Filipino Advocates for Justice is angered and saddened — but not defeated — by the Supreme Court’s split decision (4 – 4) in the case of United States v. Texas. This decision blocks the implementation of President Obama’s humanitarian efforts to expand DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and provide relief from deportation for parents of American citizens and legal permanent residents through a program called DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). The decision means that DACA expansion and DAPA are still on hold. The case will now be sent back to the Texas district court to determine the whether the programs are constitutional. The original DACA program, launched in 2012, is still available and is NOT affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.
“This decision hurts because we fought hard to protect young people and families from deportation. But we are warriors. We will organize harder, raise our voices louder, and come together even stronger than before. This includes getting out the vote for leaders who will fight for the rights of immigrant communities,” said Beatrice Sanchez a DACA recipient.
“This decision does not change the existing DACA program,” says Rachel Aceberos, FAJ Immigration Counselor. “Eligible undocumented immigrants should continue to apply for and renew DACA in order to access its many benefits. For those who are DACA eligible, don’t be discouraged. The more young people access DACA, the clearer it is that relief from deportation is needed and that we need a real legalization program.”
While this decision is a temporary setback, immigrant communities, our allies, and others committed to human rights will double our efforts to push for immigration policies that uphold the dignity of immigrants. This is a call to action for the new American majority to use our vote this November to remove immigrant-hating legislators — particularly Governors – and replace them with public officials who recognize the contributions of and embrace immigrant communities.
In this light, we applaud the more rational direction of the California State Legislature who, just yesterday, passed the Dignity Not Detention Act (SB 1289). SB 1289 prohibits municipalities from contracting for-profit immigration detention companies (like GEO Group and CCA), requires all detention facilities in California to uphold humane standards, and allows immigrants to sue if their rights are violated.
Beyond the elections FAJ will continue to fight for the protection and expansion of immigrants’ rights including fair and humane legalization of the undocumented.