Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside of the Supreme Court Monday in anticipation of oral arguments for a case challenging President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration. The legal challenge is led by Texas and brought by twenty-six mostly Republican states.
The challenge to Obama’s executive action, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents or DAPA, raises questions about the extent of presidential powers, which the justices concluded does have a limit but needs to be more sharply defined. To that end, the court appeared “sharply divided” and ended the session with a 4-4 split after 90 minutes of arguments today, the New York Times reports.
DAPA allows for deferred action—a stay on deportation and removal proceedings—for the parents of Americans with legal status, provided they have no criminal record. The program also provides work authorization and access to Social Security benefits, which has not gone over well with the “make America great again” crowd: The Supreme Court’s decision, which is expected in June, will likely play into the general election.
According to Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner, Justice Kennedy also suggested that the case be dismissed because the court was not the proper venue for a challenge to DAPA. The most concerning provision to the states bringing the suit—the work authorization and limited access to benefits—flows from an existing legal justification that allows certain immigrants to work. Kennedy suggested several times that the proper case would be a challenge to that existing regulation.
Activists and community members tell reporters they turned out to show that they have a stake in the court’s decision. “I have the right to live without fear,” youth immigration activist Sophie Cruz, who is six and fighting her parents’ deportation, told NBC from the steps of the court.