WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama will ask the Supreme Court to clear the way for his long-delayed immigration overhaul, administration lawyers said Tuesday, setting up another high-stakes legal contest in the nation’s highest court over the fate of one of the president’s signature achievements.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that it will appeal a federal appeals court ruling that blocked Obama’s plan to provide work permits to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants while shielding most of them from deportation.
“The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow DHS to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children,” said Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department. “The Department disagrees with the 5th Circuit’s adverse ruling and intends to seek further review from the Supreme Court of the United States.”
A ruling from the Supreme Court, which could come by next summer, is likely to be the last chance for Obama to begin carrying out the plan — known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans — before handing the presidency to his successor in 2017, possibly to a Republican who could refuse to move forward.
On Monday, a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the administration, keeping in place a ban on the president’s actions that was imposed by a federal district court judge in Texas last February.
Obama asserted the executive power of his office to reshape the nation’s immigration rules after years in which he was repeatedly blocked from a legislative overhaul by Republicans in Congress.