The Supreme Court has agreed to rule on President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, a decision that will determine whether those programs ever see the light of day—and that could upend the presidential race.
The Court said Tuesday that it will hear a lawsuit challenging the program known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans), which would allow roughly 4.3 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. legally.
By accepting the immigration case, the Court has thrust itself into the center of a political storm. It’s taking on the most heated policy debate of the 2016 campaign and will likely rule in late June, just weeks before the parties’ conventions.
The Court’s ultimate ruling will determine not only Obama’s legacy on immigration, but also the shape of the immigration debate. Obama’s executive actions give Republicans something concrete to criticize and Democrats something concrete to support—what happens if they’re struck down?
Will the Court validate Republicans’ claims that Obama’s actions were an excessive power grab, or will it make legal status a real protection that a Republican president would have to actually take away?
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has said she would expand on Obama’s unilateral immigration reforms. But what happens to that pledge if Obama’s policies aren’t there to build on? And if the Court says Obama’s actions were an executive overreach, how would she defend her promises to reach even further?