Immigration Order Will Be Reviewed by Supreme Court

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

UPDATE: On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court ruling blocking the implementation of President Obama's 2014 Executive Order.

January 21, 2016

The Supreme Court will decide whether the Obama administration can allow undocumented workers to request work permits and deportation relief for three years at a time if they have been in the United States for at least five years and have children who are citizens or legal residents, among other requirements.

On January 19, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the administration's appeal of a lower court's ruling that blocked the implementation of an Executive Order issued by President Obama in November 2014. The order would have expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and implemented a related program, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Individuals seeking protection under DACA's expansion and the DAPA program will continue to be unable to seek work permits and lawful immigration status in the US pending the Court's review.

Twenty-six states had challenged the president's Executive Order as unlawfully legislating immigration issues that would, and should, be addressed by Congress. Texas and other states argued that the executive actions would result in higher costs to the states, such as issuing driver's licenses and processing unemployment compensation benefits to a large number of people who would be eligible for work permits due to their newly lawful presence in the US. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the states, upholding a ruling by a federal district judge that placed the immigration programs on hold.

The Obama administrationasked the Supreme Court to review the 5th Circuit's ruling, arguing that:

  • The states did not have standing to file a lawsuit;
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had statutory authority to issue guidance based on the Executive Order; and
  • The DHS was not required to give the public advance notice and a chance to comment on the guidance before it was issued.

In agreeing to hear the case, the Supreme Court also asked both parties to argue whether the guidance violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, which requires that the president "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."