To bring the case and have legal standing, the state of Texas, the
lead plaintiff in the case, must show that it has been hurt in some
way. In its filing, Texas argues that it would take a hefty
financial hit for processing driver's licenses for immigrants in the
country illegally whose deportation would be deferred under Obama's
The Texas attorney general's office said Obama's action "would cause
a spike in driver's license applications, thus making those licenses
much more costly to issue."
But the numbers cited by Texas in its claim far exceed what the
state currently pays annually for all its driver's license services.
"It is kind of dry, legal stuff, but it is of great consequence,"
said Bill Beardall, executive director of the Equal Justice Center
in Texas, which provides legal help for low-income families and
Beardall, also a University of Texas Law School professor, said the
claims Texas makes of harm are tenuous.
"It has been regarded by almost all legal scholars as a very thin
basis for claiming the kind of irreparable harm that would support a
temporary injunction, or the kind of serious harm that would support
standing," Beardall said.
If the Supreme Court finds that Texas lacked a sufficient "injury"
to sue, the case ends there and Obama wins.
In a filing with the Supreme Court, Texas contends that processing
driver's licenses for immigrants shielded from deportation under
Obama's action would cost the state more than $103 million in
additional funds to process as many as 520,000 people seeking
The $103 million figure is nearly triple what the state of 27
million people currently budgets annually for all driver's license
services including tasks such as administering about 4.9 million
driver's examinations and mailing approximately 6.3 million driver's
licenses and identification cards.
In its explanation of costs contained in a 400-page appendix to the
high court, Texas said the additional immigrants it expects to seek
driver's licenses would force it to hire new staff, expand office
space and bolster technology.
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"The added customer base that may be created by the president's
executive action, assuming an applicant will be able to demonstrate
they are authorized to be in the United States, will substantially
burden driver license resources without additional funding and
support," Texas stated in the document.
The state said that for each additional 1,750 people seeking
driver's licenses, it would have to hire roughly two full-time
employees to process them.
That number does not match the figure in this fiscal year's state
budget, which said the average number of driver's licenses and
records produced by a single full-time employee is 2,638 annually, a
figure triple the efficiency of the state's claim to the Supreme
Texas said in its Supreme Court filing that to process applications
from the immigrants who fall under the terms of the executive
action, it has to make additional checks. It also said the average
costs of those checks is about 75 cents an applicant.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Will Dunham)
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