On November 20th, 2014, immigrant families across the country gathered to watch President Obama’s prime-time address. “For more than 200 years,” the President began, “our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities—people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose. But today, our immigration system is broken—and everybody knows it.”
The President proceeded to unveil his historic Immigration Accountability Executive Action, which included an expansion of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as the creation of a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. This executive action would have provided deportation relief and authorization to work for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.
While there were still many questions, and though it was certain that opponents would immediately endeavor to block the action, it was still a moment of great hope. Perhaps the United States was finally making a shift, as a nation and a culture, toward progress, generosity—the recognition of the many millions in this country quietly contributing but hiding in the shadows. Perhaps things were really changing.
The recent ICE raids seem to suggest otherwise, and now that the Supreme Court, locked in a 4-4 ruling, has effectively deemed President Obama’s immigration action unconstitutional, the nation’s undocumented population once again has much to fear.
Unfortunately, disappointments of this sort are nothing new to our immigrant neighbors. But this fight is far from over, and we at AMPHS stand in solidarity with our immigrant communities. We will continue the struggle for immigrant rights—their right to work, under proper working conditions. Their right to provide for their families, and to keep those families together. Their right to education, to decent housing, to visibility. Their right to equal treatment under the law, to live free from the fear of discrimination and deportation. Their right to quality healthcare.
Despite this major setback, we at AMPHS still have hope for this country. We believe that change is not only possible, but necessary. As the President said in November of 2014, “we are and always will be a nation of immigrants…What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal—that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.”
We must settle for nothing less.
If you have questions about the Supreme Court decision, please contact us at (212) 256-9036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also attend New York Immigration Coalition’s town hall meeting on Thursday, June 30, or call their hotline on June 28 and 29 from 4pm-7pm.