Mayor Marty Walsh, immigrants rights groups and local business leaders called upon Congress Tuesday to pass legislative reform in support of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) would help an estimated 5 million immigrants and children of immigrants remain in the U.S.
DACA would apply to people under the age of 31 who came to the U.S. illegally, were under 16-years-old and have lived in the states ever since and pose no threat to the public. DAPA would grant deferred action status to undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since 2010 and have children who are American citizens.
These measures would impact about 65,000 people living in the Boston area. Twenty-seven percent of the people living in Boston are from foreign soils, and 47 percent of students in the Boston Public School system have at least one parent from a different country.
As the son of an immigrant parent, Walsh said he felt compelled to help new arrivers to Boston.
"I want to make it clear that Boston welcomes and supports immigrants; Boston is a city of immigrants, and a city that’s made stronger by immigrants," Walsh said. "A complete federal legislative solution on immigration has taken too long and the need is too great. I support President Obama’s executive actions and I call on the courts to lift this order and let these sensible actions be implemented."
“President Obama’s executive immigration actions are a critical first step to helping end the deportations, which tear families and loved ones apart, while costing our economy billions of dollars. We will continue working every day to help pass a permanent legislative solution to finally fix our country’s terribly broken immigration system,” said President of FWD.us Todd Schulte.
According to a study by the Center for American Progress, the DACA/DAPA programs could boost wages for eligible immigrants by $103 billion, as well as drive a $230 billion increase in the nation's gross domestic product over the next 10 years. The Council of Economic Advisers also released a study that said executive action would increase Massachusetts’s GDP by an estimated $2.4 to $5.6 billion over the next decade.
The City of Boston's Office of New Bostonians has launched a “Know the Facts” campaign to make sure the City's residents are aware of their eligibility for these actions. This Saturday, May 30, the Office of New Bostonians will host a clinic on eligibility at the Umana Academy in East Boston. Legal Services and other partners will be on hand to give free one-on-one screenings and consultations.
“As an eleven-year-old child, I had little comprehension of the challenges that awaited us when my family and I arrived in the United States,” Cesar Boc, an aspiring lawyer and a 2012 DACA recipient said. “My dream was to work hard, attend school, and live a normal life. Yet, my journey in the United State has been a constant struggle to affirm my dignity as a human being in the midst of hostile and inaccessible immigration laws. DACA has made a considerable difference in my life since I now have a job, a driver’s license, and do not have a fear of deportation.”
On Tuesday afternoon, a federal appeals court refused to lift a temporary hold on President Obama’s executive action that might have shielded millions of immigrants from deportation. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2 to 1 ruling after the Department of Justice asked the courts to reverse a Texas judge’s plan to block the plan. Twenty-six states filed a lawsuit against the executive order, calling the move unconstitutional.