Washington – The Supreme Court blocked President Obama’s immigration plans after a tie between the Justices on Thursday. As a result, up to 5 million undocumented immigrants will be left unprotected against deportation and without a permit to legally work in the United States.
The court’s 4-4 deadlock leaves a lower court’s injunction against Obama’s deferred action program in place. After the tie in the high court, it is unlikely that the plan will be permitted to go forward before he leaves office, as reported by the Washington Post.
The President assured the decision was “heartbreaking” in a press briefing on Thursday, while criticizing the Republicans for their lack of interest to consider his nominee to the Supreme Court. Obama commented as well that his executive authority to prioritize deportations would continue.
However, those efforts from the Obama administration related to immigration cannot be expanded. But, the enforcement policies developed by the government will not be affected, meaning that undocumented immigrants who have put down roots and have not committed crimes will remain a low priority for deportation.
“Today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring rationality to our immigration system,” the president said in a brief statement in the White House. “It is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who have made their lives here.”
The U.S. vs. Texas case was related to an executive action by the president to avoid the deportation of nearly 5 million unauthorized immigrants, who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, and offer them permit to work legally in the country. The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), as reported by the New York Times.
The DAPA was presented back in 2014 by the president, after according to him, years of frustration with the Republicans in Congress, which repeatedly refused to support bipartisan Senate legislation to update the current immigration laws.
26 states, led by Texas, challenged the imposed plan and accused the president of ignoring the administrative procedures for changing rules and of abusing the power of his office by avoiding the Congress.
A major setback
White House officials had argued that presidents in both parties have used similar executive authority in applying immigration laws and that Congress has granted federal law enforcement officials extensive authority over how those decisions should be implemented.
According to a statement from Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, Thursday’s decision keeps in place what they have maintained from the start: that one person, even a president, cannot unilaterally change the law.
The decision a major setback to President Obama’s attempts to expand executive power and a victory for those who believe in the separation of powers and the rule of law, Paxton added in a press briefing.
Source: The New York Times