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Immigration Executive Action Case in Fifth Circuit: "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied"

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NPR profiled Jannet Ramirez, one of the fasters outside of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans – and explained the reason for the fast and the implications of it. The case against Obama’s executive actions was brought by then-Attorney General, now Governor Greg Abbott from Texas. He was later joined by GOP Governors and Attorneys General from 25 other states. That alone shows that from the beginning, this was a political lawsuit. As Jannet makes clear, the politics and the legal delays have real-life impact:

GONZALES: One of the fasters is a 21-year-old college student, Jannet Ramirez. She was only a toddler when her parents arrived here from Mexico. Ramirez says she grew up in Arkansas with a constant fear that her undocumented parents could be deported on any given day.

JANNET RAMIREZ: Absolutely. There have been times where my mother has been pulled over by police, and thankfully, she only got a ticket. But if my parents are ever to get arrested, the city where I live in does have a policy of calling ICE. And if ICE wants to, they can take them off to a detention center and deport them.

GONZALES: Ramirez is protected from deportation under a 2012 Obama program that covered about a quarter of a million immigrants brought here as children. Her parents would have benefited from President Obama’s attempt to expand that program to as many as four million immigrants. That expansion would’ve included work permits and protection from deportation. But the state of Texas, along with 25 other states, filed a lawsuit.

In February, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, slapped an injunction on the program. That’s how it landed before a three-judge panel in July at the 5th Circuit. The court usually takes 60 days to issue its rulings. It’s now three months, and there’s still no decision. David Leopold is a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He says the appellate court, known to be conservative, is dragging its feet.

DAVID LEOPOLD: Justice delayed is justice denied, and that’s what this delay represents to me.

The key question is whether the Fifth Circuit will issue its ruling in time for the Supreme Court to hear the case in this term.

More from David Leopold on the legal machinations of this case and why “justice delayed is justice denied” can be found here.