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Obama immigration plan blocked by 4-4 tie at Supreme Court

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Barack Obama paused as he spoke in the White House briefing room in Washington, today, on the Supreme Court decision on immigration. A tie vote by the Supreme Court blocked President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Jackelin Alfaro, 7, of Washington, hugged her aunt Gelin Alfaro, of Veracruz, Mexico, during an immigration rally at the Supreme Court in Washington today. A tie vote by the Supreme Court blocked President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation. The justices’ one-sentence opinion effectively killed the plan for the duration of Obama’s presidency.

WASHINGTON » The Supreme Court deadlocked today on President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation, effectively killing the plan for the rest of his presidency.

The outcome underscores that the direction of U.S. immigration policy will be determined in large part by this fall’s presidential election, a campaign in which immigration already has played an outsized role.

People who would have benefited from Obama’s plan face no imminent threat of deportation because Congress has provided money to deal with only a small percentage of people who live in the country illegally, and the president retains ample discretion to decide whom to deport. But Obama’s effort to expand that protection to many others is effectively stymied.

Obama said today’s impasse “takes us further from the country we aspire to be.”

The 4-4 tie vote sets no national precedent but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court. The justices issued a one-sentence opinion, with no further comment.

A nine-justice court agreed to hear the case in January, but by the time of the arguments in late April, Justice Antonin Scalia had died. That left eight justices to decide the case, and the court presumably split along liberal and conservative lines, although the court did not say how each justice voted.

In this case, the federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Obama administration lacked the authority to shield up to 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits without approval from Congress.

Texas led 26 Republican-dominated states in challenging the program Obama announced in November 2014. Congressional Republicans also backed the states’ lawsuit.

The Obama administration announced the programs — protections for parents of children who are in the country legally and an expansion of the program that benefits people who were brought to this country as children — in November 2014. Obama decided to move forward after Republicans won control of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, and the chances for an immigration overhaul, already remote, were further diminished.

The Senate had passed a broad immigration bill with Democratic and Republican support in 2013, but the measure went nowhere in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

The states quickly went to court to block the Obama initiatives. Their lawsuit was heard by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas. Hanen previously had criticized the administration for lax immigration enforcement.

Hanen sided with the states, blocking the programs from taking effect. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled for the states, and the Justice Department rushed an appeal to the high court so that it could be heard this term.

Had Scalia still been alive, though, he almost certainly would have voted with his fellow conservatives to form a majority in favor of the states.

In practical terms, a victory by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump could mean an end to the programs anyway, since he has vowed to deport the roughly 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

If Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is elected, she could attempt to revive the programs or work with the new Congress on comprehensive immigration legislation.

If Clinton wins, the Senate will at some point fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death — either with Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, or a Clinton choice. In either case, legal challenges to executive action under her administration would come to a court that would have a majority of Democratic-appointed justices and, in all likelihood, give efforts to help immigrants a friendlier reception.

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  • Out with 15 Million Illegals and the nation’s traffic jams will be gone and we don’t have to spend billions on building more roads and trains!

        • So you’re saying that the more populous a country is, the more problems it has? Obviously that’s ridiculous.

          And I’m the one who can’t think logically, right? WOW!

  • Its time to vote out as many or all REBULICANS out of office on this up and coming election! Their fear is bringing down our Country! Many of their actions are negative to economic development!

    • I was just thinking the same thing. They are afraid of everything – especially brown people. Just read the incredible level of cowardice shown by people on this comment board.

      The Republican Party has used the tool of fear to make their subjects abject cowards, who should be ashamed. It’s disgraceful.

      • klastri- Immigration laws need to be revised. I don’t understand how an ‘illegal’ immigrant can still reside here in America. Then given amnesty for BREAKING THE LAW.

        Think about it….If you’re here illegally, how can the U.S. allow you to stay at the cost of the taxpayers? It’s not about being afraid of brown people. Are you trying to be clever?

        • I was commenting on the cowardice shown by Republicans. Afraid of everything. It’s pathetic.

          You can twist that by tortured logic into anything you want. I don’t care.

        • Obama said today’s impasse “takes us further from the country we aspire to be.” What’s this we stuff? He can’t handle defeat. We the People have won. Obamacare will be next. We the people do care!

      • really? so how many illegals are living at your house that you are supporting? none? then you should shut up. if these people want to be citizens, tell them to get in line and apply legally. what is wrong with that? millions of others are out there waiting for just that. these illegals break the law and we are supposed to feel sorry for them and put them at the front of the line? if these illegals voted republican, we all know the democrats would not be pushing for amnesty because its all about the elections. am i wrong? Hillary would make them citizens today if she could. that would ensure that democrats would never lose another election, EVER. her open borders policy would allow tens of millions more to come here. the majority or whom have no education, no money, no home, no job. what do you think will happen? they will be on government subsidies, that we pay for, living in slums, basically turning us into a third world country. that is a fact. i always thought you open borders people were naive. now i know you are ignorant and a danger to the country. did you see those Mexican flags at anti Trump rallies? put fifty million more illegals into California or New Mexico or Texas, states that LaRaza, the Mexican activist group, believes should be returned to Mexico, and would those states still be a part of this country? i doubt it.

        • Totally agree with u. Legal immigration is a long expensive process and if you just come here illegally you should not be able to stay.

        • It’s obvious that you don’t understand voting law (which is sad) despite the fact that you took the time to make things up and write about it.

          The undocumented cannot vote. So that’s one leg of your argument gone.

          Now that your argument has been gutted, let’s turn to La Raza. You’re suggesting that a small group of activists could actually split states off of the United States to join another country? Well that is one remarkable analysis!

          “I love the poorly educated!” Go Trump!

  • Thank God the Republicans did not allow voting for the vacancy on the Supreme Court. His nominated judge would beholden to his majesty and done/voted anyway directed.

    • Too bad the GOP did not allow the vote. Judge Garland would have been a fine addition to The Supreme Court. This is the man who investigated the Unabomber,Oklahoma City bombing as well as the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics. He also put together the team that prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing. That’s the exact type of detail oriented person we need in our highest court.BTW,he has consistently won praises from both sides of the aisle.

  • Such a disgrace they haven’t confirmed a new justice; that would’ve broken the stalemate. This just means the lower court’s ruling stands. So embarrassing.

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