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Courts Hand Feds a Win on DACA

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 27, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Balancing hundreds of thousands of documents against hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, two federal appeals courts came down the same way.

For now, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals say the immigrants and their attorneys will have to wait for their documents. The appeals courts stayed district court orders for production of records about the federal government's decision to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The cases will proceed, but only after the Justice Department gets a chance to breathe. A top federal attorney said the discovery burden was just too much.

Significant Burdens

"I would just like to emphasize just how significant the burdens are," Hashim Mooppan told the New York-based Second Circuit. "Every DHS litigation lawyer at DHS headquarters is considering the discovery requests in this case."

Mooppan said officials were laboring to prepare 30,000 documents in two cases in one day. One case was filed by a DACA recipient and the other by 15 state attorneys general.

Meanwhile, attorney Michael Wishnie argued for the plaintiffs. He said the government's complaints about being overburdened came from separate cases in San Francisco.

A Reprieve

In the Ninth Circuit, an appeals panel granted a reprieve from orders to turn over DACA materials. A federal magistrate had ordered the secretary of Homeland Security to appear and produce documents at a deposition set for Nov. 15.

The appeals court stayed the order, however, while it considers the merits of the cases. There are five lawsuits pending in the Ninth Circuit over the DACA.

The complaints seek to prevent the government from removing about 800,000 people who came to the U.S. illegally as children or who overstayed their visas. The DACA, an Obama-era initiative, has protected them.

The Trump administration announced its intent to start removing them in March.

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