Thousands Rally in Front of Supreme Court to #FightforFamilies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2016

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 520-313-4921

Thousands Rally in Front of Supreme Court to #FightforFamilies

Supreme Court Justices Hear Oral Argument in United States v. Texas

WASHINGTON — One of the most consequential immigration cases in decades reached the highest court of the nation today. Supreme Court justices heard oral argument in the case, and thousands rallied in support of immigration initiatives designed to keep immigrant families from being torn apart.

Thousands of people from across the country took to the steps of the Supreme Court to show their support for the initiatives, known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which would allow certain immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as other immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, to apply for work authorization and protection from deportation.

Texas and 25 other states sued the federal government in December 2014 to block these Obama administration executive actions. In February 2015, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled in Texas’s favor and blocked both DAPA and the expansion of DACA. In a decision issued in November 2015, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s order.

“Solicitor General Donald Verrilli made clear that DAPA and the expansion of DACA are on solid legal ground and well within the parameters of the president’s authority to set common-sense priorities in the execution of immigration law,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

“But in addition to hearing legal arguments for why the Supreme Court should uphold its legal precedent and reaffirm the president’s authority, the justices also faced perhaps one of the most diverse audiences the Supreme Court has ever had. Several individuals whose fate awaits the justices’ decision sat courageously across from them and listened to the arguments in support and against these immigration directives that would benefit them and the country.

“They represented families all over the country hoping to be spared from being torn apart from their loved ones. These are people who want to contribute more fully to their communities and provide a better life for their families. Mothers, fathers, and workers have fought hard to help bring our immigration policies in line with our nation’s values, and we should not let a politically driven lawsuit stymie these initiatives from moving forward.”

Economists and other experts agree that implementation of DAPA and the expansion of DACA would benefit the country as a whole, lifting wages and adding to tax coffers. Furthermore, dozens of law enforcement officials assert that implementing these initiatives would improve public safety by making immigrants more likely to come forward when they are victims of—or witnesses to—crime.

“When I watched the president’s speech on television announcing DAPA and the expansion of DACA, I thought I would finally be able to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer and eventually a judge,” said Jong-Min You, who arrived in the United States as a toddler and missed the cutoff date for the original DACA initiative by one year. “I think the strategy of using the courts to continue to delay our civil rights has to end today. No more politics. This is our future we’re talking about.”

“With DAPA, I would no longer live in fear of deportation, and I would look be able to look for better work opportunities,” said Mercedes Garcia, a DAPA-eligible mother from Colorado. “It would mean so much, not just for me, but for my family.”

The Supreme Court is expected to render a decision on United States v. Texas by the end of June. If the initiatives are allowed to take effect, advocacy organizations are ready to assist with implementing them immediately.

The administration’s original DACA initiative, announced in June 2012, is still in effect and available to eligible applicants.

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