Millions of people are to remain in immigration limbo after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the 5th Circuit of Appeals’ injunction that makes unconstitutional the orders to extend protections against deportation that have been granted to children brought into the country illegally (DACA+) and to parents of U.S. citizens (DAPA). The issue is now out of the courts’ control and in the hands of voters.
Such is the result of the Supreme Court’s 4-4 deadlock caused by Antonin Scalia’s death and by the Republican-led Senate’s refusal to consider the judge nominated by the White House to occupy his seat. Thus, the dispute ends without resolution regarding whether the president’s decision to place dangerous undocumented people at the top of the priority list and take other immigrants out of it exceeds his powers.
The ruling represents a triumph of inaction, and shows the way the current legislative stalemate has reached the High Court. House Speaker Paul Ryan said to be satisfied with this confirmation that it is Congress and not the President who makes the laws. However, the Congressman did not assume responsibility for being the leader of a House of Representatives that seems to be incapable of passing essential laws such as immigration reform. due to its own Party’s internal divisions.
This is why today Congress enjoys the poorest reputation in history. It does not legislate or lets anyone legislate; it only knows to block.
When the Senate approved a number of changes to immigration law some time ago, the House ended up in gridlock and failed to move the bill forward. In the face of such paralysis, President Obama established new deportation priorities to, at least, protect undocumented people who have been in the U.S. for a long time and who have deep roots here.
It is now in the hands of the electorate to elect a president in November who will make a commitment to appoint a Supreme Court Justice with a more favorable outlook on immigration.
This is a political matter. That is why the Court’s split on ideology lines can be resolved in a political manner. Ideally, Congress will grant definitive protection to all DACA and DAPA recipients. The changes required for that can only be obtained through the ballot.