CBS Evening News (IRLI Senior Counsel Michael Hethmon)
The video can be viewed here.
CBS Evening News June 23, 2016 6:31:20 PM Eastern
SCOT PELLEY: President Obama's attempt to impose immigration reform by executive action was blocked today by judicial action. A tie in the Supreme Court was a defeat for the president who had sidestepped Congress with his plan to spare millions of illegal immigrants from being deported. Here's chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford.
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PROTESTERS: The people united will never be defeated.
JAN CRAWFORD: Protesters gathered in front of the court, waiting for the justices to announce the case. But instead of a decision, there was deadlock, a one-line order by a court divided 4-4, keeping in place the lower court ruling striking down the president's program. The non-decision effectively ends the president's efforts to reform immigration law by executive action.
BARACK OBAMA: And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn't able to issue a decision today doesn't just set the system back even further. It takes us further from the country we aspire to be.
CRAWFORD: The president announced the program in 2014 after congress failed to pass immigration reform.
OBAMA: There are actions I have the legal authority to take as president.
CRAWFORD: The executive action would have shielded up to 4 million illegal immigrants from deportation, parents with children who are here legally, like 45-year-old Isabelle from Honduras. Two of her three children were born in the U.S., and today they all were outside the court. She says she lives in constant fear of immigration officials.
ISABELLE: You know, it’s hard every day. Here, immigration is in your door, in the next building.
CRAWFORD: But opponents argue that the president ran roughshod over congress and had no constitutional authority to act on his own and lower courts agreed. Mike Hethmon, senior counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, said the program would have encouraged more illegal immigration.
MIKE HETHMON: The president's idea that he can unilaterally not enforce our laws because of some perceived political benefit, it's-- it's a dangerous and abhorrent idea, and thank goodness, you know, we have this-- this guidance, as limited as it is, from the Supreme Court.
CRAWFORD: The president used the case to argue a court of eight justices was unworkable. He again urged Senate Republicans to confirm Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
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But Garland could not have been confirmed in time to hear this case. And, Scott, if Justice Scalia were still on the court, the decision probably would have been 5-4 against the president, with the sweeping ruling scaling back his use of executive power.
PELLEY: And this doesn't mean there will be mass deportations. It's just a return to the status quo.