NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Vowing not to be deterred by the Texas federal court ruling which temporarily stopped implementation of President Obama’s immigration directives, families being hurt and their advocates gathered in New Haven City Hall to tell their stories to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and lay out ideas for an action plan.
They told of increasing concerns in the community that dreams will be put on hold once again, and that lives would be endangered if a different president rescinds the directives. The consensus was that the larger the number of people who apply, the harder it will be to invalidate the program.
Clinics to assist those eligible to apply for the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are going forward throughout Connecticut, and Blumenthal promised to come by to offer support and allay fears.
“The more people who apply, the more difficult it will be to undo the directives from the President,” he said. “The laws and facts are on our side…the hearts, minds and children of families are the ones who will be hurt.”
Blumenthal, a lead proponent in the U.S. Senate to stop needless deportations separating families and in support of comprehensive immigration reform, issued a call to President Obama just after the November elections to take immediate executive action for relief, at a crowded press conference also held at New Haven City Hall.
“It is very clear that the Republicans don’t want us here because of the color of our skin,” said one father, a factory worker in this country for 12 years, surrounded by his wife and children.
“The children are not at fault, they are U.S. citizens and have the right to be here and to live with their parents. I will fight this,” he told Blumenthal, “because this is something that came out of racism.”
Calling the ruling “misguided both legally and factually,” Blumenthal said it is “deeply flawed and should be immediately overturned.”
The Texas Attorney General, joined by more than 20 states, filed the request to block implementation on the grounds that the President “overstepped his Constitutional authority.” The Department of Justice is preparing to appeal the decision.
In response to the roundtable discussion, Blumenthal said he would urge that the Department of Justice file an emergency stay on the ruling so implementation can go forward without delay. He also agreed to oppose the attempt to hold hostage the normalization of five million immigrant lives to Department of Homeland Security funding.
At the state level, under the leadership of the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), a grassroots push is also underway for passage of a bill by the state legislature which would improve the Trust Act and separate federal immigration from local law enforcement with a consistent policy statewide. If passed it would be the strongest in the nation, a tribute to years of grassroots organizing.
In addition to the families affected, organizations at the roundtable included the director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change, Unidad Latina en Acción, JUNTA for Progressive Action, the Hispanic Federation, and CT Students for a Dream.
Photo: Sen. Blumenthal with immigrant families opposing federal court decision that halted President Obama’s immigration directives. | Sen. Blumenthal