SCOTUS United States. v. Texas Decision

Summary and Must-Read Articles

By CIS on April 14, 2016


In a split decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's ruling in the case of United States v. Texas, a challenge to Obama's 2014 executive actions. The 4-4 decision sends the case back to the district court to decide the case on the merits. Meanwhile, DAPA and extended DACA remain blocked.

This case, a challenge brought by governors and attorneys general from Texas and 25 other states, involves the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and an expansion of the earlier Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which were decreed by President Obama in November 2014. Under the programs, an illegal alien becomes "lawfully present" in the U.S. and receives a work permit and a Social Security number after an application is reviewed (typically merely rubber stamped) and a fee is paid. The amnestied aliens also become eligible to receive driver's licenses and the Earned Income Tax Credit welfare program and various state programs.

The states allege that the DAPA program (1) violates the president's constitutional duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed"; (2) DAPA was promulgated without public notice and comment; and (3) DAPA is in excess of agency authority.

Standing is a key issue in the case. Will the Court decide that standing provides a defense to any agency action? If it does, the Court is saying "the president can announce a vast program to suspend the law and provide benefits to illegal aliens prohibited by Congress through administrative action without so much as providing the public an opportunity to comment in advance."

Nearly all the media attention has been focused on the discretion issue to the exclusion of all the others. Is it really just discretion to not prosecute when, under DAPA, the government is handing out work permits and making illegal aliens eligible for to work in the United States as well as to receive Social Security, unemployment, and disability benefits?

The Obama administration explicitly claims that it has unlimited authority to allow any alien to work — unless Congress specifically prohibits it. Except that even when Congress explicitly prohibits such work (as with illegal aliens), the president still claims authority to grant it. Obama also claims authority to make any alien "lawfully present" in the United States. In other words, Obama claims to have the power to allow any alien to be in and to work in the United States.


What Now for U.S. v. Texas?

What is it about? What the Supreme Court Decision on DAPA entails.
Why is it important? Now the case progresses normally though the court system. The first stop is that the case will return to the Southern District of Texas. There, the next likely step is that the judge will work with the parties to create a schedule of events to take place.

SCOTUS Doesn't Abolish Separation of Powers - Yet

What is it about? What the Supreme Court Decision on DAPA entails.
Why is it important? The lower court's decision to uphold the injunction remains in place, and the DAPA amnesty program (for illegal alien parents of U.S.-born kids) and the expansion of the DACA amnesty (for illegals who claim to have come here before age 16) remain on hold.

VIDEO: Jon Feere Debates the SCOTUS DAPA Decision

What is it about? A PBS Newshour debate on the SCOTUS decision and amnesty in general.
Why is it important? The Center's Legal Analyst, Jon Feere, takes on the concerns of an illegal alien activist.

The Implications of United States v. Texas

What is it about? The issues surrounding the upcoming Supreme Court case.
Why is it important? Up until now, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress has plenary power over immigration: "Over no conceivable subject is the legislative power of Congress more complete than it is over the admission of aliens."

5th Circuit Upholds Injunction on Obama's Amnesty

What is it about? The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refusal to remove an injunction put in place by a district court
Why is it important? Contains a PDF of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which has led to upcoming the Supreme Court case, as well as the Center’s analysis of the decision.

Supreme Court to Hear Administrative Amnesty Case

What is it about? The multi-state challenge to Obama's DAPA amnesty for illegal aliens who have U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident children.
Why is it important? Contains a map of the states that both oppose and defend the Texas lawsuit.

The Fiscal and Economic Impact of Administrative Amnesty

What is it about? Congressional testimony that details the costs of the DACA and DAPA programs on the labor market and tax revenue.
Why is it important? The realities of the modern American economy, coupled with the modern American administrative state, make large fiscal costs an unavoidable problem of less-educated immigration.

IRS Offers Specialized Extra Benefits to some DACA and DAPA Grantees

What is it about? An Internal Revenue Service decision that some illegal aliens, granted short-term amnesty under DACA and DAPA programs, can also retroactively collect tax benefits previously denied to them.
Why is it important? The benefits can be as much as several thousand dollars — and perhaps as much as $10,000 over the years for some illegal aliens, particularly parents.

USCIS Favors Illegal Alien Applicants over Americans and Legal Immigrants

What is it about? A USCIS document provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee detailing exactly which categories of legal immigrants were disadvantaged by the implementation of the DACA program.
Why is it important? There can be no question that illegal aliens are the priority for USCIS these days, not Americans and legal immigrants.

President Obama's "Deferred Action" Program for Illegal Aliens Is Plainly Unconstitutional

What is it about? Constitutional law surrounding the DACA program.
Why is it important? The deferral of removal directly violates a provision of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996; grants of advance parole also directly violate a provision of the 1996 Act; and granting employment authorization to millions of illegal aliens directly contradicts numerous court decisions holding that the Executive Branch may not, under color of its power to administer immigration laws, circumvent the statutory limits on the number of aliens allowed to compete in the U.S. labor market.

Are DACA Aliens Gang Members? USCIS Does Not Want to Know

What is it about? Are DACA aliens members of gangs, or were they ever?
Why is it important? USCIS decided that the gang membership question should be on the application form filed in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Then USCIS decided did not want to know the answer, so the information is not recorded.

Facebook and Other Companies Petition Supreme Court on Deferred Action

What is it about? Companies seeking more cheap labor from abroad have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Obama administration.
Why is it important? It is that likely Facebook viewed this brief as a way to pull in companies supportive of low-skilled labor who can be called upon by Facebook to back its push for more high-skilled foreign labor in the future.