Lawsuit Against Obama’s Executive Action – A Threat to DAPA?

courthouse_brownsville
Federal Courthouse in Brownsville, Texas.

You may have heard in the news recently that a coalition of 25 states is suing President Obama over the recent executive actions concerning immigration. The case had its first hearing before Federal Judge Andrew Hanen on January 15th. What’s this all about? Is it a threat to DAPA?

Immigration Attorney David Leopold wrote a very interesting and informative article on the topic.

Mr. Leopold’s analysis is framed around the legal concept of Standing, and the judicial orders called Injunction and Stay.

1. Standing – the plantiffs must establish standing. If they cannot demonstrate they’ve suffered a harm due to the executive action then Judge Hanen can throw the case out.

2. Injunction – the states have asked the judge to issue a preliminary injunction while the case is pending. This would block the executive action until the case is ultimately decided. If the Judge decides the states have standing he can either 1) deny the motion for the injunction, thereby allowing the executive action to be implemented, 2) grant an injunction, or 3) grant an injunction only in the 25 states that have sued.

3. Stay – If Hanen issues an injunction, a higher court can issue a stay. The stay would freeze Judge Hanen’s decision granting the injunction and then allow the executive action to occur while the case winds its way through the courts.

Mr. Leopold writes that the Obama administration’s executive action on immigration is legal, but predicts that given Judge Hanen’s history he will likely agree that the plantiffs do have standing, will issue an injunction stopping the executive order, but then a higher court will almost immediately issue a stay on the injunction allowing the executive order to proceed while the case winds its way through the courts. Furthermore, Judge Hanen’s decision won’t occur until at least February.