SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Pro-reform protesters gathered both outside the U.S. Supreme Court and in San Francisco Thursday after the justices blocked President Obama’s immigration actions.
The split 4-4 decision leaves a lower-court ruling in place, preventing the president’s plan to spare millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation while giving them work permits.
The Supreme Court tie left unresolved the complex issue of immigration and tested the limits of executive powers.
“I think it is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who’ve made their lives here, who’ve raise their children here, who’ve hoped for the opportunity to work, pay taxes, serve in our military,” President Barack Obama said following the decision.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan declared the decision a victory, saying “This is a win for the Constitution, it’s a win for Congress, and it’s a win in our fight to restore the separation of powers. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress writes laws.”
But immigrant Veronica Nieto was hoping for a very different decision, She said she’s “enraged” at the decision, arguing that working class families only want to give their children a better future and are willing to work hard to make that future possible.
Nieto explained that the decision is especially emotional because of its impact on families.
In San Francisco’s Mission District immigrants and community leaders joined together to voice their frustrations Thursday.
Marisela Esparza, program manager at the San Francisco Immigrant Legal And Education Network, said, “We’re highly disappointed with the decision” and explained that the tie means that the justices sided with anti-immigrant groups.
“It’s created so much fear and distrust within the community,” Esparza said.
Thousands of Bay Area immigrant families, who thought they were protected, are once again eligible for deportation.
Esparza said, “This program would have helped a small percentage of people who are currently hiding in the shadows.”
The Latino community has been extremely vocal, but the thousands of Asian immigrants who are also affected by Thursday’s decision, have been much quieter.
Wei Lee with ASPIRE, a Pan-Asian advocacy group for undocumented immigrants which is part of the Asian Law Caucus, said, “I think its a sore thing for the Asian community,” but said the decision will affect some 400,000 Asians nationwide.
Lee said he thinks Asians just don’t have the same amount of community support that the Latino community has, making it difficult for undocumented Asians to talk openly about their immigration status.
But on Thursday, both Latino and Asian immigration advocates stood together facing a new reality.