As the Republican Governors and Attorneys General of 26 states play politically-motivated games, their lawsuit blocking the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA is having real-life consequences for millions of immigrants across the nation.
In a must-read piece, Esther Lee of ThinkProgress talks to immigrants whose families would be eligible for DAPA and expanded DACA.
These families continue to live in a legal limbo a full year after President Obama announced his executive actions, but many also feel hope at the fact that immigrants will ultimately get their fair and full day in court now that SCOTUS has agreed to take up the lawsuit.
A decision from the court is expected in June, in the middle of the 2016 Presidential election.
“My mom was here with me when the announcement happened. I remember telling her about the lawsuit and it was really heartbreaking to see that she was going to live with that fear,” Jassiel Perez said to ThinkProgress. His family came to the United States from Mexico when he was a child, though he has U.S.-born siblings. “I’m excited that I’m going to be able to tell her that we’re finally going to have our day in court.”
“For me, this means a sense of relief for the time being,” Nestor Ruiz, a member of the immigrant advocacy group United We Dream, told ThinkProgress. His mother would qualify for the DAPA initiative, which would bring some peace of mind for Ruiz, whose father was deported in 2006 after officers pulled him over for a broken taillight. “But this isn’t the end of the fight — there’s still a lot for me to do to continue the fight.”
Cris Mercado, an undocumented immigrant who has lived in New York City for the past 30 years, is also awaiting a Supreme Court decision. He qualifies for the DACA+ initiative, having aged out of the original 2012 executive action, which restricted applicants to those who came to the country before the age of 16 and are no older than 31 years old.
“There are millions of immigrants, like myself, who already positively contribute to their communities, pay their taxes, and possess high-level skills — and this decision by the Supreme Court to take the case gives us hope,” Mercado said. “It makes me feel like the Court is listening to our compelling stories, but it all boils down to the final decision later this year.”
As Lee notes, the court’s decision goes beyond undocumented immigrants. An estimated five million U.S. citizen children have either one or two parents with no legal status, and these children often are at higher risk of suffering from anxiety or depression.
One 2011 study found that an estimated 5,000 U.S. citizen children are in foster care following the deportation of both of their parents.