Legal brief filed by 224 groups asks high court to hear landmark immigration case, Texas v. U.S.
WASHINGTON — Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) today joined a coalition of 224 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups in filing an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief urging the Supreme Court to review Texas v. U.S., the case, that has temporarily blocked some of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The filing comes less than a month after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction put in place by a Texas federal district court that blocked implementation of protections for millions of immigrants across the country.
The filing from the National Immigration Law Center, American Immigration Council, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, among others including SIREN, comes only ten days after the formal request, known as a petition for writ of certiorari, from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Supreme Court to review the case. Amicus briefs in support of a “cert” petition are usually due 30 days after the petition is filed. The amici coalition acted swiftly, since the Justice Department has requested a briefing schedule that would allow the Supreme Court ample time to hear the case during the current term and issue a decision by June 2016.
“The breadth and depth of support for the president’s executive actions is clear,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “It’s now up to the Supreme Court to take the case up this term and put the legal questions to rest so that the over 5 million U.S. citizen children whose parents are eligible for DAPA [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents] can finally have stability and be free from the fear that they will one day be separated from their parents.
“With more than 200 organizations joining this amicus, including labor groups that represent millions of immigrant workers, there’s no question that the president’s immigration initiatives are necessary and backed by the majority of the American public,” said Rocio Saenz, executive vice president of SEIU International. “The Supreme Court has a responsibility to take this case, just as we have a duty to mobilize our communities to continue to defend the immigration action and push lasting immigration reform to the forefront of the agenda with our vote.”
The brief provides personal stories and testimonials about potential beneficiaries of expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA and explains how these deferred action initiatives would positively impact millions of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children, family members, employers, employees and other community members. The groups explain that the sweeping injunction upheld in the lower court directly harms people who have either been in the U.S. since they were children or are the parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
“The individuals profiled in the brief illustrate the havoc this case has wreaked on the lives of millions of immigrants who remain in legal limbo,” added Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “We urge the U.S. Supreme Court to take up this case and give hard working immigrant families the chance to live and work without fear of deportation.”
The immigration programs, which were announced by the president in November 2014, would expand eligibility for the existing DACA program and expand protections for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents through a program known as DAPA. Together, the programs would allow millions of undocumented people to remain in the United States without fear of deportation and apply for work permits for a period of three years, with the possibility of renewal.
“It has been a long road since President Obama’s executive action announcement last year, but our community fought for DAPA and expanded DACA, and will continue to fight until we see these program implemented,” said Maricela Gutiérrez, Executive Director at Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN). “Our communities deserve to feel safe and productive, and our families deserve to stay together, in peace. Everyday we push and it’s days like today that we move closer to having some relief for our families.”
“The DAPA and expanded DACA policies will help ensure that families are not needlessly separated and that immigrant workers can speak up for basic safety and fairness on the job without facing retaliation,” said Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO. “We urge the Supreme Court to take up this case right away.”
The full legal brief is available at www.nilc.org/document.html?id=1302.
An interactive timeline outlining the process for review of the case by the Supreme Court is available at www.nilc.org/TexasvUSTimeline.html.
For more background on the legal challenges to executive action on immigration, see www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/understanding-legal-challenges-executive-action.
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