SCOTUS tie blocks deferred deportation plan

SCOTUS tie blocks deferred deportation plan
Sara Weber, Deseret News

A deferred deportation policy that would have allowed up to 4.5 million immigrants to stay in the United States will not go into effect after the Supreme Court failed to overturn a lower court ruling in a vote announced on Thursday.

The 3-3 vote means a lower court’s ruling that blocked Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) will stand.

Political leaders, faith leaders and advocates around the country instantly took to social media and the press to express their feelings about the ruling. Here’s a look at what they had to say:

Sister Bernadine Karge OP, attorney at law, Chicago, IL

As a Catholic sister and lawyer, I am deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision not to uphold President Obama’s executive action to preserve family unity, putting millions of families at risk of being ripped apart. The stories of immigrant families are intimately woven into the tapestry of this great country, and today’s decision threatens our nation’s commitment to justice and compassion. I pray that the presumptive presidential nominees as well as Congress will make comprehensive immigration reform a priority.

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life, Washington, D.C.

Today’s Supreme Court decision is a dangerous step in the wrong direction. As believers, we are called to love our immigrant brothers and sisters as we love ourselves. Though we are disappointed, we are not discouraged. As a community of faith, we have a moral responsibility to honor all humanity, especially those whom society tries to exclude. Families should not live in fear. People of faith will take this righteous indignation to the voting booth this Fall.

John McCain, Republican Senator, Arizona

The Supreme Court ruling today affirms that the president’s unilateral actions, which have marked his lame-duck term, will not stand. This decision further emphasizes that the president cannot rewrite the laws he finds problematic, nor skirt the separation of powers whenever he finds it convenient. Immigration is an issue that must be debated and decided by the representatives of the people, not by executive fiat. I hope that after today’s ruling, Congress can get back to work advancing bipartisan solutions to fix our broken immigration system once and for all.

Hillary Clinton, Presumptive Democratic Nominee

Today’s deadlocked decision from the Supreme Court is unacceptable, and shows us all just how high the stakes are in this election. As I have consistently said, I believe that President Obama acted well within his constitutional and legal authority in issuing the DAPA and DACA executive actions. These are our friends and family members; neighbors and classmates; DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents. They enrich our communities and contribute to our economy every day. We should be doing everything possible under the law to provide them relief from the specter of deportation.

President Barack Obama

I think it is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who made their lives here, who have raised families here, who hope for the opportunity to work, pay taxes, serve in our military and more fully contribute to this country we all love in an open way.

Thomas A. Saenz, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund president and general counsel

In the surest indication that the United States Senate majority’s refusal to do its job by confirming a ninth Supreme Court justice has very real and damaging consequences, an evenly divided Court today upheld the Fifth Circuit’s poorly reasoned decision affirming Judge Andrew Hanen’s preliminary injunction against Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This is, however, a temporary setback. Justice and righteousness will ultimately prevail. We are proud of the courage of our three clients, the three Texas mothers who are the only non-institutional parties in the case, and we will continue to work in the courts on their behalf and on behalf of millions of others to defend the President’s authority to treat eligible immigrants uniformly, and with dignity and respect, through DAPA and DACA.

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)

The Supreme Court’s order today means that President Obama’s Executive overreach continues to be thwarted in federal court every step of the way. The injunction means the President can’t move forward with his plan seeking to give quasi-legal status and work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants. The case will move forward on the merits in federal district court in southern Texas. The latest developments in that case have involved the federal judge sanctioning Obama Administration attorneys from the Department of Justice for “intentionally deceptive” and “unethical” actions. We will continue to stand up for the U.S. Constitution against lawless Executive overreach. Today was another important victory at the Supreme Court in this fight.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), temporarily protected those immigrants from deportation and allowed them to apply for work permits and took effect in 2012.

In 2014, Obama issued executive actions that expanded protections under DACA and introduced DAPA, which offered the same protections to parents of children who have U.S. citizen or permanent resident status.

Both DACA and DAPA are extensions of the 2001 DREAM Act.

Twenty-six states challenged Obama’s policies in a lawsuit, which the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this past November. The government then appealed to SCOTUS.

The winner of the 2016 election will likely decide what happens next with immigration policy. Donald Trump has repeatedly said he will throw out DACA and DAPA. Hillary Clinton has said she will push for more protections for immigrants.

Email:; Twitter: @sarapweber

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