Washington, June 24 (IANS) US Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a heavy blow to the White House’s immigration programme by unable to come to a decision on a lower court’s ruling that blocked the programme.
By voting 4-4, the Supreme Court on Thursday left in place a previous ruling by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeal against US President Barack Obama’s controversial immigration executive action in 2014, Xinhua reported.
Speaking at the White House, Obama called the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision “frustration to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system”.
“The fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back further,” said Obama. “It takes us further from the country that we aspire to be. “
Meanwhile, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called the deadlocked decision “unacceptable” and took a sharp jab at her rival in the general election Republican Donald Trump.
“This decision is also a stark reminder of the harm Donald Trump would do to our families, our communities, and our country,” said Clinton in a statement.
Trump had proclaimed from the very beginning of his candidacy that he would implement tougher immigration policies, pledging to deport millions of illegal immigrants and to build a wall along US-Mexico border.
In 2014, Obama resorted to his executive authority to circumvent Congress and pushed forward immigration reforms by seeking to provide as many as 5 million illegal immigrants with work permit while shielding the majority of them from deportation.
This immediately sparked an outcry among Republicans, calling the action an illegal executive overreach.
In its defence, the White House previously said the Supreme Court and Congress had made clear that “the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws”.
The first phase of Obama’s executive action on immigration reform was supposed to start taking effect in February last year.
As a result, young immigrants would be protected from deportation if they were brought to the US soil illegally as children. The second phase would extend immunity to deportation to parents of US citizens and permanent residents.
However, the new deportation-relief programme never kicked off after US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued a court injunction against the programme on the eve of its launch.