As the U.S. Supreme Court weighed the fates of millions of undocumented workers, New Haven immigratnt-rights advocates rallying outside the door sent a message.
They demonstrated on the court steps as part of the national Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) to urge the court to “keep families together” by upholding President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. which would enable five million law-abiding undocumented adults to remain in the country and working.
Twenty-six states have challenged the law. (The New York Times has this account of how the argument went inside the court.)
New Haven’s JUNTA for Progressive Action organized 20 local families to travel to the nation’s capital for the demonstration, which was emceed by New Haven’s Kica Matos, FIRM spokesperson and the director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the national Center for Community Change. (U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal met in Fair Haven Sunday with one of the families who would benefit from DAPA and who made the trip to the D.C. demonstration.)
The New Haven contingent to the demonstration included teens who arrived on Sunday to participate in a candelight vigil outside the court.
FIRM organized 3,600 people from 26 states to attend the Monday rally, supplemented by another 1,000 people organized by allied groups, according to Matos.
Speakers at the rally included leaders of the immigrant rights movement as well as U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Bob Menendez of New Jersey and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois.
“We believe that if presidents going back for 60 years from Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan to George Bush No.1, George Bush No.2 could issue executive orders on immigration, Barack Obama can issue executive orders on immigration as well. And DACA and DAPA are legitimate executive orders,” Menendez said, according to this report by CBS News.
The New Haveners involved in Monday’s demonstration have been at the forefront of organizing against the raids since the raids resumed last month.