The Obama administration appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to uphold the president's executive order that could keep about five million illegal immigrants from deportation.
President Barack Obama's order would allow those who came to the country illegally, but have children who are legal residents, to continue to stay and work while their cases are evaluated. Obama said it would give millions the chance to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law."
The president said he was forced to act on his own because of Congress' refusal to pass meaningful immigration reform.
Twenty-six mostly Republican-led states sued to stop the executive order and two lower federal courts have ruled in their favor.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote in his appeal to the Supreme Court Friday that if those lower court rulings are upheld, millions of people would "continue to work off the books without the option of lawful employment to provide for their families."
It is unclear when the court will take up the case. But the White House hopes for a decision before the president leaves office in January 2017.