DEVELOPING: The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, effectively granting executive amnesty to million in the U.S. illegally. In a tie decision, the Court delivered a big win to states challenging his plan to give a deportation reprieve to millions.
The state of Texas led a 26-states coalition challenging President Obama’s waver of immigration law by executive fiat known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program announced in November 2014. The president came down with the action days after his party was thumped in a landslide during the 2014 midterm elections. Congressional Republicans also backed the states’ lawsuit.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who began the 26-state lawsuit as the state attorney general, called it a “vindication for the rule of law and the Constitution.”
At issue in the case case were two separate programs. The first would’ve allowed undocumented immigrants who are parents of either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to live and work in the U.S. without threat of deportation. The second would’ve expand an existing program to protect from deportation a larger population of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
While the estimate was roughly 4.5 million, challenges to that number were much higher. The states argued the administration overstepped Congress’s sole authority given by the Constitution to make immigration law and produced an unduly burden on the states.
“The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court,” the Court’s opinion simply reads.
The Court said last year it would hear the case after an appeals court the prior November made permanent an injunction by a lower district court. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled against President Obama and upheld a Texas judge’s injunction against the expansion of the DACA program. The appeals court ruling put the administration’s record on executive amnesty at 0-5 in the courts and was thought to reduce the prospect of implementation of the executive order before Obama leaves office in 2017.
It did. However, the 4-4 tie vote sets no national precedent, but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court.
Executive amnesty has also been losing in the court of public opinion, as well. As PPD has previously examined, particularly in the case of immigration, the results get worse when the question is asked more plainly. We have examined and explained the data on this topic in great detail in the past, but most voters still oppose President Obama’s executive order to exempt millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. A solid 59% say Obama does not have that legal power to issue the order, which is up from 52% in February and a new high to date.
Further, only 35% favor the president’s actions, which is little changed from 5 months ago, and only 25% believe the president has the legal authority to grant executive amnesty without the approval of Congress. A nearly identical number of voters (26%) say Obama should take action if Congress doesn’t lay down in front of him on the issue.
The Republican-dominated states involved in the lawsuit over the president’s unilateral executive amnesty order included Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.