The Supreme Court’s Deadlock On Immigration Leaves Millions In Limbo
Today, an eight-member Supreme Court was unable to address an immigration case that impacts millions of families and our economy, showing just how damaging a short-handed Court can be. In United States v. Texas, the most important immigration case to reach the Supreme Court in decades, the justices split 4-4 leaving millions of immigrant families in limbo with a one-sentence non-decision.
The case was brought to the Supreme Court by a group of politically-motivated Republican governors and attorneys general from 26 states who hoped to block two parts of President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration: expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). DAPA and expanded DACA were created to help parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders, as well as DREAMers who came to the U.S. as children and lived here their entire lives.
Without even issuing an opinion or presenting reasoning, the split Supreme Court today permitted a decision from a single federal court to have a profound impact on the lives of millions across the country. The President’s actions would keep millions of families together and give them with the opportunity to contribute more fully to the economy. But after today, an estimated 4 million immigrants will remain vulnerable to deportation and more than 6 million U.S. citizens will continue to live in fear of the separation of their families.
Blocking DAPA and expanded DACA isn’t just a loss for millions of American families, it is also a loss for the entire U.S. economy. Every day the programs are blocked the U.S. loses $29.9 million in GDP—already delay of the programs has cost the country more than 8.2 billion in lost cumulative GDP.
The split Court means that there is no decision that will bind future court decisions and the case may continue to proceed through the courts until it is heard in front of a full Supreme Court. The split decision also means that the fight for families will continue in November, when voters will choose between two presidential candidates with drastically different views on the future of immigration in the United States.
One bright spot in today’s Supreme Court news was the 4-3 decision to uphold affirmative action in university admissions processes. The decision proved that diversity is a value worth preserving on college campuses and is a win for all Americans. But the immigration decision that immediately followed it proved the fight to preserve and strengthen diversity in the United States will continue.
While the Supreme Court struggles to function and millions of families live in fear of deportation, a highly qualified and respected nominee awaits action from Senate Republicans. Tomorrow marks the 100th day since Chief Judge Merrick Garland was nominated to fill the vacancy and today’s failure to resolve the United States v. Texas case proves just how much we need the vacancy filled. It’s time for Senate Republicans to stop playing political games with our democracy and give him a hearing and a vote.
BOTTOM LINE: Today, a short-handed Supreme Court failed to address one of the most consequential immigration cases in decades, forcing millions of immigrants to continue living in fear of separation. Millions of families were forced into limbo by a group of politically-motivated Republican lawmakers seeking to block President Obama’s immigration actions and they remain in limbo thanks, in part, to another group of politically-motivated Republican lawmakers seeking to obstruct the Supreme Court process.
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