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Florida Advocates Celebrate Supreme Court Decision to Hear Immigration Case

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Florida Immigrant Families One Step Closer To Relief

This is great news. Finally, Florida immigrant families and children will have their day in court.

In 2014, thousands of Floridians breathed a sigh of relief when President Obama announced an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and the creation of a related plan, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Finally, a modicum of freedom and mobility was within reach for hard-working parents of U.S. Citizens and legal permanent residents, and other Floridians who have lived here for most of their lives.

But their hopes were soon dashed when Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi joined other Republican-led states to file a politically-motivated lawsuit against DAPA and the expansion of DACA. These states hand-selected a judge in Texas who handed them the result they sought, and the policies were put on hold through an injunction. Since then, people have been holding their breath, waiting for the wheels of justice to turn and for the case to make its way to the Supreme Court.

Finally, an end is in sight, as today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case, with a decision likely to come in June.

Maria Bilabao, a Florida immigration activist and potential DAPA beneficiary, said: “DAPA is not something that was simply handed to us – our community worked really hard to secure the program’s announcement after Republicans blocked immigration reform in the Congress back in 2013. I remain hopeful that the court will take up the DAPA case, and rule in favor of millions of immigrant families like mine – hard working individuals who want to contribute back to this great country.What Attorney General Pam Bondi did by adding Florida to the DAPA Lawsuit was political theater. AG Bondi has sided with the extremist in the Republican Party in order to continue to attack immigrant families – and we will not stand for it!”

Added Daniela Donoso, an immigration advocate from Tallahassee, “It is extremely important that the Supreme Court takes on the DAPA case. As an advocate, I have witnessed first-hand the fear and anxiety experience by immigrant families across Florida. What Attorney General Pam Bondi has done is nothing short of political maneuvering in order carter to the Republican extremists. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will take on this case, and hand down a favorable decision that will positively affect hard working immigrant families all across Florida – we have been waiting too long for this relief, it is time for the Supreme Court to unfreeze DAPA.”

Juan Escalante, the director of Florida’s Voice, said “Republicans across the state of Florida are not slowing down their attacks on immigrant communities. By adding Florida to this politically-motivated lawsuit, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott are putting partisan politics ahead of Floridian families. They are actively seeking to deny immigration relief to Florida families and children, keeping them in limbo, and placing them in line for deportation. It is shameful politicians like Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi to continue to play politics with the lives of families in Florida.

Oral arguments on the DAPA case will be heard by the Supreme Court this spring, with a potential decision to be handed down this upcoming summer.

“Republicans are playing with fire – and they know it. Our community will not sit idly while they continue to attack immigrants,” Escalante continued. “The Supreme Court will decide the fate of millions of immigrant families in the midst of the 2016 general election cycle. Immigrants and advocates alike are expecting the court to rule in favor of DAPA, and in doing so, the court could send shockwaves through major voter blocs that will undoubtedly have a major impact in the November presidential election.”

For more on the impact of DACA and DAPA on Florida, see the following resources:

Florida’s Voice is a project of America’s Voice.