June 23, 2016

President Obama was visibly annoyed with the Senate's stall on Judge Merrick Garland and the impact on the Supreme Court during his remarks about the two rulings issued this morning.

With regard to the ruling on affirmative action, the President celebrated the court's decision to uphold the value of diversity in institutions of higher education.

But on immigration, President Obama was much more pointed.

Two years ago, we announced a similar, expanded approach for others who are also low priorities for enforcement. We said that if you’ve been in America for more than five years, with children who are American citizens or legal residents, then you, too, can come forward, get right with the law, and work in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation.

Both were the kinds of actions taken by Republican and Democratic Presidents over the past half-century. Neither granted anybody a free pass. All they did was focus our enforcement resources -- which are necessarily limited -- on the highest priorities: convicted criminals, recent border crossers, and threats to our national security.

Now, as disappointing as it was to be challenged for taking the kind of actions that other administrations have taken, the country was looking to the Supreme Court to resolve the important legal questions raised in this case. Today, the Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision. This is part of the consequence of the Republican failure so far to give a fair hearing to Mr. Merrick Garland, my nominee to the Supreme Court. It means that the expanded set of common-sense deferred action policies -- the ones that I announced two years ago -- can’t go forward at this stage, until there is a ninth justice on the Court to break the tie.

There will be other cases which come up through other circuits, and it's likely that the Supreme Court will hear this case again. Hopefully that will come after the next justice has been seated.

The full transcript of the President's remarks is here.

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