33 U.S. Cities File Brief in Support of Deferred Action

Molina Law Group continues to monitor the federal lawsuit Texas v. U.S. that is attempting to stop the implementation of President Obama’s deferred action programs. The expanded DACA program will begin accepting applications on February 18, 2015. The plaintiff states in the lawsuit have asked Judge Andrew Hanen to rule on a temporary injunction before this date.

On January 27, 2015 mayors from New York, Los Angeles, and 31 other major U.S. cities joined together in an amici curiae brief. “Amici curiae” (the plural of “amicus curiae”) literally means “friends of the court.” These mayors are not parties to the lawsuit but they have an interest in the outcome of the lawsuit and as such they have asked for permission to write a brief to better inform the court of the issues in the matter an how they themselves will be impacted by the judge’s decision.

In order to get a preliminary injunction the plaintiffs must show the following:

  1. That there is a likelihood of irreparable harm that will happen to the states if DACA and DAPA are allowed to go forward;
  2. That the balance of harm favors the states;
  3. That there is a likelihood of success, in other words that the states are likely to win in the end; and
  4. That the public interest favors the granting of the injunction.

The mayors’ amici brief addresses the 4th required element. They argue that it is NOT in the public interest to temporarily stop DACA and DAPA for three reasons:

  1. Executive Action will fuel economic growth in cities across the U.S.;
  2. Executive Action will increase public safety by encouraging more immigrant residents to trust and cooperate with local law enforcement; and
  3. Executive Action will facilitate the full integration of immigrant residents in cities across the country and promote family unity.

Many of the mayors represented in the brief formed Cities United For Immigration Action in December of 2014. They claim they have an interest in this lawsuit because their cities are home to large numbers of undocumented immigrants and those residents make significant contributions to their communities. The mayors filed this brief to give their “distinctive, local perspective on why a grant of preliminary injunctive relief against the President’s Executive Action would be strongly contrary to the public interest.”

The brief sets forth many factual arguments and statistics to show that DACA and DAPA are going to benefit and improve life for all citizens in the U.S. One study has found that if 3.8 million people are allowed to obtain work authorization, their labor income would increase $7.1 billion dollars, generating 167,000 new jobs and over $2.6 billion in new tax revenue! If 4.7 million obtain work authorization, those numbers jump dramatically to $2.87 billion in payroll tax revenue in the first year and $21.24 billion over the first five years of the deferred action program.

President Obama’s program also promotes family unity instead of separation through deportation. More than 46,000 individuals with U.S. citizen children were deported in 2011 alone. The brief notes that children in single-parent households are 4.2 times more likely to live in poverty and the poverty rate for single-mother families is 40.7 percent. In 2011, 5,100 children entered the foster care system due to having a parent or parents deported from the U.S.

We are hopeful that the plaintiff states will not prevail in their attempt to stop the deferred action programs and we believe that Judge Hanen should dismiss the case, thus sending a strong message to immigrants across the U.S. that it is now safe to apply for these new programs.

Continue to watch here for more developments.