El Paso has taken the lead among Texas border communities when it comes to throwing its support behind President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
On Monday, El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar announced her county was joining Cities United for Immigration Action. The group comprises 73 cities and counties that have each filed a new friend-of-the-court brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit.
The lawsuit was brought by numerous states, led by Texas, that are trying to block implementation of Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The new brief argues that a District Court judge’s decision to block executive action with a preliminary injunction is “bad for the economy, hurts families, threatens law enforcement priorities, and will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies.”
In a news release, Escobar said the brief demonstrates “robust support” from the country’s largest cities – as well as its suburbs and rural areas – for the President’s reforms. She said these reforms will provide temporary relief from deportation to millions of immigrants with longstanding ties to the U.S. who pass a background check and meet other criteria.
“El Paso County is proud to weigh in on the amicus brief and stands in support of President Obama’s executive action on immigration. We believe the injunction blocking the executive action causes harm to communities like El Paso, where we have large immigrant communities and tens of thousands of families that would benefit from the rollout of DACA/DAPA,” Escobar said.
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DAPA stands for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.
“Our goal, like the President’s, is to ensure we have safe communities, economic opportunity and strong families. We believe the injunction is a temporary setback and look forward to a favorable decision by the appellate court,” Escobar said.
In total, Cities United for Immigration Action represents 43 million people across the country. Escobar said the cities and counties are making the case that the federal district court judge who temporarily blocked implementation of the Obama Administration’s programs “failed to consider the significant harms to America’s local governments caused by this delay.” The judge was Andrew Hanen of Brownsville. Escobar added that the brief more than doubles the number of local governments that had previously voiced opposition to the lawsuit brought by states seeking to block President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.
News that El Paso County has joined Cities United for Immigration Action and filed an amicus brief in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit brought an immediate response from La Unión del Pueblo Entero, a non-profit community group in the Rio Grande Valley. If El Paso can mobilize in this way, why cannot Valley counties and cities, LUPE leaders want to know.