WASHINGTON (AP/KXAN) — The Supreme Court has agreed to an election-year review of President Barack Obama’s executive orders to allow up to 5 million immigrants to “come out of the shadows” and work legally in the United States.
The justices said Tuesday they will consider undoing lower court rulings that blocked the plan from taking effect in the midst of a presidential campaign already roiled by the issue.
In November, the administration called for the court’s immediate review of its plan to protect and give work permits to as many as 5 million immigrants.
One of the programs at stake is the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) policy. This allows parents who have United States-born children a chance to stay in the country.
Also at stake, the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people brought to the country illegally as children, an opportunity to stay.
Maria Dominguez, a first-grade teacher at Rodriguez Elementary, hopes the President’s executive actions will live on.
“Parents can get deported at any time if they are here illegally. And of course the children that are left behind, that’s what worries me,” said Dominguez.
She says with DAPA, many parents at the school would finally be able to get work legally, and put down permanent roots in the country.
“I wish sometimes they would come in, talk to these families and see what they’re going through, and that there are people here working hard,” said Dominguez. “That they’re not rapists, they’re not criminals. That they’re here for their families.”
Dominguez came to the United States when she was 9-years-old. Years later in 2012, she qualified for the original DACA progam.
“I remember being in my car and hearing it on the radio, and I really couldn’t believe it,” said Dominguez. “By then I had been in the U.S. for 20 years without being able to get a driver’s license or a social security card – or even to get a decent job.”
If the justices side with the administration in the summer, that would leave Obama’s administration with a few short months to implement his plans.
The Workers Defense Project applauded the court’s decision to review the case. “Our broken immigration system is bad for workers, families, and businesses,” said WDP Executive Director, Jose P. Garza, “We are confident they will rule in favor of hardworking immigration families and the administration’s commonsense executive actions.”
But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and others opposed to the President’s actions say there’s a limit to his authority.
“I do think he’s overstepped the will of the public,” said Andy Hogue, with the Travis County Republican Party. “The majority of the public wants reform, they want meaningful immigration reform. We’re not doing that, we’re getting more of the same from the same administration.”
Hogue says he’s glad to see people talking about the issue.
“It’s only going to help us. It’s going to bring more attention to our candidates because our candidates have proactive responses, we have answers to these situations,” said Hogue.
Texas is leading 26 states in challenging the immigration plan.
Within minutes of the news that the Supreme Court will look over the matter, Attorney General Ken Patxon issued this response:
“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. The Court should affirm what President Obama said himself on more than 20 occasions: that he cannot unilaterally rewrite congressional laws and circumvent the people’s representatives.”
The case will likely be argued in April and decided by late June, about a month before both parties’ presidential nominating conventions.