Photo of Communities for a New California at Immigrant Day in Sacramento, Calif. (Credit: Alejandro Carrillo)

As members of the Young People For (YP4) Courts Matter Initiative, we vehemently condemn the continuous blockage of amnesty for undocumented immigrants. To us, politics is a contact sport, where if you’re not punching – you’re getting punched. The current ruling on immigration by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest blow from the courts towards immigrant rights across the nation.

 On November 9, 2015 the 5th Circuit Court stalled President Barack Obama’s Executive Action in a 2-1 ruling against Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) from last year. Also known as “Executive Amnesty,” DAPA has been halted since Texas Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction to block the implementation in February 2015. Twenty-six states have filed suit against the policy. After the 5th Circuit’s decision, the Obama Administration said it would appeal to the Supreme Court to take up the issue. If the Court takes the case and hears it this term, it could override the injunction and permit implementation next summer.

DAPA would have created a three-year lawful presence period to delay deportation. Of the 11.3 million undocumented immigrants, 636,000 of the 1.2 million undocumented minors have already benefited from the June 2012 Executive Order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  DAPA would give work permits and state benefits such as drivers’ licenses to up to 4.3 million undocumented immigrants, integral to contributing as members of American society. 

YP4, a program of People for the American Way Foundation, is a strategic, long-term leadership development initiative that works to identify, empower, and engage the newest generation of progressive leaders. As young people who are dedicated campus and community leaders, we demand the steps to the changes of tomorrow to be taken today. We call on all communities to rally together to demand systemic immigration reform. DAPA is the first step to overhauling an immigration system designed to put profit over people. People power has played an integral role in landmark decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and Obergefell v. Hodges. As young leaders of today, it is our duty to stand for all undocumented immigrants and advocate for systemic changes until migration is a genuine choice.

Signed, Joelle Eliza M Lingat (’15 Courts Cohort) and Alejandro Carrillo (’14 Courts Cohort)