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Paul Hastings Pens Amicus Brief for Senators Urging the Court to Uphold President Obama’s Immigration Executive Actions

April 08, 2015

Washington, DC – Paul Hastings LLP, a leading global law firm, announced today that the firm wrote, on a pro bono basis, an amicus brief that was filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Texas v. United States on behalf of U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). The brief urges the court to vacate the lower court’s injunction blocking implementation of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative that offered relief from deportation to roughly five million undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, or who came to the United States as children. The Senators who signed the brief are either past chairs or ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee with jurisdiction over administrative law.

In November 2014, the Obama Administration released guidance for two initiatives – Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In February, a district court judge ordered that implementation of the guidance be stopped because the Department of Homeland Security had not complied with the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act when releasing the November guidance. The Senators’ brief supports the Obama Administration’s appeal of the preliminary injunction. It demonstrates that Congress has delegated to the Executive Branch the authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to immigration enforcement and that the Executive Branch can provide guidance on the use of such discretion in the immigration area without going through the notice and comment process.

“In their brief, the Senators stress that for decades Congress and Administrations from both parties have marched arm-in-arm in making deferred action a central element of rational enforcement of the immigration laws,” says counsel of record Stephen B. Kinnaird, co-chair of the firm’s appellate practice.  “There is nothing new under the sun with regard to DAPA.  Longstanding regulations and guidance have permitted work authorizations for noncitizens granted deferred action.” 

Paul Hastings has been deeply involved in pro bono work on behalf of immigrants’ rights organizations, particularly with regard to children, and has taken the lead in important appellate immigration cases, including the landmark 2010 Supreme Court case of Padilla v. Kentucky concerning the Sixth Amendment rights of immigrants to effective assistance of counsel. The firm was also recently recognized by the Financial Times in its Innovative Lawyers North America Report for clarifying the role of federal and state courts in deciding the status of up to 60,000 immigrant children faced with deportation.

In addition to Stephen Kinnaird, the Paul Hastings team included Kurt Hansson, partner and global vice-chairman of the firm’s litigation department; partner Kevin Broughel; senior attorney Brian Moran; and associates Jenna Browning, Katherine Solomon, Jeanette Kang, Eduardo Gardea, Mary Hamner Walser, and Susan Zhu.

Full text of the brief can be viewed here.

A related press statement from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal can be viewed here.

Paul Hastings is a leading global law firm with a strong presence throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Through a collaborative approach, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to client service, the professionals of Paul Hastings deliver innovative solutions to many of the world’s top financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.