ealing a major blow to President Obama’s controversial executive immigration order, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday it had failed to produce a majority opinion on the policy — meaning that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2015 decision rejecting the policy stands.
The program had been blocked in February 2015 by a Brownsville-based federal judge, Andrew Hanen, days before it was scheduled to begin.
In a one-sentence opinion, the Supreme Court declared, “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced in November 2014 and could have granted deportation relief to more than 4 million people living in the country illegally — including more than 1 million undocumented immigrants in Texas. The program would also have allowed the immigrants to apply for renewable work permits if they have lived in the country for more than five years, pass background checks and pay fines.
As of 2015, about 533,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas — roughly 40 percent of the state’s undocumented-immigrant population — had children legally in the country, according to the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. About 1.17 million undocumented immigrants living in Texas have been in the country for at least five years, including about 222,000 who have lived here for more than 20 years.
See here for the last update; there’s a timeline of events on the Trib page. The SCOTUS “ruling” leaves in place Judge Hanen’s ruling, which was upheld by the Fifth Circuit, but it’s unclear how or if it applies anywhere else. It’s not hard to imagine another case originating in, say, California, and getting a different ruling from another appeals court, at which point one presumes SCOTUS will have to deal with this again. Maybe by then SCOTUS will have nine members, or maybe by then President Clinton will have signed an immigration reform bill that makes this all moot. I think we can all agree that SCOTUS’ actions did not resolve anything, and that this issue is now even more important this November. ThinkProgress, Daily Kos, Vox, Wonkblog, the Press, and the Current have more.