For Immediate Release: March 8, 2016
Contact: [email protected] | @citiesforaction
Over 100 Cities & Counties Representing 55 Million People Join Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court To End the Obstruction of President Obama’s Immigration Action
WASHINGTON – Cities for Action announced today that a broad coalition of cities and counties are filing a friend-of-the-court amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, urging the Court to overturn a lower court’s decision and allow President Obama’s executive action on immigration to move forward. The brief, signed by 118 cities and counties representing 35 states, argues that the nationwide injunction blocking implementation of the President’s executive action on immigration was erroneously entered and should be reversed because it places millions of families in our cities and counties at economic and personal risk.
As part of Cities for Action, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, and Austin Mayor Steve Adler led a national effort to organize cities and counties to join the brief in support of the President’s executive actions. Cities and counties joining the brief are seeking to advance their long-standing economic, public safety and community-based interests that are being jeopardized by the delayed implementation of the President’s executive action on immigration.
Amici include 44 cities and counties located in states that brought or support the lawsuit, including some of the largest municipalities in Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, Utah, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Idaho. Together, amici represent an estimated 55 million people, including over 15 million immigrants, more than 37% of the nation’s immigrant population. These cities are also home to more than 1.5 million immigrant children and their parents who are potentially eligible for relief under President Obama’s executive actions.
Joining the brief are the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan group representing more than 1,400 cities, and the National League of Cities, which represents more than 19,000 municipal governments nationwide.
This is the fourth amicus brief to be filed by cities and counties, and the momentum of support has grown with each step in litigation. At the district court, over 30 signatories, at the 5th Circuit court of appeals, over 70 signatories, at the petition stage to the Supreme Court, over 80 signatories, and this latest brief represents 118 mayors and county leaders.
“Immigrants are part of the economic and social fabric of our cities and nation. They work in and own businesses, shop in our stores, and send their children to our schools. But the long-delayed implementation of the President’s executive action is tearing those families and our communities apart,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I urge the Supreme Court to overturn this injustice to give millions of undocumented immigrants the relief they deserve, and our cities the strong foundation they need to thrive.”
"We are faced with a choice at this pivotal moment in history: to turn away from our founding principles or reaffirm America as a place of opportunity for people who only want a better life. I urge the Supreme Court to rule in favor of President Obama's executive action on immigration, and uphold the ideals that have made this nation so great. This City was built by immigrants and thrives because of its diversity. It is the most global city in the world. We are ready to reach out to eligible immigrants through our Step Forward LA initiative, so they can step out of the shadows and carry on their pursuit of the American Dream," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
"The City of Atlanta continues to support the President's decision to take action on immigration," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “I remain confident that after hearing the lawsuit brought by the State of Texas in opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the Supreme Court will vote to lift the nationwide injunction and come down on the right side of history by allowing this imperative step toward fixing our broken immigration system."
“Birmingham is proud to continue to support President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Along with the cities and counties filing today’s brief, we are eager for the Supreme Court to consider our perspectives, as we understand the many vital contributions that immigrants bring to our country. We can no longer make the millions of immigrants who qualify the President’s reforms wait. Welcoming them is what’s right for our country, our cities and our economy,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell.
“Austin and Travis County would benefit from helping immigrant families stay together. Almost half of our undocumented population is eligible for programs that would do that, and these parents and young folks are assets to our city. If implemented, these programs would increase the Texas economy by $38 billion and create 4,800 jobs a year over the next decade. Keeping families together just makes good sense for Austin,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
"The delay in fixing our broken immigration system has kept millions of law-abiding people who contribute daily to our economy in the shadows in fear of deportation and separation from their families," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "A realistic and humane resolution of the immigration crisis is urgently needed, a policy that upholds our ideals of justice and equal opportunity for all and ensures border security and public safety. As mayor of Houston, home of the one of the largest immigrant communities in the country, it is my responsibility to represent the interests of my constituents in a call for fair and just immigration policy."
“I am proud to join this coalition of cities in filing an Amicus Brief supporting President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Reform. I recognize the important contributions immigrants have made in our nation’s history – and that they continue to make in our cities every day,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
“Our immigrant communities add to the fabric of St. Louis and contribute to its diversity and prosperity; to its strength and vitality. They bring work skills, are specialized, pay taxes, and buy goods in the region. We need residents with multicultural perspectives so our regional enterprises can compete effectively in the widening global market, which is why I support President Obama's executive actions on immigration,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
“The City of Madison continues to uphold our commitment to providing an inclusive environment where all of our residents, despite their immigration status feel a part of this community. We need programs like DAPA and DACA to provide our immigrant children and families the opportunities, support and full integration into our community. We are proud to join cities across the country in supporting President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.
“Denver maintains an unwavering commitment to all our residents, including our immigrant residents,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “We stand proudly with other cities and counties in support of President Obama's Executive Action on programs that aim to keep families together. Denver would not be as strong, as resilient or as dynamic were it not for the contributions of our immigrant residents past and present. We need to ensure they feel secure and welcomed as they build new lives for themselves and their families as generations of Americans have done throughout the history of this nation.”
“In the 19th century pioneers fled religious persecution for a place they could call home and settled in what is now Salt Lake City. Our city has flourished because of these brave refugees. Modern day immigrants who seek safety and prosperity for their families are no different in their pursuit of the American Dream. Our history demands we support President Obama’s executive action, and I urge the Supreme Court to uphold his policy. Compassion requires this action. When we welcome immigrants and embrace their contributions, our communities grow richer culturally, politically, and economically,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
"Boston stands firmly with other cities in recognizing the importance of our immigrant residents," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "As a child of immigrants and the Mayor of a city where more than 1 in 4 residents are foreign-born, I know firsthand how integral they are to our economy, and to our civic, social, and cultural life. We look forward to a decision that will allow the millions of people who are eligible to benefit from President Obama's executive actions on immigration."
“Chicago is a stronger city because of its vibrant immigrant community, and we are proud to stand in support with President Obama’s executive actions on immigration,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Programs such as DACA and DAPA promote public safety, and support our local economy because they provide immigrant communities with the opportunities to not only contribute, but also to thrive. We urge the Supreme Court to resolve such an important issue and push forward the implementation of these executive actions.”
“As a longtime leader in providing immigrant assistance programs, San Francisco is proud of our continuing partnership with cities across the country to support the President’s Executive Action and the case appeal now before the U.S. Supreme Court,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “We need these Federal government actions to ensure all people have the opportunity to thrive and contribute to our nation’s success. Mayors everywhere must continue to demonstrate leadership and courage on immigration reform to make America stronger and more inclusive.”
“Today, I am proud to join cities across the country in support of the President’s Immigration Actions. Efforts to block these actions have only hurt the economy of our city, standing in the way of immigrants who want to reach their fullest potential and strengthen our neighborhoods. We remain confident that the President’s Immigration Actions will be upheld in the highest court, which will ultimately benefit thousands of hardworking families and boost economic growth in Baltimore. We are committed to leveraging the President's policy into a better reality for hardworking immigrant families living in our city,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
“For too long, the status quo has torn immigrant families apart and left them vulnerable. President Obama’s executive actions are fair and sensible solutions that will expand access to a college education and help immigrants seeking to build a better life. The City of Seattle stands with the President and I urge the Supreme Court to do the right thing. Immigrants are an integral part of Seattle’s vibrant culture and economic success, " said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
“San José is proud of its rich immigrant heritage, and we wouldn’t be known as the Capital of Silicon Valley and a global center of innovation had it not been for the contributions of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that call our city home,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Our entire community benefits from the many meaningful contributions that immigrants make every day, which is why San José is proud to stand in solidarity with other cities voicing their support of common-sense immigration reforms that will keep families together and protect otherwise law-abiding citizens.”
The brief demonstrates to the Court that the 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.
Why Cities And Counties Have Joined The Brief:
- The President’s executive action will provide relief to an estimated 4 million immigrants and their families and contribute over $800 million annually in economic benefits to state and local governments.
- The impact of the injunction is most immediately and acutely felt on the local level. Implementation of the challenged Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs directly implicates significant local interests.
- Mayors and county executives’ support for DAPA and expanded DACA is part of their long-standing interest in policies that advance immigrant integration.
- From the time of the President’s announcement, cities and counties have taken concrete steps to get ready for the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA.
- Withholding and delaying the executive action threatens irreparable harms to family unity, the health and welfare of children and families, public safety, and the local economy.
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 9 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 costs local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrealized revenue.
- Public safety is also negatively affected by the delay because immigrants remain afraid and reluctant to go to the police, seek health care, or otherwise access government services and resources.
Key Arguments From The Brief:
- Immigration measures, like the President’s executive action, directly implicate significant local interests.
- Federal humanitarian actions to defer deportation for local residents who are not an enforcement priority, particularly parents and children, have far-reaching social and financial benefits for localities. Withholding and delaying deferred action, by contrast, threatens irreparable local harms.
- The nationwide injunction should not have been entered in this case without any consideration of local interests and the harms to localities caused by the injunction.
- The Court should not authorize a standing rule for nationwide injunctions that effectively gives objecting parties veto rights over federal policies protective of local interests without any mechanism for considering the harm to thousands of local governments across the nation.
- This over-broad approach will invite parties to litigate disputes that are political in nature and settle important public policy questions, as in this case, by uncalled-for litigation and sweeping injunctions.
By filing this brief, America’s mayors and country 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.
Cities and counties signed on to today’s brief include the following local governments:
Alameda County, CA
Arlington County, VA
Central Falls, RI
Coconino County, AZ
Cook County, IL
Dallas County, TX
East Lansing, MI
El Paso County, TX
Falcon Heights, MN
Highland Park, IL
Jersey City, NJ
Kansas City, MO
Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles County, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Lucas County, OH
Marin County, CA
Montgomery County, MD
New Haven, CT
New London, CT
New Orleans, LA
New Rochelle, NY
New York, NY
Niagara Falls, NY
Pembroke Pines, FL
Prince George’s County, MD
Salt Lake City, UT
San Fernando, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
San Mateo County, CA
Santa Ana, CA
Santa Clara County, CA
Santa Cruz County, AZ
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Monica, CA
Sonoma County, CA
South Bend, IN
St. Louis, MO
St. Paul, MN
State College, PA
Travis County, TX
Union City, NJ
Union County, NJ
West Hollywood, CA
Yolo County, CA