It looks like good news could be coming for the new immigration plans! In the United States, the legal process has two systems. We have separate state and federal governments. If the states want to sue the federal government they must meet certain requirements under the U.S. Constitution. That is why federal courts are now ruling the state lawsuits filed to block newer immigration programs are “illegal.”
So many people have been waiting for so long for immigration relief. That is why the President’s announcement of the new DAPA program for parents of US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, and the expansion of DACA was so exciting for many of us. However, that excitement has been on hold since February when a Federal Court Judge in Texas put the program on hold while a lawsuit filed by several States, including Indiana, works its way through the courts. The US Department of Justice has appealed the decision to halt the program to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Department of Justice argues, among other things, that the States who brought the lawsuit lack “standing” to bring such a claim. In simple terms, they challenge that the States have the right to bring such a lawsuit against the Federal government under the US Constitution. We will have to wait and see what the Appeals Court judges decide, but a decision issued on April 7, 2015 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals gives us an idea of what might happen in the DAPA case.
The decision addressed whether the lawsuit brought by the State of Mississippi against the original 2012 DACA program lacks “standing.” The Court of Appeals found that Mississippi couldn’t bring such a case because the state failed to show that it would suffer harm if the program were implemented. The court held that based on the evidence presented any injury to the state was “purely speculative.” The court stated that in order to be able to move forward with its case Mississippi needed to show that it would have suffered an injury “fairly traceable” to DACA—instead Mississippi presented evidence that it incurs costs providing social benefits to—in the courts words—“illegal immigrants.” In other words, Mississippi couldn’t show that the DACA program would cause the state any increased burden or costs over and above the costs that immigration already places on the state.
The April 7 decision does not change the current status of the DAPA program, but it does offer a preview of the type of analysis the Fifth Circuit will be undertaking in that case later this month. For now we wait –the Fifth Circuit is set to hear oral arguments in the DAPA case next week—April 17.