On the first day of its new term, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt another setback to the Obama Administration’s executive actions on immigration. The Court denied the Administration’s request for a rehearing on its deferred action programs for undocumented immigrants. United States v. Texas, No. 15-674 (June 23, 2016), reh’g denied (Oct. 3, 2016). The denial comes months after the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 over the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and creation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs. This decision means that millions of undocumented immigrants will continue to be in limbo, without legal work authorization in the United States or protection from deportation.
After the Court’s deadlock in June effectively blocking expansion of DACA and creation of DAPA programs, the U.S. Department of Justice requested a rehearing before nine justices. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February left the Court without a ninth justice. While President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland in March, the U.S. Senate has not scheduled any confirmation hearings. Senate Republicans have refused to consider the nomination until the next president is elected. The Court’s denial of the Administration’s request is not the end of the case. The parties will continue their fight in the Texas court.
The fate of the programs may be up to the next president. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supports the Obama Administration’s executive actions. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump does not and has said he would end all of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.