- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2016

Immigrant-rights advocates say it’s now up to President Obama to stop all deportations after the Supreme Court Thursday left in place an injunction on his tentative amnesty.

A 4-4 deadlock among the justices halted Mr. Obama’s “deferred action” policy that would have granted a three-year work permit to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, but it didn’t affect Mr. Obama’s powers to decide whom to deport.

The activists say he should flex those powers and decide not to deport any of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country.

“The way to keep communities from living in fear is to put a freeze on deportations,” said Marisa Franco, director of Mijente. “It doesn’t take a new program for the president to direct his agents to investigate civil rights violations as vigorously as it currently hunts our loved ones. With the courts also taken over by the party politics that have ruled the immigration issue for more than a decade, President Obama has a responsibility to pursue alternatives to make his policies more humane.”

Mr. Obama appeared to rule out any such moves, saying he will have to abide by the court rulings.

“I don’t anticipate that there are additional executive actions,” he said.

Mr. Obama has already severely limited the number of illegal immigrants who can be deported. He ordered Homeland Security to issue guidance in 2014 that puts more than 9 million of the 11 million out of bounds.

Those who are still subject to deportation either have serious criminal records or have admitted they came to the U.S. in 2014 or later — the cutoff date Mr. Obama decided.

But activists say some hardworking, family-oriented illegal immigrants are still getting snagged, based on decades-old convictions. They also say many of those that arrived after 2014, such as the ones that came as part of the surge of Central Americans, should be considered refugees from violence and allowed to stay.

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