US Supreme Court reviews Obama actions as immigrants wait
Apr 19, 2016 10:53 AM EDT
The Supreme Court said Tuesday it would entertain a challenge to President Obama's executive action on immigration rules as it agrees to review the reach of presidential power and decide on the fate of one of his most far-reaching initiatives. As it does so, millions of illegal immigrants wait in limbo.
The court, which has twice rejected challenges to Obama's legislative victory by upholding the validity of his health care law, will now rule on the president's plan to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and allow them to stay and work in the country indefinitely and legally, reported the New York Times.
The justices hinted at a possible broad decision as it took the extraordinary step of adding their own question to the case. They asked the parties whether Obama violated his obligations to enforce the nation's laws. "The court's decision could redefine the balance of power between Congress and the president," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a law professor at Cornell.
The president's aggressive use of executive power has intensified criticism by adversaries that he is abusing his authority. Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas who is leading the challenge to his immigration actions asked the court to make it clear that no president can "unilaterally rewrite congressional laws and circumvent the people's representatives."
In late 2014 Obama ordered the creation of a program that would allow as many as five million illegal immigrants who are parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that exempts them from deportation and grants them work permits. Thus, Deferred Action for Parents Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents or DAPA was born.
Meanwhile, as the court's ruling is being awaited, millions of illegal immigrants eagerly lurk in the shadow crossing their fingers, anticipating a decision favorable to the president. Seventeen-year-old "Mariam" is one of them, reported the Huffington Post. She is a high school student who came to the US four months too late to qualify for the original Deferred Action Program.
Said program gave certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 the right to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. She wants to be a lawyer or work in business but unlike other girls her age her future will not be decided by her grades or family income but by the Supreme Court.
Reuters tells the story of Rhonda. She is a forty-seven-year old immigrant who lives in the port city of Baltimore where Europeans once entered America after sailing the Atlantic. She is in a desperate situation as she wants to provide for her teeage daughter but cannot get a work permit because she is in the US illegally.
They are just two of millions whose future hangs in the collective wisdom of the nine (actually, eight at the moment with Justice Antonin Scalia's replacement unconfirmed) wise men of the Supreme Court of the United States who are tasked to pass on the legality of Obama's executive action.