The Supreme Court has announced it is split on President Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants living illegally in the US.
The divide comes as a blow to the president’s 2014 executive action which he enacted without Congress and will now be assessed in a lower court.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan applauded the news, saying only Congress should write laws.
But the president said the deadlock was “heartbreaking” for millions of people.
“They are Americans in every way but on paper,”
he said at the White House, adding that reform will happen, sooner or later.
“Congress is not going to be able to ignore America forever,”
Texas led 26 Republican-led states in challenging the programme, which would have given the right to work to millions of people.
The deadlock between the eight judges was only possible because of the death of the ninth,Justice Antonin Scalia, leaving a vacancy that is still unfilled.
This is the first tied decision produced by the court, as the Senate continues to block Mr Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.