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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, 16 Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Reverse Lower Court Decision on Executive Actions on Immigration

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California has joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia in a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of United States v. Texas, urging the Supreme Court to reverse an injunction upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The injunction prohibited the federal government from putting into effect President Barack Obama’s immigration directives that were announced in November 2014.

“President Obama has proposed common sense actions on immigration, which will allow millions of hard-working immigrants to come out of the shadows, contribute to the prosperity of this nation and build their American Dream,” said Attorney General Harris. “I urge the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision, and allow these important immigration actions to move forward.”

This is the fifth multi-state amicus brief that Attorney General Harris has joined in this case, including the friend-of-the-court brief filed in December 2015 supporting the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for the U.S. Supreme Court to review this case. Now that the Court has agreed to hear the case, in this brief the signatories urge the Court to reverse the lower court’s decision. The brief, signed by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and authored by Washington State, asks the Supreme Court to lift the injunction and allow the programs to move forward.

The multi-state brief argues that the President’s immigration directives will benefit the States and further the public interest by allowing qualified undocumented immigrants to work legally and better support their families. This will increase State tax revenue, enhance public safety, and help avoid tragic situations in which parents are deported away from their U.S. citizen children, who are left to rely on State services or extended family. These considerations demonstrate that there is no irreparable injury to the plaintiff States, and that the balance of hardships and public interest strongly favor allowing the directives to proceed without a preliminary injunction.

The brief stresses the overwhelming merits of President Obama’s immigration actions. Reversing the lower court’s decision will allow approximately 5 million people, including 1.2 million Californians, to apply for protection from deportation and work authorization. If enacted, policies designed to strengthen the security of California and the nation will enter into effect, such as requiring eligible individuals to submit biometric data, pass criminal and national security background checks, pay taxes, and meet the specific requirements for the deferred action program, including having resided in the U.S. for at least five years. The federal policies would also expand a preexisting program for certain immigrants who came to the United States as children.

A copy of the brief is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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