A victory for the Obama administration in a case related to DACA in the 5th Circuit should give hope to millions waiting for deferred action of DAPA and expanded DACA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision in an immigration case today. No, not that case, but close. The Fifth Circuit ruled in another case challenging deferred action called Crane v. Johnson. This case is from 2012, the first time DACA came around. DACA Classic. Old School DACA. Back in 2012, the State of Mississippi and a number of ICE bureaucrats opposed to DACA filed a suit against DACA in U.S. District Court in Texas, although they chose poorly and did not rig the system to get Judge Hanen. That error proved fatal as the District Court dismissed the case. The agents and Mississippi appealed to the 5th Circuit. Today, the 5th Circuit upheld that dismissal. This is the same court that will decide the appeal of the Texas case against DAPA and expanded DACA.
Of paramount importance for the Texas case is the 5th Circuit’s analysis of “standing” as it relates to Mississippi. The “case or controversy” requirement of Article III of the U.S. Constitution requires that a case against a law can only be brought by someone being injured, or likely to be injured by that law. This constitutional requirement is known as “standing.” In order to challenge an action, an individual or entity must demonstrate that they have suffered an injury because of the law or that they are likely to suffer such an injury. The District Court dismissed Mississippi’s claims finding that Mississippi’s alleged injuries were “too speculative.” The Fifth Circuit agreed and said that “because Mississippi’s claim is not supported by any facts,” Mississippi’s injury was “purely speculative.”
The decision is Crane is a hopeful harbinger of things to come in the Texas case being heard by the 5th Circuit next week. The Texas case turns on standing and the issue is whether the states who field suit can establish that they are likely to be injured by the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA. Judge Hanen accepted a single analysis of the costs of Texas providing driver’s licenses to immigrants granted deferred action as sufficient to support standing. Based upon this single study and no other facts, Judge Hanen found that Texas would suffer a concrete and particularized injury. This flimsy evidence looks awfully similar to the evidence found lacking in Crane. The states suing the Obama administration about DAPA and expanded DACA are likely scrambling right now trying to figure out how they will save their lawsuit as oral arguments approach next week. Good.