Supporters of President Barack Obama’s immigration overhaul said a day after the program was dealt a blow in the appeals court that they were ready to see the case in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Obama administration announced that it would ask the Supreme Court to review a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to block Obama’s executive action to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, known as DAPA, applies to undocumented immigrants with minor children who are citizens or permanent residents. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, applies to some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
The appeals court decision “keeps 5 million citizen children in a legal limbo,” said Marielena Hincapié executive director of the National Immigration Law Center in a phone call to reporters on Tuesday. “Our children’s lives are at stake.”
The programs temporarily shield undocumented immigrants who pass a background check and would give successful applicants a Social Security number and permission to work.
“We are more than ready to take this to the Supreme Court,” Hincapié said.
Texas and 25 other states challenged the executive action, arguing that the president has overstepped his authority. But Washington was among 16 states that made arguments to the court supporting the president’s action.
Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell said deporting working parents hurts families and puts pressure on states to support children and families split up by deportation.
“Tens of thousands of parents of children are deported every year. That leaves those kids … dependent on states and social services, when they should be able to stay together with their families,” Purcell said.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that the injunction against the executive action hurts public safety. She said 44 percent of Latinos regardless of residency status are hesitant to report crime because of fear that the police will ask immigration questions about them and people they know.
“An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal,” she said.
She also said that enacting DAPA and expanding DACA would improve the economy by allowing people to work and support their families.
OneAmerica Executive Director Rich Stoltz said in a prepared statement that Monday’s decision was not a surprise.
“We are, however, confident in the constitutionality of these programs, and look forward to the case being heard in a different venue,” he said in a prepared statement. “This is not the first immigration executive action, and none of its predecessors have been blocked in this manner.”