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Florida Immigrants Outraged, Motivated by Supreme Court Decision

Members of Florida's immigrant community gathered to decry the Supreme Court's ruling on immigration policy. (Florida Immigrant Coalition)
Members of Florida's immigrant community gathered to decry the Supreme Court's ruling on immigration policy. (Florida Immigrant Coalition)
June 24, 2016

MIAMI – Members of Florida's immigrant community gathered on Thursday afternoon to denounce the U.S. Supreme Court's new ruling on immigration policy.

The 4-to-4 tie vote allows an appeals court decision to stand, blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

The president's Deferred Action plan offered temporary protection to families with mixed immigration status and immigrants who arrived as children.

Paola Calvo Florido, communications manager for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, says the decision affects more than 200,000 people in the state.

"This is definitely a low blow to the immigrant community,” she states. “Many families had all their hopes on this decision, and we were hopeful that the Supreme Court was going to side on the side of families. "

A federal court of appeals ruled that the president's actions exceeded his legal authority.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition and other groups say they will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, including plans for a massive voter outreach initiative this fall.

Calvo Florido notes that the decision is all the more frustrating to immigrants, given that the executive actions were modeled on a program that was already in place.

"There's multiple documentation and proof that those who have benefited from the original DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) have gone on to have better jobs, better incomes, better quality of lives,” she stresses. “Their families are together."

The tie ruling from the high court doesn't set a legal precedent, but it effectively prevents any executive action to protect millions from deportation for the remainder of the president's term in office.

She adds that Obama only took that step after years of inaction by Congress, which she hopes will motivate those who truly want to see comprehensive immigration reform to head to the polls.

"There has to be a political change,” she states. “There has to be more participation from the community, our voice has to be louder, it needs to be clearer."

The Florida Immigrant Coalition has vowed to continue working with all levels of government to keep families together and end deportations.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL