The U.S. Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear oral arguments regarding President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. In November of 2014, President Obama announced his plan to implement a program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, as well as the expansion of the current program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The programs do not provide a path for qualifying individuals to obtain lawful permanent resident status or citizenship in the United States. Rather, the programs would allow qualifying individuals to obtain work authorization and a temporary period of authorized stay. The President has credited the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to support bipartisan Senate legislation to reform immigration laws as a reason for his decision to act unilaterally on this issue.
Following President Obama’s announcement on the programs, a coalition of 26 states, led by the attorney general in Texas, filed a lawsuit claiming that the President exceeded his executive authority by over-stepping Congress and by changing federal rules without following the proper procedure to do so. In February of 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Brownsville, Texas entered a preliminary injunction which halted the program while the case was adjudicated. The administration appealed Judge Hanen’s decision, and on November 9th, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the injunction.
Due to the upcoming elections, the Obama Administration is eager for a decision from SCOTUS, so that if the decision is a positive one, the programs can be implemented before President Obama leaves office. Arguments in this case are expected to be heard by the Supreme Court in April and we hope to have a decision from the Justices by the end of June.
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