Immigrant Leaders Disappointed with Supreme Court Decision Blocking Immigration Relief

June 23, 2016

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Immigrant Leaders Disappointed with Supreme Court Decision Blocking Immigration Relief

Decision Highlights Need to Protect Families, Turn Out for Fall Elections

(Chicago—June 23, 2016) The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and our member organizations are deeply disappointed with this morning’s US Supreme Court ruling blocking the Obama Administration’s immigration relief programs. These programs, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), could have benefited up to 5 million immigrants throughout the US, including 280,000 in Illinois.

ICIRR urged the Obama Administration to take executive action to shield immigrants from deportation after immigration reform legislation stalled in Congress in 2013. President Obama announced DAPA and expanded DACA on November 20, 2014. In February 2015, however, a federal district judge in Texas blocked both programs after Texas and 25 other states sued. Today’s Supreme Court decision sustains the lower court injunction blocking both programs.

“This ruling is deeply frustrating and disappointing for all immigrant communities,” said ICIRR CEO Lawrence Benito. “Instead of being able to move forward with our lives and contributing further to our entire community, immigrants remain vulnerable to the knock on the door that could separate them from their families and from the lives they have made in this country.”

ICIRR is vowing to redouble our efforts to protect immigrant families. “Even with today’s ruling, the Department of Homeland Security still has discretion to refrain from deporting individuals, particularly those with longstanding family and community ties,” said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, executive director of West Suburban Action Project (PASO) and ICIRR board president. “We intend to keep pushing Homeland Security to use its discretion to keep families together, and to protect those families who are facing separation.”

In particular, ICIRR will continue its work to inform immigrants of their rights when they encounter immigration authorities and other law enforcement. ICIRR is also taking calls on our Family Support Hotline, 855-HELP-MY-FAMILY (855-435-7693), for families to report and seek help during deportation-related crises.

ICIRR will also continue to push for federal legislation that will enable undocumented immigrants to gain lawful status and citizenship. One major part of this push will be making immigrant voices heard in this fall’s elections. “The stakes in this fall election are high for all immigrant families,” said Fr. Tony Pizzo, leader with the Southwest Organizing Project and Catholic Priest and Dean, Vicariate V. St. Rita de Cascia Parish. “If you are a citizen, register to vote. If you are already registered, make your voice heard this fall at the polls.”

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit