Nativism Watch

5th Circuit ruling deals another blow to nativists’ attacks on DACA


Imagine2050 Staff • Apr 08, 2015

When President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, the organized anti-immigrant movement started looking for someone with legal standing to challenge it in a lawsuit.

They turned to Chris Crane, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer and president of the National ICE Council. Now, after a federal court ruling announced Tuesday, they may have to look elsewhere because the case has once again been dismissed.

“Because the Agents have not alleged a sufficient injury in fact to satisfy the requirements of constitutional standing, we dismiss their claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

Additionally, Tuesday’s ruling may adversely impact the anti-immigrant movement’s other prominent legal challenge to the Obama Administration’s deportation relief programs.

Crane, nine other ICE agents, and the state of Mississippi filed Crane v. Napolitano, their lawsuit challenging DACA, on August 23, 2012. At the time, NumbersUSA, the country’s largest grassroots anti-immigrant group announced it would be providing financial support for the legal challenge. To guide the plaintiffs through the litigation process, the anti-immigrant movement brought in one of its top legal minds – Kris Kobach of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). IRLI is the legal arm of the anti-immigrant movement’s flagship organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

On July 31, 2013, a federal district judge in Texas dismissed the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds. Kobach and the plaintiffs appealed the decision and brought it before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Tuesday, the court once again dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that Crane and the other agents did not have standing in the case.

“Because the Agents have not alleged a sufficient injury in fact to satisfy the requirements of constitutional standing, we dismiss their claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” a three-judge panel wrote in its 17-page decision.

“Mississippi’s claim of injury is not supported by any facts.”

Following the decision, Kobach told The Dallas Morning News, “We will be seeking further review” of the case. The plaintiffs could ask for the full circuit court to rule on the matter.

One aspect of Tuesday’s decision by the Fifth Circuit, which denied the state of Mississippi standing to challenge the president’s administrative relief programs, could have a significant impact on another important case: Texas v. United States, the lawsuit filed in December by Texas and 25 other states to challenge the Obama Administration’s executive actions on immigration. On page eleven of Tuesday’s decision, the judges matter-of-factly stated that “Mississippi’s claim of injury is not supported by any facts.”

Mississippi is one of the plaintiff states in Texas, which the Fifth Circuit is scheduled to begin hearing opening arguments on April 17.

The upcoming hearing by the Fifth Circuit comes after Judge Andrew Hanen, as most observers expected based on his past decisions, ordered an injunction favoring the states in February.

We have noted previously at Imagine 2050 that the Texas-led lawsuit, like Crane v. Napolitano, is little more than a nativist stunt aimed at dismantling programs that have already assisted hundreds of thousands of people and could benefit millions who are currently victims of our broken immigration system. The leaders of the anti-immigrant movement know the benefits and opportunities these programs can provide for immigrants. So naturally, in their nativist zeal, they have shown no signs of slowing their efforts to litigate their way toward deporting 11 million people.

Beginning next Friday, judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals have the opportunity to deal those efforts another blow.

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