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News from:
City Attorney Barbara Parker & Mayor Libby Schaaf

April 6, 2015

Oakland Joins National Coalition of Cities in Appeal Defending President Obama’s Immigration Reforms

73 cities & counties sign on to amicus brief in Court of Appeal urging immediate implementation of immigration reforms

Oakland, CA – City Attorney Barbara Parker and Mayor Libby Schaaf today announced that Oakland has joined a national coalition of cities and counties supporting President Barack Obama’s appeal of a federal District Court’s ruling blocking recent executive actions on immigration reform.

Oakland is one of 73 cities and counties – together representing 43 million Americans – to sign an amicus brief defending the President’s actions in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The “friend-of-the-court” brief filed today in Texas v. United States argues that a District Court judge’s injunction blocking the reforms is bad for the economy, hurts families, threatens law enforcement priorities and stalls desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies.  The brief demonstrates robust support from the country’s largest cities, as well as suburbs and rural areas, for the President’s reforms, which will provide temporary relief from deportation to immigrants with longstanding ties to the U.S. who pass a background check and meet other criteria.

“Oaklanders benefit from living in one of the most diverse cities in the country because of our rich immigrant communities,” Mayor Schaaf said. “We continue to 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. We look forward to a resolution in this case that reaffirms this fundamental American ideal.”

“President Obama’s actions will be a tremendous help to Oakland families – and millions of families across the country – that are contributing to their communities and working to make a better life for their children,” City Attorney Parker said. “Texas’ lawsuit is a desperate attempt to turn back the hands of time. Our nation is marching forward, embracing our diversity and pursuing the promise of a more perfect union.  Ultimately these political maneuvers to divide and conquer the overwhelming majority of Americans who share the goal of a just and equitable society will fail to block progress on this important national issue.”

Oakland and other cities previously filed an amicus brief in Texas v. U.S. in federal District Court defending 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. In late 2014, 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.

On February 16, a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas issued a preliminary injunction to block reforms pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.  The brief filed today in support of the federal government’s appeal of the injunction argues that the District Court judge failed to consider the significant harms to America’s local governments caused by this delay.

The brief demonstrates to the Court that executive action will benefit cities and counties by providing work authorization to millions, increasing local tax revenue, stimulating local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together and improving public safety by strengthening our neighborhoods and communities.

Today’s brief more than doubles the number of local governments that had previously voiced opposition to the lawsuit brought by states seeking to block the President’s reform efforts.

This collective action to offer the Court the crucial perspective of American cities and counties is an outcome of the organizing efforts of the Cities United for Immigration Action coalition. By filing this brief, America’s mayors and county executives are making a strong statement in support of the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults.

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