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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Obama’s Executive Action to Enact DAPA

On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the legality of President Obama’s executive action on immigration. A lower court blocked the action last year after Texas and other states sued, claiming that issuance of the executive action was outside the President’s authority.

If the Supreme Court overturns the lower court and allows the immigration action to continue, it would grant temporary deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants, especially the parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders. Here is a very brief summary of what happened in court.

Can Texas really block this immigration action?

The starting point in the lawsuit is whether Texas and other states have the “standing” to even be in court. Texas has to show that it was injured by the executive action, and has argued that having to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants is a financial hardship. The eight justices seem to be divided on whether this can be considered a real injury as defined by the Constitution. The federal government argued that just having to pay more money is not necessarily an “injury” in this case.

Another question is whether President Obama had the authority to take immigration action like this in the first place. President Obama’s administration feels that it is within his authority to set immigration priorities, and this action is allowed by the Constitution. Texas and other states disagree, claiming that the action goes beyond what federal statutes and the Constitution allow.

We’re optimistic about the outcome

With only 8 of 9 Supreme Court justices in place, a 4-4 tie would leave the lower court’s ruling against the President’s executive action in place and in essence stop the implementation of DAPA. While we won’t know the outcome until the end of June, here are several reasons why we’re optimistic about how things will turn out:

  1. A 4-4 Supreme Court vote could be perceived as a political decision, something that the Supreme Court justices want to avoid.

  2. Assuming the four justices considered to be liberals vote in favor of DAPA, only one other justice has to vote with them in order for DAPA to move forward.

  3. The Supreme Court will be careful about both curtailing the President’s authority to make immigration policy and allowing states to sue the federal government over an executive action that causes little, if any, harm to the states.

The Supreme Court will hopefully issue a decision in this case by the end of June. If the President’s executive action on immigration is upheld, Antonini and Cohen will be assisting the beneficiaries of DAPA in filing for benefits under that program. When the decision is published, call the attorneys at Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law Group to answer your questions and advise whether the decision benefits you or a loved one.

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