Millions of undocumented immigrants who thought they would get a reprieve from deportation from an Obama administration initiative now are facing imminent removal after the Supreme Court refused to break its recent tie over a Texas-led challenge to the president’s action.
On Monday, the Supreme Court turned down an Obama administration request that it resolve a tie it reached in June over an executive action that temporarily would spare undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Texas and 25 other states said in a lawsuit over the executive action that President Barack Obama was overstepping the boundaries of his power by seemingly doing an end-run around Congress on immigration policy.
A federal district judge in Texas issued an injunction, leaving millions of undocumented immigrants who had hoped to get the reprieve, in limbo. With the Supreme Court refusal to rehear the case, it returns to the district judge, who is not expected to reverse his decision.
The Obama administration had sought to have the Supreme Court reconsider the case once it replaced the late Justice Anthony Scalia.
"The validity of the (immigration policy) is unlikely to arise in any future case," said Acting U.S. Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn in his petition to the Supreme Court in the summer. "This court instead should be the final arbiter of these matters through a definitive ruling."
Obama’s executive action aimed to spare for about two years more than 4 million undocumented immigrants, including people who came as minors and parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. The initiatives, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), also allow immigrants to obtain work permits and driver’s licenses, among other things.
Proponents of DACA and DAPA assailed the Supreme Court decision.
"It is disappointing the Supreme Court will not rehear this case in an expedited manner once the court is fully staffed with nine justices, especially when the lives of millions are on the line,” said Cesar Vargas, director of the Dream Action Coalition, to Fox News Latino. “The Supreme Court should be a separate branch of government that should move the nation forward as the Constitution intended not just sit there while the status quo is perpetuated by dysfunctional Congress.”
Bob Dane, executive director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, expressed support for the Supreme Court decision, as well as doubt that the Obama administration would end its efforts to take unilateral actions on immigration.
"The Supreme Court’s decision not to rehear the case means the Obama Administration has exhausted its legal remedies to fast-track an amnesty," Dane said to Fox News Latino. "But considering that for almost eight years, this president has adamantly refused to accept 'No' from Congress or the American public whenever it comes to amnesty -- and has systematically whittled away most enforcement through back-door administrative tactics -- it begs the question of just what other last-minute maneuvers will he pursue between now and December."
Includes reporting by The Associated Press.