AKIN Deplores SCOTUS Decision in US v Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 23, 2016

Tie in Supreme Court Means Immigration Program Still Blocked for Now

AKIN Deplores Decision and Will Join Events Tonight at 6 and 8

Knoxville, TN – This morning, Allies of Knoxville’s Immigrant Neighbors (AKIN) greeted with severe disappointment a tied decision in the U.S. Supreme Court that will leave in place an injunction presently blocking President Obama’s 2014 administrative program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and its companion program of expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (expanded DACA).  Tonight AKIN members and allies will join events called by local immigrants’ rights group, the Comité Popular, at 6 pm at the Birdhouse and 8pm in Krutch Park Extension to condemn this decision and pledge on-going commitment to making our community, state and nation a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.

According to AKIN Co-chair Mary Ann Reeves, “AKIN has long urged the President to use his authority to address serious problems with a badly broken system now laboring under decades of Congressional inaction.  In our view the Administration was not only justified on legal grounds in creating this program, but was morally and practically compelled to do so. We are glad that half the justices would have overturned the decisions rendered in this case by lower courts, and we urge our leaders, whether in the Executive Branch or in Congress, to press forward with much-needed repairs to the existing system.”

Karla Meza, who was brought to the US at the age of three and has lived in Tennessee ever since, agrees.  As a student now enrolled in Pellissippi State Community College, Meza reflected, “The President’s original DACA program, started in 2012, has made a huge difference in my life. Of course I would rather see real immigration reform passed by Congress.  But DACA has enabled me to get jobs that have given me important work experience and helped pay for college.  It also made me feel that I could come out of the shadows to speak publicly about my situation.”

Anne Thomas-Abbott, an English teacher at Fulton High School, echoes Meza’s remarks: “It breaks my heart to see students in my classes whose hard-working parents live under a cloud of fear, or to work with young people who turn away in tears when I tell others to ‘be all that you can be’ and ‘follow your dream.’  Why are we relegating the talent, energy and heart of these students to the sidelines?  This is not what educators are supposed to do!”

Reeves observed, “If upheld by the Court this morning, DAPA and expanded DACA would have brought benefits not only to immigrants, but to the entire community.  These programs would have provided many more immigrants and their children an opportunity to better integrate into U.S. society.  They would have boosted our economy and increased our tax base.  They would have reduced the unfair competition and abusive treatment that result when some employers or landlords take unfair advantage of vulnerable immigrants.  They would have strengthened the social fabric by bringing stability to millions of families previously threatened with separation.  And they would have brought all Tennesseans and Americans closer to democratic values and welcoming traditions that we hold dear.”

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