- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Police arrested four people who blocked a major Phoenix road in protest of the U.S. Supreme Court deadlock on an immigration plan, while others in Arizona hailed the blow to President Barack Obama’s attempt to stop some immigrants from being deported.

Arizona was one of 26 states that sued the federal government after Obama announced the executive action programs, saying they were an overreach and that immigration reform should be left to Congress. The 4-4 Supreme Court tie won’t set national precedent but will uphold a lower court’s order that blocked Obama’s plan to protect about 4 million immigrants from deportation.

Dozens of immigrant rights protesters gathered on Central Avenue near Campbell Avenue in Phoenix on Thursday to protest in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices, blocking off the road while chanting for several hours in at least 108 degree heat. Police eventually broke up the protest, arresting four people who refused to leave the road.

Eduardo Sainz, of Mi Familia Vota, said the news that the high court was deadlocked brought tears to his eyes but that he will continue to fight for immigrant rights. Sainz was one of at least 60 demonstrators in Phoenix.

“This is a demonstration to show our community members that they’re not alone and to also show our elected officials that we will hold them accountable. And that we will explore all the different scenarios that we have to do in order to move our agenda forward,” Sainz said.

Arizona lawmakers said they were pleased with the Supreme Court outcome.

In a statement, Rep. Matt Salmon said the president’s actions were unlawful.

“No other president has so brazenly disregarded the fundamental duty of his office to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ The matter is now settled, there is no equivocation,” Salmon said.

Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, referred questions about the decision to the state attorney general, saying only that the governor has said he would rather see Congress address the issue.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich has not responded to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court deadlock affirms a lower court ruling that stopped an expansion of two executive action programs, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The expansion would remove the minimum age requirement for DACA, a program that shields young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation while allowing them to work for two-year periods. Another expansion, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, would benefit immigrants in the country illegally who have U.S.-citizen children.

Stephanie Maldonado, 23, came to the protest because she wanted to stand in solidarity for the families impacted by the decision.

“Our community already has a sense of hopelessness, so we lose some hope with this,” she said.

Her mother, who came to the U.S. illegally 26 years ago, returned to Mexico four years ago in part because of a waning sense of hope, she said. But Maldonado says this isn’t the end for families waiting for immigration reform.

“It’s a bump in the road, but it’s not the end,” she said. “We’re going to keep fighting across the nation, not just here in Phoenix.”


Associated Press writers Beatriz Costa-Lima and Bob Christie contributed from Phoenix.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide