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Why Supreme Court Case on Immigration Will Deeply Impact the Asian American Pacific Islander Communities

US Suprme CourtBy Annette Wong
Chinese for Affirmative Action

Chinese for Affirmative Action is pleased with the news that the Supreme Court will hear the case of expanded DACA and DAPA during this term. We, along with legal scholars and organizations across the country, continue to affirm the Presidents executive actions in initiating these programs which are well within his presidential authority. President Obama’s actions follow the precedent of numerous former presidents in taking executive action around immigration.

Millions of families, who could potentially qualify for relief through these programs, have had their lives put on hold as this case makes its way through the court system. We hope that the Supreme Court will do what is reasonable and allow these programs to proceed.

Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are some of the communities impacted by the stalling of expanded DACA and DAPA. California has the highest number of people eligible for expanded DACA and DAPA, and as it relates to undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. California also has the highest number of AAPIs eligible for the expanded DACA and DAPA programs at 150,000 people eligible for the two new programs, which is why the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case has been so important within the AAPI community as we stand in solidarity with other impacted immigrant communities. Within the Bay Area, approximately 11,000 Chinese people alone would be eligible for expanded DACA and DAPA.

Oral arguments for the case are projected to begin in March or April 2016, and a decision is expected in June 2016. The outcome of this case will have huge and lasting impacts on undocumented AAPIs and their families. A favorable ruling which would allow expanded DACA and DAPA to continue would provide temporary relief from the fear of deportation as well as work permits to allow families to earn living wages. These two factors alone will provide more stability for millions of American families, and while this is welcome, especially for families that are constantly living in fear, we also recognize that programs such as these only provide temporary relief, and are not the long term solutions that our immigrant communities need – solutions that will provide opportunities for people and not further criminalize people.

Immigrants come to the United States to seek better lives for themselves and their families. Many come from areas where their lives are constantly threatened by violence and poverty. Often times the United States has been complicit in creating conditions abroad that force people to migrate while simultaneously creating conditions within this country that make it very difficult for these migrants to live sustainable and dignified lives. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case regarding expanded DACA and DAPA will be one step in the right direction to supporting immigrants in this country as fellow human beings.

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