New York needs Immigration Relief

NEW YORK CITY (TIP): In what has become a long and drawn out process, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will begin the process of hearing oral arguments Friday, July 17 on the merits of a district judge’s temporary court order freezing President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Lifting the delay would allow immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and those who are parents of U.S. citizen children to live and legally work in the United States without fear of deportation. Texas and 25 other states are fighting to keep the injunction in place.


The states are making a huge mistake.

If we delay implementing the President’s actions any longer, we will not only keep millions of immigrant families in the shadows, but also hinder efforts to strengthen state economies across the country.

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For years, we have called on Congress to fix our broken system by passing comprehensive immigration reform. In the absence of Congressional action, President Obama took necessary steps by announcing a package of “administrative relief” actions to alleviate the fear of deportation for mixed-status families and immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age.

If these executive actions are allowed to go forward, up to five million of our country’s residents will be able to register with the government, request a deferral from deportation, and apply for a temporary work permit. Enabling immigrants to work legally will trigger a cascade of benefits, from a rise in earnings to a rise in tax contributions.


It will also demonstrate how essential immigration reform is in the long term when we see how much these programs benefit communities.

This is why New York joined attorney generals from 14 other states and the District of Columbia in an amicus brief filed earlier this year asking that the court lift the injunction so that the President’s program can proceed nationwide.

Fifth Circuit to weigh hold on Obama’s immigration orders

In the alternative, should the court not lift the injunction nationwide, the brief argues that it should be limited to Texas, the only state that a lower court found would be directly harmed by the deferred action program. In New York, the fiscal and economic benefits are clear: if the approximately quarter-million New Yorkers eligible for deferred action were allowed to work legally, state and local tax revenues would grow by $100 million per year.

While we wait for the Fifth Circuit to come to a decision, we are continuing to work to provide opportunities and protect the rights of immigrants in New York.

The Attorney General’s Office, in collaboration with other local and state agencies, and non-profit organizations, is working to combat immigration services fraud to ensure that communities are not taken advantage of by individuals and businesses that falsely claim they are able to provide a pathway to citizenship.

Community partners like the New York Immigration Coalition are training hundreds of volunteers who will help community members navigate the application process and connect them to legal service providers.

When the legal process finally does conclude, we will be ready to hit the ground running.

The economic benefits and legal arguments are compelling, but the most important benefit of a court decision allowing President Obama’s actions to move forward will be to finally bring millions of American newcomers out of the shadows. New Yorkers should not live in fear that one day their families will be torn apart.

We will continue to fight in the courts and prepare to make sure that our communities can be finally free of this fear.

(Schneiderman is the Attorney General of New York. Choi is the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition).

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