the moment President Obama announced them almost two years ago. The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program prompted a lawsuit by 26 state governments. A U.S. district judge in Texas issued an injunction against the program, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) halted the implementation of DAPA nationwide in response. A new lawsuit filed in New York, however, challenges this action by DHS. Batalla Vidal v. Baran et al., No. 1:16-cv-04756, am. complaint (E.D.N.Y., Sep. 29, 2016). The plaintiff claims that the Texas court that granted the injunction lacked the authority to bind the DHS in New York.

The White House announced DAPA on November 20, 2014. The program would be similar to the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and it would cover qualifying undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The program represents an agreement by the federal government not to pursue (to “defer”) immigration enforcement action against a person for a defined period of time. To be eligible, an individual must show that they are a parent of a citizen or permanent resident, that they have been continuously present in the U.S. since 2010, and that they are not an “enforcement priority” under the administration’s immigration enforcement criteria. DAPA recipients may also be eligible for work authorization.

The Texas court granted the temporary injunction in February 2015. Texas, et al., v. United States, 86 F.Supp.3d 591 (S.D. Tex. 2015). The injunction covered DAPA and expansions to DACA included in the 2014 executive actions, but it did not affect the existing DACA program. The Fifth Circuit denied a request to stay the injunction in May 2015, 787 F.3d 733 (5th Cir. 2015), and affirmed it that November, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015). When the case went to the Supreme Court, the death of Justice Antonin Scalia meant that only eight justices were available to hear the case, and they split 4-4. 579 U.S. ___ (2016). The Fifth Circuit’s ruling was therefore allowed to stand, but with no adjudication on a national level.

DHS took the position that the Texas court’s injunction halted DAPA and the expanded DACA program everywhere in the country, rather than just Texas. The plaintiff states in his complaint that DHS granted his DACA application in February 2015 but revoked it that May, “stating as the sole grounds for their action the issuance of a preliminary injunction in Texas v. United States.” Batalla Vidal, am. complaint at 2. He alleges that this action violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 706(2)(A), (D), since the Texas court lacked jurisdiction over New York.

Family immigration lawyer Samuel C. Berger represents immigrants in the New York City and Northern New Jersey areas, prospective immigrants who want to come to this area, and employers and family members who want to petition for visas on immigrants’ behalf. Contact us online, at (201) 587-1500, or at (212) 380-8117 today to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our experienced and skilled team.

More Blog Posts:

Evenly Divided Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court Judgments Striking Down Executive Actions on Immigration, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, June 23, 2016

Federal Appellate Court Affirms Injunction Against the White House’s 2014 Executive Actions on Immigration, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, January 14, 2016

Executive Actions on Immigration Part 2: Authority and Opposition, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, December 24, 2014

Photo credit: Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.