In February, federal judge Andrew Hanen, of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas, issued an injunction temporarily blocking President Obama’s expanded executive amnesty, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The order was in response to a lawsuit filed by 26 states. In response to the ruling, the Obama administration appealed the preliminary injunction and moved for a stay of the injunction, pending resolution of the merits of that appeal.
But today the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Obama administration’s appeal of the injunction as well as its request to narrow the scope of the injunction to just Texas (in order to let DAPA move forward in other states). The court explained that the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal.
In analyzing the request for a stay, the court was required to look at four factors: (1) whether the stay applicant (here, the Obama administration) has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding (here, the states); and (4) where the public interest lies. To succeed on the merits, the administration had to show that the district court abused its discretion by entering a preliminary injunction. The administration was unable to do so.
The court also denied the Obama administration's request that the injunction be limited to just the state of Texas:
The government maintains that the nationwide scope of the injunction is an abuse of discretion, so it asks that the injunction be confined to Texas or the plaintiff states. But partial implementation of DAPA would undermine the constitutional imperative of “a uniform Rule of Naturalization” and Congress’s instruction that “the immigration laws of the United States should be enforced vigorously and uniformly.” A patchwork system would “detract from the ‘integrated scheme of regulation’ created by Congress.” Further, there is a substantial likelihood that a partial injunction would be ineffective because DAPA beneficiaries would be free to move between states.
This is ironic in that it is the Obama administration that has often complained about a “patchwork” of immigration laws across the country.