Long Beach leaders, who represent many undocumented residents themselves, reacted to the Supreme Court deadlock that occurred today and effectively delayed and possibly defeated the Obama Administration’s immigration reform plan.
With a 4-4 vote, deportation relief through the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) was not granted to the more than four million immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents. However, undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents will remain a low priority, according to President Obama.
Still, local leaders did not appear happy with the news, as the ruling will delay undocumented immigrants who have not committed a crime to work legally within U.S. bounds.
“I am heartbroken by today’s Supreme Court split decision. DAPA meant so much to so many families. It promised new opportunities for millions of hardworking immigrants and was a step in paving the way for comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system,” said Congresswoman Janice Hahn in a statement. “It is time Congress steps up and does its job and fixes our broken immigration system. I will continue fighting until no child in this country has to live in constant fear of having their families torn apart.”
The Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC) also expressed disappointment in the legislation.
“We recognize that undocumented immigrants will continue to live in the shadows and continue to fear deportation and law enforcement, separation from their families, and persecution from ICE,” wrote the organization in a statement. “These fears also extend to their families, whose members include many American citizens.”
Specifically, the legislation considered by the Supreme Court would have kept parents and children from deportation for up to 3 years and provide those eligible for a temporary 3-year work permit. The law would have applied to an estimated 100,000 parents, many of them concentrated in Southern California, according to the LBIRC.
State Senator Ricardo Lara called the day a “sad” one for the country in a Facebook post this morning.
“California will remain unwavering in our commitment to immigrant integration,” Lara wrote. “We must demand action from our stalled Congress! We must get comprehensive immigration reform by electing the right people in November! “
Long Beach City College President Eloy Oakley echoed Lara’s disappointment in a statement issued today.
“I am extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court today did not support a path to legal immigration and work status by deadlocking in the United States v. Texas case,” said Oakley in a statement. “This case has a direct connection to higher education because it would have expanded DACA and DAPA policies and programs that benefit immigrant children, students and families. The result will be more separated families and more challenges for many of our students—legal residents—who are seeking to reach their higher education goals and contribute to our economy.”