CHN: Supreme Court Hears Case on President’s Immigration Executive Actions

Thousands of advocates gathered outside the Supreme Court building last Monday, April 18, as the justices heard oral arguments for and against President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (expanded DACA) guidelines and creating the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Texas and 25 other states sued the federal government in December 2014 to block these executive actions, which would allow millions of immigrants to apply for deferral of deportation and work authorization. In February 2015, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled in Texas’s favor and blocked both DAPA and the expansion of DACA. In a decision issued in November 2015, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s order. The Supreme Court announced its decision to review United States v. Texas on January 19.
Advocates like those at the National Immigration Law Center are hopeful the Supreme Court will uphold the President’s actions, allowing the programs to go forward and allowing millions of immigrants to come out of the shadows, work legally, get better jobs, pay more in taxes and stop living in fear. At least one D.C. publication, however seemed to think a 4-4 tie was possible, which would leave in place the lower court decisions blocking President Obama’s actions. Hundreds of immigration, civil rights, labor and social service groups filed amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs with the Supreme Court, urging the court to lift the injunction that blocked the executive actions. Advocates have also been working hard to remind immigrants that the case does not impact the “Dreamer” children who were granted relief from deportation under the 2012 DACA program.

A decision from the Court is expected by the end of June. For more on the history and background of the case, see these resources from the National Immigration Law Center and this special report from the American Immigration Council.