Supreme Court Issues No Decision on Immigration Plan

In an anticipated ruling on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision on President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action. The plan sought to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and/or would have allowed them to work legally in the United States.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court had an opportunity to provide the nation with guidance and clarity. But instead, the deadlocked court means countless families will continue to suffer and wait in a terrifying limbo.

What does the program seek to do?

Among the main elements of President Obama’s proposal is the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents or DAPA program. This would allow adult undocumented immigrants to stay in the country if they meet certain residency requirements and have children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

The President’s plan also seeks to expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a 2012 program allowing children brought to the U.S. when under age 16 to stay.

What does this ruling mean?

This week’s tie ruling does not set a Supreme Court precedent or strike down the President’s proposal. However, what it does mean is that these important, commonsense policies will continue to be blocked for now.

While this outcome is deeply disappointing, it does not impact DACA 2012.

Yesterday’s split decision also means that millions of immigrants and their U.S. citizen children will continue living in fear. It’s incredibly disappointing that the Court wasn’t able to resolve this issue in a way that would have alleviated that fear.

What’s next?

 The case will now return to Texas for further review in the lower federal courts that originally blocked the program, claiming that President Obama didn’t have the authority to circumvent Congress with Executive Action. But the fact remains that the DAPA and DACA+ initiatives are lawful, constitutional, and consistent with decades of actions taken by presidents of both parties, from Eisenhower to Obama.

It is important to note that this is not the end of the road for these important initiatives. This fight is far from over.

The lower courts will continue to consider the case and ultimately, it may end up before the Supreme Court once again. In a process that will likely go on for at least another year, the next president will also have a key role in the future of this plan.

In the meantime, Congress must do its job by passing sensible immigration laws that will keep families united, benefit the economy, and propel our country forward.

Until then, advocates like us will continue to fight the good fight for temporary initiatives like DAPA and expanded DACA that bring relief to immigrant families who have waited decades for the immigration system to be fixed. And we will continue our efforts until ultimately, our immigration laws meet the full needs and demands of the American families of today, whether they are legal, in mixed status, or in unauthorized status.

What do I do now?

If you’re unsure about your next steps following the recent Supreme Court ruling, or have any any questions about your best course of action in immigration and naturalization processes, please contact Shane & Shane. Our full service immigration law firm and expert attorneys have helped thousands achieve their American Dream.