AALDEF joins more than 150 groups calling on appeals court to allow President's immigration actions to proceed

Monday, Apr 6, 2015

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed today in the federal appeals court in New Orleans, AALDEF joined more than 150 civil rights, labor, and immigration advocacy groups contending that President Obama's executive 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. 

This amicus brief was one of several in support of the Obama administration's immigration actions, which economists predict will raise the GDP by more than $200 billion over the next 10 years.

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 support the president's immigration actions that could provide relief from deportation to almost 1.5 million undocumented Asian immigrants in this country." She said that AALDEF offers legal assistance to Asian immigrant youth who may be eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and plans to represent individuals who would have qualified for the new deferred action initiative for parents of U.S. citizens (known as DAPA) and lawful permanent residents and an expansion of DACA.

On February 16, 2015, a federal district court blocked implementation of the expansion of a federal initiative that would have allowed certain immigrants who arrived in this country as children to apply for deportation relief and work authorization (known as an expansion of DACA). The court also blocked implementation of an initiative that would have allowed certain parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to apply for deportation relief and work authorization.

The groups argue that delays in implementing DAPA and expanded DACA harm the nation's economy and prevent aspiring Americans from more fully participating in their communities. The brief features profiles of primary breadwinners, small business owners, and social justice activists who would be able to increase their economic and societal contributions if granted the relief proposed by 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.

Today'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 injunction. If granted, the emergency stay would allow the U.S. government to begin implementation of the DAPA and DACA initiatives.

Download a copy of the 5th Circuit amicus brief here.

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

Stan Mark, Senior Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x204 - smark@aaldef.org