With just 9 words, the Supreme Court effectively struck down President Obama’s executive amnesty program, which would have granted de facto legal status and work permits to over 4 million illegal aliens.
The decision is great news for American workers, who would have faced increased competition for jobs had the program been upheld.
The justices announced that they were divided evenly in their opinions about the program’s legality. Their split decision means that the lower court’s ruling — which froze the program — will prevail for the time being, as the case is re-litigated. Since the re-litigation process will last at least until 2017, the next president will ultimately decide whether to continue the program, or spike it.
Had justices ruled in favor of the administration, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program would have gone into effect. Over 4 million illegal aliens would have received not just a reprieve from deportation, but also legal working privileges and various tax and public assistance benefits.
That would have been disastrous for millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans. Over 9 percent of the workforce can’t find full-time jobs.
Their struggle would have become much worse if formerly illegal workers flooded into new fields, thereby increasing competition for jobs and driving down wages. Already, illegal immigration depresses native-born Americans’ wages by up to $118 billion per year.
The Supreme Court’s split decision underscores the importance of the upcoming elections. The next president will have enormous influence over immigration policies. And he or she could nominate several Supreme Court justices, which could sway the outcome of similarly contentious cases for decades to come.
American workers should count the ruling as a victory. But they should remain vigilant — further political battles to defend Americans’ rights to employment surely lie ahead.