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David Leopold and Lynn Tramonte React to New Lawsuit Challenging Judge Hanen’s Overreaching National Injunction

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Today, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), and the Rockford, Illinois law firm Dady & Hoffmann filed a lawsuit challenging Judge Andrew Hanen’s national injunction on President Obama’s immigration executive actions on behalf of José Lopez.  Lopez is a DACA-mented immigrant whose parents are both eligible for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.

In the wake of the Supreme Court tie in U.S. v. Texas, this and a preceding lawsuit, also brought by a DREAMer, challenge the national scope of an injunction against DAPA and the expansion of DACA, instituted by Texas Judge Andrew Hanen.

In response to today’s filing, David Leopold, immigration attorney and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said:

“The Supreme Court’s failure to decide the Republican lawsuit against DAPA and DACA+ raises serious questions about whether Judge Hanen’s injunction against the deportation deferrals applies outside Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, the states that make up the 5th Circuit.

“Now, two undocumented immigrants in New York and Illinois have courageously taken on Hanen’s wrongheaded and legally bankrupt injunction.  Their argument is potent, but simple: What gives a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas the authority to make decisions that alter their lives?  Other challenges in other parts of the country are likely to follow.

“Attorneys General in other states that didn’t join the Texas lawsuit will be watching what happens in New York and Illinois closely.  One can easily imagine, for example, California Attorney General Kamala Harris asking a U.S. District Court in California to allow DAPA and DACA+ to go forward in her state.  California strongly opposes the Republican lawsuit, making a powerful case about the harm done to the state by Hanen’s order blocking DAPA and DAPA+.

“Sadly, all this might have been avoided if Chief Justice Roberts had stood true to his expressed belief that politics should stop at the courthouse steps, and if Republican leaders in the Senate had actually done their jobs and held hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.  Instead, the short-staffed Supreme Court failed to decide U.S. v Texas creating legal vacuum and a very real likelihood of judicial chaos.”

Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, said:

“This latest lawsuit proves once again that DREAMers are the tip of the spear in the immigration reform movement.  In the courts, they are challenging the overreach of a Republican lawsuit and a Texas judge who well over-stepped his bounds.  In politics, they are challenging Presidential, Senate, and congressional candidates who stake out policies against executive action and for mass deportation.  They are also working to hold Democrats accountable to campaign-season promises.

“We are so proud of DREAMers Jose Lopez, Martin Batalla Vidal, and the ‘Fearless Four’ – including America’s Voice staffer Juan Escalante – for standing up to Federal Judge Andrew Hanen and his overreach.  There are many other courageous leaders like them.  These men and women are the reason that I know, ultimately, justice will prevail.”