In a 4-4 stalemate, the Supreme Court did not approve Obama's executive action laws, also known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which would protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The case will move down to the lower courts, but in the meantime, the current plan still stands.
Since 2012, Homeland Security and the federal government have attempted to use DACA and DAPA to stop the deportations of children who came to the United States as illegal immigrants as well as their parents.
It also allows those children — sometimes referred to as DREAMERS — and their parents to receive work visas. However, legal holdups have prevented the executive orders from going into effect.
Texas, and several other states, have challenged whether the Obama administration has the power to enact such laws. They are arguing that the federal government does not have the power to enact federal law that steps on the state's power to deport undocumented immigrants.
Here are five facts you should know about this landmark case.
Undocumented immigrants are still in danger
After president Obama and the Democrats experienced a brutal beating in the 2014 midterm elections, he issued several executive orders. One of those orders established two programs for undocumented immigrants: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).
DACA and DAPA would grant over 4 million undocumented immigrants, including children who entered America before the age of 16, up to three years of work authorization as well as amnesty from immediate deportation.
Twenty-six states have filed legal injunctions against this executive action, claiming that it's unconstitutional to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. The federal government is suing these states, including Texas, to prove that these executive orders don't violate the constitution's Take Care Clause.
These immigrants are still in danger of deportation now that the ruling pushed the decision to lower courts.
The lower courts don't have such a great track record with immigrants.
In 2010, Arizona — the state that banned ethnic studies classes — passed S.B. 1070, an anti-immigrant law that allowed law enforcement officers to detain those they suspected were undocumented. Police officers could, literally, ask people of color to show their IDs or immigration papers. Doesn't that sound familiar as hell?
Of course, this controversial bill snaked its way through the lower courts until the Supreme Court accepted it. In June 2012, the justices struck down S.B. 1070 because we live in a modern era, not 1720. The federal and state governments play a part in enforcing immigration policies, and states can't violate the federal government's authority.
This gives Obama some leeway in rewriting immigration laws, but as stated above, the lower courts haven't been so pro-immigrant.
It's really about Barack Obama, because of course it is.
Contrary to Donald Trump's beliefs, president Obama doesn't issue executive orders because he can't negotiate. He issues them because Congress is filled with children who want their way or no way. We call them obstructionists in adult terms, and they've done everything but compromise over the past eight years.
So, Obama's issuance of the DACA and DAPA executive orders came after comprehensive immigration reform broke down in favor of political agendas, but that's not how Congress sees it. They're worried about our commander-in-chief becoming a dictator and going beyond his presidential powers to enforce unconstitutional laws.
Obama's executive order are at the center of this case, and it really is about how much power a president should have.
As the SCOTUS Blog points out, "If a president has the power to nullify laws enacted by the legislative branch by simply refusing to enforce them or, as president Obama is attempting to do, by substituting his own policies and programs in their place, then the powers the Constitution invests in Congress are rendered meaningless."
The House of Representatives had been enbroiled in the case too.
No shockers here: The House of Representatives are included in the United States vs. Texas case. The Supreme Court even extended oral arguments by 30 minutes and gave 15 of those minutes to the House of Representatives' lawyers, according to Vox.
The House of Representatives argued that Obama's DAPA laws violate laws that Congress has already passed.
Justice Antonin Scalia's absence mattered
Antonin Scalia's sudden passing in February has left a void in the Supreme Court that president Obama is still in the process of filling. Nominee Merrick Garland's opinion on the case could have made all the difference.
So, what does that mean for a Supreme Court that often needs a swing vote to make groundbreaking shit happen? Well, this case is a prime example: Obama's administration will be unable to move forward with DACA or DAPA and the states will effectively sign the death knell for undocumented immigrants.