Vimbai Chikomo Jun. 23, 2016, 3:05pm


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Supreme Court has failed to reach a decision in President Barack Obama’s most prominent effort to reform immigration policy, which would have provided a path to gaining legal status for up to 4.5 million immigrants and protect them from deportation.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court judges deadlocked 4-4 in the United States v. Texas case, meaning the ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals preventing the President’s "deferred action" programs from going into effect stands.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement following the Supreme Court's executive amnesty ruling, praising the Court for upholding the constitution and blocking the President’s “unauthorized abuse of presidential power.”

“The action taken by the President was an unauthorized abuse of presidential power that trampled the Constitution, and the Supreme Court rightly denied the President the ability to grant amnesty contrary to immigration laws," said Governor Abbott. "As the President himself said, he is not a king who can unilaterally change and write immigration laws. Today's ruling is also a victory for all law-abiding Americans—including the millions of immigrants who came to America following the rule of law."

FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon also offered a statement on the ruling, which he characterized as “a great victory.”

“This is a great victory for the Constitution,” Brandon said. “There are three branches of government, and each of them was intended to have equal power. There is no special clause that grants a president power when he can’t get his way. While today’s ruling is welcome news, Congress still has a long way to go before it restores the constitutional separation of powers and ends the imperial presidency.”

One of the deferred action programs is an expansion of a program Obama put into place in 2012 called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, allowing young undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children (and meet other requirements) to get temporary protection from deportation and obtain work permits.

According to reports, about 700,000 of the 1.2 million eligible immigrants have applied for and received protection.

The other program provides relief for parents of legal residents of the U.S. The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program would have allowed millions of undocumented immigrants who have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents to also apply for deportation protection and work permits.

The two programs are referred to as DAPA/DACA+.

After the programs were announced, 23 states, Texas included, filed a lawsuit to prevent the government from implementing the programs.

The original DACA program was not challenged in the lawsuit.

In February 2015, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas issued an injunction, preventing the government from advancing the programs based on the grounds that the states were likely to prevail on some of their claims.

The injunction was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

This particular case differs from other cases where the Court deadlocked since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, in that it cannot simply be re-addressed when the 9th justice seat is filled. With just 6 months left before the end of his presidency, Obama will not be in office – leaving the future of immigration policy in the hands of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump or presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The decision undoubtedly comes as a blow to the President, who encouraged undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows. Some predict that those individuals are now more vulnerable than they were when Obama took office.

More News