The Supreme Court’s disappointing 4-4 tied decision in United States v. Texas puts on hold President Obama’s executive actions that could have helped millions of immigrants work and live without fear of being torn from their families. However, there is nothing preventing the Obama administration from changing course on its deportation policies that continue to instill that fear in immigrant communities everyday.
The same executive actions that announced the possibility of critical relief from deportation under these programs also left the more than 6 million undocumented people who weren’t eligible — along with more than 13 million green card holders, and countless future immigrants — even more vulnerable to the brutalities of a detention and deportation system lacking in due process and basic human rights.
At the same time that communities have been mobilizing and waiting for the outcome of this case, the Administration has increased its use of home raids and courthouse arrests; attempted to strong arm local governments into abandoning immigrant-protective policies; deported thousands of immigrants who received clemency or sentence reductions for a drug offense; increased militarization of the border; detained tens of thousands of immigrants a day; and continued to employ policies that criminalize immigrants and rhetoric that brands immigrants with criminal records as forever undeserving of fundamental rights.
President Obama has an opportunity to respond to this significant setback in his agenda by abandoning divisive rhetoric and policies that undermine the values of fairness, redemption, and family unity that he espouses. He can put the brakes on a deportation machine that has cruelly torn apart so many families. He can make connections between the targeting and criminalization of communities of color and the mass deportation of immigrants that has relied on it.
We join with our allies across the country in calling upon President Obama to declare a moratorium on deportations, and upon Congress and the presidential candidates to put forward a platform for just immigration reforms, including repealing provisions of immigration laws passed in 1996 that helped create the architecture for much of the shameful and inhumane system of mass detention and deportation that we have today.