Families rally ahead of Supreme Court immigration hearing Monday

Posted at 11:13 PM, Apr 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-17 23:13:46-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dozens of families gathered inside Hope Academy of West Michigan Sunday afternoon, preparing for the 12 hour journey to Washington D.C. where they're headed to show support for an executive order on immigration being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2014, President Obama's executive action created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DAPA would provide families with U.S. born children protection from being deported, while DACA would allow undocumented immigrants an opportunity to obtain American citizenship.

The executive actions announced by President Obama were intended to crack down on illegal immigration at our nation's border. The immigrants who would benefit from the administration’s plan are mainly the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

"This is something that I feel strongly about," said Erica Soto, as she waited to board a bus to Washington D.C. "Not just as a Latina, but as a human being who believes in family and the unity of family. That is all we want, for these families to have their families together and united."

The case to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday morning is known as United States v. Texas. Texas is one of 25 states which attempted to block Obama's executive action. Included in the list is Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette who is also challenging Obama's executive action.

"This is a nation of immigrants. We've come here to build on America and continue the values of an American. That's why this is the land of the free and the American dream," said Gema Lowe from the Workers Center of West Michigan.

Three buses from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Detroit will join hundreds of thousands of supporters in Washington D.C. Michigan United, a non-profit fighting for the dignity and potential of every person, helped sponsor the trip for the immigration reform activists.

"If they (immigrants) are citizens who are here that are working hard, who want to provide for their families, and live lives as outstanding citizens, then I don’t think its anybody’s right to take that way from them," Soto said.

For 16-year-old Miguel Zavala-Silva, a Grand Rapids high schooler, the harsh reality of deportation is all too real for his father.

"It's going to be really hard for us because he’s my dad," said Zavala-Silva. "He helps us out, he’s my role model, of course I have to support him. If he leaves, we have to go to Mexico too."

"Were not here to ruffle feathers, were just there to open the country’s eyes and the governments eyes to the fact that there are real families that need to be together here no matter what," Soto said.

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February could complicate an already politically decisive case. A tie vote in the high court would leave the appeals court ruling in place, essentially throwing out Obama's executive again.

A decision is expected by June.