Supreme Court Breakfast Table

Immigrant families and their supporters march past the Washington Monument on Dec. 15 to protest plans to target undocumented immigrants.
Immigrant families and their supporters march past the Washington Monument on Dec. 15 to protest plans to target undocumented immigrants.

Entry 11: The immigration decision won’t do much.

I would like to go back to Walter’s comment on the immigration decision. To remind you, here, in part, is what he said:

It is hard to know what to say about an immigration opinion affecting 4.3 million people that reads, in its entirety: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” Seldom have so many hopes been crushed by so few words. I am stunned and disappointed that not a single one of the conservative justices cast a vote to sustain the president’s immigration guidance, or at least to hold more modestly that Texas lacked legal standing to bring the challenge in the first place. The president’s action was not lawless as opponents argued. There are 11.3 million people in the United States who, for one reason or another, are deportable. The largest number that can be deported in any year, under the resources provided by Congress, is somewhere around 400,000. Congress has recognized this and has by statute imposed upon the secretary of Homeland Security the responsibility to establish “national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.” The secretary did just that in deferring deportation action against 4.3 million people, largely parents of U.S. citizens or lawful residents.

I do not think the decision will affect deportations. (“Removals” is the official term.) There are thought to be 10 or 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. This, of course, is too large a number to conceive of deporting. It would not only require mobilizing the armed forces; it would shrink the American workforce by about 10 percent, which we can’t afford. In general, the immigration authorities leave noncriminal illegal immigrants alone. An exception is illegal immigrants stopped at the border and simply not let in. But that’s a small exception.

By Richard A. Posner for Slate
Read full article HERE>

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