SEATTLE, WA  – Immigrant rights leader, Washington State Senator, and congressional candidate, Pramila Jayapal issued the following statement on the ruling:

“I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s deadlock today on President Obama’s executive action on providing relief to undocumented parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents across this country. 

The President’s actions on immigration through the DAPA program were necessary because Congress has simply refused to take any action on fixing a clearly broken system that the majority of Americans—regardless of party—agree must be fixed. 

The Supreme Court’s decision has real consequences for families here in Washington and across the country.  In Washington state, this decision means that 74,000 parents who could have qualified for relief from deportation and separation from their families must continue to live in fear even as they contribute every single day to our state’s economy.  Nationwide, more than five million undocumented immigrants will no longer be shielded from deportation or allowed to legally work in the United States.  Once again, these families are at risk of being torn apart, and workers will he forced to return to the shadow economy of being paid ‘off the books’, increasing exploitation and negatively impacting our labor markets.

The decision will also affect thousands of undocumented students who would have been allowed to continue their deferral for an additional year, and would have expanded the Administration’s DACA program to include thousands more undocumented students.

This is personal for me.  I worked with immigrant rights leaders across the country to build the movement, and worked with them and the White House to find some relief to the tragedy of a broken immigration system that included these executive actions.  I have spent more than a decade organizing tens of thousands of immigrants across our state to demand sensible, comprehensive and humane action on immigration reform.  I have heard the personal stories of U.S. citizen children who return after school to a home where a parent is no longer there because they have been deported. 

Today’s decision is a stark reminder that we have much to do in America to ensure that we live up to our great ideals as a nation of immigrants, made stronger through the full contributions of all those who live in our communities.  While deeply disappointing, this decision will only serve to fuel more commitment from our movement to fight for immigration reform.  If elected to represent the 7th Congressional District here in Washington state, I will continue to work tirelessly to organize both inside and outside Congress to ensure that we pass just and humane immigration reform.”