Texas v. United States, Civil No. B–14–254.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
Writing for the CourtANDREW S. HANEN, District Judge.
Citation86 F.Supp.3d 591
Docket NumberCivil No. B–14–254.
Decision Date16 February 2015
PartiesState of TEXAS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES of America, et al., Defendants.

86 F.Supp.3d 591

State of TEXAS, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
UNITED STATES of America, et al., Defendants.

Civil No. B–14–254.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Brownsville Division.

Signed Feb. 16, 2015.


86 F.Supp.3d 603

Andrew Stephen Oldham, Adam Nicholas Bitter, Angela V. Colmenero, Arthur D'Andrea, John Campbell Barker,

86 F.Supp.3d 604

Scott A. Keller, Texas Attorney General's Office, Austin, TX, Peter Margulies, Roger Williams University School of Law, Bristol, RI, Joseph C. Chapelle, Peter J. Rusthoven, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Indianapolis, IN, for Plaintiffs.

Kathleen R. Hartnett, Kyle Renee Freeny, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC, Daniel David Hu, Office of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Houston, TX, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ANDREW S. HANEN, District Judge.

This is a case in which twenty-six states or their representatives are seeking injunctive relief against the United States and several officials of the Department of Homeland Security to prevent them from implementing a program entitled “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.”1 This program is designed to provide legal presence to over four million individuals who are currently in the country illegally, and would enable these individuals to obtain a variety of both state and federal benefits.

The genesis of the problems presented by illegal immigration in this matter was described by the United States Supreme Court decades ago:

Sheer incapability or lax enforcement of the laws barring entry into this country, coupled with the failure to establish an effective bar to the employment of undocumented aliens, has resulted in the creation of a substantial “shadow population” of illegal migrants—numbering in the millions—within our borders.
The Attorney General recently estimated the number of illegal aliens within the United States at between 3 and 6 million. In presenting to both the Senate and House of Representatives several Presidential proposals for reform of the immigration laws—including one to “legalize” many of the illegal entrants currently residing in the United States by creating for them a special statute under the immigration laws—the Attorney General noted that this subclass is largely composed of persons with a permanent attachment to the Nation, and that they are unlikely to be displaced from our territory.
“We have neither the resources, the capability, nor the motivation to uproot and deport millions of illegal aliens, many of whom have become, in effect, members of the community. By granting limited legal status to the productive and law-abiding members of this shadow population, we will recognize reality and devote our enforcement resources to deterring future illegal arrivals.” Joint Hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law of the House Committee on the Judiciary and the Subcommittee on Immigration and
86 F.Supp.3d 605
Refugee Policy of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 97th Cong., 1st Sess., 9 (1981) (testimony of William French Smith, Attorney General).
This situation raises the specter of a permanent caste of undocumented resident aliens, encouraged by some to remain here as a source of cheap labor, but nevertheless denied the benefits that our society makes available to citizens and lawful residents. The existence of such an underclass presents most difficult problems for a Nation that prides itself on adherence to principles of equality under law.

Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 218–19 & n. 17, 102 S.Ct. 2382, 72 L.Ed.2d 786 (1982). Thus, even in 1982, the Supreme Court noted in Plyler that the United States' problems with illegal immigration had existed for decades. Obviously, these issues are still far from a final resolution.

Since 1982, the population of illegal aliens in this country has more than tripled, but today's situation is clearly exacerbated by the specter of terrorism and the increased need for security.2 Nevertheless, the Executive Branch's position is the same as it was then. It is still voicing concerns regarding its inability to enforce all immigration laws due to a lack of resources. While Congress has not been idle, having passed a number of ever-increasing appropriation bills and various acts that affect immigration over the last four decades (especially in the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2001), it has not passed nor funded a long term, comprehensive system that resolves this country's issues regarding border security and immigration. To be sure, Congress' and the Executive Branch's focus on matters directly affecting national security is understandable. This overriding focus, however, does not necessarily comport with the interests of the states. While the States are obviously concerned about national security, they are also concerned about their own resources being drained by the constant influx of illegal immigrants into their respective territories, and that this continual flow of illegal immigration has led and will lead to serious domestic security issues directly affecting their citizenry. This influx, for example, is causing the States to experience severe law enforcement problems.3 Regardless of the reasons behind the actions or inaction of the Executive and Legislative Branches of the federal government, the result is that many states ultimately bear the brunt of illegal immigration.

This case examines complex issues relating to immigration which necessarily involve

86 F.Supp.3d 606

questions of federalism, separation of powers, and the ability and advisability, if any, of the Judiciary to hear and resolve such a dispute.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius:

We [the judiciary] do not consider whether the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care] Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation's elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.

* * *

Nearly two centuries ago, Chief Justice Marshall observed that “the question respecting the extent of the powers actually granted” to the Federal Government “is perpetually arising, and will probably continue to arise, as long as our system shall exist.” In this case, we must again determine whether the Constitution grants Congress powers it now asserts, but which many States and individuals believe it does not possess.

––– U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 2566, 2577, 183 L.Ed.2d 450 (2012) (quoting McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316, 404, 4 Wheat. 316, 4 L.Ed. 579 (1819) ).

I. THE ISSUES BEFORE AND NOT BEFORE THE COURT

Although this Court is not faced with either a Congressional Act or an Executive Order, the sentiment expressed by these Chief Justices is nonetheless applicable. The ultimate question before the Court is: Do the laws of the United States, including the Constitution, give the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to take the action at issue in this case? Nevertheless, before the Court begins to address the issues raised in this injunctive action, it finds that the issues can best be framed by emphasizing what is not involved in this case.

First, this case does not involve the wisdom, or the lack thereof, underlying the decision by Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Secretary Jeh Johnson to award legal presence status to over four million illegal aliens through the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA,” also referred to interchangeably as the “DHS Directive” and the “DAPA Memorandum”) program. Although the Court will necessarily be forced to address many factors surrounding this decision and review the relationship between the Legislative and Executive Branches as it pertains to the DHS Secretary's discretion to act in this area, the actual merits of this program are not at issue.

Second, with three minor exceptions, this case does not involve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. In 2012, DACA was implemented by then DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. The program permits teenagers and young adults, who were born outside the United States, but raised in this country, to apply for deferred action status and employment authorizations. The Complaint in this matter does not include the actions taken by Secretary Napolitano, which have to date formalized the status of approximately 700,000 teenagers and young adults. Therefore, those actions are not before the Court and will not be addressed by this opinion. Having said that, DACA will necessarily be discussed in this opinion as it is relevant to many legal issues in the present case. For example, the States maintain that the DAPA applications will undergo a process identical to that used for DACA applications and, therefore, DACA's policies and procedures will be instructive for the Court as to DAPA's implementation.

86 F.Supp.3d 607
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43 practice notes
  • Bilbro v. Haley, C/A No. 3:16–767–JFA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • January 19, 2017
    ...be affected," id. at ¶ 65. Plaintiff primarily relies upon three cases to support he has standing in this case: Texas v. United States , 86 F.Supp.3d 591 (S.D. Tex. 2015)aff'd by equally divided court , ––– U.S. ––––, 136 S.Ct. 2271, 195 L.Ed.2d 638 (2016) ; Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc.......
  • State v. United States, Civil Action 1:18-CV-00068
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • July 16, 2021
    ...sued to enjoin the implementation of DAP A and Expanded DACA, which this Court preliminarily enjoined in 2015. Texas v. United States, 86 F.Supp.3d 591 (S.D. Tex. 2015). That injunction was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015),......
  • Texas v. United States, Civil Action No. 6:21-cv-00003
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • February 23, 2021
    ...that, to succeed on its Motion, Texas need only demonstrate a likelihood of success on "at least one" claim, Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp. 3d 591, 672 (S.D. Tex. 2015), which it has. Moreover, given the significance of the substantial interests at stake in this case, the Court finds i......
  • Texas v. United States, Civil Action No. 7:15-cv-00151-O
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas
    • August 4, 2016
    ...millions of dollars and "will be directly harmed by the [continuing] implementation" of the statutory scheme. Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp.3d 591, 625 (S.D. Tex. 2015). Plaintiffs' claims come within the "zone of interests" to be protected by the relevant healthcare statutory provisio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
39 cases
  • Bilbro v. Haley, C/A No. 3:16–767–JFA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • January 19, 2017
    ...be affected," id. at ¶ 65. Plaintiff primarily relies upon three cases to support he has standing in this case: Texas v. United States , 86 F.Supp.3d 591 (S.D. Tex. 2015)aff'd by equally divided court , ––– U.S. ––––, 136 S.Ct. 2271, 195 L.Ed.2d 638 (2016) ; Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc.......
  • State v. United States, Civil Action 1:18-CV-00068
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • July 16, 2021
    ...sued to enjoin the implementation of DAP A and Expanded DACA, which this Court preliminarily enjoined in 2015. Texas v. United States, 86 F.Supp.3d 591 (S.D. Tex. 2015). That injunction was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015),......
  • Texas v. United States, Civil Action No. 6:21-cv-00003
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • February 23, 2021
    ...that, to succeed on its Motion, Texas need only demonstrate a likelihood of success on "at least one" claim, Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp. 3d 591, 672 (S.D. Tex. 2015), which it has. Moreover, given the significance of the substantial interests at stake in this case, the Court finds i......
  • Texas v. United States, Civil Action No. 7:15-cv-00151-O
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas
    • August 4, 2016
    ...millions of dollars and "will be directly harmed by the [continuing] implementation" of the statutory scheme. Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp.3d 591, 625 (S.D. Tex. 2015). Plaintiffs' claims come within the "zone of interests" to be protected by the relevant healthcare statutory provisio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • ADMINISTRATIVE SABOTAGE.
    • United States
    • Michigan Law Review Vol. 120 Nbr. 5, March 2022
    • March 1, 2022
    ...administrative record... largely justified such extra-record discovery as occurred"). (112.) Mat 2573. (113.) Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp. 3d 591,614 (S.D. Tex.), affd, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015), affd by an equally divided court, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (114.) Complaint for Declaratory &a......
  • Remedies and Respect: Rethinking the Role of Federal Judicial Relief
    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal Nbr. 109-6, August 2021
    • August 1, 2021
    ...at 1071; see also Bray, supra note 9, at 419 (using a similar def‌inition for “national injunctions”). 167. See Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp. 3d 591, 604 (S.D. Tex.), aff’d, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015), aff’d by an equally divided court, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (2016) (per curiam). 168. See,......
  • Agency Control and Internally Binding Norms.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 4, February 2022
    • February 1, 2022
    ...was unable to quantify denials for individuals who formally met the memorandum's criteria, id. (quoting Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp. 3d 591, 609 (S.D. Tex. 2015)). The dissent in this case made special note of the limitations of this analysis, observing that "even assuming DACA's 5% ......
  • The Judicial Response to the Presidential Polarization of the Administrative State
    • United States
    • American Review of Public Administration, The Nbr. 49-1, January 2019
    • January 1, 2019
    ...v. United States, 201 F. Supp. 3d 810 (N.D. Texas 2016).Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015b).Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp. 3d 591 (N.D. Texas 2015a).Thrush, G. (2017, March 6). Trump’s new travel ban blocks migrants from six nations, sparing Iraq. The New York Times. ......

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