Patrick McCarthy on Supreme Court's United States v. Texas Decision

Posted June 24, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog mccartyonunitedstatesvtexas 2016

Chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies rep­re­sent one in every four chil­dren in the Unit­ed States. The vast major­i­ty of them are Amer­i­can cit­i­zens, but at least 5 mil­lion have par­ents who do not have legal sta­tus. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma issued an exec­u­tive action designed to help to pro­tect the sta­bil­i­ty of mil­lions of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies who live every day in fear of being sep­a­rat­ed as a result of depor­ta­tion, and would have helped pro­vide oppor­tu­ni­ty for par­ents to work legal­ly to sup­port their families.

Yes­ter­day, how­ev­er, the U.S. Supreme Court 44 dead­lock means that a low­er court’s deci­sion over­turn­ing the president’s action will stand.

While we respect the Court’s legal analy­sis, the con­se­quence for mil­lions of chil­dren is dis­as­trous. As children’s advo­cates stat­ed ear­li­er in a friend of the court brief, chil­dren will face the prospect of being sep­a­rat­ed from their par­ents or being forced to leave their U.S. home­land for a coun­try that is not their own. The court’s impasse threat­ens to derail the future of near­ly a quar­ter of our chil­dren and deprives immi­grant and mixed-sta­tus fam­i­lies of their abil­i­ty to take advan­tage of all the oppor­tu­ni­ties this coun­try affords.

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion strong­ly believes that every child needs a fam­i­ly, and chil­dren liv­ing in immi­grant fam­i­lies deserve the safe­ty and sta­bil­i­ty that will help them thrive – in school, in their com­mu­ni­ties, in their places of wor­ship and in their homes. This deci­sion sus­tains the stress of uncer­tain­ty expe­ri­enced by far too many fam­i­lies. We all lose when a poten­tial­ly bright future is dimmed by the real­i­ty of liv­ing in the shadows.

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court dead­lock makes the need for pol­i­cy reform even more urgent. It is our hope that pol­i­cy­mak­ers will respond to the deci­sion by tak­ing up com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform as soon as pos­si­ble. They need to give all of our chil­dren the com­fort of know­ing they are safe, cared for and home with their families.

As long as bar­ri­ers block the path of any child to oppor­tu­ni­ty, includ­ing those grow­ing up in immi­grant fam­i­lies, we all have con­tin­ued work to do. We must iden­ti­fy strate­gies to help the chil­dren of immi­grants thrive and use our insti­tu­tion­al voice to call atten­tion to this crisis.

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