Approximately 43,000 immigrant children in Michigan are currently living in fear of their parents being deported and their families being torn apart. President Barack Obama’s executive orders Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were positive steps taken to address the large number of immigrants stuck in limbo in Michigan and around the country.
Unfortunately, in response to these policies, Texas and other states sued the federal government, and a federal district court has halted their enactment. The case has now reached the United States Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on Monday, April 18th. The Supreme Court will determine whether President Obama’s DAPA and DACA executive actions were lawfully enacted. A decision overruling the Texas injunction and upholding these executive actions would ultimately determine whether millions of immigrants will continue to live in fear and possibly be separated from their families, or be given an opportunity to participate in the economy, boosting revenue to states, and keeping families intact.
The president’s immigration efforts are intended to address the millions of immigrants who have been waiting for immigration reform to no avail. Undocumented children are constantly afraid and under duress, and often have poor educational outcomes because of this stress. Even if undocumented students manage to reach college, they face immense hurdles with limited options for student aid and employment. Studies also show that children with undocumented parents face similar mental, economic, and emotional challenges. Immigration reform would ultimately help thousands of children and spur growth in Michigan.
Deporting nonviolent residents who pay taxes diverts money and resources from other law enforcement efforts that actually keep communities safer and provide other economic benefits. Almost three-quarters of undocumented immigrants pay taxes, and if DAPA and DACA were allowed to move forward, they would contribute approximately $1.86 billion in revenue. If the Supreme Court’s decision determines the enactment to be lawful, DAPA and DACA would bring our state one step closer towards making Michigan an inclusive and welcoming state and upholding our values that include taking care of our children and families. The Supreme Court’s decision is expected by the end of June.
— Seema Singh