Battle over immigration policy before Supreme Court sparks trending hashtag campaign

Posted April 21
Updated April 22

#FightForFamilies was trending Monday morning on Twitter as the Supreme Court of the United States began hearing oral arguments on whether the president can provide deportation relief for some illegal aliens, including parents of children born here. (Deseret Photo)

#FightForFamilies was tending on Twitter Monday as people on both sides of the immigration issue expressed opinions as the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in the case.

At issue is whether President Barack Obama can unilaterally decide to halt deportation for certain types of illegal immigrants. As the Wall Street Journal (paywall) explained: "The plan, known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, or DAPA, would provide work authorizations and a temporary reprieve on deportation to millions of illegal immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens. It has been tied up in litigation since shortly after it was announced by Mr. Obama."

Twenty-six states have challenged the plan, but the WSJ article said, "The Obama administration has defended the policy, announced in November 2014, and argued the states opposed to the plan haven’t established the necessary legal standing to challenge it in court."

According to the Associated Press, "The Supreme Court appeared divided between its liberal and conservative justices Monday over President Barack Obama's immigration programs that could affect millions of people who are in the country illegally."

The article suggested that "the administration's best hope for a favorable ruling" could be in the hands of Chief Justice John Roberts, whose questions suggested "he could side with the administration if there were a small change in the proposed programs."

At issue could be the words "lawful presence," a phrase used by the administration to refer to immigrant status. Solicitor general Donald Verrilli Jr. suggested those words could be stricken by the court and the issue would be resolved, AP reported, while it said that lawyers representing those opposed to the president's immigration strategy disagreed and said it would be more complex than that.

It's predicted the court will issue a ruling sometime in June.

The hashtag campaign was launched by advocacy groups on social media. They asked supporters to use #FightforFamilies or #UnfreezeDAPA on Facebook and Twitter.

In its blog, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said that in addition to the hashtag campaign, "Busloads of immigrant community members, activists, advocates, and allies from several points along the East Coast and Southeast will travel to D.C., while rallies will also take place in many other cities around the country" to support the deportation relief programs.

The Daily Dot reported Monday morning that "Police arrested dozens of people at a protest in front of the White House Thursday for engaging in an act of large-scale civil disobedience. The demonstration, which was dubbed Fight for Families, denounced the deportations of undocumented immigrants that separate children, who are often born in the United States, from their undocumented parents."

Meanwhile, both sides were chiming in on Twitter using the hashtag. Both Democrat presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, tweeted under the hashtag expressing support for keeping the families together, for instance.

Not everyone agreed, in what has been a lively Twitter debate. The Heritage Foundation tweet said "Madison warned against one person deciding for the entire nation what the law shall be. #FightForFamilies.

Conservative blogger and DAPA critic Michelle Malkin made several tweets, including "#FightforFamilies is open-borders hashtag whitewashing Obama's radical executive overreach on amnesty/work permits."

By noon Monday, there were more than 22,600 tweets using the hashtag in a lively discussion of the issue.

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