June 23, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) expresses disappointment that the Supreme Court’s tied decision in United States v. Texas prevents the implementation of the Obama administration’s executive actions on immigration. The initiatives, known as expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) and a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), would have allowed millions of immigrants to apply for protection from deportation and obtain a work permit.

“The Court’s failure to speak clearly on this case keeps hard-working immigrants, including up to half a million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, in limbo with their lives and families’ security in the balance,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “As commonsense reforms well within the president’s authority, DACA+ and DAPA would ensure that families that have established deep roots in the United States can stay together—uplifting the well-being of not only these families, but also entire communities of which they are vital contributors. Although the Court’s deadlock is a setback for immigrant families, we remain committed to fighting anti-immigrant policies and urging the Administration to continue to defend DACA+ and DAPA, including seeking a rehearing when the Supreme Court is filled by a ninth justice.”

In 2014, 26 states filed the lawsuit to stop implementation of DACA+ and DAPA. A federal district court in Texas blocked the initiatives, and that ruling was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The federal government appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which heard the case this April.

With only eight justices on the Supreme Court, the Court could not reach a majority decision in the case. The tie means that the lower courts’ block on DACA+ and DAPA remains in place without Supreme Court precedent being set, and the case will be sent back to the lower courts for consideration.

APIAHF supports the deferred action programs and comprehensive immigration reform to promote the health and welfare of immigrant families and their communities. In March 2016, APIAHF joined an amicus brief with a diverse coalition of 325 immigrant, civil rights, labor and social service organizations supporting DACA+ and DAPA. The brief highlighted how the initiatives would benefit families and enhance economic and societal contributions of immigrants.