In a 4-4 decision on June 23 by the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama’s executive actions for immigration relief remain blocked.
“The Supreme Court … failed to act on the opportunity to allow implementation of vital relief programs for nearly 5 million people, including more than 400,000 Asian American immigrants,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC). “We are disappointed in their split decision, which further underscores the need to have nine Justices on the Supreme Court.”
The immigration plans blocked are known as Deferred Action of Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DAPA grants an exemption from deportation and a 3-year, renewable work permit to some undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010, and have children who are either American citizens or lawful permanent residents. Those immigrants must have been in the United States since November 2014.
DACA, introduced in June 2012, originally allowed some illegal and undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007, to get exemption from deportation and a renewable 2-year work permit. In November 2014, DACA was expanded to include illegal immigrants who entered the country before 2010, and it eliminated the requirement that applicants be younger than 31 years old. Eligible persons must have lived continuously in the United States since 2007, be enrolled in school, have completed high school or the equivalent, or have been honorably discharged from the armed services or Coast Guard.
All immigrants, whether applying for DAPA or DACA, must not have been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor, or pose a threat to national security.
According to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, 110,000 individuals in Washington state qualify for relief and about 33,000 live or work in the Seattle area. There are an estimated 1.5 million unauthorized Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrants in the country, 169,000 of whom are eligible for original or expanded DACA.
In a statement, Murray said, “[Immigrants] must be able to live without fear. They contribute to our economy. They pay their taxes. They are an important part of the vibrant culture of our city.”
Many immigrant families include people with all kinds of status: citizens, green card holders, temporary visa holders and those with no papers at all. It’s easy to say, “Kick ’em all out,” but the people you want to kick out have children, siblings and partners who are not going anywhere.
We stand with Mayor Murray and our brothers and sisters in the long fight for justice for immigrant families.
As Murray said, “Our country’s failure to do the right thing contributes to a society that allows hate to grow.”
Let’s not allow hate to prevail.