Author Archives: Anthony Martinez

NILC Responds to Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2018

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149

NILC Responds to Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

LOS ANGELES — President Donald Trump today announced the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The announcement comes just over a week after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would soon retire.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court is essential to maintaining the strength and integrity of our democracy. Its role in upholding the rights and values that we, as a nation, cherish most cannot be overstated.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s record makes it clear that he cannot be entrusted to uphold the awesome responsibility to be independent, open-minded, and to fairly weigh critical legal questions that have broad and significant impact on the lives of all who call the United States home. Kavanaugh’s legal writings and recent dissents speak for themselves: he thinks immigrant communities should be Constitution-free zones, and that reproductive justice should be curtailed.

“Especially at a time when the president and his administration have so freely traversed the boundaries of legality, the Senate has a responsibility to protect all its constituents. This includes the most marginalized, such as women, people of color, LGTBQI, workers, and the immigrant families, that live in their communities. If they do so, the majority of Senators should find that Judge Kavanaugh is unfit to serve in the highest court in the land.   

“The next Supreme Court justice must demonstrate a commitment to defend the rights of all people in the United States, as provided by the Constitution, and to serve as an independent check on the presidency regardless of who occupies the White House. Judge Kavanaugh cannot demonstrate such a commitment. The Senate has a responsibility to reject his nomination.”

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NILC Denounces Trump Plan to Further Militarize Border Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2018

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

NILC Denounces Trump Plan to Further Militarize Border Communities

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration today announced a plan to send military personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump is expected to sign a proclamation directing the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to work with the governors of affected states to deploy the National Guard.

The announcement comes days after President Trump reacted viscerally to news reports about a campaign to draw attention to human rights abuses that people fleeing violence and poverty face while migrating in search of refuge.

Kamal Essaheb, policy and advocacy director at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Trump’s plan to send troops to border communities is yet another attempt to demonize immigrants and is utterly out of touch with reality. It is intended only to distract from real issues facing our country and to appease Trump, who is increasingly angry that his border wall vanity project has stalled. Just months ago, this administration was boasting about historically low unauthorized border crossings. Every American should be outraged by this wasteful, damaging, and opportunistic use of taxpayer dollars.”

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Trump’s Proposed Immigration Rule Would Harm All of Us (The Torch)

Trump’s Proposed Immigration Rule Would Harm All of Us

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Jenny Rejeske, NILC, and Madison Hardee, CLASP
MARCH 29, 2018

On March 28, the Washington Post reported on the latest chapter in the saga of the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrant families—a pernicious attempt to force families to make an impossible choice between meeting their basic needs for health care, food and shelter, and keeping their family in the United States. The administration isn’t trumpeting this change through press releases or tweets, nor is it demanding that Congress make these changes. Instead, it is using federal rulemaking to quietly make changes that would have devastating consequences for all our communities.

As detailed by the Washington Post, the Trump administration is gearing up to propose changes to how the government determines which immigrants can stay on the path toward citizenship. If the administration gets its way, factors like income, number of children, or any use of programs that help people meet basic needs—even for short periods of time—would make you ineligible to bring your family to the United States, and could affect your ability to get a green card. In short, the proposed rule would punish lawfully present families who attempt to access basic human needs like food and health care—including for their U.S. citizen children.

The proposed rule would instruct immigration agents to consider whether an immigrant or a member of their family is likely to participate in any governmental assistance program when determining who can enter the U.S. or become a permanent resident. Imagine a mom and her child being forced to live in a different country than dad because the parents thought it was important for their child have health insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This goes against our most basic values as a nation and betrays the immigration heritage so many of us share. Many of our nation’s top doctors, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs—as well as many of us—are the children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren of immigrants who came to this country with little more than the clothes on their backs and dreams for a better future. This proposed rule makes the pursuit of that dream impossible, and would leave all our communities worse off.

For almost two decades, U.S. immigration officials have explicitly reassured eligible immigrant families that participation in programs like Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) would not affect their ability to become permanent residents and, eventually, U.S. citizens. The proposed rule would upend over a century of existing policy and practice.

The Trump administration doesn’t stop there. It goes after an immigrant’s lawful use of tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Affordable Care Act subsidies, effectively penalizing immigrant families who pay taxes and expect to be treated like any other taxpayer. Imagine denying someone’s green card because they claimed a tax credit for which they were eligible.

The proposed changes represent a major step backward, pulling the entire safety net out from under taxpaying immigrant families, treating their children as second-class citizens, and putting them at greater risk of falling into poverty. Based on our research, we already know the consequences of the administration anti-immigration policies. This proposed rule change would cause even more children go hungry and lose access to basic health care. If it moves forward, the rule will have ripple-effects on the health, development, and economic outcomes of generations to come.

But we can fight back. All rules must go through a public comment period. All of us, regardless of where we were born or how much money we have, should have access to the same tools we need to thrive. We need to remind the federal government that its job is to make all of us stronger together, not to push us further apart.

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Federal Court Rules Legal Challenges to DACA Rescission Can Continue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2018

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, National Immigration Law Center, [email protected], 213-375-3149
Daniel Altschuler, Make the Road New York, [email protected], 917-494 5922
David Chen, WIRAC at Yale Law School, [email protected], 908-240-6252

Federal Court Rules Legal Challenges to DACA Rescission Can Continue

NEW YORK — A federal district court in Brooklyn today ruled that Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen, the first legal challenge filed challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, can proceed. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York rejected the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case, finding that several of the claims presented may continue. The court is simultaneously hearing a similar case brought by 17 state attorneys general led by New York, which will also proceed.

The court ruled that two constitutional claims should proceed: 1) that the Trump administration violated the equal protection guarantee by discriminating against Latinos and Mexicans in terminating DACA; and 2) that the Trump administration violated the procedural due process clause in unfairly denying certain renewal requests.

The same court in February found that the plaintiffs, six New Yorkers with DACA and Make the Road New York, are likely to succeed on their claim that the decision to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious.” The court at the time issued a preliminary injunction allowing anyone who previously had DACA to apply for renewal. A separate court in California had ordered a similar injunction in January. Both injunctions remain in place.

Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen is brought by Martín Batalla Vidal, Antonio Alarcon, Eliana Fernandez, Carolina Fung Feng, Mariano Mondragon, Carlos Vargas, and Make the Road New York. They are represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Make the Road New York, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in Batalla Vidal issued the following statement:

“The court again has acknowledged that our brave plaintiffs present important claims, including that the decision to terminate DACA was rooted in Trump’s bias against Latinos, especially Mexicans. We are encouraged that the court continues to recognize the harm caused by the Trump administration’s reckless and unlawful termination of DACA.

“The court’s preliminary injunction allowing anyone who previously had DACA to apply for renewals remains in place. Eligible DACA recipients should consult with a legal service provider to decide whether to submit a renewal application now, while USCIS is accepting applications.

“While the court injunctions have allowed limited, temporary relief for some, hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth are in urgent need of a permanent solution. We will continue to fight alongside our clients and with immigrant youth and allies to ensure Dreamers have a secure future in this country, their home.”

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Groups Respond to Court Ruling Allowing Refugee Ban Lawsuit to Continue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2018

CONTACTS:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, 202-384-1275, [email protected]
Henrike Dessaules, IRAP, 646-459-3081, [email protected]
Gabe Cahn, HIAS, 202-412-1678, [email protected]
Deb Frockt, Jewish Family Service of Seattle, 206-861-3148, [email protected]
Mindy Berkowitz, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, 408-357-7455, [email protected]

Groups Respond to Court Ruling Allowing Refugee Ban Lawsuit to Continue

SEATTLE — Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion by the government to dismiss the appeal and vacate the injunction in JFS v. Trump, which challenges the Trump administration’s Oct. 24 ban on refugees that suspended the admission of refugees from 11 countries and stopped the follow-to-join process for family members of refugees already in the United States. The Court rejected the administration’s argument that the appeal and the injunction are moot because the challenged ban has ended, after the plaintiffs had argued that they are entitled to find out whether the suspensions were continuing in another form.

The case will now return to the district court, where in December Judge James Robart largely blocked the restrictions from being implemented for refugees with “bona fide” relationships to the United States. While the judge’s decision should have brought relief to many of the affected individuals, including the plaintiffs, it is still unclear, even months later, how the administration is implementing the order. The plaintiffs will therefore be seeking discovery.

The individual plaintiffs, including an Iraqi man hiding in Egypt who had worked as a translator for the U.S. military, and a Somali refugee trying to be reunited with his wife and son, have not gotten closer to finding relief. Instead, the United States is slated to accept the lowest number of refugees since the modern refugee program began in 1980.

Jewish Family Service v. Trump was brought on behalf of Jewish Family Service of Seattle, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, and nine individual plaintiffs by attorneys at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP); the National Immigration Law Center (NILC); Perkins Coie LLP; HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees; and individual attorneys Lauren Aguiar, Mollie M. Kornreich, and Abigail Shaheen Davis.

In response to the ruling, the counsel and plaintiffs issued the following statements:

Rabbi Will Berkovitz, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Family Service of Seattle: “We are gratified the Ninth Circuit has remanded our case. Allowing this process to continue ensures our government remains accountable to the rule of law and to the people it represents. Right now, it is not only the American refugee admission program that is under attack but also our core American values. During this time when our Jewish community recalls our plight as refugees we feel even more resolved in our efforts to support those who are seeking a place of safety and security for their families and the principles that have made our country a beacon of hope to so many across the world.”

Mindy Berkowitz, Executive Director, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley: “On behalf of the families in our community who have waited for years to be reunited with their relatives, we are grateful for the court’s decision. Our American values call on us to protect the neediest among us. As our Jewish teachings continually remind us, we were once strangers in the land of Egypt. We must ensure that those who need our help and support the most, get it.”

Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, HIAS: “We are encouraged that the government’s motion for dismissal has been denied, but remain concerned that the tens of thousands of refugees who have been impacted by this executive order still face undue challenges to finding the safety and welcome that our country has traditionally offered to those who flee persecution. HIAS, our partners, and our supporters in the American Jewish community will continue to challenge the Trump Administration’s discriminatory policies until the refugee admissions program is resuscitated and the U.S. starts showing humanitarian leadership again.”

Mariko Hirose, Litigation Director, IRAP: “We applaud the court’s decision to deny the motion for dismissal. Contrary to what the government stated, this dispute is not over. It certainly isn’t over for our plaintiffs, who have seen no end to their suffering. We demand transparency from an Administration that is actively trying to ban Muslims at every opportunity and will continue to challenge their attempts at freezing refugee resettlement.”

Esther Sung, Staff Attorney, NILC: “We commend the court for allowing this case to continue so that the Trump administration can be held accountable for its ongoing effort to ban Muslims and refugees from this country. Our plaintiffs remain in dangerous and life-threatening situations. On behalf of them and thousands of other refugees like them, we will continue to fight the administration’s attempts to block refugee resettlement and erode our country’s humanitarian values.”

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Senate Deal Leaves Dreamers Out in the Cold

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2018

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

Senate Deal Leaves Dreamers Out in the Cold

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate leadership today announced a deal to fund the federal government until late next month, increase military and domestic spending for two years, fund community health centers for two years, extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional four years, and provide some disaster relief. The deal does not provide a solution for immigrant youth.

President Trump created a crisis in September when he terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, upending the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth, their families, and communities. Nearly 19,000 immigrant youth have since lost DACA protections. Elected officials have repeatedly vowed to create a legislative solution to allow Dreamers to continue to contribute to their communities, but have thus far failed to do so.

The Senate will vote on the proposal shortly, and it will next go to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“It is outrageous and inexcusable that Senate leadership has callously agreed to put immigrant youth aside. Lawmakers who say they support Dreamers but then vote for this deal are showing their true colors and should feel nothing but shame. Words and photo ops mean nothing if they’re not paired with action.

“Hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth, their families, and communities are living in a state of uncertainty and instability. We urgently need Congress to pass a permanent solution without ceding to the White House’s extremist demands. Legislators’ failure to pass the bipartisan Dream Act — which an overwhelming majority of Americans support — will be complicit in the harm to immigrant youth.”

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