Omaha NE, 6/23/2016 – Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE) — In a one-sentence ruling today, a deadlocked Supreme Court in U.S. vs Texas leaves intact the legally-flawed Fifth Circuit decision blocking President Obama’s expanded Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) and Deferred Action For Parents of Americans (DAPA) programs.
We Continue to Call on Congress to Enact Immigration Reform
This profoundly disappointing ruling forces millions of immigrant families who have long resided in the U.S. and who have significant connections to this country to remain in legal limbo. “Our hearts go out to the almost 5 million immigrants and their families that could have benefited from DAPA/DACA+ but now will have to continue to live in fear,” stated Emiliano Lerda, Executive Director of JFON-NE.
The U.S. vs Texas news underscores the importance of the upcoming election and the need to continue to call upon Congress to enact compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform. The human cost of this failure to act is a perpetuation of a system which tears families apart, forces people into the shadows, and denies our immigrant neighbors the ability to fully contribute to our communities. JFON-NE encourages all eligible voters to register and vote their conscience in November.
The U.S. vs Texas Ruling Results in SignificantEconomic Cost
The Court’s decision also carries an economic cost. According to U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., “ . . . blocking the [DAPA/DACA+ initiatives will] . . . cost the federal government $7.5 billion from 2015-2025.” And States all across the country will miss out on millions of dollars in increased tax revenues that would have resulted from these initiatives. Indeed, with this decision, we all lose.
Despite this disappointing decision, it is important to note that the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program remains effective and qualified individuals may still apply for this relief. JFON-NE will continue to provide advice, counsel, and representation for qualified individuals.
Additionally, it is also noteworthy that Texas never argued, and the Fifth Circuit never held, that the Department of Homeland Security lacks the legal authority to set low-enforcement priorities as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Indeed, as we noted in our amicus brief, Texas conceded that the “Executive does have enforcement discretion to forebear from removing aliens on an individual basis;” and it may “deprioritiz[e] removal for identified aliens.” As such, Legal Director Shane Ellison explained, “JFON-NE will continue to advocate for a generous application of these prosecutorial discretion policies.”
More background on U.S. vs Texas can be found in our previous news post, JFON Network Urges the Supreme Court to Move DACA/DAPA Programs Forward.
Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE) is a nonprofit organization providing free immigration legal service, education, and advocacy for indigent and low-income immigrant individuals and families in Nebraska and western Iowa. We serve immigrants of all faiths, races, abilities and ages, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable. Staff attorneys specialize in immigration law, representing persons who are eager to earn legal status as lawful citizens of our community.