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Supreme Court deals blow to Obama immigration reform

Back in 2012, President Barack Obama announced an ambitious overhaul of U.S. immigration policy. The reform was put on hold when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the change in policy.

Now the Supreme Court has weighed in with a 4 to 4 tie that has the effect of allowing the injunction to stand. The high court's decision casts doubt on whether approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants will be able to stay in the country or face deportation.

When announcing his plan in 2014, the president said he had grown impatient with partisan gridlock in Congress that prevented meaningful immigration policy reform. His program would have enabled up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay here and legally obtain jobs.

After the Supreme Court's decision was announced, President Obama described it as "heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who have made their lives here." He had previously said his plan would enable people to live their lives out from the shadows, free to be productive and engaged in American society.

The plan would have allowed unauthorized immigrants who were the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply to be spared deportation and obtain work permits. The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program was also known as DAPA.

With the president's plan effectively killed off, many observers believe that comprehensive immigration reform is back at square one. And with a turbulent presidential campaign in full swing, it seems unlikely that Congress will pass any substantial immigration legislation this year.

Immigrants facing possible removal can discuss their options with a State Island immigration attorney experienced in deportation defense.


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