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Advocates Laud Plan to Appeal Immigration Policy to Supreme Court

Immigration advocates fasting last month to draw attention to a case that now will go to the Supreme Court. Credit: Fair Immigrants Rights Movement
Immigration advocates fasting last month to draw attention to a case that now will go to the Supreme Court. Credit: Fair Immigrants Rights Movement
November 11, 2015

PHOENIX - Immigration activists are praising President Obama's decision to appeal a case to the Supreme Court that could shield 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

On Monday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that blocked Obama's 2014 executive order on immigration. That order would have allowed undocumented parents of American citizens to stay and work in the U.S. legally, and would have expanded the program to defer deportation for undocumented people who arrived here as children.

Petra Falcon, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Promise Arizona, is one of nine activists who went on a nine-day hunger strike recently to get the Fifth Circuit Court judges to finally issue a ruling.

"We're happy to hear an answer," she said. "It wasn't the answer we wanted, but now we're looking forward to the president moving forward and getting this appeal to the Supreme Court."

Now, it's a race against time. The brief must be filed right away so the Supreme Court can decide in January whether to hear the case. If so, it would be decided by June. Then if the program is upheld, the government only would have six months to implement it before Obama leaves office.

Falcon said she thinks the Supreme Court will uphold the programs, known as DAPA and expanded DACA, in light of the 5-4 decisions on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage.

"We're very, very optimistic," she said. "They've had to deal with SB 1070, they've had to deal with other measures. We just feel that the Supreme Court has been on the right side of justice, especially on immigrant issues."

Opponents of Obama's executive orders praised the appeals court decision, saying the president doesn't have the authority to overhaul immigration policy on his own. A comprehensive immigration bill passed the Senate in 2013 but failed in the House of Representatives in 2014.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ