On June 23, 2016, in United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court upheld an injunction on two Administrative executive action programs on immigration.
The Court ruled that “…The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court..” With these 9 words, the Court split 4 to 4, and without a 9th and deciding Justice, permitted an injunction against implementing these programs imposed by a Texas District Court and upheld by the Fifth Circuit to stand.
As background, in November, 2014, and arising out frustration with Congressional inaction on comprehensive immigration legislation, President Obama and his Administration created two executive actions programs: Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) and an expanded program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), an earlier executive action program to benefit certain children who accompanied their parents into the United States at an early age. The programs if implemented would shield certain parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents from removal, and certain young people from removal based on enforcement priorities, and would expand who could qualify for DACA. Texas and 25 other states sued the federal government alleging overreach of the powers of the executive branch in taking these steps.
There has been no trial on the merits, only appeals on the propriety of the injunction decision itself up to the Supreme Court. The case now goes back to the District Court to be tried. Procedurally, the Administration could request a rehearing before the full Court. Whether it does so remains to be seen.