In June, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 over a Texas case related to President Barack Obama's efforts to help millions of illegal immigrants temporarily avoid deportation. That ruling and other events are stopping Obama from keeping his campaign promise on a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Obama's programs were intended to help certain people who came here as children and their parents. While it would not have provided a permanent lawful status to applicants, it would have made it easier for them to work and study here.
The decision was another blow to Obama's efforts to change immigration laws and promise to provide a path to citizenship.
We rated Obama's 2008 pledge as In the Works after the Senate unveiled an immigration bill in 2013 that included several hurdles for undocumented immigrants, including fines, background checks and a waiting period, before they could be on a path to citizenship. But the bill stalled in the House when leadership refused to bring it up for a vote.
After Congress refused to take up the bill, Obama acted on his own. In November 2014 he announced his administration's plan to delay deportation of unauthorized immigrants and their parents, through programs known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). But on June 23, the Supreme Court deadlocked.
Speaking from the White House about the decision, Obama blamed the tie vote on the Republicans for refusing to give a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland, the federal judge Obama had recommended to fill the vacancy in March following the death of Antonin Scalia.
Obama announced that the federal government would continue its enforcement policies, which prioritize deporting criminals.
"As long as you have not committed a crime, our limited immigration enforcement resources are not focused on you," he said.
David Leopold, past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, has met with White House officials about immigration policies. He told PolitiFact that Obama is out of options.
DACA and DAPA were intended as a temporary reprieve for immigrants here illegally, with the hopes that Congress would ultimately agree on a path to citizenship. But that never happened.
"Congress in 2013 told him not they would not play ball," Leopold said. "That hasn't changed. The president can't put a path to citizenship through without a bill."
However, the federal government provides funding to only deport a certain number of people -- about 400,000 a year, Leopold said. That means that Obama's enforcement priorities remain in place: Undocumented people who have been here a long time and aren't criminals or posing a security threat are not facing immediate removal.
A path to citizenship is something that could be revisited by a future president and Congress, but it will not happen while Obama is in the White House. We rate this Promise Broken.