Battle over Obama immigration actions lands before Supreme Ct

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 5:33 PM

A coalition of states calls it an executive power grab. "President Obama'south executive action is an affront to our system of republican self-government," said Sen.

Battle over Obama immigration actions lands before Supreme Ct

The impassioned election-year debate over President Obama’s immigration executive actions lands Monday before a short-handed Supreme Court, where justices will consider a fundamental question: how much power does the president truly have?

The justices map to hold ninety minutes of verbal arguments dealing with Obama’s tender to spare millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.

A coalition of states calls it an executive power grab. "President Obama'south executive action is an affront to our system of republican self-government," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who supports those states.

But the White House contends the president’s authority is clear, and the policies attentive and reasonable. Obama has promoted his program as a map to "prioritize deporting felons not families."

It’s a case that'll be closely watched in an election season where Republican front-runner Donald Trump has made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign. The outcome also could've considerable bearing on Obama’s legacy, potentially determining whether his lame-duck tender to go around Congress is upheld or ruled an overreach.

At issue Monday is whether as many as five million illegal immigrants can be spared deportation -- including those who entered the U. S. as children, and the parents of citizens or valid residents. The programs -- known as Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens and Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) -- effectively went around the Republican-led Congress.

Opponents, including twenty-six states and GOP members of Congress, declare the map exceeds constitutional power.

A federal appeals Ct earlier had struck down DAPA, which has yet to go fully into effect. The Justice Dept then asked the high Ct for a final review, in what could be a key test of Obama'south executive powers his latest year in office.

The decision to review the case was welcome on both sides of the aisle.

"The Constitution vests legislative authority in Congress, not the president,” said Hatch, urging the justices to regulation against the administration.

But the White House voiced confidence the policies would be upheld.

"Like millions of families across this country -- immigrants who wish to be held accountable, to work on the books, to pay taxes, and to contribute to our society openly and honestly -- we're pleased that the Supreme Ct has decided to review the immigration case," spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said.

The issue of illegal immigration has taken a center-stage role in the Republican primary battle, as Trump calls for a border wall between the U. S. and Mexico and candidates spar over who's toughest on the issue.

The immigrants who'd benefit from the Obama administration'south map are mainly parents of U. S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Solicitor Common Donald Verrilli Jr. said in a Ct filing that allowing the past rulings to stand would force millions "to continue to work off the books.”

Besides immigration, Obama has used his unilateral authority to act on such hot-button issues as gun control, health care and global warming.

However, as with other high-profile Supreme Ct appeals this term -- on ObamaCare, abortion rights and affirmative action -- the outcome here likely will be affected by death in Feb of Justice Antonin Scalia, which left a 4-4 bench split along conservative-liberal lines.

A 4-4 ruling would effectively scuttle the issue until after Obama leaves office in nine months, and imply at minimum a temporary setback to his domestic policy legacy -- even if the justices punt, and select to reargue the case when Scalia'south replacement is sworn in. The justices also could regulation narrowly on procedure, finding a compromise on a technical issue not directly related to the larger policy questions.

On the valid side, the GOP-controlled House filed an amicus brief supporting the states, telling the high court, "the Executive doesn't have the power to authorize -- let alone facilitate -- the prospective violation of the immigration laws on a massive class-wide scale."

Supporters of the administration vow this issue will resonate in an election year.

"There are millions of families of U. S.-born citizens that live below the fear of separation and deportation," said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mile Familia Vota, an Hispanic advocacy nonprofit. "Our community is watching and will keep accountable those who have stood on the way of our families through the ballots in November."

MFV and other immigrant rights advocates map to march at the Supreme Ct around Monday's arguments.

The case is U. S. v. TX (15-674). A ruling is expected by late June.

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