Government appeals 5th Circuit on immigration action plan

Just over a year after President Obama announced his immigration action plan, the decision as to whether it can be implemented has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. We discussed the details of the plan last November, which involved, among other provisions, extending deferred action to parents of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents, and expanding the existing program granting deferred action to children who entered the U.S. during a specified period of time.

A federal judge in Texas halted the plan in February of this year right before the USCIS was to begin accepting applications for deferred action. The suit was brought by 26 states and argued that the president lacked the authority to implement the plan. The 5th Circuit upheld the lower court's ruling, and the plan has yet to be implemented.

According to SCOTUS Blog, the administration filed an appeal to the Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that the plan should be put into effect. The issues involved are: 1) Whether the states have standing to challenge the president's executive actions in court; 2) Whether the enacting the immigration policy was beyond the authority of the executive branch; and 3) Whether the government had a duty to allow a period of public comment on the policy.  The government asked the court to grant immediate review of the case. The Supreme Court will likely determine whether to hear the case within a few weeks.

After granting review, if the court finds that the states lacked standing to bring the case then it would not decide the remaining questions, as there would no longer be a valid challenge to the policy for the court to review.