By Michael D. Shear
Good morning from Washington. The Republican field grows yet again and the candidates and hopefuls, seeking some separation, seem to be increasing their attacks on one another. But the federal appeals court ruling a block against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration have ensured that at least one divisive issue will be around for the duration of the campaign. upholding
In the following years, Mr. Obama deported hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, hoping that a tough stance would help persuade Congress to compromise on an overhaul. Instead, Republicans continued to block action and Mr. Obama’s allies in the Hispanic community became furious.
When Mr. Obama announced in November that he would bypass a gridlocked Congress and enact an immigration overhaul on his own, it was a chance to make good on a promise in a way that had eluded him for years.
But, the president’s lawyers acknowledged that his executive actions on behalf of undocumented immigrants could be blocked by legal fights until nearly the end of his presidency, potentially robbing him of an achievement that could be part of his legacy.
If the fight goes to the Supreme Court, as seems likely, a final ruling might not come until June 2016, just as the presidential campaign heats up.
That timing could produce terrible politics for Mr. Obama’s executive actions. No matter what the court rules, the executive actions are certain to be fiercely debated by the 2016 candidates.
Even at this early stage, they are playing a role: Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she would go even further on the issue than Mr. Obama has, while Republicans have accused him of exceeding his authority.
For the president, it is the latest setback on an issue that has haunted him. He promised during the 2008 campaign that he would tackle an immigration overhaul in his first year in office, but it was overtaken by the fight over health care.
The executive actions were supposed to change all that.
Administration officials and Hispanic activists expressed confidence that the courts would eventually approve the president’s actions. But with the clock running out on Mr. Obama’s presidency, even his biggest supporters are beginning to sound worried.