On Monday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal of its decision to impose an injunction blocking the implementation of President Obama’s executive action on immigration. And that is a good thing. Let me explain why.
The court was always expected to reach this decision. It is a conservative court dominated by judges appointed by the two Presidents Bush. Its panels had repeatedly ruled against the president’s DACA and DAPA plans. No one expected the court to rule against itself. Immigrant rights advocates were worried that the Fifth Circuit was taking so long to make its inevitable decision against the president that it would be too late to take that decision to the Supreme Court before the expiration of the president’s term.
If the Fifth Circuit had delayed even more than it has already, the case would not have reached the Supreme Court until after President Obama left office. This might have rendered any decision by the court moot, since the next president might have simply abolished the program before a decision was reached.
Now, there is a chance that a Supreme Court decision could come in 2016. While the Supreme Court is not required to hear the case, if it does it will make a decision during the final half-year of the Obama presidency. This might allow time for a registration process to begin next summer if the president receives a favorable ruling.
Immigrants and their families have been on the losing side of this struggle by conservatives to block the humane treatment of the undocumented.