Chicagoan Joins New Yorker in Fighting Texas Injunction Against DAPA and Expanded DACA

Chicagoan Joins New Yorker in Fighting Texas Injunction Against DAPA and Expanded DACA

By Karen Tumlin, NILC legal director
OCTOBER 13, 2016

For too long, immigrant families in one part of the country have seen the federal courts in another part of the country rule—time and time again—against DAPA and the expansion of DACA, immigration programs that restore some fairness to our immigration system. Today, one more person took a courageous stand against this injustice.

We were so proud to be among those representing DACA recipient José Lopez in court today. With legal representation from the National Immigrant Justice Center, the law firm of Hoffman & Dady, and NILC, today José filed a major lawsuit to remind the courts and the country that Illinois is not Texas—and that the nationwide injunction blocking much-needed immigration relief shouldn’t extend from the Rio Grande all the way to Wrigley Field.

In filing this lawsuit, José joins DACAmented New Yorker Martín Batalla in asking the courts to curb an extreme injunction levied against people like them. Their powerful actions should remind us all that they have suffered even though they never had a chance to plead their own cases before the court considering their fates.

When Texas and 25 other states sued to stop the executive actions announced by President Obama in 2014, the order issued by the Texas federal district court judge hearing the case also stopped the government from issuing three-year, instead of just two-year, work authorization to people who’d been approved for DACA. Folks like Martín and José who’d received three-year work authorization cards after the judge issued the order were forced to send them back—or face serious penalties.

That isn’t fair. The governor and attorney general of Texas—who brought the case in Texas—may disagree with the Obama administration’s commonsense immigration programs, but they don’t speak for the entire country. And, they certainly don’t speak for José or Martín, nor for thousands of others who completed the DACA application process exactly as required.

In fact, José and Martín have never even visited Texas, the state that claims it will be harmed by the executive actions under which the two men were issued the longer work permits. And yet they have had their lives—and their families’ lives—hurt by a ruling a judge made thousands of miles away. So many of us hoped that the Supreme Court, when it reviewed the Texas case, would finally restore fairness to our immigration system and unfreeze DAPA and the expansion of DACA. This didn’t happen, but people like Martín and José haven’t given up.

In fact, José is taking a stand today, not just for himself, but for thousands like him and his family. With this lawsuit, we hope to remind courts that the government can and should implement these important programs in states like New York and Illinois that have lobbied hard for DAPA and the expansion of DACA to be implemented.

Only time will tell whether José’s quest to restore fairness to Illinois immigrant families will be successful. But we’ll keep fighting until all families are able to live free from fear of separation.