Changes or additions to U.S. immigration law often influence large groups of people, from those wanting to come to the country for work or school to those who are seeking refuge from violence in their home countries. For immigrants living in the United States without the appropriate documentation, new laws may threaten to break up families, or allow them to stay together.
Recently, the case against President Barack Obama’s proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program came before the Supreme Court Justices. Several states, including Texas, had originally filed the litigation claiming that the president did not have the authority to enact DAPA through an executive action. The earlier ruling found in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that the president could not enact this type of legislation without following certain protocols.
The vote on the appeal resulted in a tie, which is currently possible because the justices are evenly divided over the issues without a ninth judge to serve as a tie-breaker. Because of the decision, minor children who are citizens or lawful permanent residents in the United States will not have the guarantee of the support of their undocumented parents.
Children and young people who are U.S. citizens at birth because they were born in the country may have parents who do not share this status, and who lack the resources they need to gain the appropriate documentation. An attorney may be able to provide assistance to families in this position so their families may stay together.
Source: New York Times, “Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan,” Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, June 23, 2016