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The human impact of the immigration decision

Antonio Surco of Silver Spring, Md. participated in a demonstration outside the Supreme Court.Evan Vucci/Associated Press

A Supreme Court decision announced Thursday means that about 4 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States will not be protected from deportation.

In November 2014, President Obama issued an executive order creating a program that would have allowed parents of US citizens or green card holders to apply for three-year work permits, and another initiative that would have expanded — by lifting the age cap — a similar program he created in 2012 for immigrants who arrive here as children.

But Texas and 25 other states sued, saying the program unfairly burdened them. An injunction issued by a federal judge in Texas stopped the programs before they got off the ground. A federal appeals court upheld the decision. And the Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie on Thursday means the lower court ruling will stand.

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The decision impacts a staggering number of unauthorized immigrants nationwide, including tens of thousands in Massachusetts, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute:

• 11 million unauthorized immigrants are estimated to be living in the United States.

• 3.6 million unauthorized immigrants who are parents of US citizens or green card holders would have been eligible for protection under Obama’s plan.

• Another 274,000 unauthorized immigrants would have become eligible under the expanded childhood arrival plan.

• In Massachusetts, 42,000 parents of US citizens or green card holders would have been eligible under the program.

• Another 3,000 people in Massachusetts who arrived here as children would have become eligible under the expanded childhood arrival plan.

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The Supreme Court decision, however, will not impact the original 2012 childhood arrival program. About 1.2 million unauthorized immigrants nationwide, including 20,000 Massachusetts residents, are estimated to be eligible for that program


Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele