Immigration in the Obama Era
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
This chapter will tell the legal, historical, and political tale of two major immigration cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court during President Barack Obama's Administration: Arizona v. United States, which addressed whether states could adopt their own immigration enforcement policies, and United States v. Texas, which grappled with the power of the President to alter federal immigration policy through his enforcement choices. Although these cases were nominally about two very different constitutional doctrines - Arizona was federalism case, and Texas raised separation of powers issues - they turned on the same question: the scope of the executive's power over immigration policy in an era of congressional inaction. Accordingly, Arizona and Texas are case studies not only of the fraught politics of immigration reform during Obama's presidency, but also the broader political dysfunction of the era.