SANTA MONICA—The City of Santa Monica has joined 73 other cities and counties across the nation for the Cities of United for Immigration Action, as announced by Mayor Kevin McKeown on April 6 to file a new friend-of-the-court brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, asking for the immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

The brief indicates support from the country’s largest cities for the President’s reforms, which will provide temporary relief from deportation to immigrants with longstanding ties to the United States who pass a background check and meet other criteria.

The cities and counties which represent more than 43 million people throughout the country are arguing that the district court judge who temporarily blocked implementation of the programs failed to consider the large impact to America’s governments caused by this delay.

“Santa Monica knows, as does our President, that we are a nation of hard-working immigrants who bring cultural richness.  For too long, national policies have disparaged those contributions and broken up immigrant families,” said Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown. “Santa Monica has acknowledged the struggles against discrimination and deportation in the past, and we proudly stand with other cities in supporting President Obama’s executive action and urge the court to allow no further delay on needed reform.”

According to a press release from the City of Santa Monica, both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti led the effort to organize more than 70 cities and counties, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in arguing that the national public interest is served clearly and overwhelmingly to initiate immigration relief by executive action without delay.

The brief argues that the District Court judge’s decision to halt the executive action is impacting the economy, hurts families, threatens law enforcement priorities, and will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies.

“Continuing to delay implementation of the President’s executive action on immigration hurts our economy and puts families at risk,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Cities are where immigrants live, and cities are where the President’s executive action will be successfully implemented. Our cities are united, and we will fight for the immigration reform this nation needs and deserves – whether in the courtroom, in Congress, or in our communities. Make no mistake about it: our voices will be heard.”   “We are steadfast on a concrete immigration policy that will keep families intact and the country’s economic prosperity on the rise,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who established a Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “This is a nonpartisan issue that should focus on people and not politics.”

The brief shows the Court that the executive action will assist cities and counties to provide work authorization to millions, increase local tax revenue, help local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together and improve public safety by strengthening neighborhoods and communities.

The brief indicates that the delay of the President’s executive action has detrimental costs for local economies and immigrant families which include:

  • New York City and New York State will lose out on at least $1.5 million for every month’s delay in additional state and local tax revenue that would be generated if 100,000 immigrants in New York City were able to access temporary work permits through executive action. Note: this is an estimate based on the City’s conservative analysis.
  • The delay in implementation has forced mixed-status families (a number which is estimated to be in the millions) to continue to live in ongoing fear of deportation and separation, a situation that has profound emotional, educational, and health impacts on children.

“Chicago has always been a city of immigrants and for us to stay true to our history and our values, we must ensure that immigrants can fully participate in all aspects of our economic and cultural life,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are proud to join numerous cities in filing this brief to support President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. They will help keep families together, increase safety in our communities, and maximize the contributions that immigrants make every day in every part of our city.”

“In Houston, more than 200,000 adults and children are waiting for the President’s immigration order to be implemented,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “I remain confident that this will be only a temporary delay, but while we wait, confusion and frustration are growing. It’s long past time to allow all eligible law-abiding immigrants to come out of the shadows and be recognized as legally documented participants and contributors to our economy and society.”

“San Francisco continues to support our President’s bold action on immigration to create the change we need to help our residents succeed,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrants, this issue is very personal to me. Joining together with large and small cities from across the U.S. to appeal this decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, mayors must lead on immigration reform to provide all of our residents with hope, opportunities, and the services they deserve because we know our diversity drives our cities’ economies and makes us all stronger.”

“It’s only common sense to bridge a gap between our government agencies and a segment of the population that already lives here and contributes to our communities and local economies. Why not embrace a policy that would fully integrate undocumented immigrants and at the same time bolster the country’s economy?” said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Immigration Reform Task Force. “I’m confident the President’s Executive Action will prevail and I look forward to implementing its measures in Hartford.”

By filing this brief, America’s mayors and county executives are taking steps to make a statement to support the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults.

Canyon News spoke with Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown via email.

When asked what impact specifically will immigration reform have on the City of Santa Monica if the President’s executive order is implemented, Mayor McKeown responded, “For cities big and small, immigration reform will help our local economies and protect families. Throughout America’s history, immigrants have proven to be hard workers and productive community members. The President’s Executive Order will stop the breakup of immigrant families, and reduce the climate of fear in which many of those families must currently struggle to survive.”