The Case of United States v. Texas
Since 2001, Texas law has authorized in-state tuition eligibility for college students who were brought to Texas as children without immigration authorization. The 2001 legislation was signed by then-Gov. Rick Perry with bipartisan support, because it made sense to lawmakers to recognize that these students have put down deep roots in Texas and have the potential to make a significant contribution to society as productive members of the workforce. In 2015, an attempt to repeal this state law was defeated in the Texas legislature.
Now a related fight has developed over federal policy that defers any federal effort to deport young people like those who benefit from the Texas in-state tuition law and their parents. This federal policy has been challenged by Gov. Greg Abbott in federal court, in a case styled United States v. Texas. The case is now slated for oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18.
On March 8, the American Federation of Teachers joined in a friend-of-the-court brief with 70 other organizations in defense of the federal policy at issue in this case. The amicus brief can be found here: www.fightforfamilies.org.
In an accompanying statement, AFT President Randi Weingarten described the factors that moved AFT to weigh in:
Every day, in classrooms across the country, our members see firsthand the damage caused by our nation’s broken immigration system.
President Obama’s expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) initiatives have the potential to strengthen communities and change the lives of 5 million aspiring Americans by granting temporary reprieve from deportation and a three-year renewable work permit, while expanding educational opportunities and keeping U.S.-born children from being separated from their parents, entering the child welfare system or being forced to leave their U.S. homeland for a country that is not their own. After Congress refused to act on comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama took action, as many of his predecessors have done, using his legal authority to address some of the problems by expanding the number of children and parents who no longer live in the shadows.
The AFT knows DACA works—we have taught thousands of DACA children and represent hundreds of “DACA-mented” educators who, through DACA, have been able to pursue their dreams of teaching. Today, we stand with dozens of other organizations representing millions of Americans who implore the Supreme Court to consider the potential harm to our children—from the impact on their educational opportunities to their psychological, physical, social and emotional well-being—if the injunction imposed by the lower courts is upheld. The Supreme Court has an opportunity to put humanity before politics, stand up for the greater good and do right by the children who suffer the consequences of our broken immigration system on a daily basis.