Immigrant Kids Appeals Set 07/06 06:53
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Immigrant advocates head to a federal appeals court in
New Orleans on Wednesday in hopes of saving an Obama-era program that prevents
the deportation of thousands of people brought into the U.S. as children.
A federal judge in Texas last year declared the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals program illegal -- although he agreed to leave the program
intact for those already benefitting from it while his order is appealed.
DACA proponents planned an early morning vigil ahead of arguments at the 5th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The U.S. Justice Department is defending the program, allied with the state
of New Jersey, advocacy organizations such as the Mexican-American Legal
Defense and Education Fund and a coalition of dozens of powerful corporations
-- including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft -- which argue that DACA
recipients are "employees, consumers and job creators."
Texas, the lead plaintiff with eight other Republican-leaning states, argues
that DACA was enacted without going through proper legal and administrative
procedures, including public notice and comment periods. Additionally, the
states argue that they are harmed financially by allowing immigrants to remain
in the country illegally.
"DACA imposes classic pocketbook injuries on the States through social
services, healthcare, and education costs," Texas attorneys argued in a brief,
estimating that the state spends tens of millions of dollars on Medicaid
services on those in the country illegally.
DACA proponents argue the state hasn't proven that ending the program would
decrease its costs. They argue that DACA is a policy that falls within federal
authorities' power to decide how best to spend finite enforcement resources and
that Texas diminished its claims of financial injury by waiting six years to
challenge the program. They also argue the state ignores evidence that DACA
recipients decrease Texas' costs because many of them hold jobs with health
insurance benefits and many own homes and pay property taxes that support
"Texas and the other states cannot point to an injury that is traceable to
DACA," MALDEF attorney Nina Perales said in a news conference last week.
"Without injury, there's no jurisdiction for the federal courts to hear this
The damage to DACA recipients would be grave, immigrant advocates argued in
one brief, exposing them to removal from the only country many of them have
known and disrupting the lives of established families.
"Collectively, they are parents of over a quarter-million U.S. citizens, and
70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen,"
advocates stated in one brief.
DACA has faced numerous court challenges since then-President Barack Obama
created it by executive order in 2012. Former President Donald Trump moved to
end the program. But a U.S. Supreme Court decision determined that he had not
done it properly, bringing it back to life and allowing for new applications.
That was followed by the Texas-led lawsuit.
Assigned to hear arguments at the 5th Circuit were Chief Judge Priscilla
Richman, an appointee of President George W. Bush; and two Trump appointees,
judges James Ho and Kurt Engelhardt.