By: The News Staff.
Supreme Court has thwarted President Barack Obama’s drive to expand his executive actions on immigration by making as many as five million immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally eligible for quasi-legal status and work permits.
By dividing 4-4, the justices left in place a lower court order forbidding the president from launching a new program to grant “deferred action” status to illegal immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders.
▲ President Obama. The new ruling doesn’t set precedent for future cases, it doesn’t slam the door on future executive actions, but it does demonstrate the perils of a president trying to act without explicit authority from Congress
The high court ruling is a major blow to Obama’s effort to redeem his legacy on immigration, an issue which was pushed to the back burner early in his presidency and never regained much momentum. It also leaves Obama branded by many immigration activists as the “deporter-in-chief” for overseeing the removal of more than 2.5 million migrants from the U.S.
Obama hoped to counter those perceptions with the executive-action program he created for so-called “Dreamers” in 2012 and the new one for parents, which was set to begin early last year before a federal judge in Texas halted it.
The Supreme Court decision does not signal the beginning of a new wave of deportations since the lawsuit the justices were considering focused on the benefits Obama sought to accord to qualifying immigrants, not his administration’s right to decide priorities and timing for deportations.
However, the ruling does raise questions about the validity of “deferred action” status and work permits issued to more than 700,000 immigrants in the past four years under Obama’s program for “Dreamers,” also known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or “DACA.”
The stalemate at the Supreme Court is likely to turn up the heat further on the immigration issue in the presidential campaign. It could make the Supreme Court itself more of an issue in that contest and in Senate races around the country, as Democrats highlight the impact of the vacancy Senate Republican leaders have refused to fill since the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February.
All-but-certain Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has vowed to revoke Obama’s actions and step up efforts to deport millions of illegal immigrants out of the U.S.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have pledged to expand Obama’s executive actions and seek a more permanent solution through Congress.
Because the new ruling doesn’t set precedent for future cases, it doesn’t slam the door on future executive actions, but it does demonstrate the perils of a president trying to act without explicit authority from Congress