WASHINGTON (AP) – A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation. The justices’ one-sentence opinion today effectively kills the plan for the duration of Obama’s presidency. A tie vote sets no national precedent but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court. In this case, the federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Obama administration lacked the authority to shield up to 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits without approval from Congress. Texas led 26 Republican-dominated states in challenging the program Obama announced in November 2014.

The split ruling  President Obama’s executive immigration actions known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), now leaves the appeals court ruling in place.

President Obama has called his inability to move immigration reform through Congress as one of his “biggest disappointments”  Implementation would have authorized work permits for eligible undocumented immigrants and deportation protection.

Deferred action status also offers undocumented Californians expanded access to quality, affordable health care through Medi-Cal. Because of today’s ruling, hundreds of thousands of Californians will remain shut out of our state’s health care system.

“Today’s split-decision prolongs the wait for millions of undocumented individuals to obtain relief from deportation,” said Daniel Zingale, Senior Vice President of the California Endowment. “No one should have to wait to avail themselves of the principles of hope and opportunity upon which our nation was founded, but we are hopeful that today’s split decision will ultimately result in health justice for all.”

Those with deferred action status from the original DACA program, implemented in 2012, are not affected by this Supreme Court decision.

Due to the split ruling, a future challenge could come before the court after a ninth judge is confirmed.  

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