Supreme Court Ruling Blocks Protections For Thousands Of Florida Immigrants

Jul 6, 2016

Earlier last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a tied ruling on President Obama’s immigration reforms. The justices’ deadlock means 3.8 million undocumented immigrants nationwide are once again in danger of deportation. Here's a look into what the ruling means for Florida.

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With a four to four tie, the Supreme Court could not resolve the case against President Obama’s executive actions. The stalemate means a lower court’s ruling will stand, and the protections for undocumented immigrants will not go into effect. Under the programs, certain immigrants could apply for work permits and temporary relief from deportation. The measures are commonly called DAPA, deferred action for parents of Americans, and DACA Plus, or deferred action for childhood arrivals. Tallahassee immigration attorney Elizabeth Ricci believes all Floridians would’ve benefited from the programs.

“So it’s not just disappointing from an economic standpoint. It’s disappointing that families will be separated, facing deportation, living in the shadows, probably not reporting crime. And it’s not in the spirit of our history of being a humanitarian leader,” she said.

A judge in Texas initially ruled the Obama Administration overstepped its bounds in rolling out the programs. The Supreme Court’s deadlock means the case remains unresolved, and there is a possibility of future legal challenges. Memphis immigration lawyer Greg Siskind believes Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton will take the fight on the campaign trail.

“I would find it hard to believe that she’s not going to be talking about the case and talking about comprehensive reform. Basically all these issues. You have 2 million more Latino voters than in the 2012 elections,” he said.

Clinton has pledged to expand President Obama’s reforms, while Republican contender Donald Trump says he’ll undo them. According to the Migration Policy Institute, without the protections in place, deportation is once again a reality for an estimated 100,000 Floridians. But because the would-be beneficiaries don’t have criminal records, the federal government considers them a low priority.