AUSTIN – The state of Texas scored a win this week when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rehear an Obama administration immigration case, state Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement released after the high court's decision.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

"The state of Texas’ position has been validated by the U.S. Supreme Court as it denied the Obama administration’s petition to rehear the immigration case," Paxton said in a statement issued Oct. 3. "Rewriting national immigration law requires the full and careful consideration of Congress. This is the latest setback to the president’s attempt to expand executive power and another victory for those who believe in the Constitution’s separation of powers and the rule of law."

With no comment, as is usual, the nation's highest court has denied the Obama administration’s petition to rehear United States v. Texas, which challenged a 2012 decision by the Department of Homeland Security's secretary to defer enforcement of U.S. immigration laws without the approval of congress.

The U.S. Supreme Court's denial is on page 69 of the 71-page order list, on which "15-674 United States, et al. v. Texas, et al." simply appears as part of a list of cases for which the U.S. Supreme Court denied rehearing.

That decision lets stand a judgment affirmed by an equally divided, 4-4 split decision, by the high court July 23. That decision affirmed the Fifth U.S. Court of Appeals’ Nov. 9, 2015, ruling that struck down the Obama administration’s executive action on deferred enforcement and upheld a lower court's injunction that halted implementation.

At issue was whether any state that voluntarily provides a subsidy to all undocumented immigrants with deferred action can bring an action under the Administrative Procedure Act to challenge the Department of Homeland Security’s guidance in the case involving those immigrants. The APA governs internal procedures the government's administrative agencies, including how those agencies interact with the public, and includes provisions listed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Obama administration sought to establish a process for considering deferred action for certain undocumented immigrants. The justices were expected to, again, determine whether Homeland Security guidance violates the Take Care Clause of Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. The deferred action referred to immigrants who had lived in the U.S. for at least five years and arrived as children or who already have children who are U.S. citizens or who are themselves permanent residents.

Texas was part of a 26-state coalition that the programs under which the deferred action operated.

The appeals court, in its November 2015 ruling, determined Texas had met the constitutional zone of interests test, whether the state was operation in a legal area that covers the deferred action.

"Contrary to the government’s assertion, Texas satisfies the zone of interests test not on account of a generalized grievance but instead as a result of the same injury that gives it Article III standing," the appeals court ruling said. "Congress has explicitly allowed states to deny public benefits to illegal aliens. Relying on that guarantee, Texas seeks to participate in notice and comment before the [Department of Homeland Security] secretary changes the immigration classification of millions of illegal aliens in a way that forces the state to the Hobson’s choice of spending millions of dollars to subsidize driver’s licenses or changing its statutes."

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