Judicial Watch Files Amicus Brief Opposing DOJ’s Attempt to Block Ruling that Would Postpone Immigration Action in Fifth Circuit
MARCH 23, 2015
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit opposing the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) “emergency” motion to allow President Obama’s unilateral “executive actions” on illegal immigration to go forward (State of Texas, et al., v. United States, et al. (No. 15-40238)).
Judicial Watch counters the Obama administration’s argument that the injunction against its mass amnesty program “interferes with [its] ability to protect the Homeland and secure our borders” by helping it distinguish criminals and other high priority aliens for removal. Citing records it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch points out that the Obama amnesty is unlikely to have anything to do with finding criminals for removal:
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Judicial Watch obtained records showing that DHS [Department of Homeland Security] is failing to conduct required, comprehensive background checks on aliens who apply for Appellants’ original deferred action program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), in order to accelerate the processing of applications. See Press Release, Documents Reveal DHS Abandoned Illegal Alien Background Checks to Meet Amnesty Requests Following Obama’s DACA, Judicial Watch, Inc. (June 11, 2013). Specifically, the records reveal that DHS abandoned rigorous checks of DACA applicants’ backgrounds for minimal, “lean and lite” background checks. Id. In early March 2015, it was reported that 23 DACA beneficiaries were picked up in a nationwide sweep of criminal aliens, 15 of which are current DACA recipients.
Because there is evidence to suggest that comprehensive backgrounds checks are not being performed, allowing the DAPA [Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents] program to take effect pending Appellants’ appeal of the District Court’s preliminary injunction is unlikely to assist DHS in distinguishing criminal and other high priority aliens from non-criminal aliens.
In its drive to fulfill Obama’s wish to circumvent established immigration law, the Obama Justice Department, on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, likewise has attempted to get around normal legal procedure, filing its motion in the Appeals Court before U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen has ruled. In its brief Judicial Watch argues the Obama administration is improperly seeking intervention from the higher court in contravention of law:
If this Court were to grant Appellants’ motion, it would cast aside decades-old immigration laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. These laws have been in place for almost 30 years. In seeking a stay pending appeal, Appellants fail to demonstrate why destroying 30 years of status quo and undermining duly enacted laws is necessary at this immediate date. None of the reasons cited by Appellants in their motion answer the question: why today?
According to Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, a motion for a stay pending appeal filed in the Appellate Court “must state that, a motion having been made, the district court denied the motion or failed to afford the relief requested and state any reasons given by the district court for its action.” Judicial Watch notes that the DOJ’s “sole argument for seeking relief from this Court before the District Court has ruled is their ‘view of the urgency of obtaining a stay of the preliminary injunction.’”
On February 23, 2015, the Obama administration moved for a stay pending appeal with Judge Hanen. On March 9, 2015, Hanen issued an order that he would rule on the request for a stay after a March 19, 2015 hearing. Judicial Watch sees no obvious reason in the court’s record that suggests the District Court will not rule shortly, so there is no lawful reason for asking for the appellate relief other than politics. As The New York Times reported, the administration’s appeal to the Fifth Circuit was seen as a way to send “a message to immigration advocates, many of whom have been frustrated by the Justice Department’s [actions].”
Judicial Watch had also filed an amicus brief with the lower court opposing the Obama administration’s efforts to allow its illegal amnesty program to go forward.
“The Obama administration, in addition to wanting to grant amnesty contrary to law, thinks it should be immune from scrutiny by the federal courts,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And no one should be fooled that President Obama’s amnesty program is about protecting the public safety. The Obama administration’s records show that it has failed to do criminal background checks on the illegal aliens benefiting from executive amnesty.”