Cities United for Immigration Action announced that 84 cities and counties are filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, urging its review of a nationwide injunction by a district court judge halting implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The brief demonstrates robust support from the country’s largest cities – as well as its suburbs and rural areas – for the President’s reforms, which will provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to immigrants with longstanding ties to the U.S. who pass a background check and meet other criteria.
As part of Cities United for Immigration Action, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed led the effort to organize 84 cities and counties, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to join the brief. These cities and counties represent over 47 million people across the country and nearly 13 million immigrants, over 31 percent of the nation’s immigrant population. They are also home to more than 1.28 million immigrant children and parents who are potentially eligible for relief under the stalled programs.
The brief argues that immediate Supreme Court review of the case is needed to resolve an urgent issue of nationwide importance: the implementation of immigration relief by executive action without delay. The brief argues that executive action is urgently needed to protect the integrity of millions of families, promote public safety, and support the economies of cities and counties across the country.
“We are urging the Supreme Court to review this case so implementation of the President’s executive actions can finally move forward, because the wheels of justice have been stuck in neutral for thousands of families for far too long,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Cities are where immigrants live, and it is our residents, communities, and economies that will reap the benefits from these policies. Cities are united, and we will fight for immigration reform in the courtroom, in Congress, and in our communities. As this legal challenge continues, our voices will be heard.”
“Mayors across the country are asking the Supreme Court to review the decision in United States v. Texas because we have a special understanding of how generations of immigrants have contributed to the foundation of our cities and the strength of our nation,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Partisan politics should not stand in the way of doing what is right for families who simply want to stay together. These are true American values, and it is our obligation to do all we can to preserve and protect family bonds.”
“Compassionate and thoughtful decision making must be considered when the lives of everyday Americans are at stake. Immigrants deserve the best of America,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “We support President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. It’s time for our country’s humanity to proceed with a solid immigration plan that allows for families to integrate and help people thrive in their local community. We deeply value the positive contribution of residents who have made this country their home. Many dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. There is an economic imperative that benefits humanity by making this dream a reality. A preliminary injunction would only destroy lives – we are a better society when we stand united in empowering others to reach success through immigration reform.”
“The City of Atlanta continues to support the President’s decision to take action on immigration,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “President Obama’s Administrative Relief has and will continue to bring millions of aspiring citizens into the formal economy, while simultaneously encouraging economic growth in Atlanta and the entire State of Georgia. I voice my support with confidence that the Supreme Court will come down on the right side of history and allow this imperative step toward fixing our broken immigration system.”
“The delay in implementing the executive actions harm not only immigrant families, but also our cities and our country, as everyone benefits tremendously from the economic, cultural, and civic contributions of our immigrant communities,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago will continue to stay true to its values, and we are proud to stand in support of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.”
“Austin and Travis County would benefit from DAPA and the expansion of DACA. Almost half of our undocumented population is eligible for DAPA or DACA, and these parents and young folks are an asset to our city. If implemented, these programs would increase the Texas GDP by $38 billion and create 4,800 jobs a year over the next decade. DAPA and DACA just make good sense for Austin, for Texas, and for this country,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
“One year after the announcement of DAPA and expansion of DACA, thousands of Bostonians and millions throughout the United States are still waiting to fully contribute to our economy and to live without the fear of being separated from their families,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “I remain committed to making Boston a welcoming place for all, and I continue to support these sensible actions.”
“San Francisco is proud to join our fellow cities across the country in supporting the President’s bold action on immigration and this appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrants, this issue is very personal to me. All our residents and workers deserve the opportunity to dream, create better lives for their families and contribute to the City’s diversity and success. Mayors must continue to demonstrate leadership and courage on immigration reform to make America stronger.”
“I am disappointed by the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, and I am confident the Supreme Court will uphold the President’s policy. I believe that President Obama acted within the scope of his executive powers when he proposed expanding protections for the millions of immigrants who are here working and building a better life for their families. Our current system hurts people by splitting families apart and forcing many tax-paying residents to live in the shadows of our society. We must allow young immigrants like DREAMERS access to a college education, so they may strengthen our economy and remain with their families. Keeping families together is a fundamental American value. It is the right thing for our nation and for Seattle,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
“Long Beach is proud to stand with more than 80 other cities to support the President’s immigration initiative. As an immigrant myself, I want to ensure that other hardworking students and families have access to the American Dream,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
“We are a nation of immigrants and must recognize that the great majority of our immigrants follow the law and make meaningful contributions to our community. That is why I proposed that the City of San José sign on to the amicus brief in support of DAPA, to help us keep otherwise law-abiding families together,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
“Denver stands with cities and counties across the country in support of President Obama’s executive action programs. Too many of our valued community members live in fear of family separation every day. Our prosperity depends upon their active, engaged and legitimate ability to continue to contribute and be productive and integrated members of our communities,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
The brief demonstrates to the Court that executive action will benefit cities and counties by keeping families together, improving the safety and welfare of all residents, increasing local tax revenue, and stimulating local economies. In addition, the brief argues that delay in implementation of the President’s executive action has significant costs for immigrant families and local economies. For example:
• The delay in implementation has forced mixed-status families with U.S. citizen children (representing at least nine 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 results in New York City losing about $100,000 in additional funds through increased tax revenue in New York State – an amount sufficient to hire two new public school teachers every day.
• Harris County, Texas (the home of amicus city Houston) could collect more than $400 million in additional personal, business, and sales taxes due to wage growth among immigrants who qualify for executive action
The Cities United for Immigration Action coalition led outreach efforts to obtain wide support and include so many local governments on the brief. 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. Amici include the largest cities in many of the states that are trying to block the President’s executive action, including the largest cities in Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Ohio, Utah, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Idaho.
Cities and counties signed on to today’s brief include the following local governments: