Author Archives: Juan Gastelum

NILC Statement on Biden Administration’s Announcement to Restart ‘Remain in Mexico’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on Biden Administration’s Announcement to Restart ‘Remain in Mexico’

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is preparing to restart the Remain in Mexico policy in mid-November if the Mexican government agrees:

“Remain in Mexico has caused immeasurable harm to vulnerable asylum seekers who we should instead be welcoming with dignity and compassion. The Biden administration has announced several significant steps to implement Remain in Mexico in compliance with the District Court’s order, yet the Biden administration has failed to issue a new memo to end this unlawful Trump policy to prevent any version of it from harming even one more person. This move is yet another in a mounting list of failings by this administration to live up to the campaign promises that got President Biden elected. We urge the administration to reverse course and to refocus its efforts on building a just 21st century immigration system, ending all harmful deterrence policies at the border, and restoring full access to asylum — including at ports of entry — for those seeking safety and freedom in our country.”

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NILC Statement on New DHS Memo on Worksite Enforcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on New DHS Memo on Worksite Enforcement

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new memo on worksite enforcement:

“Today’s welcome announcement by the Biden administration signals pivotal changes ahead that will make workplaces across the country safer and more equitable for all workers and finally puts an end to deeply harmful worksite raids. This move will also ensure those immigrants working in schools, factories, meatpacking plants, hospitals, construction sites, and other essential industries can do their jobs safely and speak out against unjust treatment without fearing employer intimidation, arrest, or deportation.

“Worksite raids have devastated entire communities and threatened the safety and wellbeing of all workers. Over the past few years, NILC and our legal partners in the Zelaya v. Hammer case have been fighting in court alongside courageous immigrants whose rights were violated when the previous administration violently raided the Southeastern Provision meat processing plant in 2018. We will remain vigilant to ensure today’s announcement to end similar raids is met with meaningful action.

“All working people, no matter where we were born, have the right to a safe and dignified workplace with fair pay. We look forward to continuing to partner with unions, workers’ rights partners, and the Biden administration to secure critical worker protections that will strengthen labor standards for all workers and create a more just and inclusive immigration system that recognizes the humanity and contributions of all immigrants. We applaud Secretary Mayorkas for taking this transformational step that represents a paradigm shift away from targeting undocumented workers to holding accountable the unscrupulous employers who are the ones responsible for depressing working conditions for all workers. This builds on the important shift included in the enforcement guidelines announced on September 30 which clarify that unlawful presence does not make someone a priority for deportation.”

The Department of Homeland Security today announced an internal review of worksite enforcement policies, signaling a laudable shift away from immigration raids at worksites in favor of creating policies that emphasize employer accountability. Agencies within DHS will also establish processes to prevent employer abuse of E-Verify and to provide affirmative protections to immigrant workers involved in workplace disputes.

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NILC Statement on the Biden Administration’s New Enforcement Priorities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on the Biden Administration’s New Enforcement Priorities

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in response to the new enforcement priorities memo issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

“The Biden administration’s new immigration enforcement memo gives discretion to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in an effort to rein in a system that has long been weaponized — and was supercharged under the previous administration — to indiscriminately detain and deport immigrants and separate them from their loved ones. The memo includes some meaningful improvements, including new protections from retaliation for tenants as well as for workers asserting their rights, which is an important first step in ensuring that all workers can do their jobs safely and exercise their legal rights without fearing employer intimidation, arrest, or deportation.

“However, the memo places a dangerous amount of discretion in the hands of ICE agents. Given the agency’s long history of operating — and even rewarding — a culture of cruelty and impunity, it is crucial for the agency to commit to ensuring that these priorities are implemented fairly and justly, and that DHS leadership ensures ICE agents are held accountable. The memo also categorically targets many vulnerable immigrants and asylum-seekers based solely on when they arrived in the U.S.

“While we commend DHS for taking these important steps toward restoring fairness and accountability, we will hold these agencies accountable to enact meaningful and positive change that ensures the new priorities are implemented in a fair and humane way and that people are not unjustly detained or deported. We urge the administration to deliver on President Biden’s promise to build a 21st century immigration system that centers the dignity of everyone.”

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As Biden Admin Moves to Strengthen DACA, NILC Urges Congress to Pass Lasting Pathway to Citizenship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

As Biden Admin Moves to Strengthen DACA, NILC Urges Congress to Pass Lasting Pathway to Citizenship

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced a new federal regulation updating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, issued the following statement:

“DACA has positively transformed the lives of more than 800,000 immigrant youth and their communities. Strengthening the policy is a crucial step, but it is not a substitute for congressional action. Ultimately, we must also seize the historic opportunity before us to provide a permanent solution for millions of undocumented immigrants who call the U.S. home. In addition to protecting DACA recipients through rulemaking, we expect the Biden administration and congressional leaders to deliver a lasting pathway to citizenship, not only for DACA recipients, but for as many of our community members as possible.

“NILC has been fighting alongside immigrant youth and immigrant communities for over two decades to ensure that they can remain and thrive in this country, which is their home. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that all immigrants who call the U.S. home are recognized and have the freedom to thrive.”

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NILC and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund Statement on Appointment of David Neal as Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund Statement on Appointment of David Neal as Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, issued the following statement on the appointment of David Neal as director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review at the U.S. Department of Justice:

“After years of active sabotage and neglect under the previous administration, it is critical that the next director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) be someone who leads with integrity, believes in due process for immigrants, and shares a commitment to building a 21st century immigration system.

“David Neal, President Biden’s nominee to head EOIR, faces the difficult task not only of repairing the damage done in the past, but also of rebuilding trust with stakeholders who are justifiably concerned by the insufficient pace of change and the enactment of new barriers to justice — particularly the new accelerated docket for families seeking protection. Mr. Neal is a longtime, respected career public servant with deep knowledge of the office he’s been appointed to lead. We expect that he has learned from failed policies of the past and will work to create a more fair, more just immigration court system.

“At this important moment, we are committed to working with Mr. Neal and are hopeful that he and EOIR under his leadership will be partners in making the bold changes President Biden promised to enact.”

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NILC Statement on Escalation of Deportations to Haiti

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on Escalation of Deportations to Haiti

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement on the escalation of Haitian deportations at the U.S.-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas:

“Seeking asylum is a fundamental human and legal right. Yet thousands of Haitians who survived devastating natural disasters and political violence are being dehumanized, denied due process, and violently and forcibly returned to the very conditions they fled. This is legally and morally unacceptable. 

“President Biden was elected on a campaign promise to undo the harm of four years under the Trump administration, which decimated the systems set up to protect people seeking safety. Instead of striving to keep that promise, the Biden administration has instead doubled down on a failed and inhumane strategy of deterrence and exacerbated the harm to vulnerable communities. 

“We urge the Biden administration to immediately stop all deportations to Haiti and end all policies that deprive people of their rights at the border. The administration must chart a different course to welcome those seeking safety with dignity and humanity.” 

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NILC Statement on the Senate Parliamentarian’s Ruling to Exclude a Pathway to Citizenship from Budget Reconciliation Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2021

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

NILC Statement on the Senate Parliamentarian’s Ruling to Exclude a Pathway to Citizenship from Budget Reconciliation Package

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, issued the following statement on today’s ruling by the Senate parliamentarian:

“Voters rejected the divisive anti-immigrant agenda of the last administration and gave Democrats a trifecta. We expect our elected leaders to make good on their promises to fight for a pathway to citizenship. No one elected the Senate parliamentarian, and we are encouraged that Senate Democratic leadership is exploring every mechanism available to deliver a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. The stakes for our country are so high that if these efforts are unsuccessful, Democrats must take the steps necessary to negate the parliamentarian’s ruling. Simply giving up is not an option.

“While today’s ruling is a temporary setback, we will continue the fight for a pathway to citizenship until all immigrants are recognized as essential to our country so that we all have the freedom to thrive.”

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Marielena Hincapié to Leave National Immigration Law Center in June 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2021 

CONTACT
Will Dempster, [email protected], (908) 413-0153

Marielena Hincapié to Leave National Immigration Law Center in June 2022

WASHINGTON — The boards of directors of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF) have announced that Executive Director Marielena Hincapié will leave both organizations in June 2022.

Hincapié has been at NILC for more than 20 years, including 13 as executive director. Under Hincapié’s leadership, NILC defended and advanced the rights of low-income immigrants at all levels of government, ranging from successfully challenging draconian state anti-immigrant laws from Arizona to Alabama, to launching the Winning in the States initiative that resulted in increased access to health care, workers’ rights, driver’s licenses, and greater immigrant justice.

She has been a key architect of numerous movement campaigns, such as Protecting Immigrant Families, No Muslim Ban Ever, and the Immigrant Movement Visioning Process in the midst of the Trump era. Most recently, Hincapié led the organization in successfully challenging the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies and protecting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries before the U.S. Supreme Court, while co-leading the #ImmigrantsAreEssential narrative and culture change initiative to achieve recognition of the humanity and dignity of all immigrants.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have led NILC and the IJF during turbulent times in our nation, where the stakes are so high for immigrants and our democracy,” said Hincapié. “NILC is a leaderful organization and well-prepared to continue to lead the movement for safety, rights, and justice for low-income immigrants now and in the future. It has been a tremendous honor to have served low-income immigrant communities and to have partnered with so many movement leaders these past two decades. It is time for me to find other ways to advance my commitment to a society in which we all have the freedom to thrive.”

“Marielena Hincapié strategically expanded NILC’s influence with policymakers across the country and cemented her place as a visionary leader within the pro-immigrant movement, while helping to elevate NILC’s presence nationally,” said Sara K. Gould, chair of the NILC board of directors.

Angela M. Banks, NILC board chair-elect, expressed, “While we are sad that Marielena is leaving NILC, we are confident in the team and systems she has put in place to advance the mission of the organization. This is our moment to push forward a pathway to citizenship and we remain laser focused on building a more racially and economically just society.”

“NILC IJF remains committed to leading transformative, systemic change that builds political power with immigrant communities,” said Allen Erenbaum, chair of the NILC IJF board of directors. “Marielena has fostered leadership throughout the organization that will ensure our work of establishing immigration as a winning political issue continues, and we are focused on continuing to build and flex political power on behalf of immigrants in 2022 and beyond.”

NILC and IJF’s leaders say making progress on critical racial, economic, and gender justice issues affecting low-income immigrants will remain the priority of the organization throughout the search and transition process. NILC and IJF’s boards are working with the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group to search for the next executive director. Board leaders are committed to engaging staff, partners, and other stakeholders in the search and transition.

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NILC Statement on the Introduction of the LIFT the BAR Act in the U.S. House of Representatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on the Introduction of the LIFT the BAR Act in the U.S. House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement on today’s introduction of the LIFT the BAR Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“All of us — no matter how much money we have or where we were born — have a fundamental right to health care, education, nutrition, and housing. By eliminating these discriminatory exclusions that have kept the safety net out of reach for millions of immigrants and their loved ones, the LIFT the BAR Act would help confront significant disparities that have only been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and bring us closer to our vision of health care for all so that everyone can have the freedom to thrive. The National Immigration Law Center thanks Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Tony Cárdenas for their leadership and urges Congress to swiftly see it through.”

Introduced by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), the LIFT the BAR Act would repeal outdated, discriminatory barriers that have kept the safety net out of reach for millions of immigrant families for decades. It would also expand access to health care and certain economic support programs to millions of lawful permanent residents and people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or temporary protected status (TPS).

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NILC Statement on the Inclusion of a Pathway to Citizenship in the Budget Reconciliation Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2021

CONTACT
Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on the Inclusion of a Pathway to Citizenship in the Budget Reconciliation Package

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats today released a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that would increase funding for health care, child and elder care, education and climate change, and includes more than $100 billion to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrant youth, people with temporary protected status (TPS), farm workers, and essential workers.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, issued the following statement:

“Democratic leadership unveiled a historic budget that would address some of the most significant crises affecting working families in our country, ranging from funding reducing childhood poverty and supporting a robust safety net to responding to the urgent needs of the climate crisis. It also includes funding to create a pathway to U.S. citizenship for millions of immigrants in our country, which is an important reminder that elections matter.

“We at the National Immigration Law Center and our partners in the immigrant justice movement have been advocating for a pathway to citizenship for decades, and we are thrilled by today’s events. An overwhelming majority of Americans — and voters — support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who call the U.S. home. We commend Congress for responding to the will of the American people with this crucial step forward.

“Immigrants are an essential part of our communities, not only as our family members and neighbors but also as people who have continued to show up day after day during this pandemic to keep our country going. As we enter our recovery phase, we must also recognize that there is no recovery without immigrants — and passing a pathway to citizenship through reconciliation would provide urgently needed relief and stability for millions of DACA recipients, TPS holders, farm workers, essential workers, and their loved ones.”

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