President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) is far from dead, even though it’s been blocked by a federal judge.
In fact, an illegal alien may soon help resuscitate it.
Martin Jonathan Batalla Vidal, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary from Mexico, filed suit in federal court last week seeking to have the nationwide injunction against Obama’s executive amnesty overturned.
Daniel Horowitz, senior editor at Conservative Review, wonders how Vidal can even bring a lawsuit.
“The real question is how illegal aliens can even get standing in court to openly sue for affirmative rights against longstanding congressional statutes governing sovereignty?” Horowitz wrote in a recent column.
After Obama took executive action to expand DACA and create DAPA in November 2014, 26 states filed a lawsuit over the unilateral actions. In February 2015 U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the administration from moving forward with its plans.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently upheld the injunction, and then the Supreme Court deadlocked on the issue, thereby leaving Judge Hanen’s decision in place.
Batalla Vidal’s lawsuit alleges Hanen’s injunction should only be valid within the 26 states that were plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Batalla Vidal lives in New York, which was not one of the plaintiff states.
According to the suit, Batalla Vidal initially received a three-year work authorization under the Obama administration’s expanded DACA. But Hanen’s injunction led to the rescinding of that three-year permit in May 2015, and it was replaced by a two-year employment authorization.
The alien is now suing for reinstatement of his three-year work permit, claiming its revocation was unlawful because Hanen’s injunction does not apply to New York residents.
Batalla Vidal is being represented by the National Immigration Law Center, a left-wing immigration advocacy group funded by George Soros and the Ford Foundation.
Horowitz knew it was too early to celebrate when the Supreme Court upheld Hanen’s decision. In his view, the federal courts had already done much harm by overturning immigration enforcement actions and granting rights to illegal aliens. These harms far outweighed any benefit conservatives may have gotten from the DAPA decision.
In fact, in his new book “Stolen Sovereignty: How to Stop Unelected Judges From Transforming America,” Horowitz shows it is Congress, not the courts or the president, that the framers of our Constitution intended to give power over immigration. He argues Congress should strip the courts of jurisdiction over immigration because the issue deals with the very sovereignty of the United States.
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The Supreme Court’s ruling on Hanen’s injunction provided Horowitz no comfort.
“To begin with, the court never addressed the DACA amnesty, and indeed, the lower courts and the Supreme Court refused to grant standing to ICE agents and states in their challenge of the 2012 amnesty,” Horowitz argued. “In fact, the Ninth Circuit has already legitimized and codified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by forcing states to issue driver’s licenses to recipients of that executive amnesty program.”
What’s more, Horowitz pointed out the court may have been able to stop Obama from issuing work permits and Social Security cards to DAPA recipients, but no court can force the president to deport illegal aliens. In fact, deportations are at a nine-year low.
Now that an illegal alien threatens to restore DAPA, Horowitz fears the increasingly left-leaning judicial system will let him succeed.
“The scary thing is this alien will likely get standing in court and might succeed in reconstituting Obama’s executive amnesty for half the country,” Horowitz warned. “If the plaintiff is able to get a hearing before a liberal judge in the Eastern District of New York, a favorable decision would likely be upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which is full of post-constitutionalists.
“Thus, if Congress fails to stand its ground, the one benefit we’ve ever gotten from court intervention in immigration might be overturned.”
And isn’t it ironic, Horowitz mused.
“In the irony of all ironies a recipient of DACA might get standing to bring back DAPA – all because ICE agents, states and taxpayers couldn’t get standing to bring a lawsuit against Obama’s original executive amnesty.”