Thursday, June 23, 2016

Asian/Americans condemn SCOTUS ruling against Obama's immigrant plans

Protestors outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C.
By Louis Chan
Reprinted from AsAm News

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S executive order protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and allowing them to work has been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The justices deadlocked 4-4 and that means the Texas appeals court ruling blocking the plan remains in affect.

"For more than two decades now our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken," Obama said. "And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn't able to issue a decision today doesn't just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be."

Obama’s plan known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) would have allowed parents of American citizens or permanent residents to apply for the program. It would affect almost 4 million people.
RELATED: Ruling may impact 400,000 in California
The justices who voted against DAPA acknowledged the president had the authority to prevent the deportation of individuals, but objected to the blanket protection DAPA offered.

“As a national civil rights organization that advocates for fair immigration policies, we strongly supported the president’s immigration actions that would have provided relief from deportation and employment authorization to almost 1.5 million undocumented Asian immigrants in this country,” said Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund to AsAmNews. “While the Court’s 4-4 decision is a setback that has delayed the hopes of millions of undocumented immigrants and their families, we will explore all options in continuing the fight for immigrant rights.”

“The anti-immigrant forces and the Supreme Court are ignoring a clear truth,” said Grace Shim, executive director of the MinKwon Center. “Enforcement and deportation cannot solve the broken immigration system. Congress has repeatedly failed to enact large scale immigration reform, most recently in 2013 when the Senate passed a comprehensive reform measure but the House refused to even consider it. The Obama administration has also not been able to deliver on its initial promise of comprehensive immigration reform and has provided relief for a very select populations of DREAMers through his first executive action.”
The Supreme Court Justices who voted. 
“Each day these programs are delayed means that millions of immigrants and their families are left to live with fear and uncertainty,” said Sally Kinoshita, deputy director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which leads Ready California. “Today’s Supreme Court decision denies valuable members of our communities the opportunity to live and work without the constant risk of being torn from their families while more fully contributing to their local economies. When and if these programs become available, we are determined to help eligible Californians realize the full benefits of these critical immigration benefits and prepare for eventual immigration reform.”

According to Ready California,the original DACA program launched in 2012, continues to be available to more than a million qualified applicants and is not affected by the Supreme Court decision. Eligible undocumented immigrants can continue to apply for and renew DACA in order to access its many benefits, including a temporary reprieve from deportation, access to a work permit, and a social security number.

“I believe we are stronger together. When we embrace immigrants, not denigrate them. When we build bridges, not walls,” said presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “That is why, as president, I will continue to defend DAPA and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and do everything possible under the law to go further to protect families. It is also why I will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship within my first 100 days. Because when families are strong—America is strong.”

“Among the things America, its history and its people has really taught me: You don’t give up. You move forward. You fight on," said Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define America and an undocumented immigrant himself.

"By definition, immigrants are resilient, resourceful, courageous people. We will not give up. I will not give up.”

Views From the Edge contributed to this report.