Members of the the Texas Organizing Project, Service Employees International Union of Texas, and Domesticas Unidas gathered at the John H. Wood Federal Courthouse Building on January 14, 2015, to oppose Governor-elect Greg Abbott lawsuit against President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.
San Antonio community and immigration organizations are coming together to oppose Greg Abbott's lawsuit against President Barack Obama's immigration executive action as a federal district judge in South Texas prepares to hear the case in a Brownsville courtroom tomorrow.
The Texas Organizing Project, Service Employees International Union of Texas, and Domesticas Unidas, which represents domestic workers such as housekeepers and dishwashers, gathered at the San Antonio federal courthouse Wednesday to call on our Governor-elect to drop his lawsuit, which claims Obama's order is outside the scope of his authority.
In November, Obama announced a plan to provide temporary relief for nearly 5 million undocumented adults—many parents of children—and allow them to apply to work in the United States throughout fear of deportation. In what felt like seconds after Obama made his announcement, Abbott vowed to sue the President, and 24 other states joined him.
Joaquin Guerra, political director with the statewide Texas Organizing Project, called Abbott's lawsuit a political stunt that would tear families apart.
"This lawsuit is a direct attack on immigrant families," he said, adding that this is par for the course for Abbott, who has defended other state laws found to be discriminatory, such as the recent voter identification law. "We're here to say 'No, drop the lawsuit.'"
Teresa Barajas with Domesticas Unidas said many of the undocumented women the organization represents work long hours for little pay and are often threatened with deportation by their employers. Obama's executive action would provide an avenue for them to come forward and find better-paying jobs.
Employers "pay them very little and threaten to call immigration," she said. "They have to clean houses because they cannot go anywhere else."
Also this week, the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress passed an omnibus immigration bill that includes language to reverse Obama's recent executive action as well at the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects children born to undocumented parents.
Marina Saenz Luna remembers her father having to start from zero after he finally became a U.S. citizen. As an undocumented farm worker, he didn't have access to a bank account or a well-paying job, she said.
"The trauma that he dealt with 30 years ago is something that still affects us ... we lived in poverty," she said. "These cycles just continue to repeat, so we feel it's time to end that cycle."