Author Archives: Juan Gastelum

Trump’s Dystopian Vision for the Future Is Based on Fear, Not Facts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2018

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

Trump’s Dystopian Vision for the Future Is Based on Fear, Not Facts

WASHINGTON — In his first State of the Union address, President Trump laid out a blueprint for the future of the country. A cornerstone of this vision includes policies designed to turn back the clock on our nation’s immigration system by curbing legal immigration by as much as 50 percent. This proposal comes after several weeks of the White House’s failure to achieve a legislative fix to allow DACA recipients to continue to live and work in the United States.

Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“President Trump did his best to distract from the plain and simple fact that his administration failed to address the needs of the many working Americans who voted for him. The president, who pledged to keep jobs in the United States and increase wages for those struggling to make ends meet, instead delivered a tax cut to the billionaire class. One constant, however, has been his dogged commitment to attempt to divide our communities by scapegoating immigrants.

“The American people weren’t fooled by Trump’s discriminatory Muslim ban or by his xenophobic attempt to exploit the DACA crisis to enact a white nationalist wish list. We certainly won’t be fooled by any attempt to pit workers, whether immigrant or native born, against each other.

“A president should be capable of moving beyond Twitter attacks and dog whistle politics to focus instead on issues that will help all our communities. Sadly, President Trump seemed unable to accomplish this feat tonight.”

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Five Things to Know about the Latest USCIS Announcement

USCIS and DACA Renewal Applications
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Ignacia Rodriguez, NILC, and Sanaa Abrar and Greisa Martinez, United We Dream

Last updated JANUARY 29, 2018 | Versión en español

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it would resume accepting DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) renewal applications beginning January 13, 2018. This policy change is in response to the January 9 injunction by a U.S. district court in San Francisco requiring the federal government to resume accepting DACA renewal applications. This policy reversal is the result of several lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s September 5, 2017, decision to terminate the wildly successful DACA program.

This is another victory on the path to winning a permanent solution for immigrant youth, which is the Dream Act, optimally by February 8. We will be providing updates as more information becomes available, but here are the top five things we think you should know:

1. USCIS is now accepting certain DACA renewal applications. If your DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016, you may send USCIS a DACA renewal application. This means you must fill out the latest versions of Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and Form I-765WS Worksheet. If your DACA expired before September 5, 2016, you must reapply by filing your application as a first-time one rather than as a renewal. All applicants, whether filing as first-timers or as renewing, must include the date their DACA expired or will expire on Part 1 of the Form I-821D.

2. USCIS will not accept new DACA applications from people who haven’t applied previously. No actually first-time DACA applications will be accepted by USCIS. If you are eligible for DACA now but have not applied for it in the past, this announcement does not apply to you.

3. Requests for advance parole from DACA recipients will not be accepted. USCIS will not accept or approve any advance parole requests from DACA recipients.

4. We do not know how long USCIS will continue to accept DACA renewal applications. The Trump administration stated that it plans to “vigorously” challenge the district court’s decision. This means that the window of time available for submitting your DACA renewal application is uncertain. If you fulfill the requirements mentioned above, you should assess whether to apply immediately.

5. Our fight to get the Dream Act passed by February 8 continues! This is a testament to the work that undocumented youth have led to fight back against Trump’s decision to end DACA, which was announced on Sept. 5, 2017. However, we can’t keep living our lives in monthly — or daily — limbo. Our goal is clear: win the Dream Act by February 8. Not all of us are protected by DACA, so our community remains at risk of detention and deportation until we win a permanent legislative solution. Text DreamActNow to 877877 to learn how you can join us in pressuring Congress to stand on the right side of history and pass the Dream Act by February 8!

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NILC Statement on Federal Court Order Blocking End of DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2018

CONTACT
Email: media@nilc.org
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on Federal Court Order Blocking End of DACA

LOS ANGELES — A federal court today blocked the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ordering the administration to resume accepting DACA renewal applications from anyone, nationwide, previously covered by the program. The decision from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California comes after the administration, on Sept. 5, announced an abrupt ending of the DACA program, setting an arbitrary deadline of only a month later for some DACA recipients to reapply. More than 15,000 DACA recipients have since lost their work permits and have become vulnerable to detention and deportation.

The decision today by the federal court in California deals with a set of related cases brought by the University of California and others. A hearing to consider similar claims in a separate lawsuit challenging the termination of DACA, Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen, is set for Jan. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn.

Karen Tumlin, legal director at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Since President Trump rescinded DACA, we’ve been fighting on every front to ensure that immigrant youth have a secure future in this country, which is their home. We know that the administration’s decision to end the program and the way it was carried out was not only immoral, but unlawful. A federal court in California has now blocked the administration’s decision, ordering that renewal applications be accepted nationwide. The court’s order does not require the administration to accept new DACA applications for now.

“This victory should make it even more clear that Congress must act now. Dreamers — and our nation — deserve more than temporary relief from the courts; they deserve a bipartisan Dream Act. The American people, a majority of Congress and the president all want to see it happen. It’s time for Congress to get it done.”

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JFS v. Trump Team Responds to Court Ruling Blocking Implementation of Trump’s Policy Banning Certain Refugees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2017

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, NILC, 202-384-1275, delatorre@nilc.org
Henrike Dessaules, IRAP, 646-459-3081, media@refugeerights.org
Gabe Cahn, HIAS, 202-412-1678, gabe.cahn@hias.org
Deb Frockt, Jewish Family Service of Seattle, 206-861-3148, dfrockt@jfsseattle.org
Mindy Berkowitz, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, 408-357-7455, mindyb@jfssv.org

BJFS v. Trump Team Responds to Court Ruling Blocking Implementation of Trump’s Policy Banning Certain Refugees

U.S. district court in Seattle heard arguments on Thurs., Dec. 21, in challenge to latest ban

SEATTLE — Today, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a ruling largely blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s most recent refugee restrictions which suspended the admission of refugees from 11 countries, nine of which are predominantly Muslim, for a minimum of 90 days. The restrictions also stopped the follow-to-join process, which reunites family members with refugees already in the United States.

This is the latest legal setback for the Trump administration, which was also handed a loss yesterday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the latest iteration of the administration’s Muslim ban. Today’s ruling stops the implementation of the new refugee restrictions for refugees with bona fide relationships to the United States.

The decision follows a December 21 hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington regarding two challenges to the Trump administration’s October 25 ban on refugees.

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

The second challenge heard as part of the hearing was ACLU of Washington v. Trump, brought by the ACLU of Washington, on behalf of plaintiff Joseph Doe, a refugee living in Washington state who seeks to be reunited with his family.
In response to the ruling, the counsel and plaintiffs issued the following statements:

Esther Sung, staff attorney, NILC: “The courts have once again rejected the administration’s unlawful attempt to turn its back on refugees. We are proud to stand alongside our plaintiffs, refugees, and Muslims in fighting the Trump Administration’s Muslim Bans.”

Rabbi Will Berkovitz, chief executive officer, Jewish Family Service of Seattle: “We are thrilled that families will have the chance to be reunited and refugees who have suffered so much will have the chance to make it to safety. As we celebrate this moment, we remember our ancestors who did not have anyone standing with them or for them.”

Mindy Berkowitz, executive director, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley: “We are grateful for the judge’s ruling and proud to have acted on our Jewish values in defense of our vulnerable refugee clients. We are committed to always doing so until every last refugee is reunited with his or her family.”

Mark Hetfield, president and CEO, HIAS: “During HIAS’ first 40 years, from 1881 to 1921, this country gave refuge to over two million Jewish refugees while Asians were barred from entry due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The American Jewish community did not protest because we thought it did not affect us. Then, in 1921, Congress did the same to us. Today and every day, we defend the rights of refugees, whoever they are, because we know the consequences of shutting our doors.”

Mariko Hirose, litigation director, IRAP: “This administration has attacked refugee resettlement since the first issuance of the Muslim ban, leaving vulnerable refugees left in limbo. This ruling brings relief to thousands of refugees in precarious situations in the Middle East and East Africa, as well as to refugees already in the U.S. who are trying to reunite with their spouses and children.”

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Congress Failed Dreamers and the Country Tonight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017

CONTACT
Email: media@nilc.org
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

Congress Failed Dreamers and the Country Tonight
We Are Disappointed but Undeterred in Our Fight for Justice

WASHINGTON — Following the U.S. Senate’s approval of a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running for four more weeks, members of Congress broke for the holidays today without addressing the precarious situation facing hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and their families. Congress failed also to provide adequate relief funding for disaster-impacted areas and to fully reauthorize a vital health insurance program for children.

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

“Today, Congress voted callously to place millions of Americans – and citizens in waiting – in harm’s way. By leaving town, they’re leaving immigrant youth at risk of deportation, children at risk of losing health coverage, and families without the overdue relief they need to overcome recent natural disasters.

“Far too many senators have claimed to stand for the bipartisan Dream Act when it was convenient, and then voted tonight to fund Dreamers’ deportations. Those who call themselves champions for Dreamers but voted against them tonight should feel nothing but shame. While they’re at home celebrating, millions of families will continue in a state of uncertainty, instability, and anxiety, wondering if this may be their last holiday season together.

“It is immoral that some members of Congress refuse to acknowledge the situation of Dreamers for the Trump-fabricated crisis it is. More than 13,000 immigrant youth have lost DACA protections since September, and 3,400 more will become vulnerable to deportation before the next spending bill vote in January. Their lives should weigh heavily on the conscious of every member of Congress.

“This crisis is part of this administration’s continued attempt to implement a white supremacist agenda. But we are also here because some Democrats failed to stand with their brave colleagues to defend their principles and fight for immigrant youth and children needing health care.

“On the heels of the tax heist one thing is clear: We must hold Congress accountable. We must unite and work together for children, families, low-income immigrants, and all of our communities.

“Congress may be leaving town, but we are here to stay. We will be here and ready to put our elected officials back to work in January. We are resolute in our mission to ensure that immigrant youth have a secure future in this country, which is their home, and we will continue to fight alongside immigrant youth and our partners until we win.”

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NILC Urges Senate to Reject House Spending Bill, Do Right By Dreamers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017

CONTACT
Email: media@nilc.org
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

NILC Urges Senate to Reject House Spending Bill, Do Right by Dreamers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a temporary spending bill to keep the government open and running past Friday, when current funding expires. The four-week continuing resolution does not address urgent issues affecting millions of Americans, including a solution for immigrant youth, adequate emergency relief funding for disaster-impacted areas, or a full reauthorization of a vital health insurance program for children. The bill will now be sent to the Senate.

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

“On the heels of the disastrous tax bill, the House voted today to keep hundreds of thousands of young people and their families in excruciating uncertainty and wondering if this could be their last holiday season together. That is cruel and shameful. Anyone who has claimed to stand with Dreamers who voted for this bill just endorsed their deportation.

“More than 13,000 immigrant youth have already lost DACA protections, including their ability to work and contribute fully to their communities. Americans across all sectors of civic life have raised their voices to tell Congress to enact a solution this year. With each passing day, more immigrant youth become vulnerable to deportation.

“It is now up to the Senate to take a stand and do what is best for the country and morally right. We urge Senators from both parties to come together and vote for a spending bill that includes the bipartisan Dream Act and CHIP reauthorization.”

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Congress, Now is Your Time: Pass the Dream Act Before the Holidays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017

CONTACT
Email: media@nilc.org
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

Congress, Now is Your Time: Pass the Dream Act Before the Holidays

WASHINGTON — With two days left before the end of the legislative session, Congress must vote on spending legislation to avoid a government shutdown. This is their final opportunity to take action on a bipartisan Dream Act that will allow 800,000 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to go home to their families knowing that this won’t be the last holiday they spend together.

Since President Trump ended DACA in September, leaders on both sides of the aisle have stressed the urgent need for a swift bipartisan fix that will allow Dreamers to continue to contribute to the country they call home. Immigrant youth have put their faith in the government to come up with a solution, and now it is up to Congress to keep their promise.

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

“Congress, the time to act is now. We cannot continue to defer the futures of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth. Before you go home for the holidays, we are holding you accountable: pass a bipartisan Dream Act before the end of the year and deliver on your promise to Dreamers and their families. More than 13,000 DACA recipients have already lost protections. We cannot wait any longer.”

Brittany Aguilera, a DACA recipient whose work authorization expired earlier this month, added:

“For those like myself, whose DACA is now gone, for those who are waiting for theirs to expire, whose futures remain unknown, and for our families who are trying to maintain joy at the end of a very hard year, we are urging Congress to act now. This can all be resolved by passing a clean Dream Act. You can restore the holiday joy and promise of a prosperous and hopeful new year to all of us whose futures remain uncertain. Please, I and so many others like me are begging for you to hear our prayers and our words. Pass the Dream Act and start the New Year off right.”

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Heartless Tax Bill Leaves Millions Out in the Cold

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2017

CONTACT
Email: media@nilc.org
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

Heartless Tax Bill Leaves Millions Out in the Cold

Congress threatens to go home for the holidays having done nothing for working families

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have passed a comprehensive tax reform bill that would fundamentally alter our nation’s tax structure, skewing benefits to major corporations and extremely wealthy individuals. The bill, which blows a $1.5 trillion hole in the government’s budget, could be paid for in years to come by slashing our health care system, food and nutrition programs, housing support, and a vast array of social programs that make communities healthier and stronger.

The bill also disproportionately harms immigrant families, who will no longer be able to claim the Child Tax Credit for immigrant children without a Social Security Number. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Congress has now passed the most unconscionable piece of legislation, which we expect President Trump will sign into law. This would mark an end to the first year of an administration intent on attacking children, families, women, immigrants and people of color,  LGBTQ communities, and the most vulnerable among us. This is the most regressive bill in recent memory, and the entire nation, no matter where we were born or how much we earn, will suffer the consequences. Republicans tried to sell this disastrous bill to the American public, but we’re not buying it. This is a bill designed to placate the donor class, while leaving the rest of us out in the cold.

“This is a Christmas gift to the richest of the rich which will be paid for by hurting millions of families – including low-income immigrant families – for generations to come. This legislation is particularly cruel to immigrant children and families, who will no longer receive the vital Child Tax Credit. This credit has provided an economic lifeline to millions, allowing families to put food on the table and keep roofs over their children’s heads.

“Today is a shameful day in American history. Today’s children and future generations will remember the Trump Administration and the Republican party as having turned its back on the majority of Americans in favor of corporations and the rich.

“Congress should not go home for the holidays on this disastrous note. Now that they have passed this deeply unpopular piece of legislation, they should do the work Americans actually want them to do: protect Dreamers and reauthorize CHIP without delay.”

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Immigrant, Health, and Civil Rights Advocates Demand Access to Affordable Health Care for DACAmented Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2016

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

Immigrant, Health, and Civil Rights Advocates Demand Access to Affordable Health Care for DACAmented Youth

More than 360 labor, civil rights, and health groups ask President Obama to revoke policy denying DACA recipients access to Affordable Care Act programs, Medicaid, and CHIP

WASHINGTON — Following a Supreme Court deadlock on immigration initiatives designed to provide deportation relief to millions, groups ranging from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the NAACP on Monday urged President Obama to restore access to affordable health insurance programs to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. DACA is an immigration initiative announced in 2012 that allows certain immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to apply for deportation relief and work authorization.

The National Immigration Law Center, along with more than 360 organizations from across the country, sent the president a letter demanding that he revoke unnecessary and harmful regulations enacted by his administration in 2012. The regulations affirmatively deny DACA recipients access to affordable health insurance under Affordable Care Act programs, and also to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in states that have enacted expanded coverage options for children or pregnant women.

“Living in a healthy community means ensuring that all people, regardless of where they were born, can access quality, affordable health care. Immigrant youth with DACA are currently unjustly excluded from being able to purchase health insurance through Affordable Care Act programs, even though they can live and work here,” said NILC Executive Director Marielena Hincapié. “Not only is this unfair and unnecessary, it runs contrary to the Affordable Care Act’s objective of expanding access to health insurance as broadly as possible. President Obama has the power and a moral obligation to change this damaging policy.”

The Obama administration announced regulatory changes on August 28, 2012, that exclude DACA recipients from federal health insurance programs. The policies do not affect any other immigration category and do not affect people granted deferred action apart from the DACA program.

If not for the 2012 regulatory changes, some DACA recipients would have gained access to more options for affordable and comprehensive health insurance. DACA recipients who are under 21 years old or pregnant, and otherwise eligible, would have been able to apply for free or low-cost health insurance through a state’s Medicaid program or CHIP in about half of the states.

“We’ve spent many years working to expand affordable health coverage to all children and families in this country, and we’ve come a long way, but a glaring coverage gap still exists among immigrant youth who live, study, and work here legally,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus. “Not only is providing health coverage to DACAmented youth the right thing to do, it contributes to a better and healthier America. Every young person in this country should have access to health care.”

“It’s only fair and common sense to remove political interference so immigrant women and their families can participate in the health care programs their tax dollars support,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). “We strongly recommend that the administration continue to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act by removing the ban restricting DACA-eligible youth from accessing the comprehensive, quality, and affordable health care they need. NLIRH will continue to work to advance a more compassionate and inclusive immigration system, including access to a healthy future for all families regardless of who they are or where they come from,” González-Rojas said.

Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, said, “We call on the Obama administration to allow young DREAMers who are DACAmented to realize the benefits of this administration’s other signature achievement—the Affordable Care Act—and grant them access to the same health care options as other lawfully present people.”

In the letter, the groups told President Obama that “[i]t required both dedication and political courage to create the DACA program, as it did to pursue health reform when it had eluded so many of your predecessors. In order for each of these programs to succeed, they must be brought into alignment.”

“We urge you to extend the promise of meaningful and affordable health care to all deferred action recipients, without distinction,” the letter goes on. “Doing so would provide DACA-mented youth with a real opportunity to stay healthy and to succeed in our communities.”

Some states, such as California, continue to provide all young residents, regardless of their immigration status, access to affordable health care through state-funded Medicaid and CHIP.

The full letter is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/ACA-DACA-letter-to-POTUS-2016-07-11.pdf

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NILC Calls for More Empathy, Dialogue, and Action Following Deadly Shootings of Black Men, Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2016

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

NILC Calls for More Empathy, Dialogue, and Action Following Deadly Shootings of Black Men, Police 

LOS ANGELES — The following is a statement by Marielena Hincapié, executive director at the National Immigration Law Center, in response to the recent incidents of police brutality and police killings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas:

“Our hearts were broken to learn about yet another series of shootings this week in which two young black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed in interactions with police. We are also saddened that Dallas police officers were gunned down while monitoring a peaceful protest. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those lost to these tragic episodes of gun violence.

“In a country that aspires to advancing equality, opportunity and respect for others, these horrific events warn us of a festering culture of hate, fear and violence, which disproportionately harms communities of color and which we must bring to an end. We must not give in to hate. We cannot give in to fear. And we must reject violence.

“We stand in solidarity with those who for years have been working peacefully and constructively for acknowledgment that there is a grave problem with the way law enforcement treats black people and other communities of color, and to bring about systemic change. We are especially grateful for the leadership role that the Black Lives Matter network has played in calling for an end to violence and for police accountability. As much as ever, we need these conversations to continue, with empathy and respect as our guiding principles.

“The National Immigration Law Center remains committed to fighting for the dignity and justice of all our community members. We urge our leaders and our communities not to allow these incidents to stifle progress or breed more animosity. We join others in calling for justice and accountability for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and for the countless others who have lost their lives far too soon. Black lives matter, today and every day.”

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