The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to review a federal court decision blocking President Obama's executive order granting quasi-legal status and work permits to millions of undocumented workers.
Obama's most recent round of executive actions on immigration, which could affect more than 4 million immigrants here illegally, have been on hold since a February order from U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in response to a lawsuit from Texas and 25 other states who sued Obama over the programs soon after they were announced last year.
Hanen’s order blocking the actions was largely based on technical reasoning; he ruled that the immigration programs should have gone through an official notice-and-comment process before they were allowed to proceed. The George W. Bush appointee also agreed with the states that they would suffer as a result of Obama’s actions—such as the costs incurred by Texas by providing driver's licenses to immigrants with new, quasi-legal status—and subsequently had standing to sue.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, upheld Hanen's ruling earlier this month. And the 2-1 majority went further and ruled that the Obama administration actually lacks the legal authority for the sweeping executive actions.
Twenty-six states are suing the administration over the orders. They now have 30 days to respond to this petition. The court could announce by the middle of January if it is going to hear the case, and if so, it could be argued in April and decided by June.