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Trump now says he misspoke as he stood side-by-side with Putin. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A Senate committee looks at the latest attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act; and public input is being sought on Great Lakes restoration.

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Immigrants' Rights Groups Grapple with Uncertainty of Supreme Court Case

The unexpected vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court could hurt the chances of success for a case affecting millions of undocumented immigrants. (kconnors/morguefile)
The unexpected vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court could hurt the chances of success for a case affecting millions of undocumented immigrants. (kconnors/morguefile)
February 16, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO - Advocates for immigrants' rights are working through the implications of the unexpected vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court trying to determine how it affects a case that could decide the legal status of millions of undocumented immigrants.

The passing of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia leaves a court that could split four-to-four on the constitutionality of President Obama's 2012 executive order.

The order grants temporary work permits to undocumented parents of American citizens and legal residents, and to some people brought here as children. Sulma Arias is field director for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

"It has all kinds of implications for us," says Arias. "Either it goes back to that same circuit court; however, it's a decision that will eventually come back to the Supreme Court."

If the court splits down the middle, the lower court decision that put the programs known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) on hold would stand.

Arias thinks the case then would be appealed once again. And by that time, the high court would have a new justice confirmed during the next administration. She says the legal battle underscores the importance of the presidential race.

"The community is very much in a fighting spirit about what this election means to us, come Nov. 8," she says.

The current case is set to be argued in April and a decision is expected in June.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA