Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Rehear Lawsuit On Immigration Relief Programs for Undocumented Parents, Youth

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Silvia Herrera has lived in the U.S. for 17 years. Her youngest son is a citizen and her oldest daughter is a DACA recipient. - MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena
  • Silvia Herrera has lived in the U.S. for 17 years. Her youngest son is a citizen and her oldest daughter is a DACA recipient.

The Obama administration wants the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear a lawsuit involving two immigration relief programs for undocumented parents and youth.

Last month, the court issued a disappointing 4-4 decision in a challenge to President Barack Obama's 2014 immigration actions.

With a split decision, an extension to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which grants DREAMers a renewable work permit and temporary permission to be in the country—and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents—a similar relief but for parents of U.S. citizen and permanent resident children—remain blocked.

The Department of Justice wants another shot, this time with the entire nine justices. One seat has been vacant since the sudden death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February. A Republican Congress has refused to vote for a replacement until a new president takes office in January 2017.

In the filing, the DOJ says that given the impact the case has on the lives of millions of parents, youth and families the court should grant a rehearing when every seat is filled. While the DOJ acknowledges that the Supreme Court rarely grants rehearings, in the past, these have been granted when the court justices have been divided on other issues, according to a post by the American Immigration Council.

In February 2015, a coalition of 26 states, including Arizona and led by Texas, sued the Obama administration, accusing the president of abusing his power by ignoring Congress in an administrative process to change immigration policies. 

Federal District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of DAPA and extended DACA. The Obama administration appealed, and a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually upheld the injunction. The administration then took the legal battle to the Supreme Court, where it took months to hear a ruling.

If DAPA and DACA II ever go into effect, an approximate 5 million people would benefit. 

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