For Immediate Release: June 23, 2016
Trenton, NJ – Members of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) are disappointed at today’s Supreme Court decision on the President Obama’s executive actions on immigration and vow to fight for relief for immigrant communities.
The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice has been working to create local and statewide policies to improve the lives of immigrants in the state in the absence of meaningful federal immigration reforms. Governor Christie has also failed to fulfill his responsibility to address the needs of New Jersey immigrant residents by denying driver’s licenses for all and services for refugees. New Jersey has the fifth largest foreign born population in the country yet Governor Christie opposes immigrant friendly policies and supports political campaign that is anti-immigrant and spews hatred and intolerance.
And while we call for congress to act, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice will continue to fight in New Jersey to support the needs of our communities. Fourteen municipalities and six counties have already passed resolutions urging our legislature and governor to act and pass the New Jersey Safe and Responsible Drivers Act. Five cities have passed ordinances creating municipal identification programs that are inclusive of all disenfranchised residents. Five cities have passed wage theft ordinances that hold businesses who don’t follow the law accountable for labor violations. Immigrant communities are organizing with the support and leadership of our Alliance members. While this decision is disappointing, it is clear that more pro-immigrant policies need to be created and passed on the local and state levels. Immigrant communities are resilient and filled with the drive to fight for their rights to live in their communities with dignity and respect.
President Obama’s executive order would have granted relief to millions of immigrants through the Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Resident (DAPA) and the extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).New Jersey is home to over 400,000 undocumented immigrants and at least half would have qualified if the Court would have made a favorable decision.
"DACA and DAPA not being approved leaves us in a limbo, hopeless situation because we are exposed to deportation. If I were to be deported, I would be separated from my child”, said Blanca Ruby Soto, member of Wind of the Spirit.
“We need to recognize that this is a dark day for the immigrant community in New Jersey, and this decision means that tens of thousands of families will continue to face an uncertain future clouded by the real threat of family separation”, said Claudia Piña, leader with Faith in New Jersey.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision regarding DAPA and DACA highlights the urgent need for Congress to stop playing political games and pass comprehensive immigration reform,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “The contributions of immigrants to our society—as workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and taxpayers—are vital, and their stories represent the very best of the American spirit. Our nation’s diversity has always been a source of strength, and today more than ever we need to secure a path for millions of immigrant families to come out of the shadows and participate fully in public life.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning DACA and DAPA is a setback but our journey for justice is not over,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director. “We will continue to fight so that American children don’t have to live in fear that their immigrant parents could be deported. Tearing families apart isn’t the answer—the solution is common sense immigration reform. And we will exercise our power at the polls by supporting elected officials who choose to stand by families and hold obstructionists accountable.”