Supreme Court Splits, Time For Real Immigration Reform

June 23, 2016
Con­tact: Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran,

SAALT is pro­found­ly dis­ap­point­ed that today’s Supreme Court 4–4 split in U.S. v. Texas failed to reach a deci­sion on the Deferred Action for Parental Account­abil­i­ty (DAPA) and expand­ed Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­grams, part of the Pres­i­den­t’s exec­u­tive action on immi­gra­tion issued in Novem­ber 2014. The orig­i­nal DACA pro­gram announced in 2012 remains, and the Supreme Court rul­ing upheld a low­er court rul­ing block­ing the DAPA and expand­ed DACA pro­grams. The pro­longed and unnec­es­sary legal chal­lenge to these com­mon-sense immi­gra­tion pro­grams comes at the expense of mil­lions of immi­grant youth and their fam­i­lies. As a result of today’s rul­ing, mil­lions of immi­grants, includ­ing 450,000 undoc­u­ment­ed Indi­an Amer­i­cans alone, can­not con­tribute to the econ­o­my and pur­sue their dreams. The only real solu­tion is leg­isla­tive change through Com­pre­hen­sive Immi­gra­tion Reform.

Today, over four years since the imple­men­ta­tion of the orig­i­nal DACA pro­gram, more than 728,000 out of an esti­mat­ed 1.16 mil­lion eli­gi­ble peo­ple have received DACA, allow­ing them to pur­sue high­er edu­ca­tion and employ­ment with­out con­stant fear of depor­ta­tion. Near­ly 225,000 Indi­an and Pak­istani indi­vid­u­als are eli­gi­ble for DACA and DAPA. India ranks among the top ten ori­gin coun­tries with indi­vid­u­als eli­gi­ble for DACA, and ranks third among indi­vid­u­als eli­gi­ble for DAPA. At least 23,000 Indi­an and Pak­istani youth are eli­gi­ble for DACA and expand­ed DACA. At least 200,000 Indi­an and Pak­istani indi­vid­u­als are eli­gi­ble for DAPA. In April, SAALT stood with allies across the coun­try at the Supreme Court dur­ing the oral argu­ments on this case to express our hopes for a rul­ing that would sup­port the dreams of mil­lions of immi­grant fam­i­lies nation­wide. That same day we released a video series fea­tur­ing South Asians impact­ed by our bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem illus­trat­ing just how much our com­mu­ni­ty has at stake in ensur­ing DAPA and expand­ed DACA move for­ward.

“Exec­u­tive action on the part of the Pres­i­dent was nec­es­sary to move past a grid­locked Con­gress that refused to pass com­mon-sense immi­gra­tion reform leg­is­la­tion. With­out this, mil­lions of immi­grants will not be eli­gi­ble for the full ben­e­fits they deserve, like health­care. Con­gress needs to do its job. Polls con­tin­ue to show that a bipar­ti­san major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans sup­port a roadmap to cit­i­zen­ship for undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants. Today’s rul­ing is a cat­a­lyst for the next Con­gress to act and ensure that all immi­grants have a path to the full ben­e­fits of cit­i­zen­ship and allow us to live up to our core val­ues of fair­ness and oppor­tu­ni­ty,” said Suman Raghu­nathan, SAALT’s exec­u­tive direc­tor.

In the mean­time, we encour­age indi­vid­u­als to con­tin­ue apply­ing for the exist­ing DACA pro­gram, which was nev­er under legal scruti­ny, and should be ful­ly uti­lized by those eli­gi­ble. There are sev­er­al actions the Pres­i­dent can still take to pro­vide relief for immi­grants. Black Alliance for Just Immi­gra­tion named five, includ­ing end­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion pro­grams between ICE and local law enforce­ment. The case will return to the low­er courts and we join our friends at Nation­al Immi­gra­tion Law Cen­ter in urg­ing the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to seek a rehear­ing at the Supreme Court when a ninth jus­tice, who should have already been in place, is final­ly con­firmed.