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Supreme Court ruling on immigration could impact Arizona’s economy

In this June 20, 2016, photo, The Supreme Court is seen in Washington. The eight-justice court has eight cases to resolve in the waning days of a trying and mournful term since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Thursday’s 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court, blocking President Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, might affect Arizona’s Hispanic businesses, and in turn, its economy.

That’s the opinion of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Chamber spokesman James Garcia said about 25 percent of Arizona’s Hispanic businesses are owned by immigrants.

“A percentage of those businesses are going to be owned by undocumented immigrants who may be just running small mom and pop operations,” Garcia said.

He said if the president’s plan had been approved by the high court, millions of undocumented immigrants could have traveled freely and worked legally in the U.S. They also could have obtained a driver’s license. But with the program not going forward, a cloud of uncertainty about their status remains.

“It makes that segment of the economy that much more unstable,” Garcia said. “The fear of deportation by undocumented immigrants is a reality they deal with every single day.”

He said for those undocumented immigrants that wake up every morning worrying about that knock at the door, it makes them more cautious about making long-term plans. He said there is a dampening effect in terms of the economic impact they could make.