Rosario Reyes, an undocumented mother from El Salvador, reacts to news on a Supreme Court decision blocking Obama’s immigration plan, which would have protected millions of immigrants from deportation, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. The court was divided 4-4, leaving in place an appeals court ruling blocking the plan. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 24, 2016: Caribbean-born immigrant advocate Irwine G. Clare, Sr. O.D., has spent the last twenty-plus years of his life, hoping, advocating and fighting for immigration reform. So like many, Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court to effectively block President Obama’s executive shield of some 5 million from deportation was disappointing to say the least.

The Supreme Court – operating on only eight justices – split four-four on a challenge to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the President’s  executive immigration policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), also an executive action that aimed to grant deferred action status to certain undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 who have children who are either American citizens or lawful permanent residents.

The tie vote means that the Texas appeals court decision blocking implementation of the program will be allowed stand much to the glee of Speaker Paul Ryan, Texas Republican lawmakers and the 25 other states who had joined the action against the government.

The decision was not a full opinion but a one liner that simply stated that: “the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”

Caribbean immigrant advocate Irwine G. Clare, Sr., O.D.

But Clare, founder of the Caribbean Immigrant Services (CIS), says immigrants and immigrant advocates fighting for immigration reform must take heart and see this move as the final boost to fight on.

“The battle must go on as the ruling now makes the November election more critical than ever,” the Jamaican-born, NY-based Clare told NAN Thursday. “It’s going to be an interesting summer as it now sets these groups up who were waiting for this decision to now come together in a greater way to support the Democratic Presidential nominee and Democrats as they now know what is at stake.”

He said the election of November 2016 is now more critical than ever as it’s the difference between whether “we take back our Congress and Supreme Court or have a wall built around us.”

America’s Voice Juan Escalante echoed that sentiment as he said:  “Anti-immigrant Republicans have successfully hijacked our judicial system in order to play politics with the lives of millions immigrant families. But this battle is far from over.”

President Obama for his part, while also expressing frustration and disappointment with the Court’s decision, echoed similar sentiments as Clare and Escalante, noting that it is an Election Year and “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when” for comprehensive immigration reform.

“I believe that this country deserves an immigration policy that reflects the goodness of the American people.  And I think we’re going to get that.  Hopefully, we’re going to get that in November,” he said yesterday while promising that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will not be simply going after the families who are now unprotected by DACA and deporting them.

“Our enforcement priorities that have been laid out by Secretary Jeh Johnson at the Department of Homeland Security are pretty clear: We prioritize criminals.  We prioritize gangbangers.  We prioritize folks who have just come in,” he said during a Q&A with reporters. “What we don’t do is to prioritize people who’ve been here a long time, who are otherwise law-abiding, who have roots and connections in their communities. And so those enforcement priorities will continue.”