Employment Law Daily ‘Dreamer’ suit challenges immigration executive action injunction
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

‘Dreamer’ suit challenges immigration executive action injunction

A New York "Dreamer" is challenging the nationwide injunction issued by a federal court in Texas that put a halt to the Obama Administration’s 2014 immigration relief initiatives, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The first-of-its kind lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of New York by a DACA recipient, challenges the reach of what it asserts is the unlawfully broad injunction in United States v. Texas, the case brought by Texas and 25 other states challenging DAPA and expanded DACA. If successful, the new suit would fix a wrongdoing suffered by thousands of DACA recipients who are not party to the Texas case and could reinstate both initiatives in some parts of the country, according to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). In February 2015, Judge Hanen issued a nationwide injunction blocking both immigration reform programs. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in June of this year deadlocked 4-4 on the case, issuing no decision, which meant the injunction remains in effect. The plaintiff here is a 25-year-old longtime resident of New York who came to the United States from Mexico when he was seven years old. He is represented by Make the Road New York, the NILC, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School. Three-year work permit revoked. In February 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved the plaintiff for a three-year work permit under newly issued rules for DACA. That same month, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the federal district court for Southern District of Texas issued an injunction that blocked DAPA and the expansion of DACA nationwide based on claims of incurred costs by Texas. The federal government then relied on that injunction to wrongfully revoke three-year work permits that had been issued to thousands of DACA recipients across the country, including the plaintiff, according to the complaint. The plaintiff is asking the court to reinstate his three-year work permit because its revocation on the basis of what the complaint calls "the overbroad injunction" was unlawful. By challenging the scope of the Texas injunction, the lawsuit could lead to the reinstatement of DAPA and expanded DACA for millions of families in states that are not part of the Texas lawsuit. Should everyone be punished? The plaintiff’s suit raises the question of whether all DACA and DAPA recipients should be punished under the Texas injunction, particularly those who live outside the states involved in the Texas suit. New York, the plaintiff’s home state, attested to the benefits of DACA and DAPA in an amicus brief filed when the Texas case was pending in the Supreme Court. Pointing to a New York Times article, the NILC noted that about 60 percent of individuals eligible for DAPA and expanded DACA live outside of states involved in the Texas case. "When I first filed for DACA, I was excited to get a three-year work permit and move forward with my life," said Batalla Vidal, a member of Make the Road New York who is studying to be a medical assistant and also works to help support his family. "That was taken away by one judge in Texas, and it’s not fair for me and for thousands of others affected. I’m filing this lawsuit for myself and the thousands of others like me who have been wronged by this judge’s decision." The plaintiff filed his lawsuit, Batalla Vidal v. Baran, in the Eastern District of New York; the case is No. 1:16-cv-04756.

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