Photo Courtesy of CHIRLA

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Southland immigration advocates and many elected officials hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday, Jan. 20, to review a legal challenge that has stalled President Barack Obama’s executive orders extending deportation protection to an estimated 4 million people.

“Immigrants have always been vital to our nation’s spirit of innovation, ingenuity and inclusiveness,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to review Texas v. United States brings us another step closer to more fully integrating those residents into American life. I urge the justices to reach a decision that preserves family bonds across our country and speaks to the best of who we are as Americans.”

CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles) held a news conference with impacted families following the announcement.

Executive Director Angelica Salas has been a longtime advocate for immigrants.  Salas has pointed out that families have been forced to flee their home countries and then forced to live in the shadows in the United States.

“Violence and social instability in the Central American isthmus is not a made up concoction,” Salas said. “Thousands upon thousands of children, young people, and women face institutionalized and gang violence, torture, sexual assault, and death every year in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. That this deadly reality is not a major trigger for migration to the U.S. especially for women, children, and young men, is beyond comprehension.”

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, said she was among those who urged Obama to issue the executive orders in the first place, and she is looking forward to

the review by the nation’s highest court.

“Allowing these aspiring Americans to continue to work and contribute without fear of deportation or being separated from their families is the right thing to do morally, economically and legally,” Chu said. “I am confident that the Supreme Court will uphold President Obama’s programs as lawful exercises of executive discretion.”

In May 2015, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel in New Orleans upheld an injunction issued in February by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of

Texas. That injunction was issued in response to lawsuits filed by 26 states seeking to halt Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

The legal wrangling has suspended implementation of a program that would extend work permits and protection against deportation to parents of U.S.-born children and expand an existing program for immigrants who arrived illegally as children. The programs — often referred to by their acronyms,

DAPA and DACA — would affect an estimated half-million Angelenos.

The three-justice panel ruled that the states had sufficient legal ground to bring suit and that the administration failed to show it would be harmed by further delays.

Los Angeles and more than 80 other cities and counties across the country signed on to legal pleadings asking the Supreme Court to review the case.

“The DACA/DAPA programs have the potential to change the circumstances for many undocumented individuals without legal status in the United States,”

Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo said. “In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, we must take incremental steps to move people out of the shadows.”

California Attorney General Kamala Harris also hailed the decision, calling it “a great day for California and the entire nation.”

“DAPA and expanded DACA, which were a lawful exercise of the president’s authority, will bring law-abiding immigrant families out of the shadows, boost our economy and make communities safer,” Harris said.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, leader of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said that, speaking as a pastor, the fear of deportation makes life intolerable for millions of families.

“The executive actions at issue in this case are temporary and they are no substitute for the comprehensive immigration reform our country needs,”

Gomez said. “But these actions would be a measure of mercy, providing peace of mind to nearly 9 million people, including 4.5 million children.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, one of three supervisors who voted last year to join an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court’s review, added her support.

“Now is the time to embrace our immigrants because they are vital contributors to our society,” Solis said.

However, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who supported the Texas injunction, said the Supreme Court should find the president “clearly lacks statutory authority to change the law without Congressional action.”

While Antonovich said he supports legal immigration as “vital to our nation’s economy and culture,” he added that “illegal immigration costs county taxpayers nearly $2 billion dollars a year and siphons resources away from services for legal immigrants and county residents.”