9th Circuit Immigration Law News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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The Ninth Circuit declined to reinstate President Trump's immigration ban yesterday, finding that the government had shown neither "a likelihood of success on the merits," nor any evidence that a failure to resume the program "would cause irreparable injury."

The decision is bound to be picked over by lawyers, politicians, and possibly the Supreme Court. But along with the court's words, there is plenty of insight to be gained from the court's citations, which give us a sort of peek, one-level down, at how the court viewed the immigration dispute and its role in it.

The Ninth Circuit won't be lifting an order enjoining enforcement of President Trump's executive order barring travel from seven majority-Muslim nations and the resettlement of refugees.

In a per curiam decision, the three-judge panel ruled just moments ago that the administration "has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that the failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury." Last Friday, Washington State won a temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the ban after it sued, alleging that the executive order violated the Constitution and federal immigration law. The ruling means that Trump's immigration ban will remain on hold for now, while the case continues to play out.

Yesterday's oral arguments in Washington v. Trump might have been the most popular arguments ever held in the Ninth Circuit. More than 40,000 people 137,000 people have listened along to the arguments, which were streamed live on the Ninth's YouTube page.

What did they hear? A passionate, occasionally messy, debate about the president's executive order barring refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations and judges that seemed, at times, skeptical of the government's position. Here are the highlights.

The Department of Justice yesterday urged the Ninth Circuit to reinstate President Trump's executive order banning refugee resettlement in the United States and halting immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations. The move comes just days after a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order, stopping enforcement of the EO nationwide.

That TRO, the Justice Department argued in its reply filed yesterday afternoon, is unjustified and "vastly overbroad." Here is a quick look at their arguments.

It's been a busy weekend for lawyers fighting over President Trump's immigration ban. On Friday, a federal judge in Seattle issued a nationwide temporary restraining order pausing the enforcement of ban. While the President took to Twitter to decry the outcome (and the judge), Department of Justice lawyers moved quickly for an emergency stay in the Ninth. Then, on Sunday morning, the Ninth rejected the government's request, allowing the TRO to stand for the time being.

Here's what has happened so far, and what you can expect in the days ahead.

On Friday, Trump issued an executive order barring visitors, immigrants, and refugees from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States. Soon after, lawyers began swarming America's major airports, seeking to file habeas petitions on behalf of those detained or turned away. By Saturday night, a judge in the Eastern District of New York had issued a limited stay. Stays from district courts in California and Washington State soon followed.

Then today, as the chaos surrounding the immigration ban continued to play out, Washington State became the first state to sue the administration over the order -- putting the West Coast and the Ninth Circuit at the center of the legal battle against Trump's immigration ban.

Congress may view cockfighting as vile and depraved. It may be a "scourge that warrants prosecution." It is, no doubt, cruel and reprehensible. But it might not justify deportation as a crime of moral turpitude, the Ninth Circuit ruled yesterday.

The ruling comes after the Department of Homeland Security began removal proceedings against Agustin Ortega-Lopez, following his misdemeanor conviction for cockfighting, an act his immigration judge likened to child abuse and for which that IJ refused to cancel his removal. While cockfighting may be condemnable, the Ninth Circuit determined, it's questionable whether Ortega-Lopez's misdemeanor conviction involved the kind of moral turpitude that would justify removing him from the country and from his three children.

Under the terms of a 1997 settlement, minors must be released from Immigration and Naturalization Service detention centers, the Ninth Circuit ruled last week. That settlement, known as the "Flores agreement," established a "nationwide policy for the detention, release, and treatment of minors" in INS custody, Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote for the three-judge panel, regardless of whether those children are alone or accompanied by adults.

Currently, hundreds of immigrant parents and children, accused of entering the U.S. illegally, are kept in custody, often for extended periods, at detention centers in New Mexico and Texas. Those minors could face release or transfer to new facilities under the Ninth Circuit's ruling, though the fate of their adult family members remains up in the air.

Arizona's identity theft laws are not facially preempted by federal immigration law, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Monday. The state's identity theft laws prohibit the use of a false identity to obtain employment. The laws had been used by the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, to raid and arrest hundreds immigrants at their workplace.

A district court had ruled that the identity theft laws were likely to be unconstitutional last year, but the Ninth circuit disagreed, noting that Arizona's laws would not conflict with federal immigration law when applied to American citizens. The ruling raises the possibility that Sheriff Arpaio's workplace raids could recommence soon.

Arizona can't deny driver's licenses to so-called "dreamers," young, undocumented immigrants with work permits and protection from deportation, but not legal status. Those dreamers (whose name comes from the failed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) are noncitizens who were brought to the United States by their parents. Under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, such dreamers are entitled to stay and work in the country, and given documentation to help them do so.

But after the DACA program was established, the Arizona government moved quickly to counteract the program, rejecting DACA documents when submitted for a driver's license. That policy of rejection violates the authority of the federal government, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Tuesday. This is the second time the policy has been defeated in the Ninth Circuit. Will it be the last?