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Immigrants Denounce Court’s Refusal to Rehear Arguments

A tie vote in the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a lower court ruling to stand. (Rob Crawley/Flickr)
A tie vote in the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a lower court ruling to stand. (Rob Crawley/Flickr)
October 4, 2016

NEW YORK – New York's immigrant community is frustrated by the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to rehear arguments in the case challenging President Obama's executive actions on immigration reform.

Twenty-six states sued, claiming the president had overstepped his authority by extending immigration protections to parents of children who are U.S. citizens.

Antonio Alarcon, an organizer with Make the Road New York, said the court's four-to-four vote on the case had left children and families at risk – even in New York, where immigrants are welcome.

"It is sad that our community is still in the limbo of getting deported, separating innocent families who are only the victims of this immigration system that we have," he said.

Issued after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court's decision allowed a lower court ruling blocking the president's reforms to stand. But as a tie vote, it did not set a precedent.

In asking the court to rehear the case, the Obama administration claimed that what is at stake is so important it needs a definitive resolution by the high court. Alarcon pointed out that many now facing deportation have long histories in this country.

"The people who are the victims of this are people who are undocumented who haven't been in their native countries for 20 to 30 years," he explained.

More than half of the 3.6 million people affected by the decision live in states that have not challenged the president's policy.

A lawsuit filed in New York asks the federal courts to allow the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program to go into effect in states that were not part of the suit against it. According to Alarcon, that lawsuit had its first hearing last week.

"We are in the hope that New York and the other 23 states that are putting this lawsuit against the Department of Justice will get an answer, hopefully by next year," he added.

He noted the ultimate decision on immigration reform may depend on action in Congress to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY