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January 28, 2015

Oakland Joins Coalition of Cities in Legal Action to Defend President Obama's Immigration Reform

More than 30 cities sign on to amicus brief in Texas v. U.S.

Oakland, CA – The City of Oakland has joined a coalition of more than 30 cities across the country to file an amicus brief in the case Texas v. United States in support of President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration reform.

Amicus Brief filed in Texas v. U.S., Case No. 1:14-cv-254, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

The “friend of the court” brief filed by the cities defends the president’s executive actions, which offer protection from deportation and work permits to millions of immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for at least five years, have no criminal records and have a child who is a citizen or permanent resident. Last month, Texas and other states led by Republican governors filed a lawsuit challenging the reform efforts, arguing that the president has a constitutional duty to enforce existing immigration laws.

Last week, while in Washington, D.C. for the annual conference of mayors, Mayor Libby Schaaf participated in a press conference announcing the cities’ legal action.

“Oaklanders benefit from living in the most diverse city in the country because of our rich immigrant communities,” said Mayor Schaaf. “We stand with President Obama and millions of Americans in affording law-abiding individuals a path to citizenship, the chance to earn an honest living and freedom from the fear of having their families torn apart.”

Other cities signing on to the amicus brief include New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Together the cities represent an estimated 28.2 million people, including 7.5 million immigrants.

“President Obama’s actions will be a tremendous help to Oakland families, and millions of families across the country, who are contributing to their communities and working to make a better life for their children,” City Attorney Barbara Parker said. “Not only was the President’s action the right thing to do, it also was without a doubt constitutional. The lawsuit filed by Texas has zero legal merit, it is a purely political gesture, and I believe it ultimately will fail to block this important reform.”

The brief argues that the president’s action will fuel economic growth in cities across the country, will increase public safety by encouraging immigrant residents to trust and cooperate with law enforcement, and will facilitate the full integration of immigrant families into the communities where they live, work and go to school.

“The amicus brief will demonstrate to the Court that executive action will benefit cities by providing work authorization to millions, increasing local tax revenue, and stimulating local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together, and improving public safety by strengthening our neighborhoods and communities,” according to a statement from the New York City Mayor’s Office, which organized the coalition in support of the president.

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