Tuesday, November 24, 2015
On-Line Symposium on Texas v. United States -- Stephanie Medina and Holly Cooper: Rolling the DAPA and DACA Stone Uphill to the SCOTUS
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) asking the Court whether states have standing to try and block the implementation of President Obama’s 2014 of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expanded version of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). While the SCOTUS decides whether to hear the case, our country’s deportation apparatus will continue to needlessly detain and deport thousands of undocumented immigrants who otherwise could have qualified for benefits under the new policy.
The UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic students, as part of monthly “Know Your Rights” trainings at the immigration detention centers, have witnessed the impact firsthand. Many of the detainees who attended the presentations were fathers of U.S. citizen children fighting to stay in the U.S. to care for their U.S. citizen children. For some fathers, this was their second or third time trying to reunite with their children. Oftentimes, the emotional cost of deportation is too much to bear. The missed quinceañeras, the missed graduations, and the longing to be with one’s child overtake the deportee and they try return to the U.S. to reunify with their children. The deported mothers and fathers will try and return to their children in the U.S. again and again—despite the risks of the journey.
In symphony with the suffering of their parents, the U.S. citizen children are taking to the streets protesting. Their collective voices hold the U.S. accountable to the human and familial cost of deportation. Emboldened by the protests on the outside, detainees are commencing hunger strikes throughout the nation’s detention centers. A collective “Ya basta!” hangs like a cloud over the petition for a writ of certiorari.
If the SCOTUS permits the Department of Justice to implement DAPA and expanded DACA, millions of parents would be allowed to remain with their children in the United States—saving millions of dollars on unnecessary deportations. On the other hand, denying millions of undocumented persons some semblance of dignity will degrade the human character of the United States.