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Obama Administration Tells Supreme Court ‘Lawfully’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Legally’


Rustrian was among thousands of immigration activists rallying in front of the Supreme Court on Monday as justices heard oral arguments on a case that challenges Obama’s initiative. On Monday, justices appeared deeply divided on the issue.

DAPA allows for deferred action-a stay on deportation and removal proceedings-for the parents of Americans with legal status, provided they have no criminal record.

The Supreme Court will announce its decision this summer, probably in June.

In response, Texas and 25 other states sued, contending that language in the president’s order could require the states to provide driver’s licenses and other services to undocumented immigrants. Kennedy suggested several times that the proper case would be a challenge to that existing regulation. Or, more accurately, welcome to the new world President Barack Obama – through his solicitor – is asking the Supreme Court to join him in declaring. The programs would apply to parents of children who are US citizens or living in the country legally.

Stakes are high for the millions of undocumented immigrants whose depend on these programs. “You couldn’t work, you couldn’t do anything once you got that you were able to be like, ‘ yea I have my job or after college I will look for my job”, said Mercado.

Obama, who has seen many of his major legislative initiatives stifled by Republican lawmakers, has drawn Republican ire with his use of executive action to get around Congress on immigration policy and other matters including gun control and healthcare. Federal courts have ruled Obama’s executive action on the matter to be an unconstitutional overreach.

The decision, Diamante explained, expanded the qualifications of these deferred action programs, first instituted in 2012, so that a larger portion of the USA undocumented immigrant population would qualify.

One of the Supreme Court justices, Anthony Kennedy, said of the DAPA program, “The president is setting policy and Congress is executing it”. The White House’s legal team cited that case heavily in its documents and filings to the Supreme Court as proof the federal government in general, and the executive branch in particular, hold considerable power to oversee the country’s immigration policy.

The administration and immigration advocates say Obama’s orders are neither unprecedented nor even unusual.

The case, United States v. Texas, was heard by an eight-member court, and the absence of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February, has altered the judicial dynamic.

Darrin Jackson

The author Darrin Jackson

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