Today, May 19th, was supposed to be the day when undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents could begin applying for temporary deportation relief and work authorization under a new deferred action program known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents).
It was announced by President Obama last November as part of his executive actions on immigration, where he also announced an expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), which he initially announced in 2012.
But the program has been delayed ever since a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction in February, leaving an estimated 3.7 million potential applicants in a state of limbo. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott filed the lawsuit, where he was joined by a number of states, including Florida.
So instead of applying for such documents, activists around the nation are holding rallies today. In Florida, the Service Employees International Union is calling on its members statewide to contact their Board of County Commissioners in nine of the biggest counties in Florida to pass resolutions in favor of immigrant families. In an email to its members, the SEIU wants them to contact either their county commission chair or county mayor in Miami-Dade, Leon, Palm Beach, Broward, Polk, Hillsborough, Brevard, Jacksonville, as well as Mayor Buddy Dyer in Orlando to tweet out a message to find out if they support either DAPA or DACA.
“Today, #DAPA was to be implemented. But due to @AGPamBondi‘s lawsuit, 253k immigrant are still waiting #Fight4DAPA #Florida #DropTheLawsuit,” is a sample tweet that SEIU officials are advocating for their members to send to their local officials. In Hillsborough, Board Chair Sandy Murman has been chosen to receive such messages.
Today the liberal Center for American Progress issued a report boasting about the economic benefits of implementing DAPA. The think tank reports that DAPA would lead to an $88 billion increase in incomes for all Americans, and create 20,538 jobs per year over the next 10 years.
In South Florida, the Florida Immigrant Coalition was organizing presentations to be made this morning before both the Miami-Dade and Broward County Commission meetings. There is also a vigil and “Rally to Stop Deportations” scheduled for 6 p.m. this evening at the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach at 6:30 p.m.