How Supreme Court Stalemate over Obama’s Immigration Plan Affects Undocumented Immigrants in Texas

President Obama’s flagship policy to allow almost 4 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States has ended in disappointment after the Supreme Court was deadlocked.

The court was split 4-4 on Obama’s executive actions on immigration, meaning the policy won’t proceed during the remainder of his presidency.

Supreme Court stalemate leaves immigrants in limbo

The one line ruling was greeted by CNN as “crushing blow to the White House.”

The President didn’t attempt to hide his disappointment over the ruling. He said.

“For more than two decades now our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken. And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”

The programs in question were DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

DAPA would confer deferred action status to certain classes of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have kids.

DACA is aimed at non-citizens who arrived in the United States as children but remain undocumented. You can read more about the programs here.

What Effect Does the Supreme Court Deadlock Have on Undocumented Immigrants in Texas?

According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas has 1.5 undocumented immigrants which is the second highest number after California.

The ruling won’t mean drastic consequences such as deportation but it will continue the period of limbo faced by undocumented immigrants ever since the immigration reforms were first outlined by Obama in 2012.

Millions of undocumented immigrants had their applications for deferred action ready, only to enter a holding pattern as the issue became a political football and then a matter for the courts.

June’s ruling in United States v Texas was not a final ruling. Instead, it continued the injunction that prevents the deferred action programs from being implemented. The lives of about 4 million undocumented immigrants won’t be changed, and they will remain undocumented for the rest of Obama’s term.

The failure of the Supreme Court to make a decision means the case will now go back to the lower courts for further proceedings. It could also return to the Supreme Court, and the 2016 general election could determine whether the policy can be resurrected. If Hillary Clinton wins the election and appoints a Supreme Court justice, the fifth vote needed to allow the DAPA and DACA programs to take effect, would likely be secured.

A report on NBC said the deadlock in the Supreme Court could prove beneficial to undocumented immigrants because the implementation of DACA and DAPA would have been “an adrenaline shot to the arms” of the opponents of immigration and help supporters of Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee for President.

As Austin immigration attorneys who help undocumented immigrants, we can sympathize with those affected by this decision. However, the tie was not the worst possible outcome. If you are affected by DAPA or DACA, we can help you figure out the process. Contact us at (512) 474-4445.

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