POLITICS

Obama takes battle over executive action on immigration to U.S. Supreme Court

FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2014, file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. Obama's plan to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million people living in the United States illegally suffered another setback Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, in a ruling from a New Orleans-based federal appeals court. In a 2-1 ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas-based federal judge's injunction blocking the administration's immigration initiative. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2014, file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. Obama's plan to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million people living in the United States illegally suffered another setback Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, in a ruling from a New Orleans-based federal appeals court. In a 2-1 ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas-based federal judge's injunction blocking the administration's immigration initiative. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The Obama administration filed papers with the Supreme Court Friday requesting it to take up its executive action on immigration so that millions of undocumented immigrants can be spared deportation and obtain work permits, among other things.

The legal papers call for the court's immediate review of President Barack Obama's plan to protect as many as 5 million immigrants. The immigrants affected are mainly the parents of American citizens and lawful permanent residents.

The appeal, filed a year after Obama announced his executive actions on immigration, injects the Supreme Court into a dispute between 26 mainly Republican-led states and the Democratic administration, amid a presidential race in which immigration has been a flashpoint.

If the court agrees to hear and decide the case by late June, and if the justices side with the administration, that would leave roughly seven months in Obama's presidency to implement his plans.

But time is running short for consideration of the immigration issue in the court's current term. Texas, the lead state in the lawsuit, has 30 days to respond, but could ask for more time. If the justices don't agree by mid-January to hear the case, the issue probably will not be decided until after Obama leaves office in January 2017.

At issue is the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, which Obama said would allow people who have been in the United States more than five years and who have children who are in the country legally to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law."

Texas quickly led a legal challenge to the program, and has won every round in court so far, effectively blocking Obama's plans.

Most recently, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the states.

The administration makes three main arguments in its Supreme Court appeal: the states have no right to challenge the policy in federal court; the government followed appropriate procedure and the administration has broad discretion in the area of immigration.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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