SCOTUS refuses to make a decision on DAPA

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 4-4 split on the DAPA case has serious repercussions for millions of lives and destroys President Obama’s attempt at having a positive immigration legacy.

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The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.  With these nine words, the Supreme Court of the United States destroyed the dreams of millions of undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, and U.S. citizens.  While some celebrate the decision, many more are saddened and even angered by it.  Zaira Garcia who is a U.S. Citizen, but whose parents are undocumented, said, “You work really hard to get ahead in life, but does any of it matter when you can lose what matters most to you in a moment’s notice?”  In his remarks on the Court’s decision, President Obama stated, “Today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system.  It is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who have made their lives here.”  He continued to say that his current enforcement policies will remain in place.

Immigration rights activists began to mobilize and figure out ways to support the not one more deportation organization.

Immediately after the Court’s announcement, immigrant rights activists began to mobilize and figure out ways to fight this decision.  One way in which they are trying to do so is by continuing to support the not one more deportation organization.  The organization has demanded a moratorium on deportations by President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson.  They have also asked for a revision to DHS policies in how they monitor their agents and their prisons, many of which are private.

Marisa Franco, the director of the #Not1More campaign, stated, “The way to keep communities from living in fear is to put a freeze on deportations.  It doesn’t take a new program for the President to direct his agents to investigate civil rights violations as vigorously as it currently hunts our loved ones.  With the courts also taken over by the party politics that have ruled the immigration issue for more than a decade, President Obama has a responsibility to pursue alternatives to make his policies more humane.”

This split decision means that the case will be sent back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the legal aspect, this split decision means that the case will be sent back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals where the conservative federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, will decide on the case itself.  Most expect that the judge will rule against DAPA.  The case could come up to the Supreme Court again, either through a request for a rehearing by the Department of Justice or through an appeal on the decision based on the merits, rather than the injunction that was at issue.  President Obama also brought up the upcoming elections and how this was the way the American people could have a more direct impact on immigration reform.  He noted, “Americans are going to have to make a decision about what we care about and who we are.” President Obama also took a jab at Donald Trump’s proposed policies by saying, “Pretending we can deport 11 million people or build a wall without spending tens of billions of dollars is abetting what is really just factually incorrect.  It’s not going to work, and it’s not good for this country.   It’s a fantasy that… demeans our traditions of being both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan reacted by stating that, “The Constitution is clear: The president is not permitted to write laws, only Congress is.”  Although this may be true, as explained in a previous article, DAPA was not a law and was never intended to be a permanent solution.  Rather, it was a necessary action due to Congress’ inability to put partisanship aside and create a form of common sense immigration reform.  The last time there was substantive immigration reform was thirty years ago when President Ronald Reagan enacted the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which many consider to be one of the largest amnesty programs ever passed.  After three decades of inactivity, the people of the U.S. are tired of waiting for Congress.  Although now the word amnesty is considered to be toxic, a compromise needs to be reached.  The Latino vote will be a major factor in the upcoming elections and many believe that this Court decision will only help the Democrats and their presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.  Congress needs to stop playing with the lives of millions of people and take action.  It needs to focus on what will benefit this country the most.  Republicans especially should take their beloved Ronald Reagan’s advice.

In his 1989 farewell address when describing his “shining city” Reagan stated, “In my mind it was… teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace.  And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”   Unfortunately in today’s society, those who sacrifice everything and have the will and heart to get here are immediately vilified and told to go back to the extremely dangerous and impoverished environment they are so desperately seeking refuge from.

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About Josue Jimenez, Managing Editor Emeritus (18 Articles)
Josue Jimenez is a 2017 graduate of Campbell Law School and served as the Managing Editor for the Campbell Law Observer during the 2016-2017 academic year. He is a Los Angeles, California native, but has lived in Charlotte, NC, since November, 2003. In 2013, Josue graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Global Studies (Concentration in Politics, region Latin America) and Religious Studies (Focus on Early Christianity). From August, 2013- July, 2014, Josue worked as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm in Grand Rapids, MI. During the summer of 2015, he interned at Fayad Law, PC, where he worked on immigration and criminal defense cases. In the summer of 2016, Josue interned at the Charlotte Immigration Court where he prepared draft decisions for Immigration Judges on immigration matters including cancellation of removal and asylum applications. As well as, consulted with Immigration Judges and Judicial Law Clerks regarding pending decisions. During his final semester at Campbell Law Josue interned in the Legislative Analysis Division of the NC General Assembly. There, Josue assisted attorneys in the Division with numerous projects that dealt with constituent requests to pending legislation. These projects also covered a wide range of legal issues, ranging from multi-state surveys related to health and human services, agriculture, immigration, and aviation, to research on current state and federal law related to employment, local governments, veterans, immigration, and criminal law. Josue also served as the Vice-President of the Student Bar Association and a Peer Mentor during the 2016-2017 academic year.
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