A year passed since Obama announced his Executive Order on Immigration of November 20, 2014, which aimed at legalizing nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.
With immigration reform stuck in Congress, Obama tried to avoid a deportation of over 11 million illegal immigrants considered to be in the United States. He also planned to legalize nearly 5 million undocumented aliens by allowing them to get a work permit and temporary relief.
However, lower courts blocked the Obama plans. Texas and 25 other states sued the administration. The district court ruled that they had standing, i.e. the right to sue the federal government. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision.
Now the Obama administration is trying to reverse it. On November 21, 2015 a representative of the Obama administration asked the US Supreme Court to intervene and rule on Obama Executive Order on Immigration. The administration hopes it can be done before Obama leaves office in 2017.
In order to do this they have to act fast. The Obama’s Solicitor General has to persuade the Supreme Court to hear the case by the end of January in order to have a decision in 2016. Actually the Solicitor’s General office acted very fast so far. They submitted the appeal to the Supreme Court just 11 days after the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was made on November 9, 2015.
Under the law, Texas and 25 other states have 30 days to respond. However, the Solicitor General of Texas asked the Supreme Court for a 30-day extension. If the extension is granted, the Court won’t be able to review the case during the current term until June.
The Obama administration hopes that the Supreme Court won’t grant it and the case will be reviewed now. It can ask the Court to expedite the case. However, if the Court decides to hear it without expediting, oral arguments won’t be presented until fall 2016 and the decision won’t be made while Obama is still in office.
The administration lawyers argue that Texas and the other 25 states have no legal ground to challenge the Obama Executive Order. Texas and the other states maintain that Obama violated the law by acting unilaterally without Congress.