Final Decision on Deferred Action Lawsuit Deferred

The Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which was announced by the Department of Homeland Security in June 2012 will probably not survive its first year of existence.
US District Court Judge Reed O’Connor ruledon April 23rdin the US Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas in a lawsuit brought by federal immigration agents that “the court finds that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings when the requirements for deportation under a federal statute are met”.
Judge O’Connor stayed any order for implementation of his ruling until at least May 6thwhen the parties to the lawsuit {Crane v. Napolitano, 3:12-CV-03247, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas)}further briefs on granting a temporary restraining order against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Obama Administration are due.
The Deferrred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) is a program developed by the Obama Administration to do an end-run the inability of Congress to pass DREAM Act legislation which would allow the undocumented, foreign born children of undocumented parents to obtain a path citizenship. DACA requirements include: that they were under the age of 31 as of June 15,2012; they came to the United States prior to the 16th birthday; they were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012 and at the time of making their request to USCIS; they entered the US without documents prior to June 15, 2012 or their lawful immigration status expired prior to that date; they must be currently enrolled in school or have a high school diploma or GED or an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces including the Coast Guard; and have no felony convictions, significant misdemeanor conviction or more than two minor misdemeanors as well as not posing a threat to national security or public safety.

Judge O’Connor indicated in his ruling that DHS has to prove in the additional filings he requested that it has the prosecutorial discretion as it claims in its initial brief because the Court’s ruling is that the Department does not have such discretion based on current federal immigration statute. Unless the Department is able to convince the Judge otherwise at the scheduled May 6th hearing, it is likely that the plaintiffs will receive their temporary injunction which will prevent DHS from accepting any new DACA claims or processing existing ones as well as forcing DHS to continue deportation hearings against those individuals it has suspended proceedings against since DACA went into effect.

If Judge O’Connor does issue the injunction in this case and the Obama Administration refuses to abide by it while it is under appeal, the Administration faces the possibility that the fragile framework for comprehensive immigration reform will collapse like a house of cards. The tentative moves that have been seen in the Congress will cease.

I will be keeping a close eye on what happens in Judge O’Connor’s courtroom and report back to Being Latino readers!

By Being Latino Contributor, Jeffery Cassity    Jeffery Cassity is a mostly socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative Anglo male who is involved in his local Hispanic community as the widower of a 1st generation Mexican-American woman and his active, some would say hyperactive, membership in the local Council of the League of Latin American Citizens(LULAC).

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