Photo by Arasmus.
Karla Cano knows what the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on immigration means for her:
“All that is unjust about my situation will continue.”
Cano, a young mother and member of Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based community organization committed to protecting civil rights for immigrants, is troubled by the court’s deadlocked ruling which that left as many as 3.6 million unauthorized immigrants ineligible for work authorization and at risk of deportation. “We just want to help this country and support our families like anyone else. I am not giving up on the struggle.”
The Supreme Court announced on June 23 that it deadlocked in a case challenging Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, both part of President Obama’s executive action on immigration.
United States v. Texas was brought before the Supreme Court after an appeals court blocked the plan. After reaching what Obama called a “heartbreaking” 4-4 tie, the Supreme Court issued its decision: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”
The Deferred Action for Parents program would have granted three-year work permits to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. It would also have protected them from deportation.
A joint report from the Urban Institute and the Migration Policy Institute estimates that ten million people live in households with at least one adult eligible for a work permit under this program. The report says the program could have reduced poverty for these households, increasing their family income by ten percent.
Speaking at the White House, Obama described the decision as disappointing for the millions of immigrants who “hope for the opportunity to work, pay taxes, serve in our military, and more fully contribute to the country we all love.”
Obama also took the opportunity to warn of the consequences of the Republican-controlled Senate’s refusal to grant a fair hearing to his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
“The country was looking to the Supreme Court to resolve the important legal questions raised in this case,” said Obama. “The Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision . . . that means the expanded set of common-sense deferred action policies cannot go forward until there is a ninth justice on the Court to break the tie.”
Obama introduced his executive action plans on immigration back in 2014 in response to his frustration with the country’s “broken” immigration system. Shortly after, a coalition of Republican leaders from twenty-six states—including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker—filed a suit against the program.
“This is a major setback to President Obama’s attempts to expand executive power,” said Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, in a statement after the ruling. “[This] decision keeps in place what we have maintained from the very start: One person, even a President, cannot unilaterally change the law.”
José Flores, president of Voces de la Frontera, said the community must now continue working to ensure that pro-immigrant candidates are elected in November so fair immigration reform can be passed through Congress.
“I refuse to be afraid, to shrink back into the shadows,” said Flores in a press release. “I have been waiting and fighting for a reform like [Deferred Action for Parents] for years, but we are not giving up.”
Hallie Mellendorf is an editorial intern for The Progressive.