NASW disappointed by U.S. Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

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The U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 failed to act on deciding the fate of millions of undocumented families whose legal status had been in limbo since Texas challenged President Obama’s executive action which sought to limit the risk of deportation of parents of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The President’s executive action, referred to as Deferred Action for Parents of and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), would have allowed as many as five million parents of DACA children to “come of the shadows” without fear of deportation. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie in the ruling means the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision will remain in effect and these parents are again at risk of being deported.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) had joined a number of national child welfare organizations on an amicus brief in support of Obama’s DAPA executive action. Therefore, we are deeply disappointed about the ruling.

If the court had ruled as NASW and other advocates had wished it would have prevented millions of families from experiencing emotional and economic insecurity caused by the fear of deportation. These children were also born in the United States and have long been a part of our communities

Finally, it is very important to point out that courts matter. That the Texas v. United States case ended in a 4-4 tie is directly related to the Senate Judiciary Committee Republican leadership’s refusal to grant a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland. NASW has been involved with urging the Senate to bring the Supreme to its full constitutional level of functioning.

Hopefully, the Senate will move ahead with confirming Judge Garland. In that event, NASW agrees with leading immigration advocates in urging the U.S. Department of Justice to seek a rehearing when a ninth justice is confirmed for the Supreme Court.

For more information on this issue contact NASW Social Justice and Human Rights Manager Mel Wilson at or visit the websites of the National Immigration Law Center and First Focus.


  1. I’m glad to read that there are other conservative social workers who feel that NASW is an arm of the Democratic Party that has been infiltrated by socialists and communists. “Social Justice” was first a Catholic term which meant empowering individuals, not income redistribution from the middle class. If immigrants are deported, their children go with them as the custodial parents. Let’s take care of our own poor and African-American unemployed first.

  2. I thought I was the only one that felt that NASW was more of a liberal organization than a bipartisan one. I understand their stance but there are ways to do it without inadvertently alienating your conservative members.

    • I left NASW after almost 30 years’ membership, having served as a Mega-Chapter President, 3 Delegate Assemblies, multiple Chapter offices and committees and local Unit committees. I have contacted Drs. Angelo and McClain to offer my services as a Performance Improvement (certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) to explore reasons NASW has lost 13,000 members in the past year. No one from either the National office or my Chapter office, has followed up with me on this offer.

      Greg Wright is doing a wonderful job moderating this blog. I hope Greg will report to NASW Leadership there is an active conservative movement within the profession that feels safe voicing their viewpoints via this web dialog.

    • Beth:

      We appreciate your years of service at NASW and hope to regain your valued membership.

      NASW is enacting a modernization plan that would consolidate administrative functions at the national office, freeing chapters so they can provide more time to providing services to members and attracting new members. We also have several other initiatives.

      Still, we value your opinion. Please email me at I would like to arrange a teleconference with you and leaders of the marketing and membership departments.

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager

    • Greg,

      I hope you received my email a few weeks ago. I look forward to working with NASW to develop a process for identifying root causes of membership decline and identifying solutions accordingly.

  3. Thank you to all who have commented. I am relatively new to NASW and have been concerned about the organization feeling like a PAC. I joined NASW in order to strengthen the Association of Professional Social Workers.

    Beth you said it very well, “A professional association would identify best practices in working with immigrant families and the thousands of youth entering the US illegally on a daily basis. A professional association would identify quantitative reasons for hiring professional Social Workers (versus paraprofessionals) to work with these people in need.”

    Instead of being supported and encouraged towards excellence, I only receive countless offers to pay more money for NASW “benefits”. Our profession is often viewed with less respect than psychologists, and it is no wonder why. Where is scholarship, professionalism, and best practices? Where is research and critical thinking? We need a professional association that sets the bar – not one that dismays us with rhetoric and high fees. Social workers are often asked to do more for less pay than they are worth and with fewer resources. The NASW only exacerbates and demeans the profession through their lack of focus and leadership.

  4. Thank you, gentlemen! I know your struggle regarding decision to remain a NASW member. NASW has decreased its membership from 145,000 in early 2015 to 132,000 at this time. I am one of the 13,000 who chose not to renew my membership this year. This was a tough decision for me, as I had been a member of NASW for almost 30 years and served as a Mega-Chapter President, 3-time delegate to Delegate Assembly and served on multiple chapter offices and committees. The 9.1% membership loss in the past year has opened questions for me.

    My own decision to leave NASW was not directly related to NASW’s policies, but to the fact that NASW as a PAC and its current services (and lack thereof) are not Value-Added for the $225 membership dues. I have contact Dr. McClain and Dr. Wheeler to offer my assistance in the “modernization” effort currently in action, by applying Lean Manufacturing principles to its operations to answer the “Voice of the Customer”. Yes, we are NASW’s customers.

  5. NASW has become a partisan organization, a PAC for liberal politicians. As a social worker, I am in the service of helping individuals and advocating for justice. As Beth indicated, the SCOTUS ruled on the Obama administration’s poor use of executive action, not on policy itself. As an NASW member for years, I have seriously reconsidered my continued support of such partisanship and lack of ethics.

  6. Agreed. Have been an NASW member for many years but find myself more and more disappointed by the political direction NASW has taken and pandering to the ever present partisan views of the Left versus remaining fair and balanced.
    “This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience”
    Finding myself reconsidering continued active participation in what has become regrettably, a PAC.

  7. Right on point Beth!

  8. Once again, NASW has missed the point of this case. The Supreme Court’s decision was in reference to President Obama’s overreach of Executive Powers, not the humanistic ramifications of this issue.

    NASW continues to act as a Political Action Committee rather than a professional association. A professional association would identify best practices in working with immigrant families and the thousands of youth entering the US illegally on a daily basis. A professional association would identify quantitative reasons for hiring professional Social Workers (versus paraprofessionals) to work with these people in need.

    And please note, the U.S. Senate is in recess for the Summer.

    • Thoughtful opinions, but definitely a minority perspective. As a Human Services Administrator, I understand that the programs that support our service populations depend on funding and funding is directly related to political philosophy and priorities. The reality is that critical programs exist because of progressive values and a willingness to put education before aircraft carriers. I fully support the party and the leaders who put people first and as a Social Worker, I fully support the NASW efforts to promote social justice through the reality of the political system.

    • I understand that politics are always going to influence such issues, but as a social worker it is reasonable to believe that the children should be considered first. There was mention of best practices, well again when our legislator refuses to act on an issue that is of interest to the people then it appears this action by our president is reasoned; further, it is not a permanent action for congress could remedy this with legislation that address yours valid observation as well as help those children who were born here and those who are brought with other adults.

    • The impact of expanded DACA and DAPA will reach far beyond the qualifying individuals themselves and into other areas of public life.

      Impact on Families

      Expanded DACA and DAPA will help keep American families together. Currently, 3.7 million undocumented immigrants have children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. As noted by dozens of educators and child welfare organizations, research shows that children whose parents are at risk of deportation are more likely to suffer psychological harm, which can undermine their chances for educational and economic success. Furthermore, faith groups have pointed to a study by Race Forward that “found that one quarter of the families surveyed that experienced deportation were unable to keep the family together post-deportation. In 2011, more than 5,100 U.S. citizen children were living in foster care after a parent’s detention or deportation.”

      Impact on Public Safety

      The deferred action initiatives will improve the welfare of communities at the city, county, and state levels. Dozens of sheriffs, police chiefs, and national police associations—including the Major City Chiefs Association—view expanded DACA and DAPA as a way to “advance public safety by encouraging cooperation and trust-building between immigrant communities and police.” When police know who is living in their communities, it lessens the tension between police officers and immigrant communities, which in turn helps make these communities safer.

      Impact on the Economy

      Those individuals who obtain temporary, renewable work authorization will likely be able to improve their income, better support themselves and their families, and generate additional tax revenue for local and state governments. One report estimates that expanded DACA and DAPA will allow qualified individuals to earn an additional $7.1 billion dollars in income.

      Q. What are the economic benefits of DACA and DAPA? [top]

      If millions of undocumented workers acquire temporary work authorization, they will make more, spend more on goods and services from U.S. businesses, and pay more in taxes, which will be a boon to the U.S. economy as a whole. Specifically, the President’s actions are likely to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reduce the federal deficit, and raise both tax revenue and average wages—all without having any appreciable impact on native-born employment.
      ◾The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates that the executive actions would, over the next 10 years, increase GDP by at least 0.4 percent ($90 billion) or as much as 0.9 percent ($210 billion). The CEA also estimates that the executive actions would expand the country’s tax base by billions of dollars over the next 10 years by increasing tax compliance for undocumented workers, and lead to a decrease in federal deficits by somewhere between $25 billion and $60 billion over the next 10 years.
      ◾Economists have estimated that wages would increase between 5 and 10 percent for individuals potentially eligible for expanded DACA and DAPA. Such individuals would see wage gains as they become eligible for work permits, find better job matches, and become less likely to be taken advantage of by employers.
      ◾At the same time, the CEA estimates that the executive actions would raise average wages for U.S.-born workers by 0.1 percent on average by 2024.
      ◾The Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates that if 4.7 million undocumented immigrants with a minor child in the United States received deferred action and work authorization, payroll tax revenues would increase by $2.9 billion in the first year and up to $21.2 billion over five years.
      ◾Similarly, the North American Integration and Development (NAID) Center at the University of California, Los Angeles estimated that deferred action for 3.8 million undocumented parents of minors who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents would result in new tax revenue of $2.6 billion over the first two years.
      ◾CAP also conducted research which shows individual states would experience tax gains, as undocumented immigrants begin to work legally and file taxes on slightly higher wages. A few examples include:
      ◾California, where 1.2 million immigrants may be eligible for DACA and DAPA, could see a $904 million increase in tax revenues over five years.
      ◾In Illinois, 214,000 immigrants could be eligible for executive action, leading to an additional $347 million in tax revenues over five years.
      ◾The net gain from administrative relief in New York State could be around $100 million per year in added state and local tax revenues.
      ◾Even smaller states would see benefits. South Carolina’s 13,000 eligible immigrants could contribute an additional $25 million in taxes over five years

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