On April 6, 2015, Jenner & Block filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Texas v. United States, in which the Fifth Circuit will review a Texas district court’s decision earlier this year to enjoin implementation of a US Department of Homeland Security program that would grant “deferred action” (i.e., temporary relief from deportation) to parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPR), as well as to individuals who arrived in this country as children. Collectively, these programs (known as DAPA and DACA) would provide security from deportation and work authorization documentation for nearly five million individuals. The amicus brief, written on behalf of a group of educators and children’s rights advocates, describes the public interest in the immediate implementation of DAPA and DACA, specifically because of the benefits of those programs not only to the recipients, but also to the US citizen and LPR children whose parents would be eligible for the relief.
The brief details the significant harms currently facing US citizens and LPR children because of the actual or threatened deportation of their parents. When parents are deported, these children face a horrible dilemma: remaining behind without parental support or leaving with their parents to a foreign and unknown country. Children living under the threat of their parents’ deportation suffer enduring emotional and psychological harm, including increased occurrences of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, correlating with poor school performance. The brief cites studies concluding that when parents are provided with some form of legal recognition, the harms to children of undocumented parents can be significantly mitigated and educational outcomes improved.
Amici include the American Federation of Teachers, First Focus, the National Education Association, ASPIRA, Educators for Fair Consideration, The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Pomona College and The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.