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Coalition and Partners Convene to Express Disappointment in U.S Supreme Court Ruling Against Immigration Relief

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 2126272227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@thenyic.org
New York  (Thursday, June 23, 2016)

Coalition and Partners Convene to Express Disappointment in U.S Supreme Court Ruling Against Immigration Relief

(New York, NY) This morning, in a sad and disappointing decision, the Supreme Court announced a 4-4 ruling in US v Texas, the case determining whether President Obama’s 2014 immigration relief programs can go into effect. A tied decision from the Supreme Court means that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is upheld, and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) programs will not be implemented.

Soon after the decision, members and partners of the New York Immigration Coalition convened to express their disappointment in an emotional press conference that brought together affected immigrants, the children of parents who were eligible for relief under the programs, advocates, and allies.

Steven Choi, executive director at the New York Immigration Coalition said, “While the Supreme Court ruled against us, the fight is not over. In this contentious election year where we have seen politicians use immigrants as scapegoats, our united front is more important than ever. We will continue to fight for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families who are a critical part of America’s workforce and communities. We will fight against deportations and for keeping families together. And in the weeks and months ahead, we will mobilize our communities who are able to vote to do so in November – and send a clear message to all of our elected officials that America stands behind its immigrants.

Karina Mendez, a member of Cabrini Immigrant Services and a U.S citizen whose parents would have qualified for DAPA, said, “Everyone needs to know that young people like me, even though we are Americans, have been living in fear because our parents and relatives are undocumented. I was born here and this is the only country that has ever been my home. Yet we have had doors of opportunity closed to us because of the way the immigration laws treat our parents, our uncles, and our aunts. With this decision, the Supreme Court allows our fear to continue and stops us from contributing the best of ourselves to this country and to the future that we all share.

Steven Choi, executive director, New York Immigration Coalition gives opening statements and says we will continue to fight for our communities.  Karina Mendez, a youth with Cabrini Immigrant Services whose parents are eligible for DAPA, speaks about the fear she has for her family. 

Hoda, a DAPA eligible mother and member of Arab American Association of NY said, “Every day I wake up, finish my prayer and pray that the court will decide in our favor. It is our right, our basic right to want to live with no fear and paranoia of deportation. It is my daughter’s right to know that her mom won’t be “stolen” away from her I am so sad that the Supreme Court decided to not grant me and my kids this very basic right. I am devastated that I have to kiss my kids yet another night with worry that if ICE knocks on our door, they could easily take me away from them. As a Muslim Arab mother, it is my duty to be with my kids and protect them and I will do so regardless of this decision. I am here and I will stay here for my children! We will continue to raise our voices until we are heard.”

Wilder Vasquez, a Guatemalan member of Workers' Center of Central NY said, “I’m sad because this decision makes our dreams to collapse again, our dreams of getting out of the shadow where we live, once again our hopes are dissolved. Our dream is that someday they reconsider and end our suffering. As immigrants, we will continue dreaming about that.”

Aber Kawas, youth organizer at Arab American Association of NY, speaks as someone who has experienced first hand what deportation does to families.  Joselyn, a member of Atlas DIY who qualifies for expanded DACA, speaks about her feelings today.

"Deeming DAPA and DACA+ an unconstitutional exercise of the President's power is a blow to both millions of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of non-citizens who arrived in the United States as children,” said Jessica Greenberg, Staff Attorney at African Services Committee's Immigrant Community Law Center. “This is a disappointing setback that underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform."

“With its decision, the Supreme Court continues the government’s disregard for the millions of undocumented immigrants who live in fear of deportation and family separation and unable to use their full potential,” said Lucia Russett, director of advocacy, LSA Family Health Services. “Thousands of families, including my own, came to the United States to seek better opportunities by working hard and contributing positively to our communities. The Supreme Court’s decision adds to the national vitriolic rhetoric, where building border fences and banning migrants based on religion or nationality, is acceptable. We need our lawmakers to show leadership and enact immigration reform that is comprehensive, permanent, and humane.”

Ester Rim, a DACA recipient whose parents are eligible for DAPA, with MinKwon Center for Community Action expresses disappointment and anger.  Pamela Chomba of Fwd.us gives an emotional speech about her parents who are eligible for DAPA.

“We are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. The court’s decision denies reality,” said Cristina Ceron, Legal Staff of SEPA Mujer in Long Island. “Millions of undocumented parents and families live in fear of being torn away from their loved ones and deported. But SEPA Mujer is not giving up.  We will continue to advocate, alongside our members, for our undocumented brother and sisters.”

Rabbi Michael Feinberg of the Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform said, “The faith community is extremely dismayed and disappointed by the negative SCOTUS decision on DAPA. In all of our congregations, untold millions of people will suffer as a result of this decision--tearing apart families and whole communities, more than 5 million people are affected nationally. Despite this setback, the faith community continues to stand with undocumented communities in calling for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, staying true to our core religious values, "welcoming the stranger" and working for justice.”

Amaha Kassa, executive director of African Communities Together speaks about the impact the Supreme Court decision will have on African immigrants. Sergio Galvez, a member of LSA Family Health Services, who is a DACA recipient, speaks about what this means for his community.

Carola Bracco, CEO, Neighbors Link Network stated, “With more immigrants moving to suburban and rural areas for work, we see many families who have been living under the threat of having a parent deported. In Westchester County, approximately 23,000 young adults or parents of US citizen children would have benefited from DAPA or extended DACA. We are so disappointed that now they will continue to live in fear of their families being torn apart.”

Grace Shim, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center, criticized the decision and the current administration’s failure to implement large scale immigration reform. “The anti-immigrant forces and the Supreme Court are ignoring a clear truth. Enforcement and deportation cannot solve the broken immigration system.  Congress has repeatedly failed to enact large scale immigration reform, most recently in 2013 when the Senate passed a comprehensive reform measure but the House refused to even consider it. The Obama administration has also not been able to deliver on its initial promise of comprehensive immigration reform and has provided relief for a very select populations of DREAMers through his first executive action.”

Ms. Shim reaffirmed the MinKwon Center’s commitment to reform, stating, “Together with other immigrant rights organizations around the nation, we will press on with an even more powerful and vocal campaign on both federal and local levels so that the newly elected executive branch and Congress prioritize comprehensive immigration reform.”

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The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.


 

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