Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a split decision in United States v. Texas, a case challenging President Barack Obama’s extended deferred action programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
The decision leaves in place a lower court injunction that blocks the President’s executive actions on immigration announced in November 2014, which impacts more than four million undocumented immigrants and their families, and nearly 79,000 people in Washington state. It will have a significant impact on the Latino community nationwide and impacts other communities across the country. This prevents the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the DAPA program from moving forward while the case is adjudicated in the lower courts.
“The Court’s decision today is devastating,” said Lizet Ocampo, Director of Latinos Vote! “Millions of families across the country were counting on President Obama’s actions to temporarily protect their families from deportation. It leaves in place the nationwide injunction from the overreach of a single anti-immigrant, Republican-appointed judge from Texas.”
Ocamp added, “The next president will likely appoint more than one new justice to the Supreme Court. We have a clear choice this November between the Republican presidential candidate and Republicans nationwide who seek to rip families apart, and the Democratic presidential candidate and Democrats nationwide who understand that immigrants make America the country that it is and that families should be protected from deportation.”
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) said it was a “painful” day in America.
“Today’s 4-4 split decision is a deeply painful reminder of the cost of our broken immigration system on families, children and communities across the country,” DelBene said. “President Obama took reasonable steps within his authority to provide temporary relief to the families being torn apart by our current system. I’m disappointed a definitive decision wasn’t made because Senate Republicans have left the Court short one justice.”
Earlier this year, DelBene joined more than 200 of her colleagues in signing an amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit’s ruling.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “Families in Washington state and around the country will be forced back into the shadows.”
Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director of Immigration Equality Action Fund, said: “The U.S. government plays many roles, but ostensibly one of its most important is to ensure safety and justice. The failure of the government to do so has disastrous effects on the everyday lives of millions, including those we should be working hardest to protect. Today’s split decision is the result of a legislative branch that refuses to do its job, allowing politics to stand in the way of basic human rights.”
Morris added, “The extent of the dysfunction has been appalling. On Monday, the Senate failed to pass a bill to strengthen gun safety in the wake of the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history. On Tuesday, a Republican Congressman stated that his bill to issue basic non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people might pass, but worried about including critical protections that have become ‘too politicized.’ And today, because Republican leadership refused to have hearings on the President’s Supreme Court nominee, over five million immigrants will continue to live in limbo for years.”
U.S. Representative Adam Smith (WA-09) said, “I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling today resulting in a deadlock decision on the President’s Executive Actions on Immigration. Millions of U.S. citizens with undocumented parents and DREAMers will now face uncertainty in their future and may see their families torn apart. Failure on the part of Republican leadership is what forced the President to act. I call on Congress to take action and pass a permanent comprehensive immigration bill and fix our broken system. We cannot afford to wait any longer to reform our immigration system and bring relief to millions of children and families.”
“It is time for Congress to do its job: pass legislation that protects the people and provide the Supreme Court with a ninth Justice,” Morris added. “The LGBTQ community, immigrants, and people of color deserve a functioning legislative and judicial system. Everyone does.”