Texas v. U.S.: Friend-of-the-Court Briefs

Diverse Groups File Briefs in Support of the President’s Immigration Actions

APRIL 7, 2015

From faith leaders to business leaders, and from law enforcement officers to civil rights groups, broad swaths of Americans have made their support for President Obama’s immigration actions known to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by filing amicus (or friend-of-the-court) briefs in support of the administration. Below is a brief overview of the types of briefs that have been filed and what they mean:

Brief filed by city mayors and counties


More than 70 city officials joined an amicus brief that explores the societal and economic benefits of a DACA expansion and DAPA to local communities and economies. As local elected officials, city mayors are well-suited to see the positive multiplier effect that initiatives like DACA and DAPA create by improving tax rolls and allowing immigrants with work authorization to earn higher wages. City officials from plaintiff states who signed the brief include Tampa, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, and many others.

Brief filed by United States representatives


More than 180 United States representatives filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit to explain why President Obama’s immigration actions are a lawful execution of prosecutorial discretion. This brief provides a powerful defense of DACA and DAPA as a valid use of prosecutorial discretion, and reminds the court that work authorization for those shielded from deportation is authorized by regulations. Former members of Congress also filed a brief in support of the president’s actions.

Brief filed by U.S. senators


Four U.S. senators filed a brief explaining why the expansion of DACA and creation of DAPA initiatives are not subject to rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. This brief also provides other examples of prosecutorial discretion.

Brief filed by states


Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a brief that directly counters the claims made by Texas and other states in this case. These states, in which more than half of the nation’s DACA- and DAPA-eligible residents reside, explain how the president’s immigration actions will improve state and local level economies. The states point to reams of economic data provided by the Congressional Budget Office, the Council of Economic Advisors, and various think tanks to buttress these arguments. Historically immigrant-rich states, such as California and New York, along with newer immigrant-heavy states, such as Virginia, joined this brief.

Brief filed by law enforcement leaders


More than 30 police chiefs and sheriffs, along with two law enforcement associations, joined a brief to explain why the president’s immigration actions are good for public safety. These law enforcement leaders serve cities in many plaintiff states, including Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, and elsewhere. All agree that the president’s immigration actions will strengthen the delicate ties between the law enforcement community and the immigrant community — a result that improves public safety for everyone.

Brief filed by civil rights, labor, and immigrants’ rights groups


More than 150 organizations joined a brief that provides powerful stories about potential DACA expansion and DAPA beneficiaries. This brief will allow the court to see that aspiring Americans who may be eligible for these initiatives are entrepreneurs, community leaders, and individuals who are committed to ensuring their families’ wellbeing and dedicated to improving their communities. These stories provide a powerful reminder that the heart of this court case has little to do with administrative rules. It is, in fact, about our nation’s families and communities.

Brief filed by educators and children’s advocates


Compiling new and existing research on child development, this brief demonstrates that the biggest beneficiaries of President Obama’s immigration actions are actually the millions of U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents. This brief argues that allowing these initiatives to take effect will improve educational and other outcomes for our nation’s children, which will make children better prepared to lead our economy in the years to come.

Brief filed by businesses and associations


In this brief, a diverse range of business leaders argue that DACA and DAPA aren’t just good for immigrants, they’re also good for business. Using economic data, the brief explains that these initiatives serve the public interest by creating a stable workforce and making the government’s immigration enforcement priorities more transparent.

Brief filed by law professors


More than 100 law professors joined an amicus brief arguing that the president’s actions fall well within the bounds dictated by statute and the Constitution. In their brief, the professors explain that because both DACA and DAPA allow for a determination of deferred action to be made on a case-by-case basis, the general guidelines provided to Department of Homeland Security officials constitute priority-setting and lawful use of prosecutorial discretion.

Brief filed by faith leaders


Nearly 20 groups, including Church World Service, Esperanza, and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, joined an amicus brief arguing that the federal district court’s injunction, which blocks implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA, harms the public interest. These groups minister to immigrant families within their communities of faith and have seen first-hand that our current deportation policies have devastated families and parishes across the country.