Lawsuit Win Could Make DAPA and DACA+ Available in States That Weren’t Parties to Texas v. U.S.

Lawsuit Win Could Make DAPA and DACA+ Available in States That Weren’t Parties to Texas v. U.S.

By Jessica Hanson, NILC Skadden Fellow
SEPTEMBER 22, 2016

Today, the first hearing was held in Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al., a very important court case. The plaintiff in the case, Martin Batalla Vidal, is suing in New York federal district court to restrict the reach of an injunction issued early last year by a Texas federal district court that blocked the Obama administration’s DAPA and expanded-DACA executive actions from being implemented, putting the lives of millions of immigrants and their families on hold. Batalla Vidal’s courageous action could potentially make Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals available to eligible people who live in states that were not parties to the lawsuit brought in Texas.

Batalla Vidal, a resident of New York, was harmed by the injunction issued by the court in Texas when, as a result of the injunction, his work authorization issued under the DACA program was shortened by a year—even though he is not a party to the Texas case. Nor are many thousands of other young immigrants who were similarly harmed parties to the Texas case. Batalla Vidal is represented in his lawsuit by Make the Road New York (MRNY), the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School, and NILC.

This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on the appeal of the Texas case from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which means that it failed to issue a decision on it. As a result, the Texas court’s nationwide injunction blocking DAPA and the expansion of DACA was left in place by default, letting down millions of immigrant families, including Batalla Vidal’s. The 26 states that brought that case in the Texas court argued that the new deferred action programs would harm their budgets. Texas, in particular, argued that its Department of Motor Vehicles would have to spend more money to grant driver’s licenses to DAPA and expanded-DACA recipients.

Not all states share such concerns, however. Sixteen states, including New York—Batalla Vidal’s home since he was seven—filed friend-of-the-court briefs opposing the Texas court’s injunction, arguing that they stood to gain tremendously if DAPA and expanded DACA were allowed to take effect.

The lawsuit filed in New York argues that the federal court judge in Texas did not have the authority to issue a nationwide injunction that harmed residents of New York such as Batalla Vidal. If the court in New York finds that the judge in Texas did not have the authority to issue the injunction nationwide, then people who live in the 24 states that did not seek to block the programs would not be bound by the Texas court’s order.

The first scheduled hearing in the case was today in New York City. Before the hearing, there was a rally to support Martin Batalla Vidal at the Brooklyn Borough Hall, where dozens showed up to show their support.