California to SCOTUS: Immigrants Are Integral To Us

On Tuesday, March 8, California business, civic, educational, and religious leaders submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in the controversial case, United States v. Texas. In their brief, they pleaded with the justices that immigrants are not only integral to their state, but are the backbone of their economy.

Today, immigration is more divisive than ever before. Some individuals believe that immigrants are all a bunch of criminals. Others believe that allowing undocumented immigrants to stay will only lead to a steep rise in the unemployment rate for American citizens.

Even the very blue state of California, has its crazies who do not want immigrants in their backyard. For example, just last week in Los Angeles county, white supremacists attacked Latino teenagers while shouting ‘Heil Hitler.’  And last May, a Silverlake, California councilwoman openly expressed that Mexicans are the cause of all the destruction she sees in her neighborhood while sharing her opinion that Mexicans should work as slaves.

California, however, has made various bi-partisan efforts to include all immigrants, native and undocumented, into their society. They were overjoyed when President Barack Obama took executive action with Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).

Of course, not everyone was thrilled with the President, including Texas who took the Obama Administration to court. After the 5th Circuit agreed with Texas, the United States appealed. SCOTUS is now scheduled to hear oral arguments on April 18, in United States v. Texas.

Besides the constitutional questions with regard to executive power, Texas is alleging that if these programs are allowed, it would be an acceptance of undocumented immigrants who are too much of a burden on their state.

California leaders, on the other hand, believe that all immigrants are a blessing on their economy.

In their amicus brief, the leaders boast that:

In the last half-century, California has attracted more immigrants—and done more to grapple with immigration policy—than any other State.

They provided the following numbers on their immigrant population:

  • California is home to one-fourth of the nation’s immigrant population and home to one-quarter of the nation’s undocumented immigrants
  • California immigrants make up 40 percent of its population, with seven percent who are undocumented

Despite the large number of immigrants, the brief states that:

“[I]mmigrant workers tend to complement native workers rather than compete with them, filling jobs that native workers often decline to take.”

This corrects the mistaken belief that undocumented workers are taking away American jobs or are just a bunch of criminals. Instead, undocumented and native workers spend the money they earn, which ultimately goes directly back into California’s economy.

Further, the leaders claim that:

[T]he undocumented workforce alone contributes $130 billion to California’s gross domestic product (GDP) — an amount larger than the entire respective GDPs of 19 other states.

That is just the undocumented workforce; this does not include those immigrants who have work visas, or their “green cards.”

Though some Californians are not so welcoming of immigrants, the leaders of California are striving to make bi-partisan efforts to be inclusive and accommodate all of California’s inhabitants, which they believe will result in “stronger, safer, and more prosperous communities.”

The California leaders believe and have plead with SCOTUS that one way to continue strengthening their state is by overturning the 5th Circuit’s decision in United States v. Texas and allowing DACA and DAPA to proceed.

Hopefully SCOTUS will pay heed to these California leaders who have witnessed first hand how integral all immigrants are to our society.

Featured image is by Michael Righi under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.