Justices Seem Divided Over Obama Immigration Actions

By:  Mark Sherman

The Supreme Court appeared divided between its liberal and conservative justices Monday over President Barack Obama's immigration programs that could affect millions of people who are in the country illegally.

The administration's best hope for a favorable ruling after 90 minutes of arguments at the high court appeared to rest with Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts asked questions suggesting he could side with the administration if there were a small change in the proposed programs.

The administration is asking the justices to allow it to put in place two programs that could shield roughly 4 million people from deportation and make them eligible to work in the United States.

Texas is leading 26 states dominated by Republicans in challenging the programs that Obama announced in 2014 and that have been put on hold by lower courts.

The programs would apply to parents whose children are citizens or are living in the country legally. Eligibility also would be expanded for the president's 2012 effort that applies to people who were brought here illegally as children. More than 700,000 people have taken advantage of that earlier program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The new program for parents, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, and the expanded program for children could reach as many as 4 million people, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

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