Arguments were held in the Supreme Court Monday in United States v. Texas, the intensely fought legal battle regarding President Obama’s executive actions on immigration that he made in November of 2014.
Obama’s proposal would create a new program to allow the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to obtain temporary work authorization to remain in the country. The administration also intends to expand the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, that provides similar relief and work permits to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. years ago as children.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was one of twenty five Attorneys General who joined the Texas lawsuit, which asserts that the Obama administration overstepped its constitutional authority by granting work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants and promising them a reprieve from deportation. The states argue that “unilateral suspension of the Nation’s immigration laws is unlawful” and that only the judiciary’s “immediate intervention can protect the [states] from dramatic and irreparable injuries.”
Tampa Democratic Representative Kathy Castor says Obama was compelled to make his executive action because of GOP intransigence.
“In the face of Republican obstruction, it was necessary for President Obama to act by executive order, just as he did in 2012 when he granted temporary relief to DREAM Act students who were born outside America but know no other country and have no other home,” Castor said in a statement. “It is within the President’s authority to take appropriate steps to focus law enforcement efforts on deporting felons, not families. In Florida, an estimated 150,000 of our neighbors are eligible for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and 14,000 are eligible for expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – these productive individuals could come out of the shadows, work, go to school and participate in our economy.”
With only eight members on the high court, a 4-4 tie would essentially be a loss for the president and a win for his opponents. That’s because a tie would leave in place the appeals court ruling that blocks the plan from being implemented.
Throughout Florida, a coalition of immigration activists held actions noting the event, including members of SEIU Florida, LULAC and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, who met on Monday afternoon in Centennial Park in Ybor City.
Castor’s district includes much of Hillsborough County, which currently has a Latino population of at least 26.5 percent (according to U.S. Census Bureau information from mid-2014).