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Supreme Court Amicus Briefs Filed: Ohio Elected Officials, Local Immigrant Leaders, Community Advocates Call On The Supreme Court To Unfreeze DACA+ And DAPA

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Ahead of April 18th oral arguments, immigrants, advocates, community leaders, and elected officials demonstrate strong support for DHS’ immigration actions

Yesterday, Ohio elected officials and organizations signed on to amicus briefs filed in U.S. v. Texas, the Supreme Court case that will determine the fate of the Obama Administration’s executive actions on immigration, and affect the lives of millions of American families.

Approximately 35,000 Ohio immigrants would register with the government and undergo background checks in order to be eligible for deportation deferral and work permits under immigration policies announced by the Department of Homeland Security in 2014.  According to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Ohio’s undocumented immigrants are already paying millions of dollars in state and local taxes every year, and their contributions would grow by nearly $10 million if DAPA and DACA are fully implemented.

However, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Governor John Kasich joined other Republican-led states to sue the Federal government and block DAPA and the expansion of DACA.  Now, the fate of these policies–indeed, the fate of Ohio families–will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court this June.  To read all of the amicus briefs filed in support of DACA and DAPA, visit: http://www.fightforfamilies.org/press-and-resources/#legalResources.

In a show of solidarity, brief signatories, directly-impacted Ohioans and other supporters of the DACA+/DAPA policies noted the positive impact they will have on our state and Ohio families.  Following are their quotes:

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said, “Millions of men, women and children are living in the shadows. However, DACA and DAPA provide hope, hope for a better life and a brighter future. As opposed to tearing apart families, I urge the Supreme Court to give every family the opportunity to become meaningful and contributing members of society.”

Said Robert Nosanchuk, Senior Rabbi, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, “I am personally advocating that the Supreme Court discern to support the families touched by the expansion of DAPA and DACA. This is no time for neutrality nor for community leaders to get swept up in the  nativist rage against immigrants to our country. I call on other religious leaders: rabbis, ministers, and imams to speak out as well.”

“SEIU believes the current immigration system is broken and must be replaced by one that addresses the needs of U.S. and immigrant workers in the 21st century global economy,” Sandra Ellington, Cleveland janitor and SEIU Local 1 Executive Board member, said.  “As the largest union of immigrant workers, and the fastest growing union in the U.S., we expect that our nation’s leaders will enact workable solutions to our immigration problems and that they will recognize that punitive, anti-immigrant measures are neither realistic nor workable.  It is not only right, but also critical to our Nation’s long-term interest that we treat immigrant workers in accordance with our nation’s highest values. DACA/DAPA is a step in this direction and I urge the Supreme Court to do the right thing.”

Brennan Grayson, Executive Director, and Manuel Perez, Membership Coordinator of the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center said, “At the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center, immigrant workers come to our center every day who are robbed of their dignity and wages by unscrupulous employers. DAPA and the expanded DACA program that President Obama announced in 2014, offer immigrant workers a chance to feel that they are contributing members of society.”

Added Laura Mendez Ortiz, a DACA recipient and student at University of Cincinnati, “DACA has been a critical factor in a lot of what I have been able to accomplish in the past three to four years. It is DACA that made my dream to go to college a reality. DACA has given me hope for my future. It gives me the freedom and confidence to go after goals and opportunities without the fear of deportation. I do not feel as held back by my immigration status as I once did. If DACA were to end I do not know what would happen to me and everything I have been able to accomplish. Although I currently do not fear for my own life as much, I constantly worry for my parent’s well-being. I fear every time they drive they may get stopped and then deported. It makes me worry for my parents’ health because of how much pressure, fear and stress they have endured for over sixteen years because of our immigration status. My family is not able to invest in a future because of how unstable it is. DAPA would overall bring the necessary security and temporary relief my family needs.”

Added Howard Tolley, Executive Director of Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, “I applaud the organizations supporting the Obama Administration’s legal efforts to grant deferred action status for undocumented immigrant parents of children who are legal residents.”

Said Dora Acosta, a newly naturalized U.S. citizen who is married to a DAPA-eligible immigrant, “I was super excited to become a US citizen not only because it could be of great benefit to my husband Luis, but also because it gave me the opportunity to vote in the upcoming elections. I truly believe in the power of the vote and coming from an immigrant family I was in the shoes of many who cannot have their voice heard for not being able to vote for many years. I want to be a Voice to all of the people who cannot vote.”

Gladys Apaestegui, a DAPA-eligible mom from Solon added, “Una familia unida y fuerte puede ofrecer un futuro prometedor a los niños.  Esto se puede lograr con DAPA como un alivio temporal hasta que se apruebe Reforma Migratoria.”  (Translation: “A strong and united family can offer a promising future to the children.  This can be achieved with DAPA, a temporary relief until immigration reform is approved.”)

Lynn Tramonte, director of Ohio’s Voice, said, “The state of Ohio is literally suing its own families and children.  Attorney General DeWine and Governor Kasich are denying our state needed tax revenue, not to mention playing a dangerous game of politics with Ohioans’ lives just because their Republican allies asked them to.  The 2014 DHS immigration actions are in line with those taken by other presidents from both parties.  The Supreme Court must step in and ensure that politicians cannot use the courts to enact a partisan agenda.”

Groups like Ohio’s Voice have worked to educate and hold Governor Kasich and Attorney General DeWine accountable for their decision to sign the state onto the political lawsuit. Last year Ohio’s Voice, along with several Ohio immigrant families and leaders, met with DeWine and Kasich to express their concerns. Read more about those meetings here.

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