Supreme Court tied vote continues block on Obama’s immigration actions

Jun 23, 2016

SILVER SPRING, Maryland -- The Supreme Court’s 4-4 ruling today in U.S. v. Texas shatters the hopes of millions of immigrants who might otherwise have obtained temporary relief from immigration enforcement under two Obama administration programs.
 
“We’re extremely disappointed,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., the largest network of nonprofit immigration legal services programs in the nation.
 
“The tied vote means millions of long-term U.S. residents continue to be blocked from the chance to live with their families without fear of deportation, while working legally and attaining a college education,” Atkinson said. “It leaves millions of long-term U.S. residents in fear of law enforcement and at risk of mistreatment in the workplace, by landlords and from abusers due to threats of deportation. Those people, many of whom were brought to the U.S. as children, will continue to fear interactions with law enforcement agencies and continue to face mistreatment in the workplace and other settings because deportation looms as a threat.”
 
The decision leaves in place the November 2015 ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed a Texas District Court from February 2015. That ruling blocked President Obama’s executive actions that would expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, and create the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, or DAPA. The original DACA program is not affected by the injunction. 
 
The case was a challenge by 26 states to the November 2014 presidential orders to expand access to DACA and create DAPA, a similar program for the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. An estimated 5 million people could have potentially benefited from the two programs. The DACA expansion would have allowed a larger segment of people who came to the United States as minors to be granted deferral of deportation and a work permit. DAPA would have been a similar program for the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, offering the same benefits.
 
“The onus is now, more than ever, on Congress to set aside partisan gamesmanship and get on with the real business of addressing the needs of the people who live in this country,” Atkinson said. “DACA and DAPA were never intended to be permanent solutions to the fact that 11 million people in this country lack legal immigration status and most have no practical way of rectifying that. Only Congress can make the necessary changes to our immigration system, ensuring that millions of families have a path to legal residency and eventually citizenship in their adopted country. We need meaningful legislative reform and we need it now.”
 
Immigrant legal services organizations nationwide, including nearly 300 who are affiliated with CLINIC, will continue to assist immigrants with evaluating whether they are eligible for DACA and whether they have other paths to remaining legally in this country.