Los Angeles – Today, in a 4-4 split decision in United States v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the question of whether President Barack Obama’s use of executive action to suspend deportations and grant work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants was constitutional. The deadlock lets stand an order by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the actions, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), from takng effect.
“Because of this deadlock, millions of immigrants across the country, including many of the more than a quarter million LGBT undocumented immigrants here in California, will continue to live in daily fear of deportations that rip families apart” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “This decision underscores the importance of the upcoming presidential election, and a choice between one candidate who is committed to bringing undocumented immigrants into the full life of our communities, and another who calls for the mass deportation of 11 million people. It also highlights the importance of an election whose winner may determine the composition of the Supreme Court and the ultimate outcome of DAPA and DACA. The election will determine whether the country will be governed by a Congress able to accomplish anything, including the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform.”
President Obama announced an expansion of DACA and DAPA in 2014, prompting a lawsuit by the state of Texas and 25 other states claiming that he had overstepped his executive authority. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a temporary injunction against implementation of the expanded programs last year; the U.S. Department of Justice later filed a petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case to remove the injunction. Equality California participated in an amicus brief calling on the Court to hear the administration’s case. It was signed by Equality California, SEIU, ILRC, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and a broad group of other civil rights, labor and service provider organizations from across the country.
The split ruling leaves open the possibility of an eventual appeal by immigration advocates. The original DACA program, launched in 2012, is still in effect and is not affected by the decision.
Equality California estimates that there are more than 250,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants in California. The organization leads Equality4All, a collaborative of LGBT organizations in California focused on improving the lives of undocumented Californians, including those who would qualify for expanded DACA and DAPA.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org