Earlier this week, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the federal government’s appeal of the preliminary injunction that has halted implementation of President Obama’s 2014 deferred action initiatives. These initiatives—namely, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—could provide as many as 5 million immigrants with temporary relief from deportation. The Fifth Circuit’s decision means that the deferred action initiatives remain suspended, and the lives of millions remain in limbo.
But the decision is not all bad news. What was hailed as a “win” for Texas and the 25 states challenging the federal immigration policies actually signals an important and hopeful turning point in the case. Most significantly, the decision has cleared the way for the Obama Administration to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court. And today, the White House announced that it will take aggressive steps to seek Supreme Court review. Prompt action means that the Supreme Court could hear the case this term—likely with oral arguments being held next spring—and issue a decision before the term ends in June 2016. If that happens, it would be possible for the immigration agencies to implement DAPA and expanded DACA before the current Administration leaves office.