Supreme Court dashes immigrants’ hopes

July 2016 Immigration

By GRACE MONTESI

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court tied 4-4 regarding an immigration action taken by President Obama in 2014. The decision left in place a lower court’s ruling that had blocked implementation of the program. Officials in our so-called democratic system have once again disregarded the immigrant rights movement and let down the hopes of some 4 million immigrants affected by Obama’s proposal.

These millions of parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents were hoping for a positive ruling on the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Resident (DAPA) program. This program would have provided temporary relief from deportation to parents and permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. since 2010. It also would have allowed them to obtain the all-important work permit that enables them to work without fear. Additionally, having work permits could aid these immigrants in finding better jobs with improved conditions and the overtime pay that many are denied when receiving “under the table” wages.

On Monday, June 27, the immigrant rights movement in Connecticut marched against Obama’s deportation machine and the Supreme Court’s deadlock on Obama’s relief policy. The Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance organized the demonstration and civil disobedience action. The protest included many parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who would have benefitted from the president’s executive action on DAPA and those who would benefit from the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

Nine people, including undocumented youth, were arrested for blocking Main Street in Hartford. Those arrested came from a variety of organizations, including Connecticut Students for a Dream, Unidad Latina en Acción of New Haven, and Amistad Catholic Worker House. Lucas Codognolla, an undocumented youth organizer from Stamford who was arrested, said: “Our message was heard loud and clear. We will not stand for deportations and the criminalization of communities of color. We will continue to take action and make sure that our immigrant communities in Connecticut are safe”.

The majority of protesters in Connecticut were released with a promise to appear. The community was able to collect bail money funds in solidarity with those detained. We hope that this will be the start of a renewed effort against deportation in Connecticut and the region.

In Atlanta, Ga., affected community members and allies marched to the ICE field office, where “Operation Border Guardian” has been used to conduct raids in the region targeting teenagers from Central American fleeing gang violence and poverty for deportation. The members of the Georgia #Not1More coalition called on the Obama administration to dismantle ICE and put a moratorium on deportations now. The next day June 28, protesters from the organization Juntos and others rallied outside the Philadelphia ICE office. Several protesters were arrested for blocking an expressway entrance. The Not One More Deportation network helped coordinate the nationwide actions (NotOneMoreDeportation.com).

These types of civil disobedience are expected to ramp up as a reflection of the immigrant community’s frustration with continued deportations of immigrants with family and community ties in the U.S.

Photo: The Rev. Adan Mairena is arrested for blocking a street during June 28 protest outside ICE headquarters in Philadelphia. Michael Bryant / Philadelphia Inquirer