Support for Immigration Relief

January 15, 2015

Adela de la Torre, [email protected], 213-400-7822

Local and National Leaders Show Support for Immigration Relief

WASHINGTON — Legal experts, law enforcement leaders, elected officials, and advocates who deal daily with issues affecting immigrants made the case on Thursday for allowing President Obama’s immigration relief programs to go forward as planned.

During a telephonic press briefing organized by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the immigration reform advocates noted the harm that would come to the economy and to community safety and policing initiatives if a court delays the start of the administrative relief initiatives.

A recording of the call can be downloaded from

Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank joined the friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and 27 law enforcement leaders, which states that a court order blocking the start of the president’s programs “would negatively impact public safety and make it harder for police to do their jobs.”

“I stand with police chiefs throughout the nation who applaud the president and say ‘yes, this is a fantastic first step, and it is a step in the right direction in order to remove bias from our profession,’” Burbank said Thursday. “We need now more than ever to be legitimate in the eyes of our community; and that’s all community members — regardless of their race or their nationality or what language they speak.”

Following Burbank, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis spoke about the programs’ impact on the economy.

“Clearly, bringing hard-working and honest undocumented immigrants and families out of the shadows is the right thing to do because of the values and principles of our country,” Solis said. “It’s also highly beneficial for the national and local economies.”

Also on the call was Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and founder of Define American, who is awaiting the start of the programs to apply for temporary relief from deportation so he can be considered lawfully present in the U.S.

“Like all other undocumented people I have been excited and also anxious about what’s going to happen,” said Vargas. “This lawsuit and yesterday’s vote in the House of Representatives are trying to scare us, are trying to tell us that this is something that can be stopped, but I think what we do know in the course of American history is that you cannot stop progress.”

Judy Chu, a United States representative from California, discussed the political and legal attacks on immigrants, noting that such attacks may continue but will not be successful.

“Today’s hearing in Texas is the latest attack. And no matter the result today, they will not be successful. Because we know we are in the right legally,” said Chu. “We know we are in the right morally. And, most importantly, we know that the millions of hardworking aspiring Americans living here today are already deeply integrated into our economy and communities, and they are not going anywhere. Finally, after years of fighting, millions of hard-working immigrants will have the chance to work legally and live in dignity.”

NILC, Define American, the American Immigration Council, Service Employees International Union, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigrant Justice Center, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, Southern Poverty Law Center, and United We Dream also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Obama Administration. They argued that the U.S. economy would be harmed if a court were to delay the executive action.

“Lawsuits are long, complicated affairs that span many months or years and usually consist of victories and setbacks for both sides,” said Hincapié. “We at the National Immigration Law Center — along with scores of legal scholars and experts — are confident that the courts will ultimately determine that President Obama’s immigration policy is legally sound, and that the expansion of DACA and the new DAPA program for parents will be a success.”

A recording of the call can be downloaded from
# # #