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Student Union Encourages Social Workers to Act Now in Support of Recent Supreme Court Rulings

June 19, 2020

Dear SSW community,

"At the Michigan SSW Social Work We Believe... Black Lives Matter, Womxn's Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Love is Love, Environmental Justice is Social Justice, Community is Everything."

- ABSW Inclusion Sign in McGregor Commons

Student Union would like to share and highlight the good news of the Supreme Court rulings that have a substantial impact on traditionally marginalized folx and communities, many of whom hold intersectional identities making this week's decisions much more meaningful.

LGBTQ Rights

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," but it did not specifically name sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes. On Monday, June 15, 2020, The Supreme Court ruled that employers cannot fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There were 3 cases before the court by employees - Gerald Bostock, Donald Zarda, and the third case was brought by Aimee Stephens. Donald and Aimee have passed away before the decision was made. Aimee Stephens had worked for six years as a male funeral director in Livonia, Michigan, but was fired two weeks after she told her boss that she was transgender and would be coming to work as a woman.

Nearly half the states in the country have no legal protection for LGBTQ employees. Now, the federal law will protect employees in those states from firing and other adverse employment decisions made on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

DACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that grants temporary protection from deportation and legal work authorization to eligible immigrant youth/young adults who came to the United States when they were children. The program expires after two years and is subject to renewal. It was established in 2012 under the Obama administration. In 2010, over 840,000 calls, emails, and in-person support and over 81,000 petitions were delivered to the Senate. It is the representation of unity and activism led by the youth for one of the biggest wins for immigrant rights in recent history. As of December 2019, there were 650,000 active DACA recipients.

The lawsuit(s) filed to the Supreme Court

  • In September 2017, The Trump administration announced that it was terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
  • Several lawsuits were filed against the Trump administration for terminating DACA unlawfully.
  • In June 2019, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear three of the cases challenging the DACA termination: Regents of the University of California, Batalla Vidal, and NAACP
  • Yesterday, June 18, 2020, in a 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration's attempt to end the DACA program. Specifically, it claimed that the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and infringed the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause.

For our undocumented and DACAmented community, we can't understand the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty that has plagued you during this unprecedented time. Home is Here and YOU are Here to Stay.

"Today's decision allows Dreamers to breathe a temporary sigh of relief," said Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr of Cornell Law School. "The administration may try to terminate the DACA program with a better justification, but that will take months or years. In the meantime, Congress should enact permanent relief for Dreamers to end this drama once and for all." Although this victory is historic and celebrated - there is work still needed to be done. The fight for justice is not over. In addition, having to cope with the 2017 Trump administration's decision to rescind, DACA recipients have had to experience extreme emotional trauma and labor. For the last few years, DREAMers have had to fight for their livelihood while trying to continue with school, work, and during a global pandemic. They have had to share and justify why they deserve to be here.

We want to point out that DACA does NOT provide a path to citizenship. The Trump administration's attempted rescission of DACA has put pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation. This led to the American Dream & Promise Act of 2019. H.R. 6 which would provide a pathway for legal status to DREAMers and beneficiaries of two humanitarian programs: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) H.R. 6. (Passed House on June 4, 2019)

As emerging social workers, in a variety of fields, it is our responsibility to fight alongside the communities we work with and against the injustices that threaten our core ethics of humanity.

Action Steps for Allies/Social Work Community

  • Donate to orgs aiding and supporting LGBTQIA+ folx
  • Pronouns
  • Acknowledge the intersectionality of Black trans lives - protect folx while they are still here with us!
  • Donate to orgs aiding and supporting undocumented immigrants
    • Local to Michigan
      • SCOPE GoFund Me: The Student Community of Progressive Empowerment (SCOPE) at the University of Michigan is looking for your support in order to provide emergency financial resources to undocumented and DACA students at the University of Michigan who have been adversely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.
      • Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR)
      • Cosecha
      • Michigan Immigrants Rights Center (MIRC)
  • Check out the University of Michigan Undocumented Students website for information and resources for current and prospective undocumented and DACAmented students.
  • Shifting the language used by labeling people as illegal. Instead, use the term undocumented. An 'undocumented immigrant' refers to anyone residing in any given country without the country's required documentation.

As Student Union, we celebrate alongside the communities who find comfort with the Supreme Court decisions and understand the fight continues for justice. We are here to support you.

- Student Union

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