Litigation Tracker: Feds ask SCOTUS to vacate protections for TX’s razorwire; key deadlines loom in other cases  

It’s a new year and new developments in litigation we’re tracking are fully underway; see below for the latest in TX’s razorwire litigation and updates on key deadlines approaching in other important cases. And as always, you can check our microsite for the latest updates on extremist litigation challenging immigrant inclusive policies. 

Biden Administration asks Supreme Court to vacate injunction protecting TX’s razorwire 

Texas’s lawsuit to block Border Patrol from cutting its razorwire fencing along the southern border has quickly moved up to the Supreme Court since our last newsletter. Although the district court initially blocked the alleged policy on a temporary basis, Judge Moses later reversed course, denying Texas’s injunction request just after Thanksgiving. After a quick appeal, though, the Fifth Circuit granted Texas’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the alleged razorwire cutting policy (except in the event of medical emergencies) pending its resolution of the full appeal (which is expedited). Briefing on the appeal will end by early February, with oral argument on February 7 in Houston. 

Meanwhile, following the Fifth Circuit’s decision, the Biden Administration asked the Supreme Court (on January 2) to vacate (nullify) the Fifth Circuit’s injunction pending appeal. That request was fully briefed on January 10. Notably, unlike some recent cases, the Biden Administration did not suggest that SCOTUS could or should take up the entire case at this time—it asks only that the Court weigh in on the injunction. A decision could come at any time. 

Looming deadlines re: DACA, CAM, and ATD lawsuits 

DACA: Defendants’ opening briefs in Texas’s suit to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are due on January 25—making amicus briefs in support of DACA due to the Fifth Circuit on February 1. 

CAM: the district court in Texas’s challenge to the Central American Minors program will hold a hearing on Defendants’ motions to dismiss the case on January 31. Texas has slowed-walked this case because it was assigned to Judge Barbara Lynn, a President Clinton appointee (there was a 95% chance Trump-appointed Judge Kacsmaryk would get it), which is why it is only now at the motion to dismiss stage even though it was filed two years ago. 

ATD: a bench trial on Texas’s litigation over a $20 million appropriation to the Alternatives to Detention pilot program (on which we previously reported) has been rescheduled for January 22. Although the district court has not granted Texas relief so far in the case, DHS has reportedly (and inexplicably) not yet spent any of that appropriation due to the ongoing litigation.  

As always, we’ll keep you posted on these and other cases.   

Thanks for reading,  

Laura Flores, Skadden Fellow 

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