WASHINGTON-This morning the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on President Obama’s immigration initiatives DAPA and expanded DACA, acronyms for Deferred Action of Parental Arrivals and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Obama offered relief to immigrants from deportation through these temporary executive orders that he said would protect families until more permanent immigration reform could be established.
The state of Texas though challenged Obama’s orders by suing the United States because the state wants to issue its own statutes regarding immigration.
Following the argument, the Supreme Court will decide whether to lift the temporary block against the deferred action programs and will issue its decision by June 30th. Supporters of the deferred actions say that unfreezing DAPA and expanded DACA will strengthen their communities, protect the dignity of families, and improve the lives of American children and families.
A group of mothers has been standing outside of the US Supreme Court with banners and pictures of their families and has been fasting to support the deferred actions. KGNU spoke to one mother who has organized other mothers to do the same.
Lenca: My name is Lenca Mendoza from the group Dreamers’ Mothers in Action. I live in Virginia.
The majority of us are undocumented mothers, mothers who would benefit by executive actions. In 2014 our group initiated a hunger strike in front of the white house that lasted 18 days. We called on president Obama to take administrative measures. We regret that congress has not taken action. They haven’t done anything. Everything is stunted, frozen.
Knowing this, we decided to focus our work on the president for executive measures. After the 18 days of hunger strike denouncing this, the president found us there in front of the white house. On November 20,2014 the president announced executive measures that benefitted the parents of US citizens and legal residents and also youth who came to the country between 2010 and November of 2014.
We were happy about the small victory for the community. These executive measures were to be valid in February of 2015. Regrettably 26 states led by the state of Texas interposed demands contradicting the executive action. This demand resulted in a case initiated by Texas. The case has landed in the hands of the Supreme Court. The hearings will begin on Monday where the plaintiff, the state of Texas against the United States who will defend their position. There will be individual witnesses who will also testify.
And then later in June, the state and the Supreme Court will deliberate. We are here as we have been since 2014 in struggle. In march of 2014 we organized a chain of organizations and now there are more than 2000 people fasting at the national level. And at the international level there are groups from Germany, Italy, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. The mothers who are here right now are fasting as well so that the message will reach the judges as an action of faith. Some are eating a little, others not. Some of us here have hit the pavement. We have made calls, we have knocked on doors.
We expect others to see that we are people, to see our faces, that we have children. That our children have the right to live in their country without fear.
We’re here to call for equality of justice, equality of rights, because no human being is illegal. We have rights because we contribute to this country. We are not delinquent. We have come to this country and some of us have created businesses and provide work for many people. We pay our taxes.
KGNU: And you’ll never see those income taxes returned to you, right?
Lenca: Yes, that’s right. Regrettably we will never get back some of our income taxes but more importantly than that, we want to live without fear. And we would like to legally drive so that we can drive without the fear of police following us.
So we want to live without fear and for our children to live without fear. Our children our fearful every time their fathers are late coming home. They live with the fear that they will be separated, that they could be detained or deported. That’s what we seek. Our children are not second class citizens. Our children are American citizens and have the same rights as any other American citizen to live among family.
KGNU: What are you expecting now with only 8 judges?
Lenca: Right now there are 8 judges, 4 of whom we know support us. Right now we are appealing to the heart of Judge Anthony Kennedy who appears to be on the liberal side. I think he’ll be a little more just in his decision. And that he won’t make that decision based on just politics. As the judges do interpret the law, we expect that but that within that realm that they make a fair decision based on the law. That’s what we are expecting and hoping. Because we know that the president acted legally. He’s not the first president to take executive action. Other presidents have used executive order. Why are his actions being questioned, right? That’s why we want justice.
KGNU: And your final point?
Lenca: We are here. We would like to be heard and for others to join us. We are women and are not representing a political party. We are just regular people who are just calling for equal rights.