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Supreme Court Weighs Taking Up Obama Appeal on Immigration Plan

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Supreme Court Weighs Taking Up Obama Appeal on Immigration Plan

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The Supreme Court is meeting behind closed doors Friday to consider hearing one of the biggest immigration cases of its time — President Obama’s executive actions offering deportation protection to millions of undocumented immigrants.

A decision could come back as early as Friday afternoon.

It would ultimately be a death blow to the executive actions if the Supreme Court does not take up the case. But should the justices agree to hear oral arguments in the spring, it will be the best and final chance for Obama to see his immigration legacy realized before he leaves office.

Caught in the balance are nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants who have been waiting for more than a year to seek temporary legal status in the U.S.

And the political implications would be just as great. A Supreme Court decision would settle the matter by late June, which is likely to stoke a contentious debate over immigration just ahead of the 2016 presidential conventions.

It has been a long road to where we’re at now.

Instead, the executive measures have been tied up in the courts for nearly a year. Texas led a charge of 25 other states in challenging the actions, arguing that the programs are beyond the president’s scope of power.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ultimately blocked the measures from moving forward last February. He found fault with minor administrative procedures, deciding that Obama overstepped his authority by not allowing enough time for notice and comment from the public.

The Obama administration has said from the beginning that the Supreme Court was its best shot at getting the executive actions rolling before the end of the president’s term.

Scores of legal experts agree that legal precedent is on Obama’s side, and that he has broad authority in using prosecutorial discretion — after all, it’s up to the executive branch to decide how to carry out laws and use federal resources.

Since federal immigration officials have finite resources, experts feel the president should be able to prioritize who should and shouldn’t be deported. But now its in the hands of the justices to decide.

 

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