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LAWGEF Applauds SCOTUS Step towards Protecting Immigrant Families

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The Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) applauds the January 19th decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the United States v. Texas case challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. We remain optimistic that a favorable decision by the court this spring can grant relief from the fear of deportation for millions of immigrants living, working, and raising their families in the United States.

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that, in the face of congressional refusal to pass immigration reform, he was taking action to provide relief from the fear of deportation for up to five million immigrants through the expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the implementation of a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. However, this much-needed relief has been put on hold for over a year by a politically-motivated lawsuit from Texas and 25 other states.

Though the exact timeline is yet to be determined, it is expected that the Supreme Court would hear the case by late April and make a decision in late June. We remain optimistic in expecting a favorable and timely decision by the court, and agree with White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine’s statement following the announcement: “We are confident that the policies will be upheld as lawful.”

The implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration is a crucial step forward towards protecting families and improving the United States’ broken immigration system; however, deferred action is not the ultimate solution. Furthermore, families and children who continue to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border in the search for protection from spiraling violence and poverty in Central America and Mexico would not qualify for protection under these actions. Some of these families have become the targets of concerning new raids conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the beginning of 2016.

LAWGEF will continue to support the Obama Administration in its fight to uphold its immigration actions, while also urging it to halt the harmful raids against families and to reconsider how these raids fit into its efforts to enact an immigration system that not only complies with our laws, but also with our values. “LAWGEF remains committed to working with policymakers and partners toward the long-term goal of comprehensive immigration reform accompanied by strengthened protections for asylum seekers and refugees,” affirmed Emma Buckhout, LAWGEF Program Associate for Mexico, Border, and Migration issues. “We urge the Obama Administration to fight for the protection and rights of all families seeking protection in the United States, regardless of when they arrived at the border.”

For more information on the President’s Executive immigration actions and how regional advocates can work together to protect migrant rights, see our Advocacy Guide.