Texas Court decision:
On February 16, a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, issued a temporary injunction to stop President Obama’s executive order in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states. The judge did not decide on the legality of the immigration plans, but said the states had satisfied the minimum legal requirements to bring their lawsuit, and therefore, a temporary injunction was issued while the case moves forward. The same judge in Texas who issued this preliminary injunction had issued a similar injunction back in 2012 in response to President Obama’s prior executive order implementing the original DACA program, which was reversed on appeal. This is part of the reason why it is generally expected that the current injunction will also be overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals because it present no new legal issues.
White House response:
The White House in a statement following the Texas ruling defended the President’s Executive Order stating: “The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts, and the district court in Washington, D.C. have determined that the President’s actions are well within his legal authority. Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.”
The Obama administration and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have stated they believe the executive order is a legitimate exercise of executive authority. It represents the President’s determination to continue focusing the federal government’s enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety. The intent behind the expansion of DACA and creation of DAPA was to give DHS prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children or parents who meet key guidelines.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and other immigration group responses:
AILA and other immigrant advocates have been highly critical of the judge and his ruling. AILA asserted that “[p]revious statements by Judge Hanen made it clear that he was pre-disposed against favorable exercises of prosecutorial discretion in the immigration context. … His injunction is not based on constitutional grounds; it is based on procedure, finding flaws under the Administrative Procedure Act. It is almost as if he was desperate for a way to block these initiatives and grasped any straw he could.”
On March 13th, 104 legal scholars and instructors of immigration law also described Texas decision as “deeply flawed.” https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/_file/LAWPROFLTRHANENFINAL.pdf
AILA is confident the federal government will ultimately prevail and that DAPA and an expanded DACA will be fully implemented.