DTH: What makes the plan controversial?
HL: Well, it would be controversial with a lot of people who erroneously believe that immigration harms the United States, that it reduces wages and we have too many foreigners here already and it has adverse implications.
All of those arguments have been made against immigration from the time of Benjamin Franklin to the present, and every wave of immigration that’s come into the country from then to now has ended up being a benefit...But there are always people who are going to be scared of folks who speak differently than they.
DTH: What do you think about the framing of the argument on both sides?
HL: Texas’s argument is a fairly clean one. Texas spends some money every time they issue a driver’s license, and it’s pointing out that the automatic consequence of extending work authorization and lawful presence to a fair and large number of people in Texas is it’s going to have to issue a good hunk more licenses and spend more money...
On the other hand, almost any policy that the federal government adopts has the potential to cause a direct cost to a state where that impact occurs — does that give the state standing to sue?
DTH: What kind of verdict do you expect?
HL: If a majority of the court says Texas doesn’t have standing, the matter is resolved and the administration can go ahead and allow DAPA.
If there is a 4-4 split on the issue, there is still the next question to ask: is Texas likely to prevail on the merit of whether the president exceeded his authority in creating the program? ...The administration says it’s simply exercising the discretion about how to set priorities in the course of the law...
If the president has exceeded his authority, it points out that DAPA not only says we’ll defer deportation, but on top of that, we’re going to give them some assurance that they get two years of freedom from fear of deportation and work authorization.
DTH: What does each outcome mean for undocumented immigrants?
HL: If DAPA is allowed to go forward, it will probably look similar to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
That would mean that a lot of people who may or may not be paying taxes or working lawfully could start working lawfully, could get driver’s licenses in places like North Carolina, Texas, elsewhere, and would acquire a more officially recognized position in society.