With Obama Immigration Overhaul In Peril, Supporters Of Plan Turn To Prayer

Supreme Court Will Determine Fate Of Obama's Executive Action

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Supporters of immigrants rights in Milwaukee turned to prayer Thursday in hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up President Barack Obama’s effort to allow millions of undocumented residents stay in the U.S.

About 25 people gathered in front of a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a religious symbol of hope. Sam Singleton-Freeman of the group Voces de la Frontera led a prayer, asking that the court see it fit to “take up this important matter of Deferred Action, and rule in favor of justice.”

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability is the president’s plan to allow law-abiding nonresident parents of U.S. citizens to apply to stay here legally. Many conservatives, including Gov. Scott Walker, have fought the plan, saying that it represents an executive overreach.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

At the governor’s behest, Wisconsin joined 25 other states in a lawsuit challenging the plan last year. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that Obama’s sweeping immigration system overhaul could not go forward. Now, the Supreme Court is deciding whether it will intervene.

Milwaukee resident Pedro Martinez said he believes prayer can work.

“Prayer can move mountains, and can move minds that sometimes are not accordant with the needs of the people,” he said.

The event included a reading of names of people that Voces de la Frontera said have been recently deported from Milwaukee, or are in immigration detention while waiting for the president’s executive order to take effect. As Julio Arellano read the names, the gathering said “presente,” to symbolize that the deported are remembered. In all, 21 names were read.

Voces de la Frontera and other immigrant rights groups around the U.S. say they plan more prayer vigils and other events, ahead of when the Supreme Court decides whether to take the Deferred Action case.