In a 4-4 tie, the Supreme Court today affirmed a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that temporarily blocks implementation of President Obama's DAPA and extended DACA amnesties. The case brought by 26 states now returns to District Judge Andrew Hanen’s court for a consideration of its merits.
In November 2014 the Obama Administration established the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and an extended version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The programs offered three-year work permits to certain illegal aliens and “legal presence,” which formally stayed deportation for those already considered non-deportation priorities under Administration polices.
Shortly thereafter 26 states sued the Administration claiming the programs would impose “billions of dollars in costs.” The states also argued that President Obama exceeded his deferred action discretion, tread on Congress' power to write laws and violated the "Take Care Clause" of the U.S. Constitution. The case landed in Judge Hanen’s court.
In March 2015 Judge Hanen found there was sufficient merit in the states' challenge to warrant a temporary injunction. The Administration sought to overturn the injunction in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, but a three-judge panel upheld it. The Administration then appealed the 5th Circuit’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
The Justices’ one-sentence opinion affirms the 5th Circuit’s ruling upholding Judge Hanen’s temporary injunction. Since Judge Hanen never ruled on the merits of the case, it now returns to his court for further consideration.
Judge Hanen had tentatively set a status conference for August to discuss his rebuke of Justice Department lawyers for "intentionally deceptive" conduct in this case. He may use that opportunity to begin a discussion on the merits of the overall case.
NumbersUSA founder and CEO Roy Beck issued the following statement on today’s Supreme Court ruling: "The ruling today is a win for American workers and the Constitution. The court's decision means that immigration policy -- including the power to issue work permits -- still belongs to the people through their elected officials in Congress and that a president cannot unilaterally change that policy. U.S. citizens and legal immigrants in this country have been spared having to face direct job and wage competition from millions of illegal migrants for whom Pres. Obama had promised to open up every job in America."
Commenting on the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “Today’s decision keeps in place what we have maintained from the very start: one person, even a president, cannot unilaterally change the law. This is a major setback to President Obama’s attempts to expand executive power, and a victory for those who believe in the separation of powers and the rule of law.”
At a press conference today President Obama said he will not deport most illegal aliens despite the Supreme Court's ruling. Although his Administration and many in the media had portrayed DAPA and extended DACA as being necessary to shield illegal aliens from deportation, his statement confirms that most are already “low priorities” for deportation under his policies. However, they will not be eligible for work permits, Social Security Numbers and taxpayer-funded benefits.
Updated: Thu, Jul 7th 2016 @ 11:55am EDT