IRLI explains the law in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals
WASHINGTON – Yesterday the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Vidal v. Trump, a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in which plaintiffs, beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, are suing to block the Trump Administration’s rescission of DACA. IRLI’s brief zeros in on one issue: whether a lower court was wrong not to dismiss plaintiffs’ claim that ending DACA, which mainly benefits Mexican and other Latin American illegal aliens, was an act of discrimination in violation of the Constitution.
IRLI shows that, on a number of grounds, this claim should have been dismissed. First, IRLI points out that to plead discrimination, plaintiffs have to allege that they have been treated differently than others who are in similar circumstances – and here, plaintiffs never compared themselves to any other group allegedly treated better than they were, or even identified any such other group.
IRLI also argues that, because treating people differently based on national origin does not receive heightened constitutional scrutiny in the immigration area, but is upheld if it has any rational basis, the lower court was wrong to give strict scrutiny to alleged differential treatment of Mexican or other Latin American foreign nationals. After all, Congress imposed national origin immigration quotas from 1924 to 1965, and did not violate the Constitution by doing so.
IRLI also takes vigorous issue with the lower court’s conclusion that President Trump’s statements could reasonably be taken to show he had discriminatory animus against Mexicans or Latin Americans. For example, that Trump harshly criticized the Mexican government for encouraging vicious Mexican criminals to enter the United States illegally does not indicate that he has animus against anyone except that government and categories of criminals, and certainly does not show hostility toward Mexicans generally.
“The lower court’s opinion reads like political talking points rather than a legal ruling,” commented Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “The court all but held up a placard, like those at Hillary Clinton’s nominating convention, that says ‘Love Trumps Hate.’ That kind of silliness does not belong in a federal court decision about a vital question of presidential power. In essence, the court said that Trump can’t govern because the court doesn’t like his tone. We hope the appeals court will apply proper legal analysis to these claims and dismiss them as they deserve.”
The case is Vidal v. Trump, No. 18-485 (2d Cir.).
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