Twelve states filed an amicus brief supporting President Obama’s recent executive action yesterday, and a number of law enforcement officials from around the country followed, bolstering the fact that Obama’s immigration action is a common-sense practice that has a long history of precedent.
The 12 state effort was spearheaded by Washington States’ Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and was co-signed by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
The brief argues that Obama’s executive action presents a boon rather than a burden, allowing immigrant families to participate more fully in American society and increasing the amount of tax revenue for states. And because states will benefit from the President’s action, today’s brief argues, the 25 plaintiff states will not be able to demonstrate the harm required for standing. Though 12 states are supporting executive action, compared to the 25 states in the lawsuit opposing it, today’s states contain half the population of eligible immigrants. Read the brief here.
As Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a press statement:
The President took necessary and humane steps to help keep families together and provide relief to law-abiding Washington families. He acted because Congress has not, and Washington state and the rest of the country should not have to wait any longer for sensible immigration reform. I applaud the Attorney General’s effort to set the record straight about the President’s authority to pursue commonsense executive action.
The 12 state “amicus curaie” (“friend of the court”) brief was further bolstered by a separate amicus brief filed by the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and 14 police chiefs (see here for their brief and list of signers). They argued that executive action improves public safety by encouraging cooperation between law enforcement officials and immigrant communities, and that blocking it will negatively impact public safety and make it harder for the police to do their jobs. As Melissa Keaney, a staff attorney for the National Immigration Law Center noted in a press release:
No one should play political games with public safety. These law enforcement leaders have stepped forward to say that the deferred action initiative has solid benefits for community policing. The courts, the politicians, and the public should heed the warning of police chiefs that an injunction to block the deferred action will hurt efforts of local police to build trust with community members.