Photo Credit: Joe Brusky via Flickr/CreativeCommons License

Courts and Congress must find way to protect families from being torn apart

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June 23, 2016: The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley is alarmed and disturbed about yesterday’s Supreme Court’s 4-4 outcome in United States v. Texas, a critically important case to rights for immigrant families in America. The case centered on a 2014 Executive Order by President Obama to expand the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. Yesterday’s non-decision by the Court on this case is a tragedy that affects millions of people—over 4 million people who qualified through the programs under review are now at risk of being deported and having their families torn apart.

Director john a. powell noted, “These cases are not just games of political football, they have a profound effect on the lives of human beings. Undocumented immigrants live in an extremely vulnerable and marginalized space in our society, and the lack of a decision by the Supreme Court sends a disturbing political and legal message to them that they do not belong here. This case is a devastating blow to those seeking to build a more inclusive and healthy immigration system.”

We believe all people deserve to be treated with dignity, regardless of their immigration status.  The outcome of University v. Texas goes directly against our efforts to advance a more effective and inclusive immigration system that respects the lives of all people in the US. In We Too Belonga resource guide we published on inclusive practices in immigration and incarceration law and policy, we noted how “criminal and immigration law primarily serve to separate the individual from the rest of US Society through physical exclusion and the creation of rules that establish lesser levels of citizenship.” It is safe to conclude that this phenomenon has only been exacerbated by the Supreme Court’s lack of a ruling in US v. Texas, and we call for a way of resolving this matter that doesn’t allow for human beings to be under constant threat, insecurity, and risk. 

We urge our political leaders, advocates, and our legal system to find a way to create a more permanent and sustainable solution that will protect the dignity and equality of all human beings, and we will continue our work in advancing policies and systems that work towards a more just and humane society.

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Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley is a research institute bringing together scholars, community stakeholders, policymakers, and communicators to identify and challenge the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society in order to create transformative change.