Appeals Court Judges’ Message to Millions of Immigrants:

There Will Be No Relief from Threat of Deportation

June 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Young Mexican boy watches Border Patrol on New Mexico side of border fence
Young Mexican boy watches Border Patrol on New Mexico side of border fence. AP photo

On Tuesday, May 26, a three-judge federal appeals court panel in New Orleans agreed to continue to block implementation of President Obama’s executive action on immigration issued in November 2014. Obama’s order—Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA—would allow between 4 to 5 million parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to put off deportation and receive temporary work permits, in exchange for “coming out of the shadows” and registering with the government. By upholding the stay issued in February 2015 by a federal district judge in Brownsville, Texas, these judges are telling millions of immigrant families there will be no relief from the constant fear and dread that at any time, for something as minor as a traffic ticket, their lives can be devastated—tearing parents, grandparents, children, and relatives from each other through forced deportation.

The lawsuit against Obama’s immigration order was filed on behalf of 26 states, including Texas. Fifteen other states, including California, had filed briefs arguing on behalf of Obama’s executive action. But the appeals court judges ruled that every state must comply with their order not to go ahead with implementation of DAPA. The judges’ decision to uphold the injunction by the district court judge said they were “compelled” by the lawsuit’s claim that the states would suffer “harm” if the executive order went ahead, pointing to the cost of providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. They also were “compelled” by the argument in the lawsuit that granting “lawful presence” to a group of people here illegally went beyond Obama’s executive discretion—that this issue had to go before Congress.

It cannot be forgotten that despite Obama’s words and promises, he has presided over more deportations, by far, than any president in U.S. history. He has bragged about continuing to flood military, police, and legal forces to an already heavily militarized U.S./Mexico border. And he’s done nothing to counter the racist immigrant baiting and demonization coming from an increasingly reactionary right-wing opposition.

While Obama's proposed DAPA program would give a temporary reprieve to millions who are forced to live in the shadows, under constant fear, there is no promise that they won’t be deported in the future. But the decision by the appeals court judges, as well as the legal action taken by those states fighting to have DAPA defeated, will be horrific to the lives of millions of immigrants; it is completely unjust, and must be resisted. And this fight must be waged in the context of the overall struggle against the demonization, criminalization, and deportations of immigrants and the militarization of the border.

As we wrote following the district judge’s order in February:

After Obama’s executive order last November, countless people had held out hope that years of hard work, living under the endless threat of deportation, and pervasive repression and discrimination would come to an end for them with DAPA. Now a rug has been pulled from under their feet. Many people had publicly announced they are in the country without papers and were going to apply for DAPA—meaning they have bravely declared themselves to be “illegal” and put themselves in the glare of a public spotlight expecting a temporary reprieve. But now that hope has been snatched away. ["Lives of Millions of Immigrants Hang in the Balance with Federal Judge’s Order"]

Reaction: Swift, and Angry

Reaction to the ruling was swift, and in many cases angry, especially from those who have been leading the most determined actions and protests against deportations in recent years. Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON (National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network), issued a statement that said in part:

Immigrants detained and being prepared for deportation to Mexico
Immigrants detained and being prepared for deportation to Mexico. AP photo

While not unexpected, the decision today is a wakeup call for immigrants who thought that relief would be handed down from above. It will not. Both the laws on the books and the application of those laws by the Obama Administration are unjust… Millions of immigrants living and working in the U.S. are being systematically deprived of rights afforded to previous generations, and the only way forward is on the same path that got us here… we must continue to organize and demand nothing less than full equality.

At the same time, the movement Not One More Deportation, on the day of the ruling released statements issued by leaders of their local groups in Phoenix; Philadelphia; Seattle; Atlanta; Los Angeles; Orange County, Calif.; and New Orleans saying in part, “Once more the so-called judicial system has failed to deliver justice. We cannot count on the same government that oppresses us to deliver justice for us.…"

Increasing Struggle at the Top over Immigration

The most likely outcome at this point is that Obama’s executive order, once expected to be implemented by now, is all but dead in the water. The Justice Department says it will give up trying to get the stay lifted and will not take it to the Supreme Court, a decision sharply criticized by some pro-immigrant rights groups. Instead, the Justice Department will argue against the challenge to the executive order in the 5th District Court that begins oral arguments in July. But legal experts expect that a final settlement, even if the executive order is ruled legal, will come so close to the 2016 presidential elections that there will be too little time, and too much controversy, to go ahead.

All of this points to the increasing concern, controversy, and battling among the rulers of this system over what to do about the more than 10 million immigrants in this country illegally. As we have written, Obama has been “moving to break a deadlock within the ruling class over how best to repress, monitor and control the most heavily exploited and among the potentially most politically volatile sections of immigrants. Different sections of the U.S. rulers have been locked in a bitter, protracted conflict over policy towards immigrants and immigration that centers on how to best protect and extend the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system they all represent, while sustaining deep exploitation of immigrant workers.”(See "Obama’s Immigration Moves – and the Need for Increased Resistance")

Points of Orientation

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

Further vicious attacks by this system on immigrants are sure to come. The deportations, the militarization of the border, the jailing even of children, the horrendous conditions in the immigration prisons, and the police murders, will continue. And the contention within the ruling class over the best way to control and exploit them will intensify even further. At this moment, these points of orientation are more important than ever:

  1. The courageous struggle immigrants have waged for many years to be treated and respected as full human beings with rights—and support for this struggle by many others—must continue and deepen. Waiting for the “courts and politicians to work things out” would be a deadly mistake. The sit-ins, the marches and rallies, the cultural expressions, the hunger strikes, and other forms demanding an end to deportations, repression, and brutal assaults on the border must become more widespread and determined.
  2. All attacks on immigrants—from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and Border Patrol officials, from police and the National Guard, from heavily armed vigilantes prowling the border to mobs of frenzied racists—must be vigorously opposed, wherever they occur, by all sections of the people.
  3. Revolutionary communists and others building the movement for revolution should take on the attacks on immigrants as a crucial component of preparing for a revolution capable of STOPPING all the crimes of this capitalist-imperialist system—police murder and brutality, patriarchal degradation of women, wars of empire, and destruction of the planet.

STOP the Demonization, Criminalization, and Deportation of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!


Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.



"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

Andy Zee,
co-director of the film


BA Speaks

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13

Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

What Humanity Needs

At the beginning of 2012, an in-depth interview with Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, was conducted over a period of several days by A. Brooks, a younger generation revolutionary who has been inspired by the leadership and body of work of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism this has brought forward.

Special Issue

People need the truth about the communist revolution. The REAL truth. At a time when people are rising up in many places all over the world and seeking out ways forward, THIS alternative is ruled out of order. At a time when even more people are agonizing over and raising big questions about the future, THIS alternative is constantly slandered and maligned and lied about, while those who defend it are given no space to reply.

Contains Interview with Raymond Lotta, Timeline of The REAL History of Communist Revolution, and more...