Immigration activists in New Orleans accused the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of stalling Thursday on a ruling on President Barack Obama's proposed immigration executive actions. The activists, who said they would begin a nine-day fast just across the street from the 5th Circuit Court, are working against time.
The longer a decision is held, the less time there is available for the case to make its way to the Supreme Court. If the case doesn't make it there during the current session, it appears unlikely that Obama will be able to act on the proposals before he leaves office in January 2017.
"That's our window to take the decision to the Supreme Court," Sulma Arias, an activist with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, said of the nine days they will be fasting. "We feel they've had enough time to rule."
The three-judge panel heard arguments July 10 regarding Obama's proposal, which would provide deportation relief to an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants, including the parents of American citizens who came to the country illegally. The court's website indicates that it tries to issue opinions within 60 days of hearing arguments. Sunday will mark the 100th day.
The White House is reportedly expecting to lose the appeal, chiefly because the court has disagreed with the Obama administration before.
If a decision is reached soon, the earliest a final decision could be made on the president's immigration overhaul would be next summer. That would give the president enough time to take action on a very small number of cases -- likely just a few hundred thousand could qualify in time.
This means that, ultimately, the president's immigration overhaul could ultimately be left mostly in the hands of whoever is the next president.