- The Supreme Court had a hearing today to discuss Obama’s bid to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.
- Texas has started a rally with 26 other states to challenge the programs that Obama announced in 2014.
- Hundreds of immigrant protesters flooded the front of the court, chanting “si se puede,” which is Spanish for “yes we can.”
- The courts have been asking, “just how much power does the president have?”
The Supreme Court on Monday took up one of the most far-reaching and significant challenges yet to President Obama’s use of executive power – hearing an election-year dispute over his bid to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and make them eligible to work in the U.S.
Texas is leading 26 states dominated by Republicans in challenging the programs Obama announced in 2014 and that have been put on hold by lower courts.
As arguments began, hundreds of pro-immigration protesters filled the sidewalk in front of the court and spilled into the street, forcing police to close the road to traffic. Demonstrators held signs that read “Keep Families Together” and chanted “Si se puede,” which is Spanish for “Yes we can.”
A small group of demonstrators opposing Obama’s action held signs saying the president had overstepped his authority.
The high court is expected to decide by late June whether the efforts can move forward in the waning months of Obama’s presidency, amid a presidential campaign that has been marked by harsh Republican rhetoric over immigration.
The justices on Monday were considering a fundamental question: how much power does the president truly have?
A coalition of states calls the president’s immigration actions an executive power grab. But the White House contends the president’s authority is clear, and the policies humane and reasonable. Obama has promoted his program as a plan to “prioritize deporting felons, not families.”
It’s a case that will be closely watched in an election season where Republican front-runner Donald Trump has made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign. The outcome also could have considerable bearing on Obama’s legacy.
At issue, Monday is whether as many as 5 million illegal immigrants can be spared deportation — including those who entered the U.S. as children, and the parents of citizens or legal residents. The programs — known as Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens and Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — effectively went around the Republican-led Congress.
Opponents, including 26 states and GOP members of Congress, say the plan exceeds constitutional power.
A federal appeals court earlier had struck down DAPA, which has yet to go fully into effect. The Justice Department then asked the high court for a final review, in what could be a key test of Obama’s executive powers his last year in office.
The immigrants who would benefit from the Obama administration’s plan are mainly parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said in a court filing that allowing the past rulings to stand would force millions “to continue to work off the books.”
However, as with other high-profile Supreme Court appeals this term — on ObamaCare, abortion rights and affirmative action — the outcome here likely will be affected by the death in February of Justice Antonin Scalia, which left a 4-4 bench split along conservative-liberal lines.
A 4-4 ruling would effectively scuttle the issue until after Obama leaves office in nine months, and mean at least a temporary setback to his domestic policy legacy. The justices also could rule narrowly on the procedure, finding a compromise on a technical issue not directly related to the larger policy questions.
On the legal side, the GOP-controlled House filed an amicus brief supporting the states, telling the high court, “the Executive does not have the power to authorize — let alone facilitate — the prospective violation of the immigration laws on a massive class-wide scale.”
The case is U.S. v. Texas (15-674).
Source: Fox News