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Washington State Undocumented Immigrants Call Supreme Court Ruling 'Devastating'

ImmigrantElaTinoco.jpg
Paula Wissel
/
KPLU
Ela Tinoco speaks at news conference at federal courthouse in Seattle on Thursday, June 23.

People in Washington State who would have benefited from President Obama’s plan to stop deportations of some undocumented immigrants are expressing disappointment. The United States Supreme Court effectively blocked implementation of the plan that would have allowed parents of children here legally to stay in the U.S. as well. Just hours after the decision was announced the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project held a news conference on the steps of the federal courthouse in Seattle.

Ela Tinoco, speaking through an interpreter, denounced the Supreme Court decision.

"This is a devastating day  for me and for all of the immigrant community that had put our faith and hope on the President’s executive action. We had hoped for a favorable outcome today," she said.

Tinoco, who came to the U.S. after fleeing violence in her home country of Honduras, says undocumented immigrants like herself often wait years for the U.S. to act on their petitions to stay.

It's estimated there are 80,000 people in Washington state who could have benefited from President Obama's plan.

Many who spoke said they will turn their attention to the upcoming election. Seattle City Council member Lorena Gonzalez says, in light of the Supreme Court decision, it’s time to double down.

“Double down on making sure that immigrants who are citizens register to vote. Double down on making sure they vote," she said.

Gonzalez says changing the make up of Congress is the best way to make sure that immigration reform happens.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.