Supreme Court Split Decision on Immigration a Setback for More than 5 Million Children
Gabriel Vasquez (Former Staff)Children of Immigrants
Washington – The wellbeing and future success of more than 5 million children living in America continues to be in jeopardy in light of today’s U.S. Supreme Court split decision (4-4) in the U.S. v. Texas case, preventing the implementation of President Obama’s expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) program and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.
While the decision sets no Supreme Court precedent and does not impact the original 2012 DACA program, the lower court’s injunction on DACA+ and DAPA will remain effective.
First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, helped draft an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court in March that represents the support of more than 70 education and children’s advocacy organizations, arguing that the lower court failed to consider the interest of U.S. citizen children impacted by the court’s injunction. In May, First Focus also launched a national television and radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign, My American Story, to raise awareness among American voters about the devastating impact of the nation’s outdated immigration laws and to promote common-sense, child-friendly immigration policies.
“Today’s deadlock is a setback for immigrant families, and as a result, millions of American children – the future of this country – will continue to live in fear of being separated from their parents, siblings, and other loved ones,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus. “We are confident that this case will end up back at the Supreme Court, before a full panel of justices who can render a clear decision. Unfortunately, this will not be a quick process, and once again, children will pay the price in the interim.”
At stake is the well-being of more than 5 million children, 4.1 million of whom are U.S. citizens, who remain at risk of losing a parent to deportation and will continue to suffer harm to their mental and physical health, economic security, and academic performance. Approximately 300,000 young people who entered the U.S. as children but were too old to qualify for the original 2012 DACA program will also be denied improved access to higher education and job opportunities.
“Even though today’s decision represents a setback for our community, we are committed to fight until all children in the U.S. are provided with the stability and support they need to achieve their full potential,” said Wendy Cervantes, president of immigration and child rights for First Focus. “We will work with our partners to ensure our elected leaders – present and future – are held accountable to the American values of keeping families together and protecting our nation’s children.”
First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.firstfocus.org.