On March 12, 2015, the federal government filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit seeking to remove the preliminary injunction issued on February 16, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, based in Brownsville, Texas.
Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction, requested by 26 states, suspended key parts of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform while the case goes forward.
The preliminary injunction blocks the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The DAPA program would stop deportation proceedings and issue work permits and other benefits to certain individuals. The DACA program, which the Obama Administration hoped to expand, was implemented in 2012 on behalf of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were 16 years old or younger. It would permit such individuals who satisfied certain criteria to file for deferred action for a limited period of time. The 2014 guidance at issue in the litigation would modify two of DACA’s threshold eligibility criteria.
Attorneys General from 14 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, filed briefs in support of the federal government’s motion of stay. The states were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. In its brief, the group of states argued:
“A single State cannot dictate national immigration policy, yet that is what the district court allowed here. Relying entirely on Texas’s speculative claims, the district court enjoined vital immigration reforms nationwide. Those reforms will benefit millions of people and their families, as well as the States in which they reside.” States will benefit from the immigration reforms that have been stayed and should not have “to live under an improper injunction based on harms other States incorrectly claim they will suffer,” the states assert. “At the very least, this Court should stay the order outside Texas, as no other State has presented any evidence that it will suffer the irreparable injury needed to justify injunctive relief.”