The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to rescue its plans to shield from deportation millions of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, the Associated Press reports. Moving to put the issue before the justices in time for a decision while President Barack Obama is still in office, the administration on Friday sought the court’s immediate review of its plan to give work permits to as many as 5 million immigrants. The immigrants affected are mainly the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The appeal, filed a year after Obama announced executive actions on immigration, injects the Supreme Court into a dispute between 26 mainly Republican-led states and the administration during a presidential race in which immigration has been a flashpoint. So far, the federal courts have sided with the GOP-led states and blocked the plan.
If the high court agrees to decide the case by late June, and if the justices side with the administration, that would leave seven months in Obama’s presidency to implement his plans. Time is running short in the court’s current term. Texas, the lead state in the lawsuit, has 30 days to respond but could ask for more time. If the justices don’t agree by mid-January to hear the case, the issue probably will not be decided until after Obama leaves office in January 2017. At issue is the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, which Obama said would allow people who have been in the U.S. more than five years and who have children who are in the country legally to “come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”