On Monday morning, April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in United States v. Texas, the challenge to the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for the Parents of Americans (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. The two programs affect an estimated four to five million people across the United States. Since 2012, DACA has permitted certain noncitizens who came to the United States as children to apply for temporary protection from deportation and work permits. President Obama announced the DAPA program in 2014, which would have allowed millions of undocumented individuals with U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children to apply for the same. However, the lower court issued an injunction against both programs during litigation of the suit filed by Texas and other states. After issuing a decision against the Administration’s authority to implement the programs, the Supreme Court accepted certiorari to finally decide the issue.
United States v. Texas may be the most important case before the Supreme Court this term and the Court is treating it accordingly. The Court normally splits 60 minutes of oral arguments between the two sides of a case. However, the Court will convene this time for 90 minutes and permit additional parties to argue their case in favor and against the programs. Texas and the other states that filed the lawsuit will have 30 minutes to present their arguments. The federal government will have 35 minutes. The Court has also given ten minutes to a lawyer representing a group of immigrant women who may benefit from President Obama’s executive actions. The U.S. House of Representatives will have fifteen minutes to present their arguments in support of the states’ position against the programs. Dozens of amicus briefs have been submitted, including from the U.S. House of Representatives in support of Texas and the other states challenging the policies, and from organizations, associations and state and local entities and academics in support of President’s initiatives.
The case addresses specific legal questions and its outcome will have broad consequences for the relationship between Congress and the President, and for the relationship between states and the federal government. And any decision will affect millions of undocumented men, women and children, their families, communities and businesses in the United States. The Court’s decision will be issued in late June of this year.