More Than 70 Cities & Counties Sign On In Texas vs. United States Appeal Urging Immediate Implementation of President Obama’s Immigration Executive Action
Today’s Brief More Than Doubles the Number Of Local Governments Supporting Immigration Action
73 Cities & Counties Signed On From 27 States, Representing 43 Million People Nationwide
WASHINGTON - Cities United for Immigration Action announced today that 73 cities and counties will file a new friend-of-the-court brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, urging immediate 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 to immigrants with longstanding ties to the U.S. who pass a background check and meet other criteria.
The cities and counties – representing 43 million people across the country – argue that the district court judge who temporarily blocked implementation of the programs failed to consider the significant harms to America’s local governments caused by this delay. Today’s brief more than doubles the number of local governments that had previously voiced opposition to the lawsuit brought by states seeking to block President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.
As part of Cities United for Immigration Action, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti led the effort to organize more than 70 cities and counties, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in arguing that the national public interest is served clearly and overwhelmingly by implementing immigration relief by executive action without delay. The brief also argues that the District Court judge’s decision to block executive action with a preliminary injunction is bad for the economy, hurts families, threatens law enforcement priorities, and will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies.
“Continuing to delay implementation of the President’s executive action on immigration hurts our economy and puts families at risk,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Cities are where immigrants live, and cities are where the President’s executive action will be successfully implemented. Our cities are united, and we will fight for the immigration reform this nation needs and deserves - whether in the courtroom, in Congress, or in our communities. Make no mistake about it: our voices will be heard.”
"We are steadfast on a concrete immigration policy that will keep families intact and the country's economic prosperity on the rise," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who established a Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. "This is a nonpartisan issue that should focus on people and not politics."
The brief demonstrates to the Court that executive action will benefit cities and counties by providing work authorization to millions, increasing local tax revenue, stimulating local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together, and improving public safety by strengthening our neighborhoods and communities.
In addition, the brief argues that delay in implementation of the President’s executive action has significant costs for local economies and immigrant families. For example:
New York City and New York State will lose out on at least $1.5 million for every month’s delay in additional state and local tax revenue that would be generated if 100,000 immigrants in New York City were able to access temporary work permits through executive action. Note: this is an estimate based on the City’s conservative analysis.
The delay in implementation has forced mixed-status families (a number which is estimated to be in the millions) to continue to live in ongoing fear of deportation and separation, a situation that has profound emotional, educational, and health impacts on children.
This collective action to offer the Court the crucial perspective of American cities and counties is an outcome of the organizing efforts of the Cities United for Immigration Action coalition. 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.
“Chicago has always been a city of immigrants and for us to stay true to our history and our values, we must ensure that immigrants can fully participate in all aspects of our economic and cultural life,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are proud to join numerous cities in filing this brief to support President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. They will help keep families together, increase safety in our communities, and maximize the contributions that immigrants make every day in every part of our city.”
“In Houston, more than 200,000 adults and children are waiting for the President’s immigration order to be implemented,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “I remain confident that this will be only a temporary delay, but while we wait, confusion and frustration are growing. It’s long past time to allow all eligible law-abiding immigrants to come out of the shadows and be recognized as legally documented participants and contributors to our economy and society.”
“San Francisco continues to support our President's bold action on immigration to create the change we need to help our residents succeed,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrants, this issue is very personal to me. Joining together with large and small cities from across the U.S. to appeal this decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, mayors must lead on immigration reform to provide all of our residents with hope, opportunities, and the services they deserve because we know our diversity drives our cities' economies and makes us all stronger.”
"I proudly stand with my fellow Mayors throughout the country in support of President Obama's executive actions on immigration that promote family stability, economic growth, and community cohesiveness. Mayors see firsthand the importance of having immigrant populations in our cities and likewise, the detrimental effects of a broken immigration system. As the child of immigrants, I know firsthand their desire to contribute to the social and economic fabric of their neighborhoods. In the absence of federal legislative immigration reform, these executive actions must be implemented to ensure our most vulnerable neighbors have the opportunity to be fully integrated into our communities,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
"It is time for America to stop breaking its promises – and its promise – to an entire generation of young people who were raised to believe in the American dream and are now being denied the chance to live it, and to contribute, in the same way immigrants have been contributing since the founding of this great nation. I add my voice to the chorus of mayors in cities large and small who say the safety, health and well-being of our economies and our neighborhoods require that hundreds of thousands of families be allowed to emerge from the shadows and help us build stronger communities," said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
“El Paso County is proud to weigh in on the amicus brief and stands in support of President Obama's executive action on immigration. We believe the injunction blocking the executive action causes harm to communities like El Paso, where we have large immigrant communities and tens of thousands of families that would benefit from the rollout of DACA/DAPA. Our goal, like the President's, is to ensure we have safe communities, economic opportunity and strong families. We believe the injunction is a temporary setback and look forward to a favorable decision by the appellate court,” said El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.
“Cities are strongly affected by immigration. The old, dysfunctional immigration policies hurt our economies, our neighborhoods, our businesses and our residents. The President is attempting to interject common sense and humanity. We are grateful for his efforts and we stand with him,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
“St. Louis has new workers contributing to our economy, paying taxes, and helping to revitalize neighborhoods who want to know that they can continue to build a life safely in St. Louis,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “Delaying implementation of the Department of Homeland Security directives puts it all in jeopardy.”
“Cities understand the critical need for action to fix the nation’s broken immigration system,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “The National League of Cities stands behind President Obama's efforts to support millions of immigrants who contribute to our economy and continue to be a vibrant part of America’s communities.”
“It’s only common sense to bridge a gap between our government agencies and a segment of the population that already lives here and contributes to our communities and local economies. Why not embrace a policy that would fully integrate undocumented immigrants and at the same time bolster the country’s economy?” said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Immigration Reform Task Force. “I’m confident the President’s Executive Action will prevail and I look forward to implementing its measures in Hartford.”
“I am signing onto this Brief because as a nation of immigrants, I believe ensuring access to a fair and legal process for people to come to this country and pursue their dreams reflects our highest values,” said Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.
“We must do better to honor our country's proud immigration tradition. Too many immigrants live in fear, afraid to become members of our society, while Congress fails to take any meaningful action to fix a broken immigration system. Their inaction has real consequences for our communities, which is why I fully support President Obama's leadership and common sense executive actions. I thank Mayor de Blasio for initiating this brief and building this important coalition of leaders,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
“Highland Park, IL is proud to stand with so many other cities across the United States in recognizing the immediate need to take action and provide impactful immigration reform,” said Highland Park, Illinois Mayor Nancy R. Rotering. “For so many of our friends and neighbors, this Executive Action will provide long awaited security for these new Americans and their families, in addition to strengthening our economy.”
Cities and counties signed on to today’s brief (in formation), include the following local governments. Numerous cities and counties are located in states that brought the lawsuit against the Obama administration or have otherwise indicated support for the lawsuit, including 5 cities and counties in Texas, 6 localities in New Jersey, 2 counties in Arizona, 3 municipalities in Wisconsin:
Central Falls, RI
Chapel Hill, NC
Coconino County, AZ
Dallas County, TX
El Paso County, TX
Highland Park, IL
Jersey City, NJ
Kansas City, MO
Little Rock, AR
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County, CA
Lucas County, OH
Montgomery County, MD
New York, NY
Niagara Falls, NY
North Miami, FL
Ramsey County, MN
Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Santa Ana, CA
Santa Cruz County, AZ
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Monica, CA
St. Louis, MO
State College, PA
Travis County, TX
West Covina, CA
National League of Cities
U.S. Conference of Mayors