WASHINGTON (AA) – The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented migrants from deportation.
The court’s one sentence decision upholds a Texas court’s ruling due to the procedural outcome resulting from a split decision. It does not set a national precedent.
A lower court sided with Texas, which led 25 other Republican states, in challenging Obama’s executive action on immigration.
The New Orleans federal appeals court ruled that Obama lacks the necessary powers to shield as many as 4 million undocumented migrants from deportation and make them eligible to work without congressional approval.
The 4-4 tie was made possible by the Senate’s refusal to hold hearings for any nominee that President Barack Obama puts forth to fill deceased Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
“The fact that the Supreme Court wasn't able to issue a decision today doesn't just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be,” Obama said shortly after the decision was made public. “The expanded set of common sense deferred action policies, the ones that I announced two years ago, can't go forward at this stage until there is a ninth Justice on the court to break the tie.”
The court agreed to hear the case earlier this year before Scalia’s death in February. If he were still sitting, it is likely he would have joined his fellow conservative justices in opposing the measures, dealing a direct defeat to the American president.
Obama decided to take the action in 2014 after chances for comprehensive immigration reform appeared slim with Republicans assuming control of both houses of Congress.
In a sign of the divisive partisan battle, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said on Twitter that the “heartbreaking” ruling “could tear apart 5 million families facing deportation. We must do better.”
Her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, previously vowed to deport those living in the country illegally, effectively killing the executive actions.
Obama’s immigration policy blocked by US Supreme Court
Supreme Court's split decision upholds Texas ruling.