LOS ANGELES, CA—The Supreme Court of the United States ruled 4-4 on Monday in a split decision that upholds a lower court’s ruling against President Barack Obama’s proposed immigration policies, DAPA and expanded DACA, which sought to provide deportation relief to millions of immigrants across the country. UNITE HERE, a union that represents over 270,000 culinary and hospitality workers across North America, protests the decision.
“We are outraged by this tremendous setback,” says María Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights, and Diversity. “The Supreme Court had an opportunity to prevent the separation of millions of hardworking immigrant families, but instead they failed our immigrant communities and our country overall.”
Today’s loss follows a drawn-out legal battle. In November 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Brownsville issued an injunction against the policies alongside 26 states, claiming they violated federal immigration laws. After being held up at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the case was taken to the Supreme Court last January for judicial review.
The Supreme Court’s split ruling on U.S. v. Texas dealt a blow to the possibility of extending temporary lawful status to over four million undocumented immigrants. Now, many are faced with the threat of increased deportation raids and workplace attacks because of their legal status. Implementation of Obama’s proposed immigration policies would have otherwise allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for work permits and other vital resources.
“This struggle is not over,” Durazo adds. “We will explore all legal options available to us and continue to fight for immigrant justice.”
Past and present, immigrants have been at the center of the Union’s work to end poverty and change lives. From March to May, UNITE HERE and its largest affiliate, the Culinary Union, helped over 1,700 Nevada immigrants apply for citizenship in time to vote in the 2016 Presidential Election. The Union is now kicking off a new program to register an additional 10,000 new immigrant voters so they can exercise their right to help elect the best candidate to lead our nation.
Ramiro S. Fúnez