By Guillermo Duralde,
Domestic News Assistant Editor
Since President Obama took office back in 2009, his administration has been incredibly clear about their stance on immigration and the desperate need for some substantive, comprehensive immigration reform.
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, tensions ran very hot against Muslim Americans and anyone who looked like they were from the Middle East and as the economy began to crash, some turned their anger away from Muslim Americans and Middle Eastern individuals to those from Latin America.
The US economy was losing thousands upon thousands of jobs a month and more people across the country saw Hispanic individuals working menial labor jobs that gave rise to an environment where almost all Latinos were called illegal aliens and job-stealers.
In November 2014, President Obama made a speech to the nation from the White House where he voiced his frustrations with the Republican controlled House on their refusal to pass a Senate-approved immigration reform bill. The president time and time again ran into the Republican roadblock on all number of issues that he supported be it the Affordable Care Act or immigration reform, he said in that address that until the House took up the Senate bill and passed it which he said, “But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as president.”
Per NPR, He maintained that these are “the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.”
The president then issued an executive order granted temporary quasi-legal status and work permits to the parents of US born children who entered the country illegally prior to 2010 which by current estimates could be as high as 4 million people.
Immediately after the president enacted this executive order to grant temporary protection, a federal court blocked the order from going into effect because Texas and 25 other states sued the president. Now the case is sitting in front of the Supreme Court and the remaining 8 justices instead of the full panel due to the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Like what has been happening in Congress, a clear divide makes up the court room because there are 4 Democratic-appointed justices and 4 GOP-appointed justices so there is an ideological split in the court room much like in the halls of Congress.
One of the big questions that the justices will have to answer is whether or not Texas and the other 25 states have the legal standing to bring this suit forward all together because their argument centers on their lack of resources.
The attorney general from Texas has said that if the illegal immigrants are granted temporary legal status that the state will have to provide them all with government identification and that they do not have the budget for it.
In the eyes of some legal experts and immigration advocates, this claim is irrelevant because the state of Texas deliberately crafted the language of the budget to make sure that they could not make all these government ID cards and that this was done to ensure no illegal immigrants be granted the protections provided under the president’s executive order.
CNN reports that now, there is a wait and see approach on the outcome of this case because “a split court between the four Democratic-appointed justices and four GOP-appointed justices would mean the programs remain blocked and the case is sent back to the district court in Texas that blocked them in the first place.”
If the court has a split verdict and it is sent back to the district court, that ruling serves as the final ruling and carries the same weight as a Supreme Court decision in light of the fact that they could not reach a majority decision.
Advocates on both sides of the aisle are confident that the justices will see the case their way and rule accordingly, but in the end, no one knows for sure how this will all play out.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 26th print edition.
Contact Guillermo at