The Supreme Court has finally taken action on President Obama’s immigration executive order that essentially granted amnesty to millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally. The Obama administration will likely not be too happy with the decision, which ended up as a 4-4 split, which allows the lower court’s ruling to stand.
According to an Associated Press report:
A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.
The justices’ one-sentence opinion on Thursday effectively kills the plan for the rest of Obama’s presidency. The outcome underscores that the direction of U.S. immigration policy will be determined in large part by this fall’s presidential election, a campaign in which immigration already has played an outsized role.
People who would have benefited from the programs face no imminent threat of deportation because Congress has provided money to deal with only a small percentage of people who live in the country illegally, and the president retains ample discretion to decide whom to deport.
A tie vote sets no national precedent but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court. In this case, the federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Obama administration lacked the authority to shield up to 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits without approval from Congress.
The challenge to the executive actions was led by the state of Texas, along with 26 other states, sued the administration to block the actions. The first court to side with the states was U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen. 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then upheld the decision for the states and blocked the President’s actions.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the case. However, before the case could be heard, Justice Scalia passed away. It is likely if Scalia was still alive the Supreme Court would have voted solidly against the actions in a 5-4 vote.
The President responded in a press conference saying that the Supreme Court did not really block his action due to the split nature of their decision. He said the Supreme Court’s decision will no substantial change or alter current enforcement policies in regards to immigration.
He also concluded by saying, “I promise you this – sooner or later immigration reform will get done.”