Immigration Maze

President Barack Obama has requested that the U.S. Supreme Court revive his executive action, which protects millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported. The Obama administration says that the Republican-led states that challenged the action do not have any legal basis for doing so.

Undocumented Immigrants Are Not Legally Permitted to Work

On Nov. 9, about one year after Obama announced his executive action, the Justice Department appealed a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that affirmed a previous court's ruling to halt Obama's immigration action, but it lost the appeal and the 5th U.S. Circuit decision was allowed to stand. If the ruling to halt the order is not reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, then millions of undocumented immigrants will have to continue working without papers, and they will not be legally permitted to earn an income for their families.

Meanwhile, if Obama's order is allowed to prevail, as many as 4.7 million undocumented immigrants will be able to live and work in the United States. The president's order specifically applies to individuals with children who are U.S. citizens and people who do not have a criminal record.

Republican States Say Obama Overstepped His Authority

The challenge against Obama's action was led by 26 states that have predominantly Republican governments. The states alleged that President Barack Obama's action was an overreach of his authority as president because he bypassed Congress when issuing it. The Obama administration responded to the challenge by saying that the states did not have legal grounds to sue the federal government over the way it chooses to enforce the law.

The Obama administration announced its plans to appeal to the Supreme Court on Nov. 10. The justices said that they will decide whether they will take the case after receiving a response from the states that originally brought the challenge. If the court decides to hear this immigration matter, it will be one of the most important cases decided by the court during its current term, which concludes next June.