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Preliminary Injunction Issued in Texas v. United States |
Late on February 16, a United States District Court judge for the Southern District of Texas (Brownsville) issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking the President’s November 2014 executive action on immigration. Judge Andrew Hanen found that the administration may not have complied with the Administrative Procedure Act. Judge Hanen did not address constitutional issues in his memorandum opinion.
Implementation of the expanded components of DACA, scheduled to begin February 18, has been suspended. Preparation for DAPA, scheduled for May implementation, has also been suspended.
The underlying complaint alleges violations of the Take Care Clause, U.S. Const. Art. II, § 3, cl. 5, and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq., and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief. Aside from Texas, the other plaintiffs are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, as well as the Governors of Mississippi, Maine, North Carolina, and Idaho.
On February 17, the White House Press Secretary indicated that the Department of Justice would appeal the district court decision, stating that “[t]he Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts, and the district court in Washington, D.C. have determined that the President’s actions are well within his legal authority. Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect ….”
MALDEF Sues New Mexico over Refunds for Immigrant Taxpayers
On February 12, 2015, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) filed suit against the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department for withholding millions of dollars in refunds from noncitizens using federal Individual Tax Identification Numbers.
According to the lawsuit, New Mexico since 2012 has denied refunds to individuals who used ITINs to file their tax returns, and in 2014 issued letters requiring such taxpayers to submit additional documentation to claim refunds they would otherwise be owed.
The suit charges the state with violating the Tax Administration Act, as well as the equal protection and due process provisions of the state constitution.
Details Released on In-Country Refugee Processing for CAMs
On February 9, 2015, the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new program allowing certain minors to apply for refugee status or parole from within Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador (Central American Minors, or CAMs).
The program is open to the children of parents who are lawfully present in the United States. Qualifying parents must complete form DS-7699 with the assistance of a designated resettlement agency for their children to apply for admission as a refugee. Children must be unmarried and under age 21 to qualify for the program.
Children who apply but are found ineligible for refugee status will be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis.
[This is an excerpt from the March 1, 2015, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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