Civil and Human Rights

Challenge to Obama’s Immigration Program Taken Up by High Court


January 19, 2016


(CN) – The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to consider the injunction against President Barack Obama’s immigration program.


It’s been a rough road for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, since Obama unveiled it in November 2014, only to have it tied up by a lawsuit from Texas and 25 other Republican-led states.


U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction in February that blocked DAPA from taking effect as scheduled in May.


The government says DAPA is based on the idea of prosecutorial discretion, focusing its limited resources on deporting serious criminals and recent border crossers rather than law-abiding immigrants with family ties to the United States.


After the Fifth Circuit twice refused to remove the injunction, the Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court on Nov. 20, claiming that Texas’ choice to pay for driver’s licenses for such immigrants doesn’t give it standing to challenge the program.


Texas quickly requested an extension to file an opposing brief.


The Supreme Court took up the case Tuesday, without comment as is its custom.


In addition to the questions presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: “Whether the Guidance violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, Art. II, §3.”


The Constitutional Accountability Center greeted the news with applause.


“The president’s program has been delayed for far too long by this political lawsuit and the clearly erroneous decisions of the lower courts,” Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the group, said in a statement. “The lives of millions of children and families in America have been disrupted and held in limbo – a situation the president’s action was designed to alleviate – and they deserve the Court’s careful and prompt attention.”


Brianne Gorod, appellate counsel with the Constitutional Accountability Center, said the law dictates a reversal.


“The Obama administration’s immigration action was clearly lawful,” Gorod said in a statement. “The nation’s immigration laws give the executive branch significant discretion to determine how best to implement those laws in a manner that serves the national interest in public safety and national security. The action at issue here is legally no different than countless other exercises of executive discretion engaged in by presidents of both parties and blessed by both parties in Congress.”

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