On January 19, 2016, the Supreme Court agreed to hear United States v. Texas, which was a case filed by the State of Texas and twenty-five other states to try to block President Obama’s expanded DACA and DAPA.
After the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision, President Obama’s administration asked the Supreme Court to review it. The Supreme Court will be addressing four questions when it hears the case, which will likely be in late April 2016, with a decision expected in June 2016.
Does Texas have the authority to sue?
The first question that the Supreme Court will answer in the case is whether Texas and the other states have the ability to file the lawsuit at all, which is known as “standing.” In Federal Court, parties need to have suffered an actual injury - or will suffer an injury - that is caused by the opposing party, or defendant, in a way that the Courts can actually resolve for the plaintiff. The Federal District Court Judge in this case held that Texas and the other plaintiffs had enough “standing” to be able to pursue their case. The administration argues that just like any other individual, states do not have the authority to sue the President or the decisions he makes, even if Texas has to issue driver’s licenses to those individuals and has chosen to subsidize those licenses.
Texas and the other states argue that they do suffer an injury because they will have to subsidize their issuance of driver's licenses to the millions of people who are eligible for expanded DACA and DAPA. More discussion on this issue can be found here.
Does President Obama’s administration have the authority to issue the new immigration policy?
The second question deals with whether the administration can actually create the DACA and DAPA policies, and allow millions of people to stay lawfully in the country and provide them with work permits. The administration argues that they have the discretion to allow would-be DACA and DAPA recipients to not be deported, as part of the discretion provided by Congress.
Texas and the other states argue that Congress has created laws for the deportation and removal of immigrants to the United States. Further, the states argue that Congress has not provided so much discretion to the administration to make a blanket policy to permit millions of people to stay in the United States. The states also argue that Congress has provided the administration with the authority to decline to deport only four narrow categories of people, including family members of lawful permanent residents who were killed on September 11.
Did President Obama’s administration follow federal regulations in issuing the new rules?
The third question is whether the administration followed federal regulations in both issuing the expanded DACA and DAPA, but also whether it provided the public enough time to comment on those new policies.
The Take Care Clause
Lastly, the Court asked whether both sides could research and discuss whether the administration abided by the “Take Care Clause” of the Constitution, which requires that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
The Supreme Court will have a decision sometime this summer. However, it is important not to wait until the decision to determine if you are eligible for DACA or DAPA. You may be eligible for the original DACA program or another immigration benefit. Contact our office to schedule a consultation here.