United States v. Texas: 4-4 Tie = Bad News for Immigrants

In a very brief announcement, the U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it was “equally divided” and thus could not reach a decision on U.S. v. Texas, the case in which the Fifth Circuit blocked President Obama’s executive order granting temporary immigration relief for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who meet certain eligibility requirements.

The ACLU believes it is the President’s lawful right to set priorities on immigration enforcement. In his executive order, he is enforcing existing laws, and his decision for deferrals was a practical, commonsense solution in line with actions taken by presidents from both parties over generations. Since the 1950s, every U.S. president has granted temporary immigration relief to one or more groups. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held that this is well within the executive’s authority to decide how and when to enforce the law, and to exercise prosecutorial discretion.

The Fifth Circuit ruling does not follow this well-established pattern.

The ACLU will not give up hope and will continue to fight for commonsense policies that keep families together. Our neighbors, those we got to school with, work with, learn from, and care about are a vital part of America. We must honor our legacy of being a nation of immigrants.

Many immigrants were hoping today that they would be able to come out of the shadows and be fuller members of our communities. This is a personal fight for many immigrant families, who can’t imagine leaving everything they know and love behind. We believe that that day will come soon. The ACLU stands with all those who “yearn to breathe free” and will continue to defend the constitutional rights of immigrants, regardless of their status.

This country is not made stronger–and everyone’s rights are threatened–when a part of our community feels unsafe or unable to exercise their rights.

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Statement by the director of our national office’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.