The Obama administration Friday formally requested the U.S. Supreme Court review a lower court decision that blocked an executive action by President Barack Obama protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported, Reuters reported. The request makes good Obama’s promise earlier this month to ask the high court to take up the issue and marks a year since Obama announced the initiative.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Obama’s initiative exceeded his authority as president. The initiative, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, would allow undocumented immigrant parents of U.S. citizens to apply for work permits if they have lived in the country for five years and not committed any crimes. It would help protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants from fear of deportation, the New York Times reported.
The initiative has been bogged down by a legal challenge from 26 states with Republican governors, who claim Obama overstepped his bounds, Reuters reported. In Friday’s petition, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote the immigration initiative is of national importance, and if the lower court ruling stands, it would give states the power to frustrate the federal government’s attempts to enforce immigration laws.
The White House has said the effort to block the initiative is a bid by Republicans to stand in the way of a change needed in U.S. immigration laws, the Times reported. “It results in more families being torn apart,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest has said.
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To mark the one year anniversary of the announcement of Obama’s initiative, immigrant advocacy groups planned rallies in Washington, asking Obama to hold off on deporting undocumented immigrants, the Washington Post reported. It was unclear whether the Supreme Court will choose to hear the case. If it does, there's no guarantee the justices will rule before the end of its term in June 30.