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PA Immigrants Joined Supreme Court Rally

Immigrants and supporters from Philadelphia attend Monday’s rally. (New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia)
Immigrants and supporters from Philadelphia attend Monday’s rally. (New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia)
April 19, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - About 2,000 immigrants and their supporters rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. A closely divided court heard oral arguments in a challenge by 26 states to President Obama's executive action on immigration.

If upheld by the court, it would allow the undocumented parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents temporarily to hold jobs and keep their families intact.

Nicole Kligerman, a community organizer with the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, accompanied a busload of immigrants to the rally.

"There were people from across the country, people from lots of different countries," says Kligerman. "So it was really exciting to unite for something that we know is right and we are hopeful that the Supreme Court makes the right choice."

The states challenging the president's action say he exceeded his authority by attempting to implement the policy without the approval of Congress.

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, or DAPA, would affect about 4 million immigrants now in the U.S.

An Indonesian immigrant living in Philadelphia, who gave his name only as Rudy, says implementing DAPA would have many benefits for parents like him.

"So that they can stay and work, and paying their taxes too," he says. "And also they can move freely without any fear to get deported."

This year the Obama administration has escalated raids to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

According to Kligerman, there are about 200,000 undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania, and about half of them would benefit if the court upholds the president's action.

"So this could have an enormous impact. It will give driver's licenses, it will give legal work permits, it will protect people from deportation," says Kligerman. "And it really will help make Pennsylvania a more welcoming place."

The court is expected to issue its ruling in June.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA