WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2016 - The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the legality of the Obama administration’s efforts to allow some undocumented immigrants to stay in the country. 

The ruling would likely be issued ahead of this summer’s presidential nominating conventions, virtually ensuring that the case will be an issue in the presidential campaign.

Texas and 25 other states sued to stop Obama from going forward with the initiative, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), on the grounds that the administration had failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act in setting it up. Also at stake is an expansion of an earlier program for children of illegal immigrants.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November turned down the administration's appeal of a stay blocking the policy imposed by a district judge in Texas.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said the administration actions threaten the separation of powers. “Such lawlessness must be stopped so that we protect the Constitution and the intent of the Founding Fathers that the legislative branch, which reflects the will of and is accountable to the American people, makes the laws, not the President,” he said. 

But United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez said,  “At a time of poisonous anti-immigrant prejudice from Republican presidential candidates, farm workers are hopeful with the Supreme Court decision to hear the case.” 

There are concerns in the industry that farmworkers who receive the deferred actions will leave agriculture for other jobs. 

The Supreme Court agreed to consider three issues raised in the administration’s petition, including whether the states had the standing to sue to stop the actions, as well as a fourth issue - whether Obama violated the “Take Care Clause” of the constitution. 

The states argued that the clause limits the scope of presidential power, and that his executive actions would be difficult to undo once immigrants started to apply for deferred action.

In an analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case, SCOTUSblog said that the court’s decision to consider the “Take Care” issue could mean that the justices “just want to make sure that all of the bases are covered in the case, or it could mean that there are at least four justices who believe that the argument has some merit; it is impossible to know right now.”