Talking about the Supreme Court’s Decision in U.S. v. Texas


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Messaging Memo
Published: 2016

On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4 to 4 decision in United States v. Texas, regarding the constitutionality of President Obama’s executive actions protecting millions of families from deportation and detention. These actions sought to expand  the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and create Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). Because there was a split decision, the lower courts’ decisions to block these programs will stand.

In consultation with immigrant, human rights and social justice leaders around the country, The Opportunity Agenda offers the following messaging advice for talking about the decision with key audiences:

Topline Message: Although the Court’s split decision sets no Supreme Court precedent, these important, commonsense policies will unfortunately  remain blocked nationwide for now.  That’s a setback for our entire nation, and puts millions of families in danger of being torn apart, disrupting communities and our economy. While the outcome  is deeply disappointing, it does not impact the President’s earlier DACA 2012 action, which was not at issue in this case.

Focus on Communication Goals: Our goals for talking about the case include:

  • Framing the decision accurately to offer maximum protection and reach to affected families and individuals;
  • Activating our base of supporters to push for permanent legislative relief and rights protections;
  • Explaining the real-world implications and options to affected communities; and
  • Moving undecided audiences to support the full inclusion and human rights of immigrants, irrespective of today’s decision.

Frame Communications around the Following Themes:

  • Commonsense  approaches that uphold our nation’s values and move  us forward together.
  • Community,  Family, Pragmatism, and Basic Human Rights.
  • The need for Congress to legislate a roadmap to citizenship and human rights protections.
  • The President’s earlier DACA 2012 action was not at issue in this case.