Immigration

States Suing The Obama Administration Over Immigration Policies Have Much To Lose

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The group of states suing the federal government over immigration reform have a lot to lose if they win their upcoming case before the Supreme Court.

Next month, the eight-member Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in United States v. Texas, perhaps the most important immigration case this term. The case hinges on two Obama administration policies — the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — that are making it easier for immigrants to stay and work in the United States.

DAPA and DACA provide undocumented parents of current U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, as well as children of undocumented immigrants, with legal protection from deportation. The two programs have helped qualifying immigrants to apply for work eligibility, and they’ve kept millions of families together.

However, twenty-six states are seeking to overturn these initiatives. DACA and DAPA are currently on hold after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected them last year, and the programs’ fate now hangs in the balance depending how the Supreme Court rules.

If the plaintiff states succeed in dismantling these policies, they could actually end up risking economic losses, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. (Disclosure: ThinkProgress is an editorially independent site housed at the Center for American Progress.) The report found that if the Supreme Court rules against DAPA and DACA, the plaintiff states will lose a combined $91.9 billion in new state GDP over a decade. Additionally, affected state and local governments will miss out on $272 million in annual tax revenue.

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CREDIT: Center for American Progress

Families will also be adversely affected if the Supreme Court decides in the states’ favor. Residents of the plaintiff states stand to lose an estimated $48.4 billion in increased earnings, which is especially relevant given that wages have been stagnant for 40 years.

Aside from the economic consequences, perhaps most worrisome is the potential for the forced separation of millions of family members. According to the Center for American Progress, 2.6 million U.S. citizens live with a DAPA-eligible family member in the plaintiff states, meaning that millions of fathers, mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, and sons could be torn away from their families.

Even if the Supreme Court does rule in favor of the Obama administration, a future Republican administration could still dismantle DAPA and DACA. While John Kasich has indicated his reluctance to deport undocumented family members, Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have repeatedly stressed their commitment to overturning the immigration initiatives of the Obama Administration.

Bryan Dewan is an Intern at ThinkProgress.