The lawsuit by 26 states challenging President Obama’s executive order, temporarily eliminating deportation as a punishment for violating U.S. laws, finally reaches the Supreme Court on Monday. With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the court divided 4-4 along conservative and liberal ideologies, should the court return a split opinion, that would mean that a lower court ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2015, which struck down Obama’s executive order, would be the final word on the matter. For the estimated 10 to 20 million illegal immigrants present in the United States currently, this would mean that all are once again eligible for and are required to be deported for violating U.S. immigration law.
With immigration a current front burner issue in the ongoing presidential primary season, the court’s decision not only could be one of the most important to be made regarding immigration in the past 40 years, it could have a direct impact on the 2016 general election for Congress and the presidency. The court is expected to release its decision in the case by June.
Oral arguments will conclude the evidentiary phase of this case on Monday, and then the case will be taken up directly by the justices themselves. There is a lot at stake for not only the illegal immigrants, but for the industries that have come forward to serve them. Remittances (money transfers) to Mexico and other parts of the Americas are inevitably going to go down, and in some regions like California and Texas, the amount of commerce recaptured could very well be enough to reduce taxes, or improve government services.
Neither the conservatives nor the liberals on the high court seem ready to do anything but continue to issue split decisions on what cannot be agreed upon between both sides. As is happening in Washington today, as a general matter, conflict and a failure to agree are running at all time highs in the nation’s capitol. It seems quite normal that the high court would simply defer to a lower court’s decision to resolve the matter. Perhaps once this point is reached, then perhaps, Congress has a chance to put together a real immigration reform bill and to do so before this term of Congress expires in December.
Obama called his executive action “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents” (DAPA), and this action meant that if you had children who were lawful citizens, or permanent residents, and you were here in the U.S. illegally, this action effectively ended deportations for you and other parents of children who are in the U.S. illegally. Since the administration appealed the 5th Circuit Court’s decision, there has been little talk about immigration from the Obama White House.
For every 500 immigrants protesting deportations, there are tens of thousands of citizens who are agreeing with the 5th Circuit Court, and those citizens are appearing at political rallies for both Republican front runners in the race for the U.S. presidency; businessman and entrepreneur Donald Trump, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. On the Democrat side of the political aisle, politicians up and down the ticket are praying that the 5th Circuit Court’s decision will be overturned. The tension could not be any higher than it is right now when it comes to immigration law in the U.S.
While it is not possible to determine beforehand how the Supreme Court will rule, one thing is definitely certain: it will be an incredibly emotional issue on all sides. Expect to see many protesters for and against the court case on Monday. During the oral argument phase of the case, each side’s attorney will have a chance to make a presentation. Then both attorneys will be asked questions regarding the justification for their individual positions. Oral arguments on Monday could take several hours to complete.
Chief Justice John Roberts has not signaled to the press or to the American people as to exactly when in June the decision is to be handed out. We can only wait for the deliberations of America’s highest court to chart our course forward on immigration from this point.