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Supreme Court hears arguments on immigration

Executive Action: 10 things you should know about Monday's Supreme Court hearing
18 Abr 2016 – 11:34 AM EDT
Este jueves el máximo tribunal emitió un fallo dividido de 4-4 que mantiene congelados los programas DACA y DAPA. Crédito: Getty Images

The Supreme Court in holding a hearing Monday on President Barack Obama' 2014 executive action on immigration.

Here are 10 things you should know about this key event that will decide the future about 5 million undocumented immigrants.

1./ Why the hearing?

In December 2014, two weeks after the announcement of Obama's executive action, 26 states (24 of them ruled by Republicans) sued to halt it arguing that the president abused his executive power and that the measure violates the Constitution because it changes a law, something that can only do Congress.

In February 2015 a court in Brownsville, Texas, ruled in favor of the 26 states. A month later the government appealed the ruling and in November the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the Texas ruling.

Later that month the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to review the measure.

2./ What the Supreme Court is reviewing?

The Supreme Court will review whether Obama abused his executive power to provide temporary benefits to undocumented workers who stay in the country and have no criminal record. They will also examine if the measures violate the Constitution as argued by the 26 states. The revision affects two programs that protect the deportation of about 5 million undocumented workers.

3./ What are the programs affected by the 26 states?

The programs which remain suspended since February 16 last year are:

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

4./ What are the two programs?

Hinder the deportations of undocumented parents of citizens and legal residents, and s-called Dreamers who entered the country since before January 1, 2014 and have no criminal background. Grant a temporary work permit (or employment authorization) renewable every three years.

5./ What will happen at the hearing?

Lawyers for the Justice Department and 26 states will present oral arguments for and against the Executive Action. The judges will quesiton the lawyers about their presentations and other issues related to the case.

6./ Will there be a decision at the hearing?

No. The judges will retire, review the arguments, deliberate and issue an opinion in the summer, some time between June and July.

7./ What should the immigrant community do after the hearing and before the final opinion?

Lawyers consulted by Univision News recommend:

- beware of scams.

- do nothing, do not pay anyone to fix your case because nothing can be done until the Supreme Court delivers a final ruling.

- do not do anything that could put you on the list of priorities for deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

- review the requirements have ready the necessary documents to prove you qualify for one of the programs covered by the Executive Action.

8./ What are the likely scenarios after the court hearing?

There are four likely scenarios:

- the Supreme Court rules in favor (with a minimum of 5 of the 8 votes), upholding the DACA and DAPA programs and annulling the opinion of the Texas court.

- the Court ratifies (with a minimum of 5 of the 8 votes) the Texas court ruling and kills the Executive Action.

- the judges split 4:4. In that case the 2015 Texas court ruling prevails. A tie does not prevent the government from appealing the Texas ruling in another more favorable district court. If it does so and obtains a favorable ruling, the Executive Action could only be implemented in the jurisdiction of that court.

- the Supreme Court does not issue a decision and declares that it will wait until the Senate approves a 9th judge to the court filling the current vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia in February. In that case everything remains as it is.

9./ Will there be more hearings?

No, this is the only hearing before the ruling that will be issued in the summer.

10./ Which are the 26 states that sued over Executive Action?

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, North, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.