High Court Ruling on Undocumented Workers to Impact NC Families
RALEIGH, N.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a lawsuit against President Obama's 2014 expansion of immigration programs for undocumented workers.
The court heard oral arguments on Monday regarding the Deferred Action for Parents and Americans (DAPA) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The programs would give immigrants more options to stay and work in the U.S., but have been in limbo after a group of states, including North Carolina, sued the administration.
William Saenz, communications coordinator with immigrant advocacy group El Pueblo, says longtime residents of the state are being impacted daily.
"It's been an issue in North Carolina specifically because undocumented immigrants don't have access to driver's licenses," says Saenz. "And it's basically just the safety of knowing that they can go to work, they can go run errands and not worry that they're never going to see their kids again."
According to data from the Center for American Progress, 152,000 North Carolinians are eligible for DACA or DAPA and, if allowed to enroll, the group would offer a $6.5 billion increase in the state Gross domestic product (GDP) through their employment.
Saenz says it's important to remember that undocumented workers eligible for the programs have already spent years contributing to North Carolina's economy and without a path to citizenship, their lives are in limbo.
"Just from the basic level of being able to pay for things," he says. "You have people who are hardworking, they pay their taxes, but whenever they go to work, run errands, take their kids to school, they run the very real risk of getting ticketed for something that's really out of their hands because they're not allowed to have a driver's license."
On Monday, members of El Pueblo and supporters of immigration reform held a press conference in front of the Governor's Mansion.