AALDEF joins 325 groups urging the U.S. Supreme Court to allow president's immigration relief programs to proceed

Tuesday, Mar 8, 2016

Civil Rights, Labor, and Immigration Groups File Amicus Brief Asking Supreme Court to Lift Injunction on Expanded DACA and DAPA in United States v. Texas

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court today, AALDEF joined 325 groups urging the Court to lift the injunction against President Obama's executive immigration actions that were announced in November 2014. This amicus brief was one of several in support of the Obama Administration's immigration actions, which would allow millions of immigrants to apply for relief from deportation and work authorization and would improve the nation's economy and society.

Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), said: "As a national civil rights organization that advocates for fair immigration policies, we continue to support the president's immigration actions that could provide relief from deportation to almost 1.5 million undocumented Asian immigrants in this country."

AALDEF staff attorney Annie Wang said that AALDEF offers legal assistance to Asian immigrant youth who may be eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and is preparing to represent individuals who would have qualified for the new deferred action initiative for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA) and an expansion of DACA.

The Obama Administration's expansion of the original DACA program, as well as a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative, were blocked by a federal district court in Texas in February 2015; that court's order subsequently was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The lawsuit against the president's executive actions was brought by 26 states led by Texas. Last December, the federal government appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

The brief was filed by the National Immigration Law Center, the American Immigration Council, the Service Employees International Union, the Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and a coalition of other immigrants' rights, labor, service-provider, and civil rights groups, including AALDEF. It argues that if the injunction is lifted, "many families will be more secure, without the looming threat that loved ones will be deported at a moment's notice. Many deserving individuals will also have access to better jobs and the ability to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities. Indeed, formerly undocumented persons have long made significant contributions to this country." The brief features profiles of parents and individuals who would be able to more fully contribute to their families and communities if granted relief under DACA and DAPA.

Among those profiled in the brief are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and AALDEF 2013 Justice in Action Award recipient Jose Antonio Vargas, who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 12 from the Philippines. He missed the age cutoff for the original DACA program by only a few months. Nga, the survivor of domestic abuse, is the mother of a U.S. citizen child who would have more stable employment opportunities if she were granted DAPA.

The filing is the latest legal step in United States v. Texas, the 26-state challenge to the administration's immigration actions. On April 18, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the government's appeal of the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which upheld the lower court's injunction. If the Court rules in favor of the U.S. government and vacates the appeals court's decision, it would allow the Obama Administration to begin implementation of the DAPA and DACA initiatives. 

Download a copy of the brief here.

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For more information, contact:
Annie Wang, Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x213
awang@aaldef.org