The Supreme Court will hear a legal challenge from a coalition of 26 states that alleges President Obama abused his authority when he took executive action on immigration.
Obama, frustrated with a defiant Republican-led Congress, created a program through executive action in November 2014 that would allow up to 5 million illegal immigrants—including so-called “dreamers” and the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents—to remain in the country and obtain work permits. The White House says that Mr. Obama is acting within the confines of presidential power, while opponents claim that his actions overstep Constitutionally-bound executive power.
Shortly after the president issued the executive action a lawsuit seeking to block it was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 25 other states. A Texas federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against the program last February. The Supreme Court said this month that it would hear the case in April and make a decision before the end of June, according to the New York Times.
President Obama has acted unilaterally during his tenure on a number of issues, due to the inaction of Congress. This has drawn the ire of Republican opponents, who think that the president’s repeated executive actions violate constitutional law and set a dangerous precedent.
In the case of immigration, Texas and the other states suing the president say that his Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would impose burdensome additional costs in the forms of healthcare, law enforcement, law enforcement, and subsidized benefits such as drivers’ licenses. While they acknowledge that the president “does have enforcement discretion to forbear from removing aliens on an individual basis,” they take issue with what they consider a blanket amnesty program.
“This is an area where it is clearly the prerogative of the federal government to set immigration policy and the executive in particular to basically have the discretion on enforcement, which is what the president is arguing,” said Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, director of UCLA’s North American Integration and Development Center.
Others think that the same unlawful overreach arguments that produced a lower court injunction will also lead to the Supreme Court overturning the immigration actions.
“The constitutional system is simple,” wrote Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice in a FoxNews op-ed. “Congress makes the laws. The president enforces the laws. And the courts interpret the law.”
The case’s outcome could hinge on how SCOTUS interprets the Constitution’s “take care” clause, which has to do with the president’s “faithful” execution of the nation’s laws. In a United States v. Texas case filing, SCOTUS names one of the issues to be “whether the guidance violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, Article II, section 3. The Washington Post goes into detail about what the implications of this issue are.
If the White House prevails and Obama’s actions are upheld, the administration plans to act quickly to set up the immigration program. The Supreme Court decision will be announced by June of 2016.
Questions about how the court’s decision on DAPA/DACA might affect you and your family—and other immigration questions—should be directed to the Boulder office of Law Office of Catherine Brown. Schedule a consultation to learn more and call 303-322-2117.