U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear immigration case that divides McCrory, Cooper

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N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory (R).

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on an Obama administration policy that would allow as many as 4 million immigrants who are in the country illegally to remain in the country. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory added the state to the lawsuit, while N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper declined to join the legal challenge.

Federal courts have thus far blocked the president from implementing the policy, which he announced in November 2014. Texas quickly challenged the policy, and McCrory joined the suit in December 2014, saying “the president’s actions are likely to put even more financial strain on our state’s government services.” A total of 26 states have challenged the executive actions.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper (D)

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper (D)

Cooper declined to use his authority to assist Texas’ challenge, writing in a letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Forest that he was “concerned that a partisan lawsuit adds to the divisiveness that has prevented meaningful immigration reform in the first place.” Although neither McCrory nor Cooper was an announced candidate for governor at the time, both men have entered the race and are the front-runners for their party’s nomination. Cooper is a Democrat, while McCrory is a Republican.

McCrory praised the high court’s decision Tuesday.

“No public official can select which laws to obey, including our immigration laws,” McCrory said in a statement. “President Obama cannot change the law with a stroke of a pen, and can’t simply refuse to enforce the law because he disagrees with it.”

The Supreme Court will likely hear oral arguments for the case in April, and a decision should follow in June. The court will address two main questions. The first is whether the states have standing to sue in the case, and the second is whether Obama would overstep the authority granted by Congress to the executive branch is the policy were put in force.

Obama’s policy would allow certain immigrants to apply to stay in the country for three years and work legally in the United States. The program would allow only immigrants who have children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and have been in the United States at least since 2010 to apply.