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Where We Are With DAPA/DACA Supreme Court Case


We should be getting a Supreme Court decision on the crucial case of United States v. Texas within the next four weeks. This has been a long time coming and a lot of immigrants have developed a sense of unreality about it. Even many immigrant organizations are unprepared for the announcement of a decision by the Court. However, for good or ill, the Supreme Court will make its decision in June. Generally, the Court's opinions are issued on Mondays.
This will be a comprehensive update, but first I want to begin with the latest news. At the end of May, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen demanded that the Department of Homeland Security turn over to him the names, Alien Numbers (A#s), and other contact information for approximately 50,000 immigrants who applied for renewal of the DACA work permits at the beginning of 2015. Hanen is the Federal judge who issued the original injunction in the Texas case that blocked the president's executive order on immigration and he is one of the most anti-immigrant judges in the Federal courts. Hanen's demand is obviously intended to intimidate immigrants who might apply for DACA or DAPA. Although the names and contact information that the judge wants from Homeland Security will be placed "under seal" and not made public, this will not lessen the fear of immigrants who already don't trust Homeland Security. 
Hanen's behavior in this case has been described as "odd" and "excessive" by legal scholars, but the judge seems to be consistently acting to undermine the rights of immigrants. Hanen, a Bush appointee, has been anything but fair in this case and seems to totally put aside any considerations for the immigrants whose futures are at stake in his decisions. As the Justice Department attorneys wrote in their brief in response to Judge Hanen's latest order, “the production of sensitive personal information in such large quantities would be very likely to undermine individuals’ trust in DHS’s ability to maintain the confidentiality of personal information provided to it.” Judge Hanen simply disregards this need for protection. 
The Justice Department is challenging Judge Hanen's order and it is unlikely to be acted on soon. At least for now, those names and A#s will be staying right where they are. 
As for what is happening at the Supreme Court itself, the oral arguments have all been made by the parties to the lawsuit and the briefs have all been submitted. Frankly, there is nothing left to be done at the Court other than for us to wait for the decision to be issued. That does not mean we should not be active beyond the wall of the courthouse. Groups like Catholic Charities and AILA are already planning a large town hall meeting for the last week of June to explain whatever decision the Supreme Court makes in this case. 
In the meantime, this is a good time for those who think that they may qualify for the two main programs that the president announced on November 20, 2014 to begin getting ready to apply in case we get a good decision from the Supreme Court. Later this week I will let you know what you should be doing if you think you are eligible for DACA+ or DAPA. If we do get a favorable decision from the Court, there will be a mad rush by immigrants for information and to assemble the documents needed to apply. You can get a head start now.
Pat Young, Esq. is a lawyer at the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) on Long Island. He teaches immigration law at Hofstra Law School.


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