WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — A tie vote by the Supreme Court blocked President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.
The justices’ one-sentence opinion on Thursday effectively kills the plan for the duration of Obama’s presidency.
Obama said the decision sets the system back and “takes us further from the country we aspire to be.”
“I think it is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who made their lives here, who have raised families here, who hope for the opportunity to work, pay taxes, serve in our military and more fully contribute to this country we all love in an open way,” Obama said.
The president reassured people that they don’t need to fear immediate deportation, saying said the opinion doesn’t change his administration’s enforcement priorities.
Obama says his administration will continue focusing its limited enforcement resources on people who have committed a crime and that deportation for long-term immigrants who aren’t criminals will remain a low priority.
He hopes that will be an outcome of the voting in November for control of the White House and Congress.
Obama also used the deadlocked Supreme Court opinion on his immigration actions to hammer Republicans for refusing to confirm his nominee to the Supreme Court. He said Republicans are allowing partisan politics to jeopardize critical issues, adding “America should not let it stand.”
The president said his immigration actions can’t go forward until the court has a ninth justice to break the tie.
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