This week, the Obama administration submitted a brief to the Supreme Court with arguments supporting a blocked executive immigration program that would defer deportation for millions of immigrants in the United States.
In a presidential race fraught with polarizing rhetoric, immigration is one of, if not the most divisive issue in the country. On the Republican side of the campaign trail, Donald Trump has energized the GOP conservative base, vowing to build a wall along the border and making Mexico pay for it. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio on the other hand, who are both of Cuban descent, have repeatedly accused one another of supporting initiatives that grant amnesty to more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, whom they have publicly pledged to deport upon taking office.
Republicans: Obama Overstepped the Powers of His Office
President Obama’s executive program, considered a centerpiece of his second term in office, was first announced in 2014. That same year, Texas and 25 other GOP-controlled states filed a lawsuit, saying the president overstepped his authority and disregarded the standard procedure of giving notice and awaiting comment for new rules.
A Solution to a Basic Problem
However, in its 93-page brief to the Supreme Court this week, the Department of Justice reasons the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), is a perfectly sound solution to a basic problem, offering qualified immigrants the right to reside in the US without facing deportation in 3-year renewable terms. Within this period, immigrants can apply for work permits and driver’s licenses.
According to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the government simply cannot deport every undocumented immigrant and alien, adding that the Department of Homeland Security’s current budget of $6 billion to process and remove tens of millions of immigrants is simply inadequate.
Under DAPA, more than 5 million immigrants can be eligible for temporary lawful presence, helping law-abiding families that have lived in the US for years stay together, and diverting resources to remove criminals and individuals that have just crossed the border.
Supreme Court to Decide
Pundits believe the recent passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative, may influence the upcoming SC ruling. According to Gabriel Chin, a law professor at the University of California-Davis, his presence would have had little to no effect, as he would not have voted decisively. If the vote ends in a 4-4 split, the injunction would stand, just as it would if Scalia made the deciding vote against DAPA. The late justice would have most likely voted against the program anyway, as he voted down a similar program in 2012: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The Supreme Court is expected to receive arguments in April, announcing a ruling before the end of June.
To learn how the Supreme Court’s decision will affect you or someone you know, contact Lyttle Law Firm today. Schedule a consult by calling our offices at 512-215-5225 or by visiting our website.