U.S. Supreme Court decision halts expanded economic opportunity for immigrants

Clark Biegler
Jun 23, 2016

Today’s disappointing decision from the U.S. Supreme Court halts proposed actions to expand opportunity for an estimated 3.9 million unauthorized immigrants across the nation, including 30,000 in Minnesota.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced a split 4-4 ruling today, leaving the nationwide delay of President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive action in effect. The U.S. Supreme Court currently has an empty seat due to Justice Antonin Scalia’s death earlier this year, making the possibility of split decisions much more common.

In November 2014, Obama introduced an executive action that expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and created the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). These would allow undocumented immigrants who came into the country as children, as well as parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, to request relief from deportation and receive work permits that would last for three years. However, a lawsuit brought by 26 states, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court today, prevented those actions from going into effect.

The executive action sought to recognize the contributions these residents make to their local communities and economies, and would keep families together who already call the United States their home. Obama’s action also would provide an economic boost by strengthening the country’s workforce, as young people who grew up here could advance their educations and careers, and workers could increase their earnings through jobs that better match their skills. As a result, it’s estimated that full implementation of DACA and DAPA could improve the Minnesota economy by $1.7 billion over 10 years.

Obama’s executive action would be a common-sense way to provide a more stable status to immigrants living in our communities. Next steps for the executive action to proceed are unclear at the moment, but it is possible that the U.S. Supreme Court could schedule the case for another argument when it has a full court of nine justices again.

-Clark Biegler