States suing over President Obama's sweeping executive actions on immigration are taking legal maneuvers to run out the clock and prevent any chance that the programs impacting millions of undocumented immigrants will be enacted before Obama leaves office.
Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, who is leading a lawsuit filed on the behalf of 25 other states, on Monday asked the Supreme Court for additional time to respond to the Obama administration's appeal to the justices, which seeks to lift a temporary hold that a lower court placed on the immigration measures.
The program has been tied up in a lengthy legal battle for nearly a year, leaving as many as five million undocumented immigrants in legal limbo, unable to apply for a pair of programs that offer a three-year work status and shield from deportation the so-called DREAMers, those brought to the country when they were still children, and undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.
Attorneys from the Department of Justice on Friday petitioned for the Supreme Court to review the case in the upcoming term. Their hope is that they could conceivably hold oral arguments in the spring and allow the justices to come back with a decision by late June.
The states challenging the programs have asked for a 30-day extension to allow additional time to respond to the administration's request. Though the court is able to take as much time as it wants to determine whether or not to take up the case, the timing is tight. Any additional delays would make it all the more likely that the court would hold off hearing the case until as late as spring of 2017.