By Estephania Baez
The hopes and dreams of millions of undocumented immigrants living in the shadows in the United States have been dashed after a tie among Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on a case against President Barack Obama’s Executive Orders on immigration reform.
The Court, currently comprised of eight judges, is currently split between four Republicans and four Democrats. With the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February, and despite President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to assume Scalia’s seat, Senate Republicans decided not to hold confirmation hearings before this November’s presidential elections.
President Obama’s executive action – called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA – was proposed in 2014 with the goal of allowing people who arrived illegally to the United States stay in the country as long as they were parents to an American citizen or legal resident, in addition to allowing 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.
The initiative was stalled by a federal judge in Texas, after the State sued to block enactment of the order, arguing the President had overstepped his constitutional powers and circumvented Congress
“Today’s decision keeps in place what we have maintained from the very start: one person, even a president, cannot unilaterally change the law,” said Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton in a press release. Paxton also added that this act was a national victory.
The inaction by the Supreme Court leaves in place an appellate court ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. That case will now be binding only in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, so cases in other states may result in differing decisions.
President Obama commented shortly after the SCOTUS decision and warned that the current immigration system is broken, and urged Congress to approve changes that will benefit a community that gives more to this country than it takes away.
For now, the hopes of the immigrant community are placed on Hillary Clinton, who in her speeches has reiterated that she will do whatever is necessary to defend the rights of immigrants as long as they do not harm the integrity of the country.