Though the ruling was only nine words long, a recent decision regarding immigration by the United States Supreme Court is being felt nation-wide including in Montgomery County.
“The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court,” the Supreme Court wrote in its opinion on U.S. v. Texas.
On June 23, the Supreme Court released its opinion after a 4-4 split on whether the immigration executive order signed by President Obama, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), was constitutional.
The Supreme Court’s tie on DAPA upholds a 2015 U.S. Circuit Court ruling that blocked the implementation of the plan.
Millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who were potentially eligible for work permits will now have to continue to work in the shadows rather than seek a legal work permit, according Rockville immigration lawyer and advocate Cynthia Groomes Katz.
According to CASA, an immigrant advocacy organization, there are 30,000 people in Montgomery County that would were eligible for legal work permits under Obama’s two executive orders: DAPA and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were minors to apply for a work permit.
“It’s obviously a devastating ruling for the parents that we represent,” said Fernanda Durand, a spokesperson for CASA.
If the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Obama Administration it would have allowed for the undocumented immigrants to be issued legal work permits.
Under the program, undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since 2010 and have a child that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident could apply for a work permanent.
While the Supreme Court’s split vote leaves millions of undocumented immigrants in limbo, it is not a total loss.
“It is a setback, but it is not a total defeat,” said Groomes Katz.
The Supreme Court’s split leaves some undocumented immigrants in limbo as the court could hear the case again.
“They are subject to being taken into custody…and deported and splitting up families,” Katz said.
In the meantime, Congress can take action but previous attempts at immigration reform have failed and future attempts might have to wait for new president to take office in January of 2017.
Additionally, if the Supreme Court were to uphold DAPA, a future president could overturn it with an executive order that did not need congressional approval meaning that it could be repealed by a president’s signature.
“It really underscores the need for getting the ninth judge to break this nonsensical none decision that are impacting the lives of millions,” said state Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18).
While Maryland has passed laws that provide relief to some undocumented immigrants, such as a 2012 referendum for reduce tuition at state colleges, Gutierrez said immigration is the reasonability of the federal government and there is not much that the state can do about it.