5th Circuit Immigration Law News - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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President Obama's immigration reform plans won't be coming to fruition anytime soon, thanks to a recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit. The court recently upheld an injunction against the immigration changes, finding that the Obama Administration was unlikely to win on the merits.

Twenty-six states, led by Texas, had sued over the planned immigration overhaul, which would have provided work visas and halted deportations for millions of immigrants. Despite the central role of the immigration debate in the lawsuit, however, the Fifth's ruling primarily dealt with standing and administrative law.

When Noel Mata, a nonresident alien living in Texas, was convicted of assault, an immigration judge ordered his removal from the country. Mata appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, but his lawyer never filed a supporting brief, causing the BIA to dismiss his appeal. After Mata got a better attorney, he filed a motion to reopen his case, arguing that he was entitled to equitable tolling due to his previous counsel's ineffective assistance.

When the case reached the Fifth Circuit, the circuit ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear Mata's appeal. That decision created a ten to one circuit split, with the Fifth as the lone outsider. The Supreme Court solved that disagreement on Monday, ruling that the Fifth has jurisdiction over such appeals and can hear the case -- and potentially convince a court that the should not suffer for their poor choice of counsel.

President Obama's executive actions on immigration won't be implemented in the Fifth Circuit within the near future, after the court of appeals refused this afternoon to lift a lower court's injunction against the program. After Obama took action to stem the deportation of non-citizen parents and children, 26 states sued. The states, led by Texas, argued that the president exceeded the scope of his authority and won an injunction in Texas federal court.

In a bad omen for the Obama administration, the two judges on the three judge Fifth Circuit panel found that the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal. Following the lower court's adverse ruling, the Obama administration halted its immigration changes, which would defer the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants.

Bivens Not Available for Immigration Proceedings: 5th Cir.

A claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics is essentially a Supreme Court-created version of 42 USC 1983, a statute conferring a cause of action for state officials' violations of a plaintiff's civil rights.

Plaintiffs can get money damages under Bivens, as they can under 42 USC 1983, but can undocumented immigrants get damages for Fourth Amendment violations allegedly committed by border patrol agents?

Fed. Judge Refuses to Stay Injunction on DAPA

Remember back in February, when District Judge Andrew Hanen said President Obama's Deferred Action for Parents or Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) was unconstitutional? That ruling put the whole program in jeopardy, and the administration filed an emergency motion to stay the court's injunction.

On Tuesday, Hanen decided that the administration wouldn't be getting a stay, setting the stage for a showdown at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fifth Circuit is set to hear arguments next month in the lawsuit over President Obama's executive actions on immigration, the court has announced. Each side will be given an hour for their arguments which will take place April 17th, in New Orleans.

The case, Texas v. United States, challenged whether the president had the power to prioritize, and deprioritize, immigration enforcement. Several states, lead by Texas, sued the U.S. in order to halt Obama's immigration plan, winning in district court. The arguments scheduled for mid-April will focus on whether the federal government should be prevented from enacting its immigration plans while the case is appealed.

Federal Judge Halts Obama's Deferred Action Immigration Plan

The Obama administration's deferred action plan for undocumented immigrants suffered another setback today, as a federal district judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction ordering the administration to stop enforcing executive orders related to the Deferred Action for Parents or Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

Over 123 pages, Judge Andrew Hanen agreed with 26 states that the Obama administration exceeded the scope of its statutory (but not constitutional) authority in creating DAPA.

When an alien is considered for deportation proceedings, it becomes painfully important to identify whether his or her record contains any crimes of moral turpitude.

This means that any criminal conviction which classifies an alien as removable is a battleground in any deportation proceeding, since moral turpitude is truly a legal term of art. But the Fifth Circuit doesn't believe this requires much wondering, since Congress has spoken clearly on the issue.

So in Silva-Trevino v. Holder, why does the court stick to only the record of conviction?

A man who long battled to have his citizenship recognized has finally won in the Fifth Circuit, with the court finding citizenship through his father under Mexican law.

In Saldana Iracheta v. Holder, the Fifth Circuit was called upon to review an order for reinstating an order for removal, one that had been reinstated many times as Saldana had returned over and over to the U.S. from Mexico. However, the Court took the opportunity to review Saldana's claim of U.S. citizenship and lo and behold, found he was a citizen after all!

How did Mexican law convince the Fifth Circuit to come to this conclusion?

Last week, a Louisiana appellate court struck down a state law making it illegal for non-citizens to drive without documents proving they’re legally in the United States. Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the statute improperly governs an area of law exclusively controlled by the federal government.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of a similar Arizona law last year. While that law made it a misdemeanor for immigrants to drive without documentation, the Louisiana law goes one step further making it a felony offense. The appellate court’s ruling conflicts with a recent First Circuit Court of Appeal decision upholding the “unlawful presence” law.