Politics

Why Obama Blames Congress for the Supreme Court Decision on Immigration

June 23rd 2016

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

President Barack Obama's 2014 executive order to expand immigration reform won't stand, but the president doesn't blame the Supreme Court. He blames Congress, and he wants Americans to consider their role in immigration reform in the upcoming elections.

The Supreme Court reached a 4-4 tie on executive orders that would have given more than 4 million undocumented immigrants the ability to work legally in the U.S. and apply for protection from deportation, according to Vox.

"The case, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, concerned an executive action by the president to allow as many as five million unauthorized immigrants who are the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would spare them from deportation and provide them with work permits," The New York Times explained. "The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA."

Obama talks about the Supreme Court's decision on immigration.

Because the Supreme Court didn't reach a definitive decision, last year's decision from the Texas Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will stand, knocking down Obama's immigration reform legacy.

Obama said that Congress needs to do its job.

"This does not substantially change the status quo and it doesn't negate what has always been the case: if we're really going to solve this problem effectively, we've got to have Congress pass a law, " Obama said at a White House press conference.

He also blamed Republicans for blocking his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. A ninth Supreme Court justice would have broken the tie.

Obama said that Congress will eventually have to address immigration reform after years of avoiding the issue.

"I promise you this though, sooner or later, immigration reform will get done." he said. "Congress is not going to be able to ignore America forever. It's not a matter of if, but when."

Obama said the speed of immigration reform depends largely on what Americans decide in the upcoming presidential and local elections.

"We're going to have to decide if we're a people who accept the cruelty of ripping children from their parents' arms or whether we actually value families and keep them together for the sake of all of our communities. We're going to have to decide whether we're a people who continue to educate the world's brightest students in our high schools and universities only to then send them away to compete against us or whether we encourage them to stay and create new jobs and new businesses here in the United States. These are all the questions that voters now are going to have to ask themselves and are going to have to answer in November." - President Barack Obama

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted that the ruling was "heartbreaking."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said in the past that he wants to build a wall between the U.S and Mexico.

Trump also wants a ban on Muslim immigration.

In addition to indirectly referencing Trump's wall proposal as "fantasy," Obama called out racist stereotypes about immigrants and referenced his father's own Kenyan heritage.

"Whether it was the Irish, or the Poles, or the Germans, or the Italians, or the Chinese, or the Japanese, or the Mexicans, or the Kenyans, whoever showed up over time by second generation, third generation, those kids are Americans." he said. "They do look like us because we don't look one way."

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