More than 200 Democratic lawmakers signed on to a legal brief on Tuesday submitted to the Supreme Court in support of President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration,
A total of 225 Democrats in the Senate and the House of Representatives signed the 'amicus brief', arguing that Obama was within his constitutional authority to order the actions that would defer deportation for five million undocumented immigrant parents of legal residents (known as DAPA) as well as so-called 'Dreamers' protected under a 2012 executive order (known as DACA).
The legislators were joined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who said U.S. immigration enforcement policies "have often inhibited the productivity of U.S. companies and made it harder for them to compete in the global marketplace."
The effort from Democrats is designed to counter a proposal by Republicans in the House of Representatives to file their own amicus brief calling Obama's executive actions "a direct attack" on Congress' constitutional powers. The legal briefs stem from an injuction filed in Feb 2015 by a district court judge in the south Texas, which has since been backed by the governors of 26 states.
The Supreme Court accepted the Texas immigration case in mid-January. The legal argument revolves around the executive branch of government's authority on immigration issues. The 26 states argue that the executive actions are in conflict with exisitng laws, in violation of the President's duty to honor the constitution's “Take Care Clause” which requires the executive branch to faithfully execute laws passed by Congress.
In November the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to review a ruling in October by a circuit court which blocked implementation of the executive actions. As a result the immigration benefits, including three-year renewable work permits, have not been implemented since the start of the proceedings.
The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing April 18 and could issue a decision in June. Obama issued his executive actions after the Republican controlled House of Representatives declined to vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill approved by the Senate in 2013, including the option of naturalization for immigrants residing illegally in the United States.