California Dreamer Challenges Nationwide Immigration Injunction

November 3, 2016

Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149, [email protected]

California Dreamer Challenges Nationwide Immigration Injunction

New lawsuit alleges Texas order not binding in California, advances actions already taken in New York, Illinois

SAN FRANCISCO — A new federal lawsuit filed today advances efforts to reinstate the Obama administration’s immigration relief initiatives, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (expanded DACA), in some parts of the country.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Rocío Sanchez Ponce, a DACA recipient, is the third to challenge the reach of an unlawfully broad injunction in U.S. v. Texas. It follows similar lawsuits by Martín Batalla Vidal in the Eastern District of New York and by José Lopez in the Northern District of Illinois.

The three lawsuits seek to fix a wrongdoing suffered by thousands of DACA recipients who are not party to the Texas case, and they could open up a new pathway for the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA outside of Texas, providing relief to millions of families.

“As a new mom, I have a lot on my plate,” said Sanchez Ponce, the mother of a three-year-old boy and a four-month-old girl. “So, when my DACA application was approved, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through the process again for three years. Then that was taken away because of a judge in Texas. It’s not right. My family and so many others contributing to our communities all over the country should not have to cut our plans short because of an unfair order.”

Sanchez Ponce, 23, is a longtime resident of Hayward, Calif., who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was six years old. She is represented by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).

In February 2015, Sanchez Ponce received a three-year work permit from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under newly issued rules for DACA. That same month, Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of the federal district court in South Texas, issued an injunction in U.S. v. Texas that blocked DAPA and the expansion of DACA nationwide, based solely on claims of alleged costs to Texas. The federal government relied on that injunction to wrongfully revoke three-year work permits that had been issued to thousands of DACA recipients across the country, including to Sanchez Ponce and the plaintiffs in the New York and Illinois lawsuits.

Sanchez Ponce seeks reinstatement of her three-year work permit because its revocation on the basis of the overbroad injunction was unlawful. Furthermore, by challenging the scope of the Texas injunction, the lawsuit could lead to the reinstatement of DAPA and expanded DACA for millions of families in states that are not part of the Texas lawsuit.

“Rocío, Martín, and José had no say in U.S. v. Texas,” said Melissa Keaney, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “Yet their lives and millions more were entangled by an unlawfully broad order in that case. We are proud to stand with them to fight back so that millions of families, and our country as a whole, can reap the benefits of the Obama administration’s immigration initiatives.”

Announced in 2012, DACA allows some young undocumented immigrants such as Sanchez Ponce, who came to the U.S. as children, to live and work in the country temporarily if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

In November 2014, the Obama administration sought to build on the success of that initiative by expanding eligibility requirements to include more immigrant youth and by creating the DAPA program, which would similarly allow some undocumented parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children to live and work in the U.S. temporarily. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security announced that new and renewing DACA applicants would be approved for three- rather than two-year periods. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began issuing three-year work permits that same month.

In December 2014, Texas and 25 other states sued to stop the implementation of DAPA and expansion of DACA. In February 2015, Judge Hanen issued a nationwide injunction blocking both initiatives. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which last month refused to rehear the case after deadlocking and issuing no decision in June.

The complaint filed today is available at

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