Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in U.S. v. Texas, and, as expected, it sent shockwaves throughout the country. Indeed, experts are predicting that these shockwaves will continue to be felt right up to the November elections.
To recap, the case focused on President Obama's 2014 executive order, which called for both deportation relief and work permits to be extended to the over four million parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who have no criminal record and have been in the country since 2010.
The legality of this executive order was subsequently challenged by 26 states, with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately holding that President Obama had indeed exceeded the scope of his authority under the constitution and that the injunction granted by a federal judge in Texas blocking the rollout of the executive order would remain in place.
What exactly did SCOTUS decide?
The justices reached a 4-4 decision, based largely along what appears to be ideological lines. Here, the opinion was no more than one line, "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court."
What does this mean?
A 4-4 deadlock, something that became a possibility with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia and the current vacancy on the high court, means that the above-referenced decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stands.
It's important to note, however, that the decision did not create binding legal precedent on either immigration law or presidential power.
Does the decision affect DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, otherwise known as DACA, which was launched back in 2012 and provided deportation relief to children of undocumented immigrants (i.e., "dreamers") was not affected by the ruling.
What happens to the four million people denied deportation relief by the SCOTUS hearing?
President Obama vowed that the undocumented parents of citizens and LPRs would remain "low priorities for enforcement" provided they remain law-abiding. However, the ruling does mean that these people will continue to be unable to work legally in the U.S.
Can the Obama Administration do anything else?
Legal experts indicate that the Obama Administration could theoretically request that the court rehear the case. Thus far, two other parties in losing cases have made this request, but SCOTUS has yet to take action on these petitions.
Stay tuned for updates …
Please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions or concerns regarding any immigration law matter.