Politics Appeal arguments are set against immigrants who were brought...

Appeal arguments are set against immigrants who were brought to the US as children

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Immigrant advocates went to a federal appeals court in New Orleans on Wednesday hoping to save an Obama-era program that barred the deportation of thousands of people brought to the U.S. as children.

A federal judge in Texas announced last year The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is illegal — though he agreed to keep the program in place for those already benefiting from it while his order is appealed.

DACA proponents plan an early-morning vigil ahead of arguments at the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The US Justice Department is backing the program, which is affiliated with the state of New Jersey, advocacy organizations such as the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and a coalition of dozens of powerful corporations, including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft. DACA recipients are “employees, consumers and job creators.”

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Texas, the lead plaintiff along with eight other Republican-leaning states, argued that DACA was implemented without following proper legal and administrative procedures, including public notice and comment periods. In addition, states argue that they suffer economically by allowing immigrants to remain in the country illegally.

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  • “DACA imposes classic pocketbook wounds on states through social services, health care and education costs,” Texas attorneys argued in the brief, estimating the state would spend tens of millions of dollars on medical services for those in the country illegally.

    DACA proponents argue that the state has not proven that ending the program would reduce its costs. They argue that DACA is a policy that falls under the jurisdiction of federal officials who decide how best to spend limited enforcement resources, and that by waiting six years to challenge the program, Texas undercuts claims of economic injury. They argue that the state has ignored evidence that DACA recipients reduce Texas costs because many of them have jobs with health insurance benefits and many own homes and pay property taxes that support schools.

    “Texas and other states cannot point to a cognizable injury to DACA,” MALDEF attorney Nina Perles said at a news conference last week. “Without injury, the federal courts lack jurisdiction to hear this case.”

    The damage to DACA recipients would be severe, immigrant advocates argued in a brief, removing many of them from the only country they’ve ever known and disrupting the lives of established families.

    “Collectively, they are the parents of more than a quarter-million US citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a US citizen,” the attorneys said in a brief.

    DACA has faced several court challenges since it was enacted by then-President Barack Obama’s executive order in 2012. Former President Donald Trump moved to end the program. But a US Supreme Court decision concluded he had not done so properly, resurrecting it and allowing new applications. Then there was the Texas-led lawsuit.

    Chief Judge Priscilla Richman, appointed to hear arguments in the 5th Circuit, was appointed by President George W. Bush; and two Trump appointees, Justices James Ho and Kurt Engelhardt.

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