Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday arguing against President Barack Obama’s plan to shield from deportation nearly 5 million people here illegally and give them temporary work permits.
“The Obama Administration has consistently demonstrated disregard for the rule of law in asserting that it has the legal authority to unilaterally change the immigration policy of the United States,” Paxton said in a statement. “Rewriting national immigration law requires the full and careful consideration of Congress, not the political will and assertion of one person. As the president himself said numerous times, he alone does not have the authority to grant millions of unauthorized aliens a host of benefits, including work authorization.”
In the brief Monday, Paxton’s office reiterated its arguments, saying that at least 500,000 immigrants in the state would be eligible for the driver’s licenses and, at a cost of $130 a license, it could lose “millions of dollars” even if just a fraction of them applied. Advocates of the plan have argued that the state would also see millions of dollars in additional tax revenue as immigrants with work permits have to pay taxes and tend to be paid more.
In the brief, Paxton also argued that the president should have sought public comment because “public interest in providing input on one of the largest immigration policy changes in the nation’s history is extraordinarily high.” He also argued that the program in effect is a mandate and not discretionary according to each application and thus requires Congressional approval.
See here for the background. I have always found the “but we have to provide them with drivers licenses!” argument to be weak. I’m pretty sure if you figured out just how much these folks contribute to the state in sales taxes alone, it would more than cover that bill. And if you tote up the full economic contributions these folks make to the economy, which Texas would lose if they managed to prevail in this stupid lawsuit, it’s way more than that. As for the Scalia Factor, since the Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling against the Obama executive order, we’ll need the Good Anthony Kennedy to be in the courthouse for a favorable outcome. Here’s hoping.