RENO, Nev - (KOLO) Thursday the US Supreme Court announced it was evenly divided over a plan by President Obama that would shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The tie vote effectively kills Obama’s executive action aimed at keeping families with mixed immigration status together. Following the announcement, several Reno area organizations held a press conference stating the decision was disappointing, but doesn’t change anything.
“I want to thank the Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas for keeping over five million families hidden in the shadow,” said community activist Theresa Navarro. She believes a vote in favor of the President’s plan would have given millions of undocumented immigrants, who had not broken any other laws, the ability to come out of hiding. Navarro says she has seen current policies tear families apart.
Vicki Aguila has lived in the US for more than 16 years. Her husband and daughter are residents. Her son is a "Dreamer." The executive action could have provided a path for her entire family to have the same citizenship status. She says the Supreme Court decision is heartbreaking, but she plans to keep fighting.
Aguila was one of three people expected to tell their stories at this meeting. The other two declined out of fear of being found and deported. However, the decision doesn't put the 66-thousand Nevada families facing similar circumstances in direct danger. “If nobody was coming for you before, they're not coming for you now,” says David Cooper, Director of Immigration Assistance for Catholic Charities.
According to Cooper, the decision is a draw regardless of your feelings on the executive order. It may stop this plan from going forward, but doesn’t prevent similar legislation from going forward in the future. Theresa Navarro pledges to continue the fight and urges others to make their voices heard this election season. “Why are you not voting?” she asks. “’Well there's no reason', 'well my vote doesn't count' it's all crap because your vote does count. I'm sorry - your vote counts.”
Following the press conference, the group headed to Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s office to protest Nevada’s involvement as a signatory in the case. In response to the Supreme Court Decision, Laxalt released this statement:
“Today’s decision is yet another example of halting the president’s attempt to dictate in areas where the Constitution does not allow him to, and puts this decision back into its rightful place of Congress. The president has consistently acted outside of his constitutional authority, be it with regard to healthcare, education, environmental policy, land use regulation, recess appointments or labor rules. Hopefully this decision will yet again signal to this president that he cannot act unilaterally within our constitutional system simply because Congress in his view, ‘fails to act.’”