RI Delegation Signs Supreme Court Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Uphold Executive Actions on Immigration

Washington, D.C. – In advance of oral arguments scheduled before the Supreme Court
on April 18, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim
Langevin and David Cicilline have joined more than 200 members of Congress in filing
an amicus brief to the Supreme
Court
in support of the Obama administration’s executive actions in the United States v.
Texas case – the legal case that currently blocks implementation of the President’s
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs.

In 2013, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform
legislation on a vote of 68-32. The bill would have allowed undocumented immigrants
to come out of the shadows, support their families, pay taxes, and contribute to the
economy. However, the House of Representatives failed to act on the bill and it did
not become law. In November of 2014, the Obama Administration announced plans to
expand the DACA program covering those who arrived in the U.S. as small children,
and create DAPA to offer temporary protection from removal to the parents of
American citizens and lawful permanent residents. On February 16, 2015, a federal
district court in Texas blocked the implementation of those programs, and on
November 9, 2015, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this
ruling, setting up oral arguments before the Supreme Court next month.

«The President made a lawful decision and the right decision not to tear families
apart. And Congress has clearly allowed previous Administrations, both Democratic
and Republican, to use their discretion in implementing certain aspects of our
immigration laws,» said Senator Reed. «I am optimistic the Supreme Court will
decide this case on the merits and uphold the President’s authority to set
immigration enforcement priorities. Instead of unfairly targeting families and
children, Congress should finally enact comprehensive immigration reform to fix and
strengthen the system.»

«Our laws give President Obama the clear authority to set policies that will keep
families intact and preserve the promise of the American dream for generations to
come,» said Senator Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. «Our
immigration system remains broken and in need of comprehensive reform. Until that
time, it is important to preserve the President’s authority to enforce immigration
policy in a manner consistent with the law and with our nation’s values and
traditions.»

Citing the vast legal precedent that supports issuing rational enforcement practices
like DAPA and expanded DACA, and outlining why the President’s actions fall within
the Take Care clause of the Constitution, the members signing the amicus brief urge
the Court to reverse the decision in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and vacate
the preliminary injunction blocking the programs from being implemented.

«The time for comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue, but until we carve
out a better, clearer path to citizenship for those who wish to come here to improve
their lives and to improve our country, we should do everything in our power to keep
families together. The DACA and DAPA programs are designed to do just that – keep
families intact and strong, and in turn keep the American dream alive for those who
seek a new life in America,» said Congressman Langevin. «America is a land of
immigrants, a fact that has always been one of our greatest strengths, and these
programs support a future that stays true to the values of our nation.»

The brief, which was filed to the Supreme Court this week, is signed by 39 Democrats
in the Senate and 186 in the House. The amicus brief was spearheaded by Senator Bob
Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D- CA19). This is the second
strong showing from
Democrats
in filing a legal brief supporting the President’s immigration executive actions.

«Our immigration system is seriously broken. It is ripping families apart, and it
does not serve our national interests. I am proud to join this amicus brief in
support of the President’s executive action,» said Congressman Cicilline, who serves
on the House Judiciary Committee. «In the face of Congressional inaction, the
President has implemented commonsense measures to ensure that millions of
hardworking immigrant families are not threatened with deportation. There is no
question that the President’s actions fall within the Executive Power of the
President as defined under the Constitution, and I look forward to the Supreme Court
resolving this issue once and for all.»