This OpEd was published in Street Roots on July 8, 2016.
As philanthropic organizations, we work hard every day to support thriving Oregon communities: We seed small businesses and job opportunities. We partner with communities to provide kids and families with quality, affordable care and education. We create safe, welcoming spaces for people of all cultural and religious backgrounds. We invest in affordable housing, clean rivers and healthy neighborhoods for all Oregonians. And most importantly, we support diversity, because inclusive communities are strong communities. Our immigrant ancestors and our immigrant neighbors enrich our understanding of the world, our communities and ourselves. Oregon and the U.S. are stronger with all of us.
The recent 4-4 tie decision by the Supreme Court in Texas v. United States leaves in place a lower-court decision halting the implementation of expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans. It puts the lives of millions of immigrants and their families on hold. This deadlock prevents an estimated 5 million immigrants from gaining work authorization and protection from deportation. It also prolongs the worries and fears of their 6.4 million family members, not to mention their friends and neighbors. Our friends and neighbors.
The original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has benefitted nearly 730,000 individuals and their families, allowing young adults to stay in their home — this country — while working and going to school. In the face of last week’s decision, we are more committed than ever to supporting the strength and resiliency of immigrant families and communities.
By welcoming immigrants, we foster thriving communities that benefit us all. We welcome families that have endured incredible hardships to leave bad situations to provide a better future for their kids. We welcome more entrepreneurs and more customers for local businesses. We welcome children who will grow up to be doctors and teachers, business owners and artists. We welcome neighbors, co-workers and friends who share our deepest dreams — the freedom to speak and pray, and the opportunity to raise healthy, happy families.
DACA and DAPA are a critical step in providing immediate stability to our neighbors, but they don’t fix our broken immigration system. We invite both our colleagues in philanthropy and decision-makers at every level to join us in support of thoughtful, national, comprehensive immigration reform. Only by addressing both these immediate needs and long-term challenges can we ensure the health and prosperity of a diverse and thriving Oregon.