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Mayor Bowser Joins Mayoral Coalition to File Amicus Brief in Support of President Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Reform

Friday, January 23, 2015
More than 30 mayors sign on in Texas vs. United States in defense of President Obama’s reform action.

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined mayors from across the country, by joining a Mayoral Coalition to file Amicus Brief in support of President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Reform. Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles announced today plans by more than 30 mayors to file an amicus brief in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit to support President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform. The brief opposes a lawsuit pending in Brownsville, TX brought by states seeking to block President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.

“Mayors across the country recognize the important contributions immigrants have made in our nation’s history – and that they continue to make in our cities every day,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am proud to join this mayoral coalition to protect the public’s interest and the ever growing population of immigrants in the Washington, DC region.”

Led by Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, this effort organizes more than 30 cities, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in filing a brief arguing that the public interest across the country is served clearly and overwhelmingly by implementing immigration reform by executive action. The brief also argues that blocking executive action with preliminary injunction will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies. The cities represented by the amici mayors together account for approximately 28.2 million people, including 7.5 million immigrants.

Mayor Bowser has been a proponent of DACA “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” and DAPA “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability.” She and other Mayors stand by this sensible and humane stop-gap policy – known in the immigration justice world as expanded DACA and DAPA -- and urge Congress to enact more comprehensive reforms to the immigration system.  Opponents of these immigration policies have asked a court to stop the President’s programs, but the Mayors joined together to say that immigration is important for their cities’ economies, for public engagement, for family unity and other important values. 

Mayor Bowser proudly joined other big city mayors in standing up for the President’s authority to sensibly prioritize our country’s immigration enforcement actions.  The President has long called for comprehensive immigration reform to fix the broken system and Congress has not responded.  So the President, exercising long-established executive prerogatives, has announced his enforcement priorities.  Sensibly, those priorities do not include those who arrived here as children and certain parents of children who are citizens.

By submitting this “friend of the court” brief, America’s mayors are making a strong statement in support of the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults. The amicus brief will demonstrate to the Court that executive action will benefit cities by providing work authorization to millions, increasing local tax revenue, and stimulating local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together, and improving public safety by strengthening our neighborhoods and communities. 

In December, 25 states led by Republican governors brought a lawsuit captioned Texas vs. United States in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, seeking to halt the implementation of the President’s executive action. In response, a group of 12 states in January joined by the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief challenging the lawsuit by arguing that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ claims, the President’s immigration reform will in fact “further the public interest” of states and their residents, both immigrants and citizens. A group of 27 law enforcement leaders and other groups have also filed amicus briefs in support of the President’s executive action on immigration reform.

This is the first submission to the court from the city perspective.

The following Mayors have signed on to the amicus brief:

Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York, New York
Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, California
Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta, Georgia
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore, Maryland
Mayor Byron Browm, Buffalo, New York
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago, Illinois
Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, South Carolina
Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, Ohio
Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver, Colorado
Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C.
Mayor Pedro Segarra, Hartford, Connecticut
Mayor Annise Parker, Houston, Texas
Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City, New Jersey
Mayor Paul Soglin, Madison, Wisconsin
Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark, New Jersey
Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mayor Charles Hales, Portland, Oregon
Mayor John Dickert, Racine, Wisconsin
Mayor Tom Butt, Richmond, California
Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester, New York
Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco, California
Mayor Gary McCarthy, Schenectady, New York
Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle, Washington
Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis, Missouri
Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma, Washington
Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers, New York

The following mayors have expressed their support and will sign on to the brief, pending final local approvals:

Mayor Karen Majewski, Hamtramck, Michigan
Mayor Virg Bernero, Lansing, Michigan
Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix, Arizona