On Demand

SCOTUS Review: US v. Texas


Created on September 12, 2016




The hotly-debated United States v. Texas is one of the most significant cases argued before the Court during the 2016 term, and is the most significant immigration case to be heard by the Court in years. It is likely to have a political impact that extends beyond the letter of the law with the imminent presidential election and current status of legislative immigration reform.

In 2015, with Congress continuing to struggle with passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill, President Obama announced the expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and establishment of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). A 2016 study by the Migration Policy Institute places the number of undocumented adults with children eligible for DAPA at 3.6 million undocumented individuals caring for over 4.3 million U.S. citizen/lawful permanent resident children.

Texas and 25 other states filed a challenge to the guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security related to DAPA and DACA implementation in the Southern District of Texas requesting a preliminary injunction of the executive action. On February 16, 2015, the Southern District of Texas granted the States' request for a preliminary injunction. Subsequently, the decision was appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued a decision on November 9, 2015 upholding the district court's preliminary injunction.

This case presents substantial questions to be addressed by the Court, including: (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.

This course is intended to provide a background for the case and the issuance of the executive orders, discussion regarding the specific questions presented by the Court as well as the larger policy and political issues raised and provide an understanding of the human impact on individuals affected by the DACA and DAPA programs.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the history of President Obama's executive order expanding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and establishment of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the potential impact of the injunction
  2. Become familiar with the history of the lawsuit, including the underlying District Court injunction and Fifth Circuit appeal
  3. Understand the arguments regarding whether States have standing to challenge the executive order and other issues raised by the case
  4. Become familiar with the Administrative Procedures Act requirements for notice-and-comment procedures

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