From The Washington Post:
by Robert Barnes and Juliet Eilperin
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will decide whether President Obama has the authority to declare that millions of illegal immigrants be allowed to remain and work in the United States without fear of deportation.
The court will probably hear the case in April, with a ruling before it adjourns in June. It provides the last chance that the administration would have to implement the program, announced by Obama in 2014, before he leaves office next January. The program would affect nearly 4 million people.
Obama’s program, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), would allow illegal immigrants in those categories to remain in the country and apply for work permits if they have been here for at least five years and have not committed felonies or repeated misdemeanors.
The administration says the program is a way for a government with limited resources to prioritize which illegal immigrants it will move first to deport.
But the executive action, taken after Congress failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform, was blocked by lower courts when Texas and 25 other Republican-led states sued to stop it.
“DAPA is a crucial change in the nation’s immigration law and policy — and that is precisely why it could be created only by Congress, rather than unilaterally imposed by the Executive,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said in a filing to the court.
The states said that the program “would be one of the largest changes in immigration policy in our nation’s history” and that it raises major issues involving the separation of powers and federalism.
Paxton on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court review, saying in a statement: “In deciding to hear this case, the Supreme Court recognizes the importance of the separation of powers. As federal courts have already ruled three times, there are limits to the President’s authority, and those limits enacted by Congress were exceeded when the President unilaterally sought to grant ‘lawful presence’ to more than 4 million unauthorized aliens who are in this country unlawfully.”
White House officials also welcomed the announcement, saying they were confident their side would prevail. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the action Obama took to shield many undocumented immigrants from deportation was “clearly within the confines of his authority as president in the United States.”
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the legal arguments that we’ll be making before the Court,” Earnest said, adding that the administration has not only a legal case to make but a policy argument about “the practical impact, the positive impact” of the executive actions “on the security of communities across the country.”
Read the full article from The Washington Post.