WASHINGTON – Cornell Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr
believes the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a landmark case that will
dictate whether President Barack Obama can bypass Congress to defer
deportations and grant temporary work permits for millions of undocumented
parents will be important for Texas, no matter which way the high court rules.
Obama’s program is called the Deferred Action for Parents of
Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
“If the court rules in favor of the administration, several
hundred thousand people in Texas will be able to apply for temporary work
permits,” Yale-Loehr told the SE Texas Record. “If the court ties 4-4 or rules against the administration,
the lower court order in Texas barring the DAPA program from going forward
remains in place.”
In addition to deciding the legality of the DAPA program,
Yale-Loehr said United States v. Texas could help determine whether and under
which circumstances states can sue the federal government and have broader
implication on executive actions in general.
“I doubt the Supreme Court will rule on the general
authority of executive actions and the balance of power between the President
and Congress,” Yale-Loehr said. “But people involved in other controversies,
such as whether Texas can prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Texas,
will certainly review the decision in United States v. Texas closely to try to
determine how future legal challenges in those areas might fare.”
Since immigration cases usually involve sovereignty issues, Yale-Loehr
said courts generally have granted the executive branch wide latitude in implementing
However, he said “the question here is whether the president
exceeded that broad power by not simply deferring the deportations of several
million undocumented immigrants but also granting them work permits.”
Yale-Loehr said the Supreme Court normally issues its
decisions on Mondays. As a result, the ruling on United States v. Texas could
come on June 20 or June 27. However, Yale-Loehr said the court may choose to
schedule additional decision days before it adjourns at the end of the month.
Texas and 25 other states file a lawsuit in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Texas in December 2014 to block
expansion of DAPA and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The states
alleged in that lawsuit that enforcement of expanded DACA and DAPA programs
would violate federal laws and the Constitution.
Specifically, the states claim expansion of the programs
would violate a clause of the Constitution that states that the president is required
to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed and that expansion would
violate the Administrative Procedures Act because the programs are random and
do not comply with existing immigration laws.
The states also allege that the federal government did not
follow technical procedural requirements under the Administrative Procedures
Act, including provisions that require notification of and establishment of a
comment period before it announced that DACA and DAPA would be expanded.
Yale-Loehr is a professor of immigration law practice at
Cornell and is the co-author of Immigration Law & Procedure Treatise.