Yesterday, we were with Nora Sandigo and over 50 children in Washington, DC as they attended a rally in support of President Obama's executive action. Nora and the kids drove on a bus for 22 hours from Florida to be there. They, and thousands of others like them, chose to gather on the steps of the Supreme Court because it was the first day the justices would hear arguments in the the case of TEXAS VS. THE UNITED STATES.
What's the case about? Good question. Though we addressed it a bit in our last blog, there are a number of different sites that break it down in detail (we like this one). Essentially, in November 2014, President Obama issued an executive action that allowed undocumented immigrant parents of US citizen children to live in the United States without fear of deportation as long as they met a series of criteria (one of which is that they have no criminal record).
The case has been a hot topic of the election year and has created a firestorm on both sides of the aisle, so we expected that yesterday we would see that division come to a head. What we found, however, was a passionate group that was supportive of the executive action. It's entirely possible that detractors were there, but despite hours of scouring the crowd for them, we found none. The signs were supportive, the speeches were lively and the mood was hopeful.
Now, it gets interesting. The Supreme Court will likely decide the outcome of the case by the end of June. Since there are only eight justices, it's possible that they'll end in a split-decision, meaning the lower courts ruling to block Obama's action will stand and mixed status families will continue to be separated by immigration. Even if it is upheld, an executive action only lasts as long as a president does, so when Obama leaves office, the order expires. The relief offered by his action may very well be temporary if the next president doesn't support it (both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have pledged that they will overturn it; Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have said they'll strengthen it).
For her part, Nora is not waiting to see what happens. She continues to raise awareness in the media on behalf of the action and is making a plan of what to do to help her children in case the action is blocked. We're documenting each step of her journey and LA GRAN MADRE will capture the outcome of this fight, no matter what it may be.