- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

MIAMI (AP) - Several pro-immigrant groups in Florida expressed disappointment and outrage over the U.S. Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision effectively blocking President Barack Obama’s immigration policies.

At simultaneous news conferences Thursday in Miami, Tampa and Apopka, the groups also vowed to mobilize the state’s 1.2 million residents with green cards to become U.S. citizens and vote against “anti-immigrant” candidates at every level in this year’s elections.

“Today’s ruling is a setback for immigrant families and the movement that stands behind them, but this battle is far from over,” Maria Rodriguez, the Florida Immigrant Coalition’s executive director, said in a statement.

The coalition estimates that a favorable court ruling for the Obama administration’s immigration programs would have benefited 5.2 million immigrants nationwide, including 229,000 immigrants in Florida.

Daniel Barajas, executive director for the Young American Dreamers, said his group will “hold the Republican politicians who brought this meritless lawsuit accountable at the polls.”

“This all about politics for our opponents, but for us, it’s personal,” he said.

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who on Wednesday announced he’s running for re-election in the Senate, applauded the high court’s action, calling it “the right decision.”

“No matter what solutions one may prefer to fix our broken immigration system, those policies must be pursued and passed into law by Congress,” he said in a statement. “Immigration policy cannot be imposed on the country based on the whims and political goals of a president.”

Former Democratic congressman Joe Garcia, who is running in the 26th Congressional District in South Florida, said “it’s a sad day for immigrant families and the many activists who have fought for real change.”

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