Concerning his executive immigration actions, Obama told the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday that he, and the Department of Homeland Security by extension, is allowed to use broad discretion in enforcing deportation policies since Congress does not appropriate enough money to the department to enforce the laws.
This is in reference to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans’ nationwide decision upholding a lower court’s injunction blocking the implementation of Obama’s executive actions concerning immigration.
The court explained that Texas had a right to challenge the federal government’s actions because the state, and others like it, would have to pay millions of dollars in order to provide licenses and health benefits to the undocumented immigrants. Additionally, the injunction is nationwide since those immigrants barred from benefits in one state could move to another and still receive them.
The specific executive actions in question are the ones Obama implemented in November 2014, which could affect millions of undocumented immigrants and is under attack by more than 25 states, Texas being one of the more vocal opponents.
The Supreme Court’s brief understands that the federal government cannot deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, and therefore the deferred actions allowed under DAPA and DACA would allow a number of undocumented immigrants to enjoy privileges usually reserved for legal residents, such as driver licenses.
Congress has allocated approximately $6 billion for the ‘enforcement of immigration and customs laws, detention and removals, and investigations,’ and around 2.4 million undocumented immigrants were removed from 2009 to 2014, with 440,000 being removed in 2013 alone.
However, government officials state that in any given year, more than 95 percent of the undocumented population will not be removed, and more removable immigrants continue to be apprehended at the border or become removable.