LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Activists vowed to continue fighting for change in immigration policy, even as the U.S. Supreme Court announced a deadlock on President Obama's plan to help millions living in the U.S. illegally, effectively killing the plan for the rest of his presidency.
"Today's Supreme Court decision blocking President Obama's executive action on immigration means that the estimated 1 million undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles County, one in every 10 Los Angeles residents, will be denied the ability to work with the safety of legal authorization and protection from deportation," said Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
"We in the Los Angeles labor movement will not let this legal setback deter our work on the ground," Hicks said. "We stand in support of all workers exercising their rights on the job and in the community. We will continue to support immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, in seeking a better wage, better workplace conditions and protection from wage theft that is running rampant throughout our country."
Obama's executive action, announced two years ago, would have allowed immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to request relief from deportation and authorization to work for three years. To qualify, they must have been in the country for more than five years, pass a criminal background check, pay fees and show that their child was born prior to the issuance of the executive order.
The order would have also expanded the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, by removing the upper age limit of 30.
The president's plan was challenged in court by officials in several states, and a lower court judge issued an order blocking the actions, leading to the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation's highest court – still short a member after the death of Judge Antonin Scalia in February – split 4-4 Thursday, meaning the lower court ruling remains in effect.
Obama said Thursday's impasse "takes us further from the country we aspire to be."
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