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Immigrants Pack NY Public Library Seeking Answers to Supreme Court Split Decision

Posted on July 5, 2016 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Experts Decipher Ruling at Town Hall Meeting

More than 600 immigrants from 56 countries pushed past marble lions standing vigil outside the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and into an elegantly tiled room inside seeking answers at a free Spanish/English town hall manned by a panel of experts exactly one week after eight Supreme Court judges split their vote on the legality of President Obama’s executive actions. The Court’s four-four ruling put up for grabs, at least temporarily, the President’s plan to provide protection from deportation and the ability to work legally to approximately 4 million undocumented Americans, including 250,000 New Yorkers.

Held on June 30, 2016, the town hall, watched via live stream by at least an additional 206,000 people, represented a collaborative effort by Catholic Charities, The New York Immigration Coalition, Univision, ABC7, El Diario Nueva York, WADO 1280, the New York State Office for New Americans and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

This was a kick start to clear confusion caused by the Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision. 

In short, experts said, the Supreme Court decision

  • Upholds the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that, at least temporarily, puts on hold some protections proposed for parents lacking legal status whose children were born in the United States (DAPA) as well as expansion of protections for some children without legal status who were brought to the United States when they were young (DACA+).
  • Changes little, at least for now, since DAPA and DACA+ were already on hold.
  • Maintains the Court of Appeals injunction that stopped the DAPA and DACA+ programs.
  • Sends the case back to Texas for continued litigation.
  • The final outcome of the litigation is unknown.

“We are here to help you” said Andrea Madrid, a Catholic Charities immigration attorney and the first panelist to speak.

Audience members, many bearing Spanish accents, peppered panelists with stories of exploitation along with requests for explanations and help. 

Experts, in turn, urged them to contact the immigration hotline (1-800-566-7636) operated by Catholic Charities and funded by the New York State Office for New Americans, which provides information and referral to reputable non-profit immigration legal services providers throughout the state. A legal consultation with such a qualified legal service provider is considedered crucial since every case is unique and immigration laws are complex.

“While extremely disappointed and frustrated by the ongoing pain this causes millions of our neighbors “Catholic Charities remains undeterred in our commitment to serve newcomers to the United States,” says Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, “and to advocating for fair and humane immigration reform that continues the welcoming attitude that has made this country strong, vibrant and innovative.”

Do you have questions about the Supreme Court’s split decision on immigration reform?

Check out this list of options tailored just for you: