State College

State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham files brief supporting Obama on immigration

With the help of Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights, State College has thrown its support behind an attempt by the U.S. Department of Justice to overturn a freeze on President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

In February, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of Obama’s executive orders related to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents prorgam. Hanen ruled that the orders had exceeded the scope of its statutory authority.

The center has been working with the mayor’s office to educate the community on the executive action immigration programs, Penn State Law spokesman Wyatt DuBois said in a news release. Center Director Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia and law students Jose Figueroa and Tulsi Patel provided legal analysis and support to Mayor Elizabeth Goreham on the programs.

In support of the president’s actions, Goreham signed a national amicus brief, which was filed with the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, DuBois said. The brief was signed by more than 70 mayors, cities and counties across the country supporting the Department of Justice.

“The amici — as mayors, county officials, and local governments from all across the nation — have a compelling interest in demonstrating that the district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction is strongly contrary to the public interest,” the brief said. “Local officials witness every day the contributions that immigrants make to their neighborhoods and communities, as well as the harms that result from keeping longtime residents of those neighborhoods and communities in the shadows due to their immigration status.”

A delay in implementing executive action harms cities and counties, the brief said, by delaying benefits of the action like increasing public safety, fueling economic growth and promoting family unity.

“It means a lot to me to have participated in some small way to support the president’s actions,” Goreham said in the release.

Penn State law professors have filed a second amicus brief with the Court of Appeals joining a total of 109 professors from across the country supporting programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and DAPA, DuBois said.

Oral arguments are scheduled for April 17.

Goreham and immigration center students will discuss the DACA and DAPA programs with the community at the April 20 Borough Council meeting, he said.