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On November 9, 2015, the fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling proposed by a federal judge in Texas that blocked President Obama’s immigration initiative. The immigration initiative, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), can defer deportations and offer work permits to more than four million undocumented immigrants. . Leaders of 26 states, mostly Republicans, claimed that the immigration initiative overshadowed the power of Congress, thus, is unconstitutional. In response to the Court of Appeals’ decision, on November 20, 2014, the Department of Justice formally filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision that blocked the immigration proposal. In this whole controversy, time is a crucial factor. “The Court, which schedules arguments in appeals from October to April each term, needs to receive the appeal and get briefs from both sides before deciding whether to accept the case.” Although the Department of Justice already filed the appeal, Texas seems to delay the process. At this point, the longer it is delayed, the more likely that the case will be pushed into the next term and past the presidential election.
Before the controversy of DAPA, the Obama administration already implemented a similar program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, which aimed to defer deportation of certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. The DAPA program is an extended immigration program built on DACA. These programs are expected to help up to 4.4 million people, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The case of President Obama’s immigration action instigates diverse arguments from different parties. Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said the administration would seek to resolve the litigation quickly so immigration authorities could prioritize “the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children.”
Nevertheless, the challengers of the initiative, in other words, the leaders of the 26 states mentioned earlier, argued that the programs were unlawful because they did not comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Specifically, the APA is the United States’ federal statute that governs the way in which administrative agencies of the federal government may propose and establish regulations. Cynthia Meyer, the spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said: “three times federal courts have ruled in our favor, and we stand ready to continue defending the rule of law against the president’s abuse of executive power.”
Cornell Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr holds a different opinion. He said the decision “files in the face of several Supreme Court precedents granting the executive branch broad, almost unlimited, power on immigration policy issues.” He further added that “courts have often said that immigration rulings or interpretations do not need to go through APA.”
Regardless of this particular case, immigration issues will continue to be a hot topic because of the ongoing presidential debates. For President Obama, who made immigration reform a key second-term initiative, this appeal to the Supreme Court is a crucial attempt for him to implement the immigration action. More importantly, the immigration reform will mark his success or failure of his last year in the executive office.
Bustillo, Miguel & Audi, Tamara. Obama Immigration Initiative Takes Another Hit. Wall Street Journal. 9 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
Shear, Michael & Preston, Julia. Appeals Court Deals Blow to Obama’s Immigration Plans. The New York Times. 9 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
Vogue, Ariane. Obama Administration Wants Supreme Court to Approve Its Immigration Plans. CNN. 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
Milligan, Susan. A Bumpy Road on Immigration. US News. 23 Feb. 2015. Web. Nov. 2015
The Obama Administration’s DAPA and Expanded DACA Programs. National Immigration Law Center. 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015
The Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). National Immigration Law Center. 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015
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