With the Presidential debates and elections heating up and Immigration being at the forefront of discussion, it becomes more unfortunate for millions of undocumented immigrants to be forced to live in uncertainty over whether President Obama’s executive actions will even have any impact on their status. It has been nearly a year since Obama promised that his administration would provide up to four million undocumented immigrants the ability to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation, but now as the clock ticks on Obama’s remaining time in office, it is becoming more unlikely that most of these immigrants will get any benefits from Obama’s plan.
The republican dominated states that have been fighting Obama appear to be achieving a long-enough delay in the lower courts to prevent the Supreme Court from even considering and ruling on the case until after next year’s presidential election. That timing would leave any final decision about immigration to Mr. Obama’s successor. The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans has been deliberating the president’s actions for more than three months, far longer than the court’s goal to decide “within 60 days after argument” in most cases. Some Immigration Activists are trying to protest the delay by taking quite extreme measures, as yesterday about a dozen protesters began fasting for a planned 9 day period in the park across from the Fifth Circuit courthouse. The slow pace of the legal system appears to be working against the Obama administration and may prevent the president from achieving an important legacy goal.
The earliest a positive Supreme Court decision could even come if they even accept the case this term would be June 2016, leaving only a few months before the presidential elections. Add in the time it would take for officials to renew the lease, hire new employees, and print the documents, and that time frame shrinks even further. In the meantime, officials are trying to publicize a recent procedural change that could help hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who are married to American citizens or legal residents to apply for green cards.