Immigration Update: Implementation of the Obama Administration's 2014 Deferred-Action Policy Remains Blocked with U.S. Supreme Court 4-4 Tie Decision

The Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision on June 23, 2016, in United States v. Texas. This case examined the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration announced on November 20, 2014, including the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and the creation of a similar program for the parents of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents ("Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents," or DAPA).

The decision was a 4-4 tie, which means that the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that blocked the implementation of President Obama's executive actions will remain in place for now.

However, the existing DACA  program, announced on June 15, 2012, is not affected by this decision and will remain in place. In addition, enforcement priorities for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will remain the same, meaning that low-priority individuals would not be placed in greater danger of removal as a result of the lack of decision. 

As a consequence of this decision, the implementation of the Obama Administration's 2014 deferred-action policy remains blocked by a nationwide injunction. It is now up to U.S. Federal Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas, whether to move forward with a trial on the merits. As a practical matter, the 4-4 split decision stalls deportation relief for approximately 5 million undocumented people living in the U.S. These individuals may be vulnerable to removal in the event that current enforcement priorities change with a new administration following the November 2016 elections.

If you have questions about how this decision will impact your immigration status or that of your family members, please contact our office to speak with our immigration attorneys. Phone:  (608) 270-5550; Email: