LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Supreme Court was split 4-4 in a ruling on immigration, but at a rally in downtown Los Angeles Thursday evening, it was clear where the participants stood.
The court handed the Obama administration a major defeat Thursday by letting a lower court ruling stand.
CBS2’s Peter Daut was at the rally downtown and spoke to people affected by the ruling.
About two dozen people attended the rally outside the federal courthouse, many of the people undocumented immigrants who say they’re worried about deportation.
Emotions were raw. The ruling effectively ended President Barack Obama’s executive order allowing roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay legally.
“My heart is full of hurt, anger, sadness,” said Elizabeth Rodriguez, whose father is undocumented.
At the White House Thursday, the president made no attempt to hide his disappointment.
“We’re going to have to make a decision about whether we are a people who tolerate the hypocrisy of the system where the workers who pick our fruit or make our beds never have the chance to get right with the law,” Obama said.
Republicans have been critical of Obama’s use of executive action to get around Congress on immigration policy. They called the court’s decision a victory for the constitution. Conversely, Republicans did not have similar reactions when former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush signed similar legislation.
“It’s a win in our fight to restore the separation of powers. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress writes laws,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform also supported Thursday’s court ruling.
“Once you go down that road, it’s very hard to turn back, and the president would have essentially granted amnesty to those people,” said that group’s Ira Mehlman.
No surprise, the 4-4 ruling was split evenly between the court’s liberals and conservatives. The tie was possible because there are only eight justices currently on the bench, after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.
Republicans in the Senate have refused to consider Obama’s recommendation — Merrick Garland — to bring the court to a tie-breaking nine members.
Ariana Galindo and her younger brother, Oscar, attended Thursday’s rally and vigil, organized by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
She says they are both U.S. citizensm but their parents are not. And in the wake of the ruling, the siblings fear their mom and dad could get deported.
“It scares me that alone I won’t be able to do anything without them,” said Oscar.
“We’re going to keep fighting until we get something passed,” said Ariana.
The court ruling makes the red-hot issue of immigration even hotter for the election.
Donald Trump tweeted the court kept Americans safe from executive amnesty, while Hillary Clinton called the decision a reminder of the harm Trump would do the country.
Thursday’s ruling, many believe, favors Clinton as she could get a significant political boost, thanks to angry Hispanic voters eager to elect Democrats. especially in key swing states with large Latino populations like Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
A recent national poll showed Clinton at 62 and Trump at 23 percent with registered Latino voters.