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Butterfly Conservationists Lose Case Against Border Wall

The Trump Administration claimed victory against opponents of the border wall -- butterflies.

In North American Butterfly Association v. Nielsen, a federal judge said there was "little refuge" for the plaintiff's claims in the case. The National Butterfly Center claimed the government violated its Fourth Amendment rights by entering the butterfly sanctuary without consent.

Compared to the president's emergency declaration to fund a wall along the U.S. Mexico-border, the decision attracted little attention. But it still made headlines even as the administration targeted $8 billion to put up the wall.

Fifth Circuit Dismisses Texas Plea for Anti-Sanctuary Bill

In the fatal stand-off over the migrant caravan, the battle over sanctuary cities has faded from headlines recently.

In Paxton v. Travis County, Texas, the issue was even more removed. In that case, Texas wanted the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to declare its law against sanctuary cities legal.

The appeals court declined, saying the state suffered no prejudice by dismissal of the case. After all, the immigrants are losing the sanctuary war.

Immigrants Scrutinized Over Foreign Addresses

Jose Nicolas Ramos-Portillo lived in a Salvadoran village where literally everybody knew him.

But he fled the village in fear of gangs, and found his way to the United States. When immigration officials asked for an address, he gave them the village address because his family would get his mail for him there.

He didn't expect it to become a federal case, but a lawyer had to argue about it to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That's because the government issued a deportation order against him without sending any notice.

This week, the Texas law against sanctuary city policies was upheld, again, by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, this time sitting en banc. The preliminary injunction, which the circuit court stayed pending the first appeal to the panel, was all but fully dismantled by the full appellate court.

The only part of the law that the court did not lift the injunction involved penalizing officials that failed to endorse the anti-sanctuary law. The court found that the law was overly broad in what it sought to restrict, particularly given that it would prohibit (or penalize) an elected official who spoke out against the law, or other immigration policies while campaigning.

The controversial 'sanctuary cities ban' passed by the Texas legislature in the spring of 2017 had its day in court before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this year, a federal district court blocked the law from taking effect. The district court found that imposing criminal penalties on officers that do not honor immigration detention requests, as well as imposing civil fines and removal from office against officials who limit or fail to endorse immigration enforcement.

However, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit unblocked the portion of the ban about officers being required to honor the detention requests ahead of this appeal in September.

5th Cir. Applies Equitable Tolling to Reopening Removal Proceedings

In what looks to be a somewhat rare display of compassion (by immigration standards, that is), the Fifth Circuit remanded an immigration case back to the lower tribunals with the admonishment not to apply certain legal principles "too harshly." Whoa.

Immigration advocacy groups have applauded the decision, calling it a recognition of the realities facing immigrants who may be "poor, uneducated, unskilled in the English language, and effectively unable to follow developments in the American legal system--much less read and digest complicated legal decisions."

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen first started making national headlines when he blocked President Obama's immigration reform plan, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, last year. But while that decision is now before the Supreme Court, Judge Hanen isn't quite ready to let go. Last month, he put himself in charge of ethics retraining for all Department of Justice attorneys practicing in any of the 26 states involved in the suit.

And now he's seeking to collect the names and addresses of more than 50,000 undocumented immigrants in those states -- something civil rights lawyers moved rapidly to stop.

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 anytime in the near future, after the Fifth Circuit 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.