On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively blocked the Obama administration’s plans to provide relief to millions of people who live in the United States without legal status. The split 4-4 decision leaves in place an appeals court ruling that halts the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. These programs would have protected millions of families who have been living and working in the United States but who live in constant fear of unjust detention and deportation.
WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America) is deeply concerned about the humanitarian effects of this ruling, which puts millions at risk of deportation, including the parents of U.S.-born children. The DAPA and DACA programs were proposed by the Obama administration in light of Congress’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Until Congress acts, we must all push for legal protection for migrants in the United States.
Recent increases in child and family migration from Central America, much of which is a response to the devastating effects of violence and lack of opportunity, show the need for action. Rather than targeting recently arrived Central American families for deportation, the administration should focus its efforts on ensuring that people fleeing violence and insecurity get the support and protection they need and on addressing the root causes of migration from the region.