The U.S. Supreme Court will decide in the next few days whether President Barack Obama can implement one of the most sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration system in decades
Oddly, a ruling in favor of the administration could also benefit Donald Trump if he wins the presidency, boosting a legal argument that he has the authority to suspend immigration from largely Muslim countries with a “proven history of terrorism,” as he said last week after the Orlando mass shooting.
Though the gunman, Omar Mateen, was born and raised in the United States, his parents came here from Afghanistan decades ago.
One of the principal questions at hand in the Obama case, which was challenged by Texas and a coalition of 26 mostly Republican states in 2014, is how much authority the president has to interpret and enforce immigration law — especially if it conflicts with congressional will.
Legal experts tend to agree that the president has wide oversight and Texas itself concurred when it brought the suit, acknowledging the president has broad authority. Congress only allocates enough money to remove about 400,000 immigrants a year so the administration must prioritize whom to deport.
Obama’s plan relies on a long-standing legal concept known as deferred action, in which the government can temporarily delay removing certain immigrants and meanwhile give them provisional work permits.
His program, if approved, would apply to the parents of American citizens and legal residents who have been here since 2010 and certain youth who arrived illegally as children. In all, roughly a third of the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally could benefit.
By Lomi Kriel for Houston Chronicle
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