Amici Show Broad Support for DAPA and DACA

Amicus Briefs Filed with the Supreme Court Show Broad Support for DAPA and Expanded DACA

MARCH 14, 2016

A broad range of organizations and leaders filed friend-of-the-court (“amicus”) briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 8, 2016, making a combined strong case in support of the Obama administration’s DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) initiatives. The briefs, filed in the United States v. Texas case, urge the Court to allow the two initiatives to move forward because of the significant benefits they will provide to all facets of U.S. society.

Briefs Filed in Support of DAPA and Expanded DACA

Key Points Made in the Briefs

Law Enforcement Officials. The law enforcement officials state that the initiatives “advance public safety by encouraging cooperation and trust-building between immigrant communities and police, and mitigate the serious vulnerabilities to crime these communities face.”

Cities. The cities and counties explain that expanded DACA and DAPA “protects undocumented immigrants who are important contributors to our cities and towns. By denying important humanitarian relief to millions of our residents, the injunction strikes at the heart of our communities. The injunction imposes immediate harms on all local residents by threatening public health and safety, destabilizing families, and harming the social and economic well-being of our communities as a whole.”

States. The states explain that “permitting immigrants to work legally has the tangible public benefit of generating additional tax revenue for States…. For example, if the Guidance takes effect, California’s tax revenues are estimated to grow by $904 million over the next five years as a result of taxes paid by the 1,214,000 people eligible for deferred immigration action there.”

Immigrants’ Rights, Civil Rights, Labor Groups. The immigrants’ rights/civil rights/labor brief documents how the initiatives would affect the lives of individuals, their families, and their communities. For example:

Miguel Claros. At age 33, Miguel arrived in the United States in 1998 from Bolivia with a visa that has since expired. More than 15 years later, Miguel lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, who is also undocumented, and their two U.S. citizen sons, ages 7 and 2. Miguel is the owner of a small auto repair shop. If granted DAPA, Miguel’s anxiety about being deported would subside. His greater sense of security would allow him to invest in the expansion of his business and hire other workers. Miguel’s life is informed by his devout Christian beliefs. He volunteers in community organizations including CASA de Maryland, where he helps other immigrants as they adjust to life in the United States.

DACA Recipients and Their Families. United We Dream’s brief includes individual stories of a cross-section of DACA recipients that illustrate deferred action’s positive impact, such as:

As a result of being granted deferred action, 28-year-old Chinese immigrant Perry Zheng, a resident of California who has lived in the United States since he was 11 years old, was able to find full-time employment as a software engineer at Twitter. This made it possible for him to provide health insurance coverage for his parents, who are undocumented and live in New York. Perry’s father suffers from diabetes and has a history of heart problems, and his mother suffers from arthritis.

Faith-based Groups. Faith-based groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, state that, “Where a parent is forcibly deported, there are serious consequences for the family left behind. A parent’s deportation can lead to a permanent change in family structure and in the extreme cases, family dissolution. One study found that one quarter of the families surveyed that experienced deportation were unable to keep the family together post-deportation. In 2011, more than 5,100 U.S. citizen children were living in foster care after a parent’s detention or deportation.”

LGBT Groups. Groups that provide services to and advocate on behalf of LGBT people and their families describe how, “In cases of LGBT individuals, particularly those from Asian and Pacific Islander countries, forcing families to choose between keeping the family together by returning to their home countries or leaving the LGBT child here on his or her own without parental support places the LGBT child at significant personal and legal risk due to the legal and social environment.”

Educators and Children’s Groups. Educators and children’s advocates explain that “[c]hildren whose parents are at risk of deportation are more likely to suffer emotional and psychological harm linked to the fear of losing a loved one, and these negative effects are particularly striking for young children…. These harms threaten children’s attainment of a basic education and undermine their long-term prospects for self-actualization and educational and economic success.”

Businesses. Business leaders and businesses describe how the initiatives will help our nation’s economy. “By reducing uncertainties that hamstring workers’ productivity and increasing occupational mobility to encourage undocumented workers to find jobs that better fit their particular skills and talents, the deferred action policies set out in the 2014 Guidance are projected to raise the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by $230 billion over 10 years.”

Bipartisan Group of Former Members of Congress. The former members of Congress explain that the initiatives “[a]re a valid exercise of the discretion Congress has conferred on the Executive branch and are consistent with previous actions taken by Presidents of both parties and sanctioned repeatedly by Congresses on a bipartisan basis.”

Current Members of Congress. 225 current members of Congress agree that “[t]he Executive has long used deferred action and similar practices to memorialize discretionary decisions to refrain temporarily from removing a noncitizen or class of noncitizens, and Congress has acquiesced in those practices” and “Congress has also long accorded the Executive the discretion to determine that certain noncitizens—including but not limited to those eligible for deferred action—should be eligible to apply for work authorization.”

MALDEF. As Intervenors, MALDEF states that the lawsuit “[s]hould be dismissed for lack of standing. With no judicially cognizable interest in immigration enforcement decisions, Respondents have an exceptionally high burden to prove standing and show that they are not merely trying to use the federal courts to adjudicate a generalized, political grievance with an Executive decision in an area of law that is exclusively within the purview of the federal government.”