Union County Officials Join Community Advocates in Support of President’s Immigration Programs

Make the Road New Jersey is one of the supporting organizations. Credits: Make the Road New Jersey

ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County elected officials have joined other New Jersey leaders and local immigrant leaders, community advocates, in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Texas.

The signers are supporting President Obama’s executive actions on immigration and calling for the unfreezing of Deferred Action for Childhood Accountability+ and Deferred Action Parental Accountability. Currently, the expansion of DACA+ and DAPA is challenged by the lawsuit U.S. v. Texas that has been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily suspending expansion. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court who will hear it April 18. A decision is expected in June. Signers to the brief include the cities of Plainfield and Roselle, as well as Union County.

DACA+ refers to children who arrived in the US before the age of 16 and before 2010 and are currently in school. DAPA covers parents of American citizens and green card holders who arrived before 2010. Potentially, there are 49,000 qualifying families in Union County according to Sara Cullinane, executive director of Elizabeth-based Make the Road New Jersey, one of the supporting organizations.

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“These are important programs for people who have been here a long time and risk deportation,” said Cullinane. “They have contributed to the economy and their children are in schools. They are our neighbors, have deep roots in the community, and they risk deportation because of broken immigration laws.”

For the undocumented, the programs hold out the hope of a better life. "As the father of two American children, I worry every day about being separated from my family because of our broken immigration system, even more so with the recent raids,” said a longtime Elizabeth resident Edison Hernandez, a member of Make the Road New Jersey. “If DAPA is upheld, I will be able to provide for my children, get a better job and keep my family safe."  “

The issue has gained the support of Union County freeholders, two of whom feel personally connected. “As the grandson of immigrants from Eastern Europe, I am proud to support President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen.  “What better way to celebrate our American success story, then by paving the way for others to renew our country and live out their American dreams? We are a nation of immigrants, and this is what has made our country great. We must continue to honor this legacy.”

Added Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados, "As an elected official representing a county that I consider to be a "melting pot" of different ethnicities and as a son of two hard working immigrants who came to this country for a brighter future as so many other immigrants also do, President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration is a personal issue for me that I very strongly support. Today’s immigrants are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, scientists and professionals, and are major contributors to our economy and society. It’s well past time to fix the system, and it is a simple matter of humanity.”   

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