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Supreme Court's Deadlock Ruling Angers Immigrant Communities

A tie ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't set a legal precedent, but immigrants' rights advocates say it is a setback for many trying to remain in this country. (Kjetil Ree/Wikimedia Commons)
A tie ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't set a legal precedent, but immigrants' rights advocates say it is a setback for many trying to remain in this country. (Kjetil Ree/Wikimedia Commons)
June 24, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – Immigration advocates are denouncing the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Thursday on immigration policy.

The justices' 4-to-4 tie vote allows an appeals court decision blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration to stand.

The president's Deferred Action plan offered temporary protection to families with mixed immigration status and immigrants who arrived as children.

Nicole Kligerman, a community organizer with the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, says the high court's decision puts millions of people at risk of deportation.

"The blood is on the hands of the Supreme Court,” she states. “It's a terrible injustice, and one that we are extremely angered and saddened by."

An estimated 100,000 immigrants in Pennsylvania would have qualified for protection under the president's Deferred Action plans.

According to Kligerman, up to 500,000 family members in the state could be affected, directly or indirectly, by the threat of deportations.

"It has an enormous ripple effect on communities, on economies, on spaces of worship,” she points out. “It's devastating, both in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, and across the country."

The tie ruling doesn't set a legal precedent, but it effectively prevents any executive action to protect millions from deportation for the remainder of the president's term in office.

And Kligerman says the fact that the court did not give a definitive answer is no comfort to those at risk.

"This is a country that deports 1,100 people a day away from their families,” she stresses. “A failure to act is in support of the continued, completely inhumane treatment of immigrants in this country."

The Supreme Court's ruling does not affect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which remains in effect.


Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA