Democrats argued in a Friday brief to the Supreme Court that not allowing illegal immigrants to work in the United States is a bad idea, because those immigrants could be forced to break other laws as they look for ways to make a living "in the shadows."

Obama's executive action from a year ago was aimed at sparing millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and allowing them to work. Two federal courts have put the action on hold, which prompted the Obama administration to push the case to the Supreme Court.

Republicans have said illegal immigrants are lawbreakers by definition, and say even if some are low priority for deportation, they shouldn't be given extra incentive to stay by being given work permits.

But on Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said denying illegals work permits would only make them become even bigger lawbreakers.

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