Mayors de Blasio and Garcetti Announce Mayoral Coalition to File Amicus Brief in Support of President Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Reform

January 23, 2015

More than 30 mayors sign on in Texas vs. United States in defense of President Obama’s reform action

WASHINGTON—Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles announced today plans by more than 30 mayors to file an amicus brief in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit to support President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform. The brief opposes a lawsuit pending in Brownsville, TX brought by states seeking to block President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.

The two mayors led the effort to organize more than 30 cities, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in filing a brief arguing that the public interest across the country is served clearly and overwhelmingly by implementing immigration reform by executive action. The brief also argues that blocking executive action with preliminary injunction will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies. The cities represented by the amici mayors together account for approximately 28.2 million people, including 7.5 million immigrants.

“Our mission is urgent. Delaying implementation of the President’s executive action will further hurt our families, negatively impact our economies, and create unnecessary insecurity in our communities,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Cities are where immigrants live, and cities are where the President’s executive action will be successfully executed. We are organized, and we will fight for the changes this nation needs and deserves, and fight those who oppose immigration reform, be it in the courtroom, in Congress, or in our communities. Our voices will be heard.”

“Our cities cannot afford delays to immigration reforms that will strengthen our economy and help families,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who established a Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “This isn’t a blue or red issue, but a human and economic one.”

This joint effort to offer the court the crucial perspective of American cities is an outcome of the December immigration summit hosted by Mayor Bill de Blasio at Gracie Mansion and the organizing efforts of the Cities United for Immigration Action (CUIA) coalition. By submitting this “friend of the court” brief, America’s mayors are making a strong statement in support of the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults. The amicus brief will demonstrate to the Court that executive action will benefit cities by providing work authorization to millions, increasing local tax revenue, and stimulating local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together, and improving public safety by strengthening our neighborhoods and communities.  

In December, 25 states led by Republican governors brought a lawsuit captioned Texas vs. United States in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, seeking to halt the implementation of the President’s executive action. In response, a group of 12 states in January joined by the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief challenging the lawsuit by arguing that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ claims, the President’s immigration reform will in fact “further the public interest” of states and their residents, both immigrants and citizens. A group of 27 law enforcement leaders and other groups have also filed amicus briefs in support of the President’s executive action on immigration reform.

This is the first submission to the court from the city perspective.

“San Francisco is proud to file an Amicus Brief joining cities large and small from across the country and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to support our President’s bold action on immigration and create the change to help our residents succeed,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrant parents, this issue is very personal to me. Mayors must lead on this reform to provide all of our residents with hope, opportunities, and the services they deserve. We know our diversity drives our cities’ economies and makes us all stronger.”

“The President’s executive action on immigration is a step forward for America,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “We need to support his efforts to address our broken immigration system.”

“Filing an Amicus Brief is our way of saying: Pittsburgh stands on the right side of history. The President’s action on immigration was an important first step towards progress—for the growth and prosperity of our nation. We must not go backwards,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.

“The City of Dayton is proud to be a leader in welcoming people from diverse backgrounds to its community,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “This order will strengthen our commitment to inclusion by allowing all residents to fully participate and help grow the economic vitality of the region. It is essential that all citizens feel safe and engaged in the place they call home.”

“This proposal is fair, economically beneficial for everyone, and the right thing to do,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

“Right now, our immigration system invites the best and brightest from all over the world to come and study at our top universities, including Washington University and St. Louis University, and then once they’ve gotten the training they need to build a new invention or create a new business, our system too often tells them to go back home so that other countries can reap the benefits, the new jobs, the new businesses, the new industries,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “It’s evidence of the broken system we have today and why we must fight to fix it.”

“Fixing our immigration system is the right thing to do for the people that through hard work contribute to the economic prosperity of our cities,” said Minneapolis Mayor Hodges “President Obama took a bold step in the right direction by easing the burden for some of those that  currently live in the shadows. I am proud to stand with Mayor’s De Blasio , Garcetti and many  others in support of the President’s executive action on immigration.”

“We are proud to file this Amicus Brief joining numerous cities in support of President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Reform,  these efforts will ensure that immigrant communities feel welcomed and integrated,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “ By doing so, we maximize the contributions immigrants make to our city, build stronger ties between immigrants and non-immigrants, and increase the safety of our neighborhoods.”

"We stand with President Obama for a commonsense policy that is supported by a majority of Americans - to give millions of young people a chance to go to school and to work in the only country they've ever known. We must keep parents and their children together.  In Seattle, we welcome all immigrants in our community who want to work hard, contribute to our city and be part of the fabric of American life.  When we do this, we act on our deepest values and support a stronger economy for all Seattle families," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

National Organizations:

National League of Cities
United States Conference of Mayors


Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, New York
Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, California
Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Georgia
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, Maryland
Mayor Byron Brown of Buffalo, New York
Mayor James Diossa of Central Falls, Rhode Island
Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Illinois
Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina
Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio
Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver, Colorado
Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C.
Mayor Riley Rogers of Dolton, Illinois
Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford, Connecticut
Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, Texas
Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, New Jersey
Mayor Paul Soglin of Madison, Wisconsin
Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, New Jersey
Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California
Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mayor Charles Hales, on behalf of the City Council of the City of Portland, Oregon
Mayor Jorge O. Elorza of Providence, Rhode Island
Mayor John Dickert of Racine, Wisconsin
Mayor Tom Butt of Richmond California
Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, New York
Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City, Utah
Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, California
Mayor Gary McCarthy of Schenectady, New York
Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle, Washington
Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, Missouri
Mayor Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, Washington
Mayor Mike Spano of Yonkers, New York

The following mayors have expressed their support but were not able to formally file at this time:

Mayor Karen Majewski, Hamtramck, Michigan
Mayor Virg Bernero, Lansing, Michigan
Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix, Arizona
Mayor Nelda Martinez, Corpus Christi, Texas
Mayor Dayne Walling, Flint

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