United States v. Texas

Issue: (1) Whether a state that voluntarily provides a subsidy to all aliens with deferred action has Article III standing and a justiciable cause of action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to challenge the Secretary of Homeland Security’s guidance seeking to establish a process for considering deferred action for certain aliens because it will lead to more aliens having deferred action; (2) whether the guidance is arbitrary and capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law; (3) whether the guidance was subject to the APA’s notice-and-comment procedures; and (4) whether the guidance violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, Article II, section 3.

United States v. Texas

United States v. Texas (Immigration)

Status: Granted on January 19, 2016; Decided on June 23, 2016

The Supreme Court heard a dispute between President Barack Obama and 26 states over the President’s ability to issue sweeping executive orders about immigration.

The 26 states had hoped the Supreme Court would rule on several issues, including the ability of the states to sue the Obama administration; the alleged constitutional overreach of the executive branch in forming immigration policies conflicting with laws passed by Congress; and the alleged unwillingness of President Obama to honor the Constitution’s “Take Care Clause” to execute laws passed by Congress.

Instead, the Justices considered two of the three questions: on standing and the Take Care clause.

Two lower courts that ruled on the case agreed that the state of Texas had standing to sue the Obama administration because it had been potentially injured by immigration enforcement decisions, which could defer the deportation of 5 million undocumented immigrants. In November 2015, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s injunction that blocked President Obama’s executive orders on immigration from taking effect.

The orders seek to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which gave prosecutorial discretion regarding the enforcement of immigration laws against “certain young people.” The orders would make millions more eligible for the program. A November 2014 executive action also established the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program (DAPA), which allows the parents of U.S. citizens to remain “lawfully present” in the United States. The District Court determined that at least 4.3 million individuals would be eligible for lawful presence under DAPA.

On June 23, in a 4-4 tie, the divided Court said in a one-sentence per curium opinion that the judgment of the lower court in United States v. Texas, was confirmed, leaving in place an injunction against President Barack Obama’s recent deferred immigration policies.

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