For now, the state of Texas is winning its battle with the federal government over President Obama's executive actions on immigration.
Obama signed an executive order allowing the parents of U.S. residents brought to the United States as young children to receive the same protection from deportation that their children receive. (The children received that protection courtesy of an earlier executive order.) Obama's plan would shield about 4.4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, if it ever goes into effect.
Thursday, the Supreme Court split 4-4 on whether to override Hanen's injunction against the implementation of the program while the feds and the state of Texas fight it out in his court. A split court means that the lower court's decision stands.
As you would expect, reactions around the state of Texas varied widely.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the deadlocked court. “The action taken by the president was an unauthorized abuse of presidential power that trampled the Constitution, and the Supreme Court rightly denied the president the ability to grant amnesty contrary to immigration laws," Abbott said. "As the president himself said, he is not a king who can unilaterally change and write immigration laws. Today's ruling is also a victory for all law-abiding Americans — including the millions of immigrants who came to America following the rule of law."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office is leading the fight against the immigration expansion, was equally pleased. “Today’s decision keeps in place what we have maintained from the very start: One person, even a president, cannot unilaterally change the law. This is a major setback to President Obama’s attempts to expand executive power, and a victory for those who believe in the separation of powers and the rule of law," Paxton said.
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The Texas Organizing Project, one of the driving forces for comprehensive immigration reform in Texas, vowed to keep fighting for the Obama reforms and beyond. "Even before the decision was handed down, our members had resolved that no matter what the Supreme Court decided, we were going to continue fighting. And that is what we will do," said Michelle Tremillo, TOP's incoming executive director.
Dallas' Rafael Anchia, a member of the Texas House of Representatives and a rumored future Dallas mayoral candidate, accused Congress of hurting Texas families. "Nobody should be celebrating the loss of compassion or the failure to do justice. Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue in this country, and Congress should put aside its intransigence on this issue and work to pass legislation that will ultimately benefit employers, workers and families,” he said.
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump exulted. "Today's 4-4 Supreme Court ruling has blocked one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president," he said "The executive amnesty from President Obama wiped away the immigration rules written by Congress, giving work permits and entitlement benefits to people illegally in the country. This split decision also makes clear what is at stake in November."
The case now heads back to Hanen's court to be fought on the merits. If Trump is elected in November, Obama's reforms will likely be dead on arrival, because Trump would cancel the executive actions before the resolution of the case.