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Supreme Court Decision Gets Scorn from MN Immigration Supporters

Minnesota's immigration rights advocates say they're dissapointed at the U.S. Supreme Court's tie decision, effectively blocking President Obama's immigration policies. (iStockphoto)
Minnesota's immigration rights advocates say they're dissapointed at the U.S. Supreme Court's tie decision, effectively blocking President Obama's immigration policies. (iStockphoto)
June 24, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Immigration rights advocates in Minnesota are blasting Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision, which could doom President Obama's expanded immigration policies.

In a 4-4 tie vote, the justices allowed a lower court decision to stand that prevents the president from shielding about 4 million people from deportation. The "deferred action" plans would give temporary protections to families with mixed immigration status and some who entered the country as children.

Immigration lawyer Danielle Briand, a member of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, said the court's tie could affect more than 90,000 undocumented immigrants in the state.

"It would have given people -- number one, the piece of mind that they wouldn't be deported -- and then number two, some basic benefits that would help them improve their lives and livelihoods here in the country," she said.

The lower court ruling came after Texas and 25 other states sued over the expanded immigration plans, which were announced two years ago. The states argued that the president had overstepped his authority.

ACLU of Minnesota legal director Theresa Nelson said the ruling does not make it legal for police to arrest someone based on his or her immigration status.

"It's our hope certainly in Minnesota that people are not racially profiled because of their immigration status or treated differently by police," she said, "because this doesn't give police free rein to arrest people simply because they believe they are not here lawfully."

The expanded program was to be called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The Supreme Court's tie vote effectively means Obama cannot take further executive action on immigration.

Briand said her group will be working with state lawmakers to keep families together.

"We're looking to mobilize the Latino vote," she said. "We need to get more Latinos participating in the political process so that our leaders in Congress pay attention, or heed the demands of the immigrant community, of the Latino community in particular."

The ACLU's comment is online at aclu.org. The Supreme Court's decision is at scotusblog.com.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - MN