Lawyers representing the state of Texas have repeatedly claimed their efforts to block the Obama Administration’s executive action on immigration isn’t about U.S. immigration policy or the deportation of thousands of undocumented immigrants, but rather, is hinged on what they consider is a clear breach of the separation of powers, an overreach on the part of the president.
Still, that’s proved to be of little comfort to the millions of immigrants across the nation who stand to benefit from the program. Announced in November 2014, the m Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, would provide immigration relief to around 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, protecting them from removal by allowing them to apply for work permits good for 3 years.
Supreme Courts to Hear Arguments
This week, a coalition of 26 Republican-controlled states, led by Texas (the main plaintiff) will present arguments stopping the implementation of DAPA in the United States Supreme Court, representing the final legal skirmish over the administration’s beleaguered immigration program. Lower courts have thrice ruled to block the program, which stemmed after Texas Governor Greg Abbott, then the state’s attorney general, sued the government demanding the program to be scrapped. He would later be joined by 25 GOP-controlled states.
Lower Courts Rule in Favor of Texas
Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville ruled against the Obama administration, saying the White House failed to comply with the government’s Administrative Procedure Act, which oversees the creation of federal regulations. In November 2015, a decision by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision.
Texas is confident their ‘winning streak’ will remain unchanged once the Supreme Court hears their arguments. A decision will most likely be announced sometime in June.
How Will Scalia’s Death Affect Decision?
A key factor that may affect the high court’s ruling is the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative. With just 8 justices on the bench, a 4-4 deadlock vote means the Supreme Court will uphold the lower court’s decision. However, a swing vote could give immigrant beneficiaries 6 months to apply—the remainder of President Obama’s term.
The administration’s immigration program, widely considered the centerpiece of the president’s second term in office, covers undocumented immigrants with no criminal records and with children with citizenship or PR status. It allows immigrant families to stay together, rather than force law-abiding immigrant parents back to their home countries.
The government says the program is similar to temporary executive actions by past administrations, which provided immigration relief to specific immigrant populations, formalizing the existing discretion the Office of the President has over immigration policies.
If you or anyone you know is an immigrant that could benefit from DAPA, learn more about how the upcoming Supreme Court decision affects your situation by consulting the legal team of Lyttle Law Firm. Call us today at (512) 215-5225.