Democratic leaders from Congress, as well as Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, applauded the Supreme Court’s decision today to take up U.S. v. Texas, the legal case that has blocked President Obama’s decision to confer protection against deportation and work permits to millions of immigrant families with deep roots and ties to the United States.
Below is a round-up of reactions from Democratic leaders, which we will continue to update throughout the day as more statements come in.
“I am pleased by the Supreme Court’s decision to review the Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling on President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. President Obama’s executive actions rely on well-established constitutional authority, and I have full confidence that the Supreme Court will rule that these programs can be implemented. President Obama’s decision to set enforcement priorities focused limited resources on the removal of individuals who pose a threat to our national security and public safety, not hard-working families.
“I recently met with undocumented parents of U.S citizens and lawful permanent residents when I was home in Las Vegas. Instead of having the peace of mind that comes with deferred action, these law-abiding men and women continue to live in constant fear of being separated from their children. These families must be allowed to step out of the shadows and fully contribute to the country that they love and call home.
“President Obama took these actions only after House Republicans refused to vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in 2013. Republicans have had countless opportunities to act responsibly to resolve our immigration problems. Instead, they voted to deport DREAMers and wasted taxpayer money on a politically motivated lawsuit that prolongs the suffering of families and American children. If Republicans are truly interested in fixing our broken immigration system, they should work with Democrats to pass legislation that would render the President’s executive actions unnecessary.”
Representative Nancy Pelosi:
“We cannot perpetuate a broken immigration system that tears apart families and fails to meet the needs of our country. Democrats are confident that the Supreme Court will recognize the legality and necessity of the President’s executive actions for immigrant families.
“Presidents have broad authority to defer removal when it is in the national interest, and past presidents have regularly used this authority. Just as Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did before him, President Obama took executive action to make our immigration system better meet the needs of our country and reflect our shared values.
“The fact is that these actions fall well within the President’s broad authority and the clear legal precedent established by every Administration – Republican and Democratic – since President Eisenhower. We look forward to the Supreme Court affirming these vital immigration reforms, and we will continue to push for Congress to act on the comprehensive immigration reform our nation so urgently needs.”
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Linda Sánchez:
“The Supreme Court’s decision to hear United States v. Texas is a step in the right direction. There is still hope. In a few months, the Supreme Court could rule in favor of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Expansion programs.
“Every president since Ronald Reagan has used their executive authority to act on immigration. Like Republican and Democratic presidents before him, President Obama used his authority given to him by Congress to end the uncertainty millions of families have been living with for far too long. The President’s executive actions on immigration would end the fear of deportation for an estimated 5 million people, many with mixed-status families. We in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are optimistic the Supreme Court will rule in favor of extended DACA and DAPA.
“Finally, we want to make it clear to the Latino community that the original 2012 DACA program remains in effect and is not being contested in the United States v. Texas case. We urge Latinos to be cautious of possible scams by notarios or others that could try to take advantage of this Supreme Court announcement, since the final ruling has not yet been determined.”
“We are very pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case. We are confident the Court will see through the dubious legal and procedural arguments by lower courts and find the President’s actions fully comport with U.S. immigration law and the Constitution. Permitting these programs to move forward will provide an important measure of certainty for millions of Americans and their immigrant families.
“DAPA and expanded DACA are common-sense, lawful exercises of executive discretion, just like actions taken by prior presidents of both parties for decades, including Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
“We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will issue its decision upholding these actions before the current term ends in June. Hard working immigrant families have waited long enough for stability and the opportunity to come out of the shadows. Today’s Supreme Court moved us one step closer to the relief they so desperately need.”
“I’m very pleased the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case which could allow President Obama’s immigration executive orders to be implemented, enabling millions of U.S. immigrants to come out of the shadows and contribute to our nation. The President’s expansion of DACA and implementation of DAPA are sensible, humane, and similar to actions taken by presidents of both parties for decades.”
“We expected the Supreme Court to take up the case and we expect the President’s point of view will prevail. The law, the legal precedent, and the people are on the President’s side.
“Opponents of immigration and the President’s executive actions have tried to run out the clock on his presidency and want immigrants to remain in limbo, living and working here but always under the threat of imminent deportation. Most Americans would prefer that long-term immigrants with families and lives in the US come forward to register, pay to be finger-printed, and submit to a rigorous background check. Then, if individuals pass that test and can renew it every so often, always on a case-by-case basis, most Americans believe they should be allowed to work and to raise their families here until Congress eventually summons the courage to fix our immigration laws.
“We are not going to deport our way to law and order in immigration, nor build a big wall around America. What we need is a legal immigration system that works so that we do not have a large number of immigrants vulnerable to deportation, leaving them and their families and businesses to cope with the dysfunctional reality. The President’s actions are not a substitute for Congressional action; they are a coping mechanism for Congressional inaction.”
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) January 19, 2016
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) January 19, 2016
— Xavier Becerra (@RepBecerra) January 19, 2016
— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) January 19, 2016
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 19, 2016
Modern day barriers to voting limit access to the ballot box. The strength of our democracy depends equal access. #RestoreTheVOTE
— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) January 19, 2016