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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.

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