Despite setback in Supreme Court’s U.S. v. Texas ruling, the fight for immigrant rights will continue
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) joined civil rights and pro-immigrant advocacy groups in criticizing today’s U.S. Supreme Court opinion in United States v. Texas as a setback for immigrants and their families. In a 4-4 vote, the Court let stand a lower court decision upholding the nationwide injunction against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, announced in November 2014. While setting no precedent, today’s decision effectively blocks the administration’s new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative and its expansion of the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said: “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 an estimated 400,000 out of a total of almost 1.5 million undocumented Asian immigrants in this country. While the Court’s split 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. In the meantime, we urge the Department of Justice to seek a rehearing when a ninth justice is confirmed to the Supreme Court.Annie Wang, AALDEF staff attorney, said: “AALDEF will continue to offer legal assistance to Asian immigrant youth who may be eligible for the original DACA program, which was unaffected by this case. We will also offer consultations to individuals who would have qualified for the new DAPA and expanded DACA initiatives to determine if other forms of relief are available to them.”The lawsuit against the president’s executive actions was brought by 26 states, led by Texas. The Obama administration’s new DAPA initiative and the expansion of the 2012 DACA program were blocked by a federal district court in Texas in February 2015; that court’s order was later upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Last December, the federal government appealed to the Supreme Court.
Individuals who believe they would have qualified for the new DAPA and expanded DACA initiatives but for this decision should go to reputable attorneys and nonprofit legal service providers to see if they qualify for DACA or other forms of immigration relief. They should also be wary of individuals claiming that they can help get work authorization for a fee without applying for a benefit.
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