By Bill Parry
The Obama administration will take its immigration fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. Department of Justice said it would appeal a federal appeals court ruling blocking President Obama’s executive action that would have made it easier for millions of illegal immigrants to live and work in the country.
“The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow the Department of Homeland Security to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children,” DOJ spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said in a statement. “The department disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s adverse ruling and intends to seek further review from the Supreme Court of the United States.”
A federal district court judge in Texas stopped those moves in February and Monday a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 against the administration, refusing to overturn that injunction.
Administration officials said they hope the court will take the case in the spring and issue a ruling by June with just months remaining in Obama’s term.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City stands with the president and with the millions of immigrant families with deep roots in this country that will benefit from immigrant action.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will decide as the settled law of the land that the president has the authority to enact these executive actions and ensure that immigrant parents and children across the country are protected.”
State Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights), the first Equadorian-American ever elected to public office in the United States, whose district covers Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, each with a huge concentration of immigrants, did not mince words.
“Leaders on the right spend most of their time talking about how important family values are to them,” he said. “Yet we see those same leaders applauding the court decision to tear apart families of mixed immigration status. These families have waited long enough for relief.”
Moya is the lead sponsor of the Dream Act, the bipartisan legislation that addresses the plight of young people who grew up in the United States and have graduated from American high schools, but whose future is circumscribed by our current immigration law, according to the National Immigration Law Center.
Under current law, these young people generally derive their immigration status solely from their parents, and if their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, most have no mechanism to obtain legal residency, even if they have lived most of their lives in the United States.
“It’s time that politicians on the right start recognizing that all U.S. citizen children deserve to be raised in a united household,” Moya said. “It is our duty to protect our youngest citizens from harm. By deporting the parents of U.S. citizen children, we fail to uphold that basic principle. Many of my constituents are part of mixed-status families and live in a state of constant fear of deportation. That is both unacceptable and detrimental to society. It is my hope that the Supreme Court will soon take up this matter and rule on the side of the families.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr