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Faculty Blog: United States v. Texas

On April 18, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of United States v. Texas. The case involves the arguments put forward by twenty-six states, challenging the President’s November of 2014 Executive Action, which could have made around 5 million parents of citizens and lawful permanent residents (known as DAPA) eligible to apply to have their deportation deferred. It would also have slightly expanded the class of pre-existing eligibility for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), already in effect since 2012. The mechanism through which executive action would take place is the President’s request that his subordinates within the prosecutorial arms of DHS to exercise their prosecutorial discretion in determining where and how to use and focus limited deportation resources. Congress enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act, tasking the agencies with enforcing immigration, but provides insufficient funds for the agencies to carry out their mandates. The Executive must then make decisions about how to prioritize those mandates. Neither DAPA nor the expanded DACA class confers anything other than the eligibility for certain persons to apply for time limited deferral from removal. With deferred action, under a different set of pre-existing regulations, passed under earlier Congresses and presidents, comes eligibility for work authorization.

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Faculty Blog: Refugees, Migrants, and State Responsibility

Anyone who has followed the recent refugee crisis will notice the interchangeable use of the terms “migrant” and “refugee” to describe the people fleeing Syria, Iraq and North Africa, who are attempting to find safety and a better life in Europe. Depending upon your source of news, you might also hear the almost belligerent use of phrases and words like “economic migrant” and “opening the floodgates.” It was Hannah Arendt who used the term “scum of the earth,” to describe not the refugees fleeing Nazi control during World War II, but the treatment they received as they metaphorically washed up on shores of neighboring countries. She was describing the phenomenon that transpires when one country or regime has designated some people as inferior, and how everyone else then views them that way -- needy, dangerous, and likely to cause a run on resources.