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Protection of Undocumented Immigrants from Deportation Appears at Risk after Supreme Court Hearing

some of the demonstrators protesting outside the Supreme Court for DAPABy Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent

The Supreme Court appears deeply divided over the legality of President Obama’s executive order expanding protection from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants.

As hundreds of immigrant right advocates rallied outside the steps of the Supreme Court, the eight justices argued inside whether the president’s order to safeguard 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation under the DAPA program should be upheld.

Many analysts suspect the justices will split 4-4 on the issue, meaning a lower court ruling against DAPA would remain in effect. The court remains without a ninth justice due to the death of Antonin Scalia and the Republicans refusal to grant a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Among those on the steps of the Supreme Court was Suman Raghunathan, executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together.

“Much is at stake for South Asian and immigrant families today with the Supreme Court’s review of portions of the President’s Executive Action programs,” she said to AsAmNews. “DAPA and the expanded DACA programs are the latest in the long struggle for immigrant rights in this country that should have ended with comprehensive immigration reform legislation in Congress, which the Senate passed with bipartisan support in 2013. While Congress has been unable to advance a bill, we hope the Supreme Court will uphold the constitutionality of these programs as a first step toward protecting millions from deportation, including thousands of undocumented South Asians. This occurs as South Asians are the fastest growing demographic in the country, totaling nearly 4.3 million strong as of 2013.”

Appearing on MSNBC, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said the oral arguments in the court on Monday highlight the importance of moving ahead with hearings on Garland’s nomination for the Supreme Court.

“The President was well within his power to issue these executive actions, Hirono told Hardball’s Chris Matthews. “It impacts 5 million people, DACA and DAPA families, who live in daily fear of being deported, not to mention that 11 million undocumented people are in our country. As an immigrant I could really relate to the families that were there just hoping that the court would make the right decision and support the president.”

Protestors supporting the DAPA program trended the hashtag #Fightingforfamilies.

 

Journalist and immigrant rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas was among those who sat in the Supreme Court hearing the oral arguments. Before going in, he spoke with Politico

“We’re hoping for a decision that is more convincing than a tie,” he said. “This is the most important immigrant case in front of the Supreme Court. Once you see the faces and the names of all these people, there’s no turning back from that.”

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