2016 Rewind: Dreams deferred, deportations threatened
The U.S. Supreme Court in June deadlocked on President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The court’s 4-4 decision left in place a lower court ruling that blocked both the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
DAPA and an expanded DACA offered promises of protection from deportation and three-year work permits to about 5 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as undocumented people who came to the United States before the age of 16.
The president announced his executive actions in November 2014. Soon after, 26 Republican governors and attorneys general sued to block the protections, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was positioning himself for a presidential run.
With the legal loss in June, immigrant rights groups focused on the 2016 elections.
But November did not deliver victories for dreamers.
Republicans now hold majorities in 33 state legislatures, including in Wisconsin, as well as majorities in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.
And the winner of the presidential election — though not the winner of popular vote — has pledged to undo Obama’s executive actions on immigration, build a wall along the southern U.S. border and conduct mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Looking to the inauguration of Donald Trump in January 2017, immigrant rights groups in November and December urged Obama to fast-track citizenship applications and they called on House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to declare that no anti-immigrant legislation will reach the House floor.
Organizations such as the Wisconsin-based Voces de la Frontera also encouraged local governments to commit to serving as sanctuary cities and called on religious communities to offer sanctuary to immigrants targeted for deportation.
“If we see any movement to erode what our movement has won, like DACA, we will do whatever is needed to protect it,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera. “We are committed to organizing nationally with our networks and broadening the struggle to include other groups of workers and people who have been threatened by Trump.”
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