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Supreme Court Deadlocks 4-4 on Obama's Immigration Order

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Lexey Swall via Texas Tribune
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Tomas Martinez, with GLAHR, a grass roots organization from Atlanta, chants to excite the crowd in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 18, 2016.

From the Texas Tribune: Effectively dealing a final blow to President Obama’s controversial executive immigration order, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday that it had failed to produce a majority opinion on the policy — meaning that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2015 decision rejecting the policy will stand.

The program had been blocked in February 2015 by a Brownsville-based federal judge, Andrew Hanen, days before it was scheduled to begin.

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced in November 2014 and could have granted deportation relief to more than 4 million people living in the country illegally — including more than 1 million undocumented immigrants in Texas. The program would also have allowed the immigrants to apply for renewable work permits if they have lived in the country for more than five years, pass background checks and pay fines.

As of 2015, about 533,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas — roughly 40 percent of the state’s undocumented-immigrant population — had children legally in the country,according to the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. About 1.17 million undocumented immigrants living in Texas have been in the country for at least five years, including about 222,000 who have lived here for more than 20 years.

Texas and 16 other states initially sued the Obama administration in early December 2014 after the executive action was announced; eight others eventually signed on. Hanen’s decision was upheld twice by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In arguments before the Supreme Court in April, attorneys for the state of Texas accused the president of circumventing Congress with the unilateral action on immigration. They added in court documents that the state would be “irreparably harmed” by having to pay to process driver’s licenses for the applicants and give them benefits. 

But the Obama administration countered by saying Texas does not have standing to sue the government and that the president isn’t granting people in the country illegally a free pass. Instead, he’s telling immigration agents to use their limited resources to deport criminals and felons, while simultaneously allowing immigrants deemed low-priority to work and stay with their families.

 

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