One potentially detrimental impact on the economy of Texas of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in United States v. Texas is the way it has denied the state of thousands of new workers who might otherwise qualify for work permits.
The U.S. Supreme Court split 4-4 on President Obama’s deferred action proposal that would have allowed more than 4 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States. The policy is now unlikely to progress during his presidency.
In a recent article in SETexas Record written before the court handed down its decision, Cornell Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr, said several hundred thousand people in Texas would be able to apply for temporary work permits if deferred action was backed by the justices.
Instead of being able to play a valuable part in Texas’s economy, these undocumented immigrants will now remain, in the words of Jose P. Garza, executive director of the Workers Defense Project, “living in the shadows.”
He said they would remain in constant fear of being separated from their families at any time and possibly deported.
Texas along with 25 other states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas at the end of 2014 to block Obama’s proposed expansion of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Why New Work Permits Could Benefit the Texas Economy
The addition of hundreds of thousands of workers to the economy could boost areas with labor shortages.
The acute labor shortage in the building market was noted last year by the Houston Chronicle. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, many building workers left during the recession and are yet to return.
Almost half of the construction companies in Texas said they were losing their hourly craft workers to other local construction firms and 21 percent were losing them to different industries.
Although employers are barred by federal law from hiring people who are illegally in the country, undocumented immigrants can work for themselves or as independent contractors.
A report by the Public Policy Institute of California suggested increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants are opting to work for themselves. In Arizona alone, more than 25,000 undocumented migrants became self-employed in 2009. Texas has one of the largest populations of undocumented immigrants in the United States.