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US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Constitutionality of Obama Immigration Order

Immigration News This Week: The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on April 18, 2016, regarding President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The Justices grilled both sides on their positions for and against the executive actions, alluding to the possibility of a split decision. With Justice Scalia’s recent death, the Supreme Court is down to eight members instead of nine. An even split in the decision would keep in place the 5th Circuit’s holding to block Obama’s executive orders. This would be an unfortunate blow to millions of immigrants across the nation seeking deferred action, as well as President Obama’s immigration legacy.

President Obama issued executive orders in November, 2014, that would give deportation relief to over 4 million parents with children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents. The November, 2014, order, dubbed Deferred Action for Parents of Americas or Legal Permanent Residents (“DAPA”), was similar to the Dreamers Act, or Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (“DACA”). DAPA would have given immigrant parents similar rights as those afforded to immigrant children under DACA. However, almost immediately after the executive order for DAPA was released, Texas and 25 other states sued over the initiatives and have thus far been victorious. A Texas federal judge initially blocked the policies, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s ruling in November, 2015.

The Obama administration then sought the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 5th Circuit's decision, in hopes that the President's immigration policies, benefiting immigrant parents, could be implemented in the remaining, final months of his term. In Monday’s oral arguments Chief Justice Roberts questioned the issue of standing to Obama's administration, and Justices Sotomayor and Kagan equally grilled the State on its alleged standing. Both Justice Sotomayor and Kagan pointed to laws from 1990 that granted the same relief as DAPA, namely, deferred action and work authorization, and questioned the State on why Obama's executive orders should be treated differently. Justice Kennedy, on the other hand, seemed to find fault with the President's orders, stating, “limits of discretion is a legislative, not an executive act.”

Unfortunately, we will not hear a final decision until approximately June of this year. If you are an immigrant parent who has a U.S. or legal resident child, please call us today to see if you would be eligible for DAPA relief and how to prepare, should the 5th Circuit’s decision be overturned.

Reyes & Schroeder Associates is a law firm dedicated to keeping families together and preserving your rights. The above information has been prepared for general information purposes only, and has been provided to learn more about our firm, our services and the experience of our attorneys. In no event does the information contained above amount to legal advice and is not to be acted on as such. For legal advice specific to your situation, including immigration, criminal and/or family law matters, please contact Leslie Reyes at, or at the firm’s office phone (818)-253-1641.

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