118 leaders from cities and counties across the country – representing more than 55 million people – file brief in United States v. Texas to end obstruction of President Obama’s executive action on immigration
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined a coalition of mayors from cities and counties across the United States in filing an amicus brief in United States v. Texas, urging the United States Supreme Court to allow for President Obama’s executive action on immigration to move forward. By further delaying the implementation of executive action, an estimated 220,000 New Yorkers and 4 million people nationwide struggle with the uncertainty of keeping their family and communities intact.
“Immigrants are part of the economic and social fabric of our cities and nation. They work in and own businesses, shop in our stores, and send their children to our schools. But the long-delayed implementation of the President’s executive action is tearing those families and our communities apart,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I urge the Supreme Court to overturn this injustice to give millions of undocumented immigrants the relief they deserve, and our cities the strong foundation they need to thrive.”
City Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter said, “The number and diversity of local governments joining this brief confirms that immigrant children and parents are integral members of local communities and that protecting immigrant residents is important to local governments throughout the nation.”
"Over 100 cities and counties stood together today to make it clear, millions of immigrant families in our cities and counties cannot wait a minute longer for relief,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Through Cities for Action, cities have joined together to defend and implement the President’s executive actions on immigration. A Supreme Court decision to uphold the President’s executive action on immigration will give American families the stability and security they deserve.”
Led by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, and Austin Mayor Steve Adler, the brief was signed by over one hundred cities and counties nationwide in an effort to provide certainty for millions of immigrants across the U.S. who attend our schools, participate in our local economies and contribute socially and culturally to our cities. The continuation of overbroad mass deportation policies undermines trust in local law enforcement and puts New York’s families in jeopardy.
Mayor de Blasio helped to found Cities for Action, which has now led four amicus briefs in support of executive action. The coalition has multiplied since creation, beginning with over 30 signatories at the district court level, to over 70 signatories at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, 80 signatories in support of the cert petition to the Supreme Court, and today – 118 mayors and county leaders countrywide joined in signing the amicus brief submitted in United States v. Texas. Forty-four members of today’s coalition hail from cities and counties located in states that brought or supported the case to the Supreme Court, including some of the largest municipalities in Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, Utah, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Idaho. Together, today’s signatories represent an estimated 55 million people, including over 15 million immigrants or more than 37 percent of the nation’s immigrant population. These cities are also home to more than 1.5 million immigrant children and parents potentially eligible for relief under the President’s executive actions.Joining the brief are the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan group representing more than 1,400 cities, and the National League of Cities, which represents more than 19,000 municipal governments nationwide.
Today’s signatories cite that executive action will provide relief to an estimated 4 million immigrants and their families, and contribute over $800 million annually in economic benefits to state and local governments. Implementation of the challenged Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs would profoundly impact millions.
The brief claims that delay in implementation of the President’s executive action threatens irreparable harms to family unity, the health and welfare of children and families, public safety and the local economy. For example, the delay in implementation has forced mixed-status families with U.S. citizen children (representing at least 9 million people) to continue to live in ongoing fear of deportation and separation, a situation that has profound emotional, educational and health impacts on children. Each day of delay costs local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrealized revenue, and public safety is also negatively affected by the delay because immigrants remain afraid and reluctant to go to the police, seek health care or otherwise access government services and resources.
From the time of the President’s announcement, cities and counties have taken concrete steps to get ready for the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA. At the National Immigration Integration Conference in December 2015, Mayor de Blasio announced ActionNYC – the largest investment made by a municipality in response to executive action and the need for comprehensive immigration reform nationwide. ActionNYC is a community-based model for immigration legal services. Every immigrant New Yorker who is served by ActionNYC will receive a safe and secure consultation of their immigration legal options, direct legal services and connections to key city social services programs. ActionNYC provides services in the communities in which immigrant New Yorkers live and in the languages that they speak.
Mayor de Blasio has pioneered ways to support immigrant New Yorkers as he and leaders from across the country fight on the federal level for immigration relief. In 2014, the Mayor and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito launched IDNYC, now by far the largest municipal ID program in the country. IDNYC benefits every city resident, including the most vulnerable communities – undocumented immigrants, the homeless, youth, the elderly, formerly incarcerated individuals and others who may have difficulty obtaining a government-issued ID. As of March 2016, over 780,000 New Yorkers have an IDNYC, increasing public safety and bringing people out of the shadows to more fully engage in their communities across the five boroughs.
By filing this brief, America’s mayors and county executives are making a strong statement in support of the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults.