The United States Supreme Court recently issued a ruling in the controversial United States v. Texas case. The Court split 4-4, declining to hear further on the case and sending the case back to the lower court, the very same court which blocked the President’s immigration Executive Actions, and thus their ruling will remain in place for the time being. Once there is a full nine-member Supreme Court, perhaps the matter will be brought back. Or hopefully, a new administration and new Congress will implement Global Immigration Reform once and for all!
The case concerned two Executive Actions taken by President Obama in 2014. The first, the creation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), would have permitted up to five million unauthorized immigrants, who were the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents, to apply for work permits and grant them protection from being deported.
The other Executive Action challenged was the expansion of The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which defers deportation of those we have come to know as the “dreamers,” people who came to this country before they were 16 and remained here since that time. The expanded version of DACA would have eliminated the applicant’s age eligibility cutoff date of 31, allowing for a broader pool of applicants and extending the work authorization from two years to three years.
It is important to note that the ruling does not affect the existing DACA policy, which was not being challenged in the case. Eligible individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grants or renewals of DACA pursuant to the original guidelines established in 2012.
In response to the tie vote in the Supreme Court, President Obama described the ruling as "extremely disappointing" and said that the immigrants who were the intended beneficiaries of the programs would now remain vulnerable to the threat of deportation for the time being.
He said the decision ”is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system,” and “heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who have made their lives here.”
The good news is that, with anticipation of a new Democratic administration and hopefully more Democrats elected to the House and Senate, a comprehensive immigration reform may become law, and effectively the Court’s decision, in this case, will be moot.