by AT LARGE on APRIL 8, 2015
President Obama’s recent immigration actions would allow millions of immigrants to apply for relief from deportation and work authorization, and would improve the nation’s economy and society, civil and immigrants’ rights groups argue in an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief filed on April 7. This brief was one of several filed in support of the Obama administration’s immigration actions, which economists predict will raise the nation’s GDP by more than $200 billion over the next ten years.
“The relief proposed by the President would make a tremendous difference in San Diego,” said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego. “It allows students who grew up here and graduated from a local high school, to pursue their studies without fear of deportation. It also allows parents of U.S. citizens to remain here to support their children and contribute to our economy.”
“We joined the brief because it will help at least 100,000 families in San Diego live without fear of separation,” added Guerrero. “Until Congress is able to fix the broken immigration system, the president’s actions will keep families together.”
On February 16, 2015, a federal district court blocked implementation of the president’s initiative to expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), under which certain immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children can apply for protection from deportation and work authorization. The court also blocked implementation of a second initiative that would allow certain immigrant parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to apply for protection from deportation and work authorization (known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.)
The groups that filed the amicus brief argue that delays in implementing the two initiatives will harm the nation’s economy and prevent aspiring Americans from participating more fully in their communities. The brief features profiles of small business owners, primary breadwinners, and social activists who would be able to increase their economic and societal contributions if granted the relief proposed by DACA and DAPA.
One such example is that of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, who was the keynote speaker at Alliance San Diego’s All Peoples Celebration in 2012. He came to California from the Philippines when he was a boy to live with his grandparents and is the only undocumented member of his family, with no line to stand in to apply for legal status. He missed the age cutoff for the original DACA program by a few months and would benefit from the expanded DACA that is at issue in the court case.
Tuesday’s filings are the latest legal step in Texas, et al. v. United States, et al., the 26-state challenge to the administration’s immigration actions. On April 17, the Fifth Circuit will hear oral argument in a request for emergency stay of the lower court’s injunction. If granted, the emergency stay would allow the U.S. government to begin implementation of the DAPA and “expanded DACA” initiatives.