Strike Two For Obama's DAPA Amnesty Program at Fifth Circuit

fifth circuit court building

A panel of justices from the Federal Fifth District Court of Appeals  has upheld District Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s ruling on Obama’s unilateral executive Amnesty order. The three-judge panel ruled 2 – 1, with the majority decision supporting the lower court’s injunction of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parental Accountability or DAPA, is a program that exempts from deportation, illegals who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have children who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents. DAPA is an expansion of another Presidential order called DACA (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals), enacted without Congress’ approval or participation in 2012.

“DAPA modifies substantive rights and interests — conferring lawful presence on 500,000 illegal aliens in Texas forces the state to choose between spending millions of dollars to subsidize driver’s licenses and changing its law,” the judges wrote.

One of the judges, Justice Jerry Smith, explicitly challenged the legality of the Obama White House actions, commenting, “It is the affirmative act of conferring ‘lawful presence’ on a class of unlawfully present aliens.”

On the losing end of the court’s decision, was the Obama administration, whose spokeswoman, Brandi Hoffine told reporters:

“Today, two judges of the Fifth Circuit chose to misrepresent the facts and the law. The president’s actions were designed to bring greater accountability to our broken immigration system, grow the economy and keep our communities safe. They are squarely within the bounds of his authority and they are the right thing to do for the country.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott disagreed, hailing the 5th Circuit Courts ruling on DAPA:

“We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the president’s attempt to bypass the will of the American people was successfully checked again today.”

And Todd Gaziano of the Pacific Legal Foundation commented on today’s ruling:

“Without regard to whether the content of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) would be a wise policy if enacted by Congress, it is an incredibly far-reaching and questionable assertion of unilateral power by President Obama, especially since Obama denied he had that power several times in the years leading up to his reversal of course.”

The program came under fire from 25 state governments following Texas’ lead, suing Obama to block the program. The states that joined in the filing were; Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

At the original hearing in Judge Hanen’s court, Texas State Attorney Andrew Oldham argued that Obama’s arbitrary imposition of DAPA would effectively green light more border crossing, thus creating an unfunded mandate in the form of an attractive nuisance – the lure of more amnesty and non-enforcement of immigration law. Oldham told the Judge, “People think: They’ve done it twice in two years. Maybe they’ll do it again in 2016.”

Obama’s original waiver of immigration enforcement, DACA, which allowed certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation has granted protection to close to 600,000 illegals and denied less than 10 percent of applicants. A lawsuit filed on that program by Mississippi, was dismissed in a lower court and the dismissal was upheld by a different set of judges on the 5th Circuit in April, on the grounds of standing and lack of evidence showing damage to the state from DACA.

The Obama administration asked the judges to allow DAPA to proceed in the 24 states that didn’t file against it. The majority ruled against the motion, citing that such a ruling would establish non uniform enforcement and grant the presumption of legality on a program that has been so far deemed un-constitutional in two courts.

Justice Hanen had been led to believe that DHS had not begun implementing DAPA, at the time he originally issued his injunction. But the Justice Department later disclosed that more than 108,000 people had already been granted three-year deferrals from deportation as well as work permits. “Whether by ignorance, omission, purposeful misdirection, or because they were misled by their clients, the attorneys for the government misrepresented the facts”, said Hanen at the time.

In contrast to the 26 states that filed suit, are two states that notably have been using Obama’s executive orders as a launching pad to circumvent immigration law. Recently re-elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, told the New York Times that he plans to transform the Windy City into a sanctuary city, with, among other provisions, an ordinance that would prevent undocumented immigrants with no criminal background from being turned over to immigration enforcement agencies. California has been issuing driver’s permits to illegals by the hundreds of thousands and more sanctuary state legislation is in the pipeline.

Open borders advocates are disheartened by the court ruling. “We call on President Obama to immediately act on that power by halting all deportations until the day when our broken immigration system can be replaced by humane, rational policies that recognize the value and humanity of our immigrant community members,” said Jessica Bansal, litigation director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

“Once again, we find ourselves in a battle to preserve the hope of millions of families who have long made America their home,” said Rocio Sáenz, executive vice president for the Service Employees International Union.

But that is the core of the judicial ruling. Illegals have moved into their new “home” without asking permission of the existing residents – and Barack Obama is not their landlord.