January 26, 2015 EDIT: Nevada and Tennessee are officially onboard, bringing the total number of plaintiff states to 26.
December 22, 2014 EDIT: As of today, Texas and 24 other states have announced that they are suing President Obama over his recent immigration policy changes. They further made it clear that their vendetta is one against immigrants themselves, and not just the President, by asking a federal judge to block implementation of the executive action until the lawsuit is resolved.
These Republicans know they have been one-upped by the President, who chose to act on immigration after they and their partisans in Congress chose to do nothing. But rather than stepping up and finally doing their jobs, they’re suing to prevent the President from doing his. And they’re pretty calculating about it too. Knowing that this program will be popular among Latino and non-Latino voters alike, they’re asking for the injunction. They figure that stopping the program before it starts will be less damaging to the GOP than taking work permits out of the hands of immigrants who earned them.
Except it’s the same thing.
These governors and state attorneys general claim that they are simply standing up to President Obama’s “tyranny.” But what Texas and these other states are doing is actively asking for the continuation of deportations and family separations as the nation’s daily immigration policy.
The 26 states suing the Obama Administration are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
A New York Times story quoting legal experts pointed out that the plaintiff states could have a hard time convincing a federal court that they could suffer specific harms as a result of executive action. The states are claiming that President Obama’s last executive action on immigration — 2012’s DACA announcement — led to an influx of young immigrants. But the states will have to prove that the minors were driven to migrate by DACA, when it’s clear to everyone else that these children were driven to flee by horrific crime and crushing poverty.
As Cristina Rodriguez, a professor of immigration and constitutional law at Yale Law School, told the NYT:
The injury the states are alleging seems a bit speculative. In many ways this is a political document. It feels more rhetorical than legal.
It might be particularly hard for the states to claim losses considering that studies have estimated that federal and state governments will see a net gain from executive action, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year in additional revenue as more immigrants recognized by the policy pay more in taxes, along with their employers.
The Center for American Progress even broke down these gains by state. Below is the estimated fiscal benefit of executive action for some of the plaintiff states, over five years:
- Alabama: $38.6 million
- Arizona: $100 million
- Florida: $102 million
- Georgia: $190 million
- Indiana: $66 million
- Kansas: $22 million
- Michigan: $49.3 million
- Nebraska: $16 million
- Oklahoma: $26 million
- North Carolina: $197 million
- Ohio: $41 million
- Texas: $338 million
- Wisconsin: $19 million
Apparently, instead of enjoying this increase in tax revenue, these states would prefer to waste money on this ideological lawsuit attacking immigrants.