70 Mayors Announce Legal Action for Immigration Reforms

More than 70 cities and counties sign Texas vs. United States appeal urging immediate implementation of President Obama’s immigration executive action.

Posted on 04/6/15
By Staff | Via ViewsWeek
Mayor Bill de Blasio at the 83rd winter meeting of the US Conference of Mayors.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at the 83rd winter meeting of the US Conference of Mayors.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced April 6 that 73 cities and counties had filed a new friend-of-the-court brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, urging immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.


“Continuing to delay implementation of the President’s executive action on immigration hurts our economy and puts families at risk,” a press release issued by the mayor’s office quoted Mayor de Blasio as saying. “Cities are where immigrants live, and cities are where the President’s executive action will be successfully implemented. Our cities are united, and we will fight for the immigration reform this nation needs and deserves – whether in the courtroom, in Congress, or in our communities. Make no mistake about it: our voices will be heard.”


“Our cities cannot afford delays to immigration reforms that will strengthen our economy and help families,” it quoted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as saying. “This isn’t a blue or red issue, but a human and economic one.”


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 temporarily relieve from deportation thousands of immigrants who have longstanding ties to the U.S.


The cities and counties – representing 43 million people across the country – argue that the district court judge who temporarily blocked implementation of the programs failed to consider the significant harm to America’s local governments caused by this delay.


Quoting an analysis by the City, the press release said each month that the implementation of these programs is delayed, New York City and New York State will lose at least $1.5 million in additional state and local tax revenue that would be generated if 100,000 immigrants in New York City were able to access temporary work permits through executive action.


“New York’s immigrants are vital to our economy and we must do all we can to help them grow and thrive. Mayor de Blasio is correct – instead of putting up barriers, we should be looking at ways to help immigrants climb the ladder of economic opportunity and welcome them into our communities. The New York State Assembly Majority strongly supports President Obama’s executive action on immigration, and further delay by those who would derail this important initiative is unacceptable,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.


“Each day we wait to implement President Obama’s bold immigration reforms, millions of hard-working families remain in legal limbo. Immigrant communities built New York City, and they are the heart and soul of urban centers across our country,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “As Congress and federal courts stall meaningful progress on immigration, New York City will continue to lead the nation.”


As part of Cities United for Immigration Action, Mayors de Blasio and Garcetti led the effort to organize more than 70 cities and counties, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in arguing that the national public interest is served clearly and overwhelmingly by implementing immigration relief by executive action without delay. 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 President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.


The brief also argues that the District Court judge’s decision to block executive action with a preliminary injunction is bad for the economy, hurts families, threatens law enforcement priorities, and will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies.


The de Blasio Administration has a proven track record of spearheading initiatives that integrate immigrants into the civic and economic life of New York City. From the IDNYC municipal identification program to increasing access to federal immigration benefits, New York City is committed to championing pro-immigrant policies that promote equity and create opportunity for all residents, the NYC press release added.


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 leaders are making a strong statement in support of the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over four million undocumented children and adults.


Numerous cities and counties signed on to April 6 brief are located in states that brought the lawsuit against the Obama administration or have otherwise indicated support for the lawsuit, including five cities in Texas, six localities in New Jersey, two counties in Arizona, and three municipalities in Wisconsin. Cities and counties signed on to the brief (in formation) include the following local governments:


Alexandria, VA

Allentown, PA

Atlanta, GA

Austin, TX

Baltimore, MD

Bell, CA

Boston, MA

Bridgeport, CT

Buffalo, NY

Cambridge, MA

Central Falls, RI

Chapel Hill, NC

Charleston, SC

Chicago, IL

Coconino County, AZ

Columbia, SC

Columbus, OH

Dallas County, TX

Dayton, OH

Denver, CO

Dolton, IL

El Paso County, TX

Everett, MA

Gary, IN

Haledon, NJ

Hartford, CT

Highland Park, IL

Hoboken, NJ

Holyoke, MA

Houston, TX

Jersey City, NJ

Kansas City, MO

Little Rock, AR

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles County, CA

Lucas County, OH

Madison, WI

Milwaukee, WI

Minneapolis, MN

Montgomery County, MD

Newark, NJ

New York, NY

Niagara Falls, NY

North Miami, FL

Oakland, CA

Paterson, NJ

Philadelphia, PA

Pittsburgh, PA

Plainfield, NJ

Portland, OR

Providence, RI

Racine, WI

Ramsey County, MN

Rochester, NY

Salt Lake City, UT

San Francisco, CA

San Jose, CA

Santa Ana, CA

Santa Cruz County, AZ

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Monica, CA

Schenectady, NY

Seattle, WA

Skokie, IL

St. Louis, MO

State College, PA

Syracuse, NY

Tacoma, WA

Tampa, FL

Travis County, TX

Washington, D.C.

West Covina, CA

Yonkers, NY

National League of Cities

U.S. Conference of Mayors

“Brooklyn is what America looks like, with nearly 40 percent of our residents being foreign-born, and when it comes to embracing our immigrant population, it is what America ought to be. President Obama’s executive order on immigration is the most significant and meaningful step our nation has taken toward addressing this long-standing crisis and the millions of families who have been stuck in the shadows of our society, including hundreds of thousands right here in New York City. Our diversity is our greatest strength, and I join my fellow urban leaders from coast to coast in making this call to support the President’s reforms,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.


“Legally and morally, the president’s executive action on immigration was both within his power and the right thing to do,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “Blocking its implementation will do real harm to cities. That’s why joining with other cities and counties across the country urging its implementation is the right thing as well.”


“We stand with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s decision to file a ‘friend-of-the-court’ brief in support of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The President’s executive action currently being blocked in the courts hurts The Bronx and New York City, with the borough losing out on potential local tax revenues that would be generated by these hard-working immigrants who just want to come out the shadows and positively contribute to our country. We are the land of opportunity, built on the ideal that we are melting pot that promotes equality for all and we must continue to strive for those ideals that make our country great.”


“President Obama’s executive actions were bold and decisive steps toward fixing America’s broken immigration system. The Statue of Liberty stands tall in our City, reminding us that America was built by generations of immigrants who came to its shores in search of a better life and a chance to make our country greater,” said U.S. Representative Charles Rangel. “I am proud to see that Mayor de Blasio is committed to keeping that promise alive for years to come.”


“The delay in the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA threatens millions of American families with deportation, as well as the many communities, such as New York City, of which immigrants are an integral part,” said U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke. “No serious doubt exists that President Obama had the authority to establish DAPA and DACA. I want to commend Mayor de Blasio and the many community leaders across this nation who have raised their voices on behalf of millions of families who want to pursue the American Dream.”


“In the absence of legislative action by House Republicans, President Obama took decisive action on immigration because he knows that there are real lives at stake in our current broken system,” said U.S. Representative Joe Crowley. “It is deeply troubling that a Texas judge known to be hostile to immigrants is delaying the President’s executive measures, especially given the legal precedents set by previous administrations. Halting action that will help keep American families together strikes at the heart of what our country ought to be about, and I thank Mayors de Blasio, Garcetti, and many others for taking a stand and showing the widespread support for the President’s action. I’m confident the Department of Justice will succeed in its appeal of this decision and that we will move forward with this much-needed action that will make such a difference in New York City and elsewhere.”


“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for working with cities across the nation to support President Obama’s executive actions on immigration,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney. “With over 12 million undocumented immigrants living in our country, comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue. Unfortunately, Congress has failed to act. That is why I strongly support President Obama’s executive actions, which will help keep families together, boost our economy and generate new tax revenue. These are common sense steps that mimic similar actions by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and it’s long past time that President Obama’s reforms are implemented.”


“We can’t continue to delay implementing President Obama’s executive action on immigration. With this friend-of-the-court brief,  New York City is joined by more than 70 cities nationwide in voicing its strong support for moving ahead with providing administrative deportation relief to more than 4 million immigrants with strong ties to the U.S. As the brief argues, the District Court’s holdup only hurts our economy, harmless immigrant families, and the federal government’s ability to address our broken immigration system. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for once again putting New York City at the forefront of efforts to help the immigrant community, in New York City, and nationwide,” said U.S. Representative José Serrano, Sr.


“The President’s immigration reforms make badly needed changes to a broken system and will benefit thousands of our neighbors,” stated U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez. “It is critical for New York City and our nation as a whole that these reforms be implemented without delay.”


“Every day we delay fixing our broken immigration system is a missed opportunity,” said U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice. “There’s no question that we need to keep fighting for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, but our local communities can’t afford to wait when there’s no sign that this Congress is willing to pass real legislative solutions. Thousands of hard-working Long Island families are ready to come out of the shadows, stop living in fear and start participating fully in our local economies, and there’s no reason to deny them that opportunity any longer. Last week I joined several fellow Members of Congress in signing an amicus brief affirming our support for the government’s appeal, and the brief filed today by Mayors de Blasio and Garcetti shows that local and federal leaders across the country are united in our commitment to implementing the President’s executive actions.”


“Immigrants move New York’s economy forward,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “I represent a district where over a third of its population is foreign-born, and where many more are the children and grandchildren of the rich immigrant legacy this city – and this nation – is so proud of. Immigrants are innovators, business owners and job creators: they augment this City’s supply of capital and ideas to diversify its narrative and keep it nationally and globally competitive. Not only is it in our best interest to immediately implement the President’s platform for immigration reform, but it is the socially and morally responsible thing to do.”


“Every day the President’s executive actions on immigration are blocked, is another day hundreds of thousands of young adults and parents, trying to provide for their families, are unable to work. This is not good for anyone, and the leaders of our cities and counties across the country know this first hand. I thank them for standing with undocumented immigrants and working to bring them out of the shadows,” said State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Chair of the State Senate Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus.


“This friend-of-the-court brief stands with immigrants in our communities against needless delay in the urgently needed Deferred Action programs. President Obama has charted a course for a more compassionate immigration system – a system that treats our friends and neighbors with the dignity they deserve. I commend this action by Mayor de Blasio and dozens of mayors across the United States in keeping with the vision President Obama outlined. I join these mayors and leaders across the country in reaffirming our commitment to America’s longstanding tradition of welcoming immigrants to our communities,” said State Senator Jesse Hamilton.


“It is time to stop intolerant views toward our immigrants. I am in full support of this brief, which is intended to safeguard and implement President Obama’s executive actions on immigration that are intended to keep families together,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “We, as immigrants, live in all cities across our nation, and blocking the implementation of the President’s policies, hurts not just families fighting for the American Dream, but also our ongoing efforts to enrich and repair our economy.”


“I am very proud that New York City is leading the way on a collective amicus brief in theTexas vs. United States case which calls for swift and sweeping implementation of President Obama’s executive actions concerning rational immigration policy.  The lives of millions of people hang in the balance, so many of them New Yorkers who share the same hopes, dreams and aspirations that each successive wave of immigrants harbored generations ago.  Each of them found a true home here and it is time for our City and Country to open our arms and our hearts in the name of fundamental human rights,” said State Senator Bill Perkins.


“The implementation of President Obama’s executive action on immigration is imperative to ensuring we support the countless immigrants that contribute to the social and economic life of our country,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “We are a country of immigrants, and this executive action will help us strengthen and protect our diverse population, while honoring our values as Americans. I commend and thank Mayor de Blasio for having New York join cities and counties across our country in taking legal action to support an initial step towards immigration reform.”


“Here in a city and state where we pride ourselves on diversity, we can only benefit from the implementation of President Obama’s executive action on immigration,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr. “It will allow for a reprieve from deportation while giving the undocumented a chance to work, providing a much needed boost to the economy. Just this past week, the state budget failed to include the DREAM Act, which would have given thousands of vibrant young people a chance at success by allowing them to continue their education and creating a pathway to citizenship. Let’s not miss another opportunity to help build a stronger New York.”


“Unjust deportations have continued to tear apart our families, our schools and our communities. We must act swiftly in implementing President Obama’s immigration executive action in order to protect these important populations. Immigrants are the backbone of our communities, and I thank Mayors de Blasio and Garcetti for creating a united front to demonstrate our support for the swift implementation of the President’s measures,” said State Senator José Serrano.


“The delay to President Obama’s executive action on immigration is intolerable and comes with a real cost to real people,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte. “Every day, families of aspiring Americans are destroyed by a system badly in need of reform and the President’s executive action offers needed help. I join with Mayor de Blasio and Eric Garcetti in the Texas v. United States lawsuit to urge immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. As a daughter of Haitian immigrants, and as a proud citizen of the United States and elected official of New York, I have a duty to act on behalf of the social justice of our people—as well as a fiduciary responsibility to ensure our economies gain the benefits immigration brings.”


“As a child of Jamaican immigrants, it is personal for me that we stand up for Immigration justice and demand immediate action. The implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration is a moral, social, and economic necessity.  The delays are inexcusable, and we must move forward. In past years, immigrants in NYC have accounted for more than $200 billion in economic activity to help revitalize vibrant neighborhoods including the work of Latino, Caribbean and African entrepreneurs in the South Bronx. Through hard work and tireless dedication, Immigrants embody the entrepreneurial spirit that makes our country so beautiful, and the best country in the world,” said Assembly Member Michael Blake. “Immigrants are our neighbors, our friends, and our family, and I proudly stand with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti in calling for our judicial system to do the right thing, the humane thing, the compassionate thing, and give our communities the life they deserve.”


“I want to commend Mayor de Blasio and all the other mayors for supporting immigration reforms. Implementation of the President’s Immigration Executive action will provide much needed relief to immigrant families suffering under our broken system and is a crucial first step on the road to treating our immigrants with the fairness and respect they deserve,” said Assembly Member Guillermo Linares.


“Every month that goes by without President Obama’s executive actions is another month that families can be ripped apart,” said Assembly Member Francisco Moya. “For those of us who deal with the fallout from our nation’s flawed immigration policies on a daily basis, we know how critical the President’s executive actions truly are.  Keeping families together is not only the right thing to do; it’s also in our nation’s best interest.”


“Mayor de Blasio is taking the right step filing today’s court brief,” said Assembly Member Felix Ortiz.“Without action from the Congress and State Legislature, we must support President Obama’s efforts to protect workers and their families from deportation. While we keep the fight alive in Albany for the Dream Act, driver licenses and state-issued identification cards for non-citizens and better wages for all workers, today’s action by our Mayor and by so many others across the nation is a positive step to make life better for millions. We can’t wait any longer.”


“We need comprehensive immigration reform immediately,” said Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez. “President Obama’s Executive action is a huge step towards creating fair policies that help our growing immigrant communities of New York City thrive, any hindrance to its enactment harms us irreparably.”


“It is clear that our immigration system is broken and comprehensive reform is needed to provide long-term relief for the families who have contributed to the growth and prosperity of our nation,” said Assembly Member Nily Rozic. “Filing this brief is reflective of New York City’s commitment to advancing immigrants’ rights and I commend the Mayor for his continued advocacy and leadership on this urgent issue.


“With an estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants in New York City who would benefit greatly from President Obama’s executive action this brief sends a strong message on the importance of implementing these reforms,” said Assembly Member Luis Sepúlveda. “New York has long been at the forefront of immigration reform. Mayor de Blasio has proven his commitment to immigrants throughout his first year in office and continues to through actions like this. I commend the Mayor and the many other cities and counties for supporting these initiatives, as implementing each one of them will be for the national public interest.”


“Opportunity for families in America to obtain basic rights and a better quality of life should not be dictated by political games. The partisan stalling of President Obama’s Immigration Executive Action is sophomoric, and the District Court’s preliminary objection undoubtedly has a deleterious effect on our national economy. New York City is, and always has been a city of immigrants, and we have this community to thank for the strength we enjoy as a City and a Nation . I am proud of New York City’s participation in the amicus brief filed in Texas vs. United States, and am hopeful that the demand from such a robust list of diverse urban areas will bring us closer to real reform which has been long overdue,” said Assembly Member Keith Wright.


“The stand the District Court Judge has taken against immigration reform is harming the future of our country, our immigrants,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “I am glad Mayor de Blasio has signed on to an amicus brief to push back against the court’s anti-immigrant actions. In New York City we support our immigrants not hold them back by putting obstacles to citizenship in their way.”


“President Obama’s executive action would be a lifeline to many families in our City who only want to work hard and provide more than they had for their children,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. “The continued delay of immigration reform only hurts our cities by separating families as well as denying our local governments millions of dollars in tax revenue.  I commend Mayor de Blasio, Mayor Garcetti and the chief executives of over 70 American cities for championing this issue in our courts and call on Congress to finally do the right thing and recognize that immigration reform makes sense for all.”


“By delaying the implementation of immigration reform, the court is making a decision that hurts state and local economies and needlessly diverts law enforcement attention,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “Spending tax dollars to prosecute otherwise law abiding residents who want to work here, raise families here, and spend money here is a policy that has never made sense and I urge the court to recognize the considerable good immigration reform will bring to our communities. I am proud to stand with legislators within New York and around the country in support of President Obama’s actions and I look forward to a favorable decision that will uphold the ordered relief of nearly 4 million undocumented adults and children.”


“The temporary work permits granted by President Barack Obama’s executive action are essential to the daily functions of New York City and cities nationwide. We are a nation of immigrants, and delaying implementation of this program is, frankly, un-American. I stand with Mayors Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti and the 72 cities and counties throughout the US (list in formation), in urging immediate implementation of this executive action,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.


“The AFL-CIO has made supporting real immigration reform one of our top priorities because we understand the importance of ensuring that all workers receive the wages and benefits to which they are entitled,” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “By allowing undocumented workers to come out of the shadows, we will be working to eradicate the tools that allow unscrupulous employers to drive down wages, and rob workers of fair pay, benefits, and workplace rights. The implementation of President Obama’s immigration recommendations is already long overdue.  Let’s make this happen for New York City’s workers.”


“Chicago has always been a city of immigrants, and for us to stay true to our history and our values, we must ensure that immigrants can fully participate in all aspects of our economic and cultural life,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are proud to join numerous cities in filing this amicus brief to support President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. They will help keep families together, increase safety in our communities, and maximize the contributions that immigrants make every day in every part of our city.”


“Cities are strongly affected by immigration. The old, dysfunctional immigration policies hurt our economies, our neighborhoods, our businesses and our residents. The President is attempting to interject common sense and humanity. We are grateful for his efforts and we stand with him,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.


“We must do better to honor our country’s proud immigration tradition. Too many immigrants live in fear, afraid to become members of our society, while Congress fails to take any meaningful action to fix a broken immigration system. Their inaction has real consequences for our communities, which is why I fully support President Obama’s leadership and common sense executive actions. I thank Mayor de Blasio for initiating this brief and building this important coalition of leaders,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

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