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Ahead of hearing on Obama's immigration order, group holds vigil in New Orleans

Friday, 17 April 2015

Between chants of, "No papers, no fear" and "Yes, we can," several New Orleans immigrants gathered in Lafayette Square Thursday (April 16) night spoke emotionally about the positive impact President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration would have on their lives.

More than 100 community members and religious leaders rallied across from the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals where judges on Friday will hear oral arguments on Obama's immigration order. The order, issued in November, would prevent nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria from being deported.

Immigration rally in New Orleans

Advocates for immigrants' rights gathered near the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The court will hear oral arguments on Friday, April 17, in a case involving President Obama's executive order on immigration.

"It's a lot at stake in this hearing because millions of people are depending on this decision," said Fernando Lopez, one of the organizers of the New Orleans rally. The event Thursday included a candlelight vigil.

A Texas judge in February issued an injunction that temporarily blocked the president's order in response to a lawsuit filed by 25 states -- including Louisiana.

The 5th Circuit judges aren't expected to make a ruling Friday.

Lopez said he's not counting on his group's efforts to sway the judges, but he hoped their presence might raise awareness in the community.

"It's not only (about) papers, it's not only about becoming documented," he said. "It's about human dignity and justice and recognizing the contributions of the immigrant community."

Several at Thursday's rally held signs defending the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) plan, which allows undocumented citizens to remain in the United States if they meet certain criteria. Speakers encouraged their peers to keep fighting so DAPA could help more people.

Several who attended the vigil Thursday are members of the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice's Congress of Day Laborers. The group formed after Hurricane Katrina in response to "abuse that the day laborers were going through after they came and helped rebuild the city," Lopez said.

The group plans to have a rally Friday on the courthouse steps, he said. He said he expects about 300 people would join the group from out of town.

Source: Nola.com

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