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COLORADO shares frustration towards the SUPREME COURT’S ruling on immigration relief programs DAPA and DACA+
“Supreme Court split 4 – 4 effectively blocking USCIS from fully implementing President Barack Obama’s executive order for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants”
DENVER – Millions of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been waiting anxiously for USCIS to roll out the DAPA/DACA program. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled with a vote of 4 – 4 blocking USCIS from implementing President Barack Obama’s executive order for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to apply for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DAPA and DACA+ would have allowed accepted applicants to receive a work permit along with a social security card and be deferred from deportation.
On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would not deport certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and parents of lawful permanent residents under the program of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). The president also announced an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the secretary of DHS, these parents and youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” These programs are expected to help up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
On February 16, 2015, a federal judge in Texas blocked the two programs that benefited an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants (DAPA and expanded DACA). The injunction meant that the two programs could not be implemented. On November 9, 2015, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reaffirmed the decision. The 2-1 ruling meant that President Obama’s expanded DACA and DAPA programs could not be implemented, the Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to take the case and on January 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to grant cert in the case of United States v. Texas.
Today’s decision is devastating to Colorado families but the fight will continue. While today’s split decision sets no Supreme Court precedent, these important, commonsense policies will unfortunately remain blocked nationwide thanks to the overreach by a single district court judge in Texas and the partisan obstruction of Republicans in Congress. The fact remains, DAPA and DACA+ are commonsense programs that are lawful, constitutional, and consistent with decades of actions taken by presidents of both parties. Colorado organizations will be working diligently to turn out the vote this coming election. We are confident that this case will end up back at the Supreme Court, before a full panel of justices who can render a clear decision.
Ezzie Dominguez, CIRC DAPA campaign coordinator states, “I do not see any justice in this decision. We trusted that the Supreme Court, the maximum authority in our country, would make the right decision today. The most impacted people with this decision are the millions of US citizen kids whose lives are hanging in the balance. This decision puts 5 million families at risk of separation and now we have to explain to our children why we must continue living with the fear our families could be separated. This has a huge human impact but it is our children that will remember this decision today and those children WILL vote. This is the legacy they are leaving our children.”
The following quote is from a community leader Leticia Lopez of Lamar Unidos who would qualify for DAPA program under the executive order -“My name is Leticia Lopez and I am from Chihuahua, Mex. I have 2 children, one is 18 years old and is an American citizen and my daughter is 22 and under the DACA program. I’ve lived and worked and paid taxes in Colorado for many years. DAPA would allow me to continue to contribute positively to the Colorado economy and society. Without DAPA I will continue to live in fear of deportation and separation from our families. This is our worst nightmare.”
CIRC and CIRC Members will organize vigils throughout the whole state in the coming days to express the frustration, the urgency for immigration relief and to express how greatly disappointed the country is on the Supreme Court’s split decision on President Obama’s executive action programs that were designed to provide relief from deportation to close to 5 million undocumented individuals.