Attorney General Kamala Harris Joins Amicus Brief Supporting Immigration Reform


Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and the Attorneys General from 14 states and the District of Columbia filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the U.S. government’s emergency request that President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions be allowed to move forward, calling on the Court to stay the preliminary injunction entered in the Southern District of Texas blocking the new immigration program.

The brief states, “A single State cannot dictate national immigration policy, yet that is what the district court allowed here. Relying entirely on Texas’s speculative claims, the district court enjoined vital immigration reforms nationwide.”

“Those reforms will benefit millions of people and their families, as well as the States in which they reside. This Court should stay the district court’s order because the United States is likely to prevail on the merits of its appeal, the stay will not harm Plaintiffs, and a stay is overwhelmingly in the public interest,” they argue.

The brief, signed by California, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, lays out the overwhelming positive economic, public safety, and humanitarian benefits from President Obama’s immigration actions.

“President Obama has proposed common sense actions that will help fix our broken immigration system and enhance California’s economy and public safety. With over one million hard-working Californians eligible for deferred action, our State has a major stake in the successful implementation of the President’s immigration actions,” said Attorney General Harris. “I wholeheartedly join my colleagues in urging the Fifth Circuit to issue a stay so that California families can immediately begin to come out from under the shadows and enjoy the American Dream.”

President Obama’s immigration actions will allow approximately 5 million people, including 1.2 million Californians, to apply for protection from deportation and work authorization. Eligible individuals will be required 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 brief calls on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the injunction issued by the Southern District of Texas court, arguing that allowing the immigration program to move forward is overwhelmingly in the public interest.  Further, the brief states that the United States is likely to prevail on the merits of its appeal and by issuing a nationwide injunction, states like California are denied the benefits of deferred action.  These benefits include allowing immigrants to come out of the shadows, work, and contribute to our economy while enhancing public safety by focusing law enforcement resources on true threats to security and building trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities.

The brief specifically points out that when undocumented immigrants are able to work legally, “their wages increase, they seek work compatible with their skill level, and they enhance their skills to obtain higher wages, all of which benefits state economies by increasing income and growing the tax base.”  In addition, the brief outlines the substantial economic benefits to California specifically: “California’s tax revenues are estimated to grow by $904 million over the next five years, with an anticipated 1,214,000 people eligible for deferred immigration action.”

If the court does not stay the injunction across the nation, the brief argues for a narrow preliminary injunction that would only affect Texas, as it is the only state that has claimed it is directly harmed by the deferred action program.

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    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Notice how he bypassed Congress again?

      Our immigration system isn’t broken, our politicians have simply decided to not enforce the laws as they rack up an even bigger debt and add even larger social costs as we add more low-skilled workers who materially harm the middle and lower classes while  they add more votes to the Progressive voter rolls.

      This might be a bit more palpable if they added in a rue that these new illegal immigrants couldn’t get government benefits for 20 years, and that they wouldn’t get tax refunds (as Obama has now lined up). Talk about lose-lose-lose.

      1. Don Shor

        Our immigration system isn’t broken, our politicians have simply decided to not enforce the laws

        “The Obama administration deported a record 438,421 unauthorized immigrants in fiscal year 2013, continuing a streak of stepped up enforcement that has resulted in more than 2 million deportations since Obama took office, newly released Department of Homeland Security data show.” —

        1. tribeUSA

          It is noteworthy that 225,400 of the 409,800 immigrants (55%) deported in 2012 were convicted criminals.


          So it is accurate to say that in recent years, most of those deported have been known convicted criminals. This does not include those convicted criminals that have changed ID or for some other reason are not listed as such; or criminals who have not been convicted (e.g those who either don’t get caught or with insufficient evidence to convict, common for gang members).

        2. tribeUSA

          Excerpt below from LA Times article, “High Deportation Numbers are Misleading”, April 1 2014.



          “But the portrait of a steadily increasing number of deportations rests on statistics that conceal almost as much as they disclose. A closer examination shows that immigrants living illegally in most of the continental U.S. are less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office, according to immigration data.

          Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.


          On the other side of the ledger, the number of people deported at or near the border has gone up — primarily as a result of changing who gets counted in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s deportation statistics.

          The vast majority of those border crossers would not have been treated as formal deportations under most previous administrations. If all removals were tallied, the total sent back to Mexico each year would have been far higher under those previous administrations than it is now.”

          “Until recent years, most people caught illegally crossing the southern border were simply bused back into Mexico in what officials called “voluntary returns,” but which critics derisively termed “catch and release.” Those removals, which during the 1990s reached more 1 million a year, were not counted in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportation statistics…Now, the vast majority of border crossers who are apprehended get fingerprinted and formally deported.”(note–and thus counted in recent deportation stats)


          Of course these changes in book-keeping are not usually reported on in the mainstream press (exception above with LA Times!!!)  or by politicos; they simply don’t fit the agenda being pushed by the entire corporate/financial establishment, including the mainstream media, politicians, and politicos.

          1. Don Shor

            A different take on the same statistical debate, which — contrary to what you say — has been aired in the mainstream press, at least those writing long articles about it that mostly nobody reads.
            The Obama administration has redirected enforcement from the interior to the border, is processing people (as the Bush administration started to do) legally rather than just sending them back, and is focusing on deporting criminals. That seems like smart enforcement policy. Strange to try to make it sound as though enforcing the law more carefully and with more documentation is somehow a “change in book-keeping” and the obvious implication that it’s cooking the numbers.
            Starting under Bush, and continued under Obama, there is a significant increase in border patrol agents, fencing has been built along with other security technology, national guard has been authorized along the border. There are a lot of problems with the fence proposal. In many places it would be (and was) a complete waste of money. Realistically, unless we militarize the border, we are probably enforcing about as much as we can right now. And there are some constitutional and pragmatic issues, in my opinion, with any proposal that we actually militarize the border.
            I find much of the rhetoric on this topic incredibly simplistic and annoyingly ideological. Border governors are usually more pragmatic about it, regardless of their party. We can keep increasing border funding, and that is obviously part of any comprehensive immigration reform. But it will also include a path to citizenship, and there are powerful interest groups that want that along with the ‘pro-immigration’ folks. To those economic interests, the status quo is preferable to any policy that would deport millions of workers.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Tanks tribeUSA. I really am starting to doubt any item at all that comes out from this administration, it is quite shocking.
          [moderator] deleted, off topic.

        4. tribeUSA

          Don–in response to your march 17 12:02 comment–

          the point is that fewer people are actually being sent back over the border.

          Over a million deportees (forced to return by bus) per year were not counted as “deported” prior to a few years ago, such that the number of “deportees’ on the books was smaller a few years ago (even though more people were actually sent back across the border).

          In recent years, a smaller number of people have actually been sent back; but a much greater percentage (maybe close to 100%?) are counted; so on the books a larger number of people appear have been sent back (and this is how it is generally reported).

          Not sure what your complaint is about simplicity. If we can’t be clear about communicating simple numbers such as how many people are actually sent back across the border, without worrying about how this population is categorized into deportees or are simply not logged as deportees in their statistics, we cannot understand what is actually going on at the border, and how to proceed.

          1. Don Shor

            Over a million deportees (forced to return by bus) per year were not counted as “deported” prior to a few years ago,

            I have never seen specific numbers as to how many were being sent back prior to the change in how they are now processed. I doubt those numbers exist, and I doubt that records were kept as to how many were repeat returnees because they were not processed in any methodical way before.
            So you can make the claim but I doubt you can prove it. But I’m open to evidence.

      2. wdf1

        TBD:  This might be a bit more palpable if they added in a rue that these new illegal immigrants couldn’t get government benefits for 20 years…

        including free public education for their kids?

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Let’s leave that off the table for now. No food stamps, no WIC, no free health care, no unearned tax refunds, no reduced public housing, there’s a long list of bennies the current generation of illegal immigrants tap into that weren’t available to previous generations. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the average illegal immigrants will cost us $700,000! Makes no sense, given our high unemployment rate, high under employment rate, and low workforce participation rate.

          And deport immediately the 35-40% who simply overstay their Visa’s from Europe, Russia, Asia and elsewhere. They agreed to abide by our laws and regulations, and now they want to such off of our system, too. Some have suggested that we have visitors deposit $3,000 with our government, and if they overstay their visa, we confiscate the deposit. Makes some sense.

          And build the fence. The drugs that come in from Mexico are ravishing our most vulnerable. This will restrict the supply of drugs and raise the price. The restriction in the supply of lower-wage workers will help the low skilled, young people, African- and Mexican-Americans, and legal immigrants. No need to raise the minimum wage! Benefits will also increase as employers compete to attract workers.


        2. wdf1

          TBD:  The Heritage Foundation estimates that the average illegal immigrants will cost us $700,000!

          And think what savings you and others get because you don’t pay full price for labor for fresh produce and other farm products, savings on the price of building labor, savings in other products you pay for because of cheaper blue collar labor.  You can pay for it in inflated prices or in higher taxes by treating the workers somewhat humanely.

          You seem like an ungrateful and whiny beneficiary of capitalism.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Sure, 30 million illegal immigrants pick lettuce. Oh please. These items have already been factored into the equation, $700,000 per individual illegal immigrant is a huge cost to swallow on top of our existing debts.

          But you’re OK with taking jobs that poor Americans, African- and Mexican-Americans would like to work, just at a higher wage, with benefits?

          Name calling doesn’t advance your argument, it just reveals it’s weakness.

          Even Mario Cuomo said “immigrants are expensive”.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          You’re right Don, it is probably much higher when you add in the cost for Social Security, health care, ACA, educating children at $20,000 per year, etc.

          And at the same time this illegal activity tears apart the fabric of Mexico as young men leave to come work here, leave their wife and children, and then other men move in and start relationships or just Sancho time, tearing apart families. Gangs also flourish on both sides of the border, fathers not there to provide a stabilizing force.

          1. Don Shor

            Actually, it’s probably much lower. I can post any number of studies by pro-immigration groups about the economic benefits of immigration, probably equally flawed or weighted toward a pre-determined outcome. I can post analyses of the impact on agriculture if the supply of immigrant labor were to be reduced dramatically. I can point you to what happened in Georgia when they implemented strict immigration laws. But I know how much credence you would give it.

        5. TrueBlueDevil

          But if you have spent any time in any communities with a large illegal immigrant labor pool at local clinics, doing volunteer work, talking with the locals, it is far different from the legal immigrants who we brought in from Europe.

          On top of the huge social costs, we have a dramatically lower educational level, many don’t even know their own language formally. This is merely a fact. There is also a massive underground economy, and the larger numbers in the community allow both conditions to perpetuate themselves, instead of integrating more fully into the larger society.

          We’ve also added tax policies that have reduced or eliminated some taxes for the lower tiers, and when you add in family / chain migration, the costs simply skyrocket.

          But like I wrote, have the people moving in sign a waiver for them to forgo social services for 3 decades, or have the Progressives sign a voluntary tax pledge to pay for their costs, and that would solve part of the problem.

          BTW, citing agriculture workers is really a canard as we don’t need 35 million illegal immigrants to pick lettuce. Besides, we’ve had legal programs to provide needed ag workers.

  1. zaqzaq

    The politics are now entering the court system with different states taking positions based on their political beliefs on immigration.  Ms. Harris is more interested in running for the Senate than doing her job as AG.    This is why executive action such as this is problematic.  It is based on one person’s (Obama) decision to skirt the legal process for political reasons.  There is no general consensus concerning immigration issues in this country other than the system is broken.  Congress’s inability to reach a bipartisan solution is evidence of this.

    The concept of prosecutorial discretion is generally limited to whether to charge a person with a crime,what charges, whether to charge a misdemeanor or a felony, what plea bargain to offer and when to dismiss a case. Obama is well within his right to direct federal attorneys to not proceed on certain classes of illegal aliens of his choosing in deportation proceedings.  Much like the local DA had the decision to charge or not charge Ms. Jo in the recent child abduction case.

    It does not expand to issuing work permits or making a person eligible for additional government benefits that may cost federal, state or local governments money contrary to existing law.  That is changing existing law.  This is what Obama’s executive action does.  In fact Obama stated that he changed the law with this executive action after numerous prior statements that he did not have the legal authority to make these changes.  This is something that the judge in Texas will have to resolve followed by the appellate courts.   Part of the lawsuit deals with the process that the government used to implement the new regulations which is the basis for the injunction.  The Obama administration could start the correct legal process to overcome this argument and get the ball rolling by making this particular issue moot.

    It will be interesting to see how the 26 states that signed onto this lawsuit will show that they have been harmed by this executive action.  Will they try to claim for example that the surge of unaccompanied minors led to the use of state resources for foster care, medical expenses and education in local schools.  Are there similar costs for the new class of illegal aliens created by this Obama executive action?

    Regardless of the immigration outcome we should expect AG Harris to leverage her current office to make decisions that will better position herself for the election for the senate seat.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      It’s not broken, per se. We have hundreds of millions who want to move here, and those fortunate enough to be born geographically south of us, or who have enough money to gain a visa, come here, break out laws, and don’t leave.

      Our leaders don’t  want to make tough decisions, they don’t want to enforce laws. They also want the votes, and the GOP are worried they’ll be called racist, the favorite smear of the Left. Harris wants the Latino vote, a large block in California.

      Obama said when he ran for President: “I want to fundamentally transform America.”

      1. Don Shor

        Our leaders don’t want to make tough decisions, they don’t want to enforce laws.

        You keep saying that, I show you the numbers of how enforcement has increased, and you say it again.
        The Senate passed an immigration bill in 2013.

          1. Don Shor

            You appear to willfully disregard facts and choose to post irrelevancies. I said that border enforcement has increased substantially under the Obama administration, disproving your repeated assertion about political leaders lacking the will to enforce the laws. That is a fact. I have little doubt, however, that you will make the false assertion again at the next opportunity.
            The Senate passed an immigration bill with support from both parties. The President would have signed it. It would have passed the House with majority Democratic party support. We would have an immigration bill right now that provided for more fence construction, and even more enforcement. The Republican leadership of the House refused to bring it up for a vote. So the Republican leadership of the House is responsible for the lack of an immigration reform bill. Blame the Hastert Rule.

        1. zaqzaq


          The democratic controlled senate passed an immigration bill the Obama would have signed and the republican controlled house did not bring it to a vote.  Now you wrongly blame the republicans in the house.  There have been many bills passed in one house and not brought up for a vote in the other house over the years.  This is the nature of how business is done in congress.  On major bipartisan legislation the leadership of both parties agree prior to the votes.   If there is going to be a bipartisan immigration reform bill that is passed the leadership of both parties in both the senate and the house will have to agree in advance.  This has not happened.  Without this agreement there will be not be a comprehensive immigration reform presented to Obama for his signature.  If the democrats had truly wanted immigration reform they could have passed it the same way Obamacare was passed on a pure party line vote when they had the healthy majorities in both houses of congress.  That is unless some democrats opposed the reforms.

          1. Don Shor

            The immigration bill that passed the Senate had bipartisan support. It was the product of many months of negotiation between Democrats and Republicans. Many House Republicans, but not a majority of them, would have voted for it. It would have passed had it been brought to the floor of the House. Boehner refused to allow that.
            In effect, the Tea Party wing of the Republican party is holding immigration reform hostage because they label any path to citizenship ‘amnesty’.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Yes, amnesty is still amnesty, no matter how you want to gussy it up.

      The Progressives would have better footing if they volunteered to tax themselves for 30 years to cover any of the added costs which the systems incur due to this influx of poorly educated, minimally skilled people. Put it into law.

      It’s no longer 1880 or 1910 where we need millions of people to sweat in factories 6 days a week, or to build massive infrastructure projects by hand. We also didn’t have multiple welfare programs for new immigrants to tap into, putting a strain on other average workers.

      They also never answer:

      1. Why do we prioritize illegal entrants over those who are trying to come here legally, waiting in line? I have friends in Central America and Europe who have been trying for years, to no avail.

      2. They purposefully give us false numbers of the illegal immigrant size. But Obama’s recent RFQ for new green cards estimates a maximum amount of new IDs at 36 million.

      3. Why do they prioritize illegal aliens over poor Americans who need work?

      4. Why do they prioritize illegal immigrants over Americans who are black, brown, and even white?

      5. Why aren’t we screening for medical issues, criminal issues, workforce skills?

      Could it be that the Progressives just want to control our electorate for the next 50 years? Votes = power = money?

      1. Tia Will


        I am happy to address your points one by one so that you can never say that no one on the left has ever addressed your points.

        The Progressives would have better footing if they volunteered to tax themselves for 30 years to cover any of the added costs which the systems incur due to this influx of poorly educated, minimally skilled people. Put it into law.”

        I would be more than happy to do so at the exact same moment that the Conservative and military hawks volunteer to tax themselves to fully pay for the military adventures which they label defense and I see as stark aggression. On the day that we get to pick and choose what our taxes go for, I will be happy to be taxed much, much more.

        1. I agree that we should not “prioritize anyone more highly” than others. I believe in open borders.

        2. Other than making up a story to tell yourself, I doubt you are in the know any more than I am about the logistical, political and personal motivations of all those who provide statistics. The only thing I know for sure about this is that whenever Don Shor posts actual numbers of deportees under the Obama administration, you choose to ignore him.

        3. Who is they ? The only “they” I see prioritizing is the people who do the hiring. If you have farm owners, and people who want nannies and handy men and want bargain prices and you are saying that “they” are prioritizing with their hiring patterns, then I would agree.

        4. I believe that many employees do screen, or at least encourage their employees to be screened and to receive free medical care at fairs provided by such groups as Kaiser and Sutter and county health organizations working through such agencies as CommuniCare. I have staffed these fairs on occasion, so when you way it is not being done, you are just plain wrong.

        Could it be that the Progressives just want to control our electorate for the next 50 years? Votes = power = money?”

        I think that you are making this too complicated. I see the equation as much simpler. Cheap labor = more profit = more money. You seem to be forgetting that illegals do not vote. But they do spend part of their money here.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          I wrote: ““Could it be that the Progressives just want to control our electorate for the next 50 years? Votes = power = money?””
          Tia wrote: “I think that you are making this too complicated. I see the equation as much simpler. Cheap labor = more profit = more money.”
          I think you’re being naive or otherwise. Politicians are fully aware of the changing demographics, fully aware of who votes, and fully aware that new immigrants typically vote Democrat for 2-3 generations. Even when Ronald Reagan signed Amnesty, and 1 Million illegal aliens turned out to be 3.6 million illegal aliens given Amnesty, the Latino vote went handily to the Democratic Party.

  2. Tia Will


    The Border Patrol is reporting a severe spike in sex offenders sneaking into the U.S.”

    First of all, we do not know whether the numbers reported represent a “severe spike” or not since all that was offered in the information that you provided is two data points.

    Also, you offer no data for comparison. For instance, how many accused sex offenders are attempting to move out of the United States either across the southern border or into other countries either to avoid incarceration or subsequent adverse affects on their life choices here in the US.

    Without some kind of framework for comparison, this kind of single, obviously inflammatory and fear mongering local news story does nothing to contribute to a serious conversation about optimal border security and even less to elucidate Ms. Harris’ position.

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