posted at 5:21 pm on November 18, 2016 by John Sexton
President Obama’s executive actions on immigration are now dead in the water. Today, Department of Justice lawyers asked a court to put a stay on any further proceedings in the case to allow the incoming administration a chance to decide how it will proceed. Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports:
Justice Department attorneys and lawyers from 26 states who challenged Obama’s moves filed a joint motion Friday asking that remaining proceedings in the suit be put on hold until the Trump administration figures out how it wants to proceed.
“Given the change in Administration, the parties jointly submit that a brief stay of any further litigation in this Court before beginning any further proceedings would serve judicial efficiency and economy so that the parties have a better understanding of how they might choose to move forward,” the attorneys wrote.
The Obama administration was already losing this case even before Trump was elected. In 2015 the judge issued a stay on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which effectively promised that children who arrived in the country before the age of 16 would not be deported. The court’s stay was appealed and the appeals court sided with the lower court. Then the DOJ appealed the matter to the Supreme Court. This summer the Supreme Court announced it was deadlocked 4-4 on the case which meant the lower court ruling would stand.
When the Supreme Court reached its decision in June he posted this statement on his campaign website:
Today’s 4-4 Supreme Court ruling has blocked one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a President. The executive amnesty from President Obama wiped away the immigration rules written by Congress, giving work permits and entitlement benefits to people illegally in the country. This split decision also makes clear what is at stake in November.
With Trump expected to end DACA and a companion program called DAPA, chances are better than good that the legal fight for DACA is over.
Yesterday, congressional defenders of DACA sent a letter to President Obama asking him to issue a blanket pardon to immigrants who arrived as children. The authors of the letter are concerned that personal information, including addresses and fingerprints, which DACA applicants gave to the government in order to apply for the program could soon be used to identify them for deportation. The White House was quick to respond to the letter saying that granting legal status was not something the president could do.
President Obama himself has appealed to the incoming administration to “think long and hard” before ditching DACA.
The end of DACA and DAPA does not necessarily mean those individuals will be targeted for deportation. Trump said recently his deportation efforts will be focused on illegal immigrants who have been convicted of a crime.