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DOJ denied last chance to save Obama’s immigration programs

5 Oct

The Department of Justice lost its last chance Monday to save President’s Obama’s immigration programs.

Without any explanation, the Supreme Court decided not to rehear the administration’s appeal of a lower court order blocking the president’s attempt to shield nearly 5 million people from deportation.

In June, the short-handed Supreme Court split 4-4 in its decision, leaving the nationwide order from a Texas judge in place.

Given the national implications, the DOJ pushed for the court to reconsider the case when it has a ninth justice.

One program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) was created by executive action and would have allowed undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to remain in the United States for three years and apply for work permits.

The other would have expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Obama created in 2012.

From the beginning, immigration advocates have questioned why Texas Judge Andrew Hanen was able to issue a nationwide hold on DAPA and DACA.

The White House expressed disappointment with the court’s decision.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday the administration’s plans remain aimed at protecting families while focusing on those who cross the border illegally or are in the United States and have broken the law.

“There’s no practical impact in terms of the implementation of this policy and that, of course, is a double-edged sword,” Earnest said during a press conference.

“The enforcement priorities that the administration has laid out in terms of focusing our efforts on felons and not families will move forward, it has moved forward in a way that we believe has enhanced the safety and security of communities all across the country,” Earnest said.

On Monday afternoon, America’s Voice said that order is now being challenged in New York by a long-time resident and DACA beneficiary, who was harmed by Hanen’s injunction against three-year work permits.

Martin Jonathan Batalla Vidal has asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to rule that Hanen’s “nationwide” injunction should only apply to immigrants who live within the 5th Circuit, which has appellate jurisdiction over the federal courts in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

“More individuals in jurisdictions outside the 5th Circuit — from immigrants affected to attorneys general — should explore challenges against the nationwide scope of Judge Hanen’s ruling,” Lynn Tramonte, the group’s deputy director, said in a statement.

“At the same time, every American who cares about these policies needs to get registered and vote in October and November.”

The Latino Victory Fund echoed calls for voters to turn out to the polls.

“While the next president will nominate Supreme Court Justices who will determine the future of DAPA and DACA+, the next Congress will determine the fate of immigration reform,” César Blanco, the group’s interim director, said in a statement.

“That’s why we must elect Hillary Clinton as our next president, and also elect a Congress who will work with her to protect DACA and DAPA, and pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship, granting ultimate relief for millions of families.”

Conservatives, meanwhile, hailed the court for blocking the administration’s attempt to rewrite federal immigration law.

“It’s fitting that the Texas immigration case, which typifies this administration’s relentless overreach, met its end in a wordless denial by the Supreme Court,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network.

“The next president’s appointments to the Supreme Court will determine whether this kind of unconstitutional lawlessness becomes typical in our country. For the moment, though, constitutional government is safe.”

Earnest said the case is an example of what happens when the Supreme Court is short a justice, and he used the opportunity to urge the Senate to confirm Merrick Garland, the president’s choice for that slot.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he remains steadfast in his decision to wait until the next president takes office to hold a confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court nominee.