Author Archives: Richard Irwin

SUCCEED Act Not a Serious Proposal for Immigrant Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2017

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

Republican SUCCEED Act Not a Serious Proposal for Immigrant Youth

WASHINGTON — Republican senators today announced a new legislative proposal to provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth. The SUCCEED Act, cosponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK), would make eligible immigrant youth wait 15 years to become U.S. citizens. It would also force them to forgo due process rights, place conditions on their ability to stay and live in the U.S., and lock them into a prolonged process that would bar them from seeking other forms of immigration relief for which they could become eligible.

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

“We’re glad to see continued growth in bipartisan support for a legislative solution for immigrant youth, but the SUCCEED Act clearly falls short. This bill is not a serious alternative to a clean Dream Act.

“Leaders in Congress should be focused on moving swiftly to provide certainty to immigrant young people whose lives have been upended by President Trump’s cruel decision to end DACA. Placing unnecessary barriers to their full inclusion is a step backward. It’s simply cruel to make immigrant youth choose between a secure future for themselves and being able to remain in the U.S. with their families.”

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NILC Responds to Supreme Court Calendar Change in Trump v. IRAP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2017

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279, media@nilc.org

NILC Responds to Supreme Court Calendar Change in Trump v. IRAP

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has removed both major legal challenges to President Trump’s Muslim ban from its oral argument calendar, NILC learned today. Oral argument in the cases had been scheduled to take place on October 10.

The Court has ordered all parties in the cases to submit additional briefing in light of yesterday’s announcement from the Trump administration that it has issued yet another ban against several countries, including predominantly Muslim-majority countries. The National Immigration Law Center is co-counsel in Trump v. IRAP and has committed to fighting the Muslim ban in all its permutations every step of the way. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

“This new Muslim ban, just like each prior version of it, is morally reprehensible and legally indefensible. Our communities have always known this, and the federal circuit courts of appeal have consistently agreed. Although any delay in justice served is disappointing and will result in tremendous harm to our communities, this latest news is just one step in the larger, multi-faceted fight against the Muslim ban and the Islamophobia that is at the root of these bans. Our goal from the start has been clear: we will work—inside and outside the courtroom—to make sure there is no Muslim ban ever. We will collaborate with our Muslim community leaders and all the affected communities to make sure our country rejects this hateful and divisive policy.

“All those who joined us at the airports, in town halls, and in courtrooms over the last several months should stay engaged. Visit www.nomuslimbanever.com to learn how you can make your voice heard.”

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Civil Rights Groups Condemn Trump’s Latest Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2017

MEDIA CONTACT
Marcos Rodriguez | (559) 920-0534 | mmaciel@skdknick.com
Charlie DiPasquale | (240) 481-6632 | CDiPasquale@skdknick.com

Civil Rights Groups Condemn Trump’s Latest Muslim Ban

Administration expands Muslim ban, making entry into U.S. even more restrictive

SAN FRANCISCO — This evening, the Trump administration announced its new discriminatory Muslim and refugee ban, to include North Korea, Venezuela, and Muslim-majority Chad, and continues to include Iran, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The degree of immigration restriction varies by individual country, including complete ban. This move by the administration represents an attempt to sanitize a discriminatory and illegal policy before it is reviewed by the Supreme Court on October 10.

In response to the news, Elica Vafaie from Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), Zahra Billoo from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Avideh Moussavian from the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) released the following statements:

Elica Vafaie, staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice
“This new nonsensical ban continues to discriminate against immigrants, refugees, and visitors from a group of majority Muslim countries. We will continue to stand up for our communities and fight against any attempt at a Muslim ban.”

Zahra Billoo, CAIR representative
“Adding two non–majority Muslim countries doesn’t change the math or the intent of Trump’s new Muslim ban when six out of eight targeted countries are Muslim majority. This policy continues to be xenophobic and unconstitutional.

“We encourage travelers to know their rights and to reach out to our organizations if they have questions or experience any harassment or delays at airports.”

Avideh Moussavian, senior policy attorney, National Immigration Law Center
“Just like a new coat of paint won’t repair a house with dangerous structural problems, this new variation on the ban does nothing to cover up its discriminatory intent against Muslims, nor does it remove the xenophobic core of this executive order. All our communities must stand together more forcefully now than ever before to reject each permutation of this pernicious order.”

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Statement by CAIR, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and NILC Expressing Disappointment with SCOTUS Muslim Ban Stay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2017

CONTACT
Charlie DiPasquale, 202-464-6916, cdipasquale@skdknick.com

Statement by CAIR, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and NILC Expressing Disappointment with SCOTUS Muslim Ban Stay

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would grant a stay of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to allow refugees with formal ties to resettlement agencies to come to the U.S.

Zahra Billoo, a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) representative, Elica Vafaie, a staff attorney at Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, and Justin Cox, a staff attorney to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the latest ruling against the Trump administration’s ban on most refugees, including the 24,000 people who have been working with American refugee resettlement agencies and whose lives hang in the balance. It is our hope that this is a mere procedural step.”

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NILC Applauds Ninth Circuit’s Decision Upholding Injunction on Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2017

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

NILC Applauds Ninth Circuit’s Decision Upholding Injunction on Muslim Ban

LOS ANGELES — Following the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to uphold the Muslim ban injunction, Justin Cox, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), issued the following statement:

“This decision by the Ninth Circuit is a step in the right direction and will hopefully help to ensure that discrimination does not become the law of the land in our country. The decision appropriately rejects the Trump administration’s nonsensical contention that even though a mother-in-law is considered ‘close family,’ a grandmother isn’t. And it correctly affirms that the that the Muslim ban cannot be used to bar the entry of refugees who have been formally assured to refugee resettlement agencies.

“The Trump administration has been slow-walking refugee admissions in defiance of federal court injunctions for months. We call on the federal government to honor our historical commitment to refugees and to the rule of law, and to ramp up refugee admissions immediately.”

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Statement on States Lawsuit Challenging Trump Decision to End DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2017

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

Statement on States Lawsuit Challenging Trump Decision to End DACA

WASHINGTON — Fifteen states and the District of Columbia today sued the Trump administration, challenging the president’s termination of the DACA program. The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) and the plaintiffs include Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the lawsuit today in New York City, where on Tuesday New York Dreamer Martin Batalla Vidal and Make the Road New York (MRNY) filed a new legal action challenging Trump’s termination of DACA. Make the Road New York, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at the Yale Law School represent Batalla and MRNY.

In response to today’s announcement, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The American people from coast to coast have made their opposition to Trump’s actions clear. Red states and blue states have come together to stand in support of the hundreds of thousands of courageous young immigrants who have DACA and whose futures have now been thrown into terrifying chaos.

“We salute the leaders of these states for taking a stand and fighting back against the administration’s relentless and shameless xenophobia and attacks on our communities, and we count on their leadership as we work together to live up to this country’s ideals of liberty and justice for all.”

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New York Dreamer Challenges Trump Administration’s Termination of DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2017

CONTACTS
Hayley Burgess, National Immigration Law Center, burgess@nilc.org, 202-805-0375
Daniel Altschuler, Make the Road New York, daniel.altschuler@maketheroadny.org, 917-494-5922
David Chen, WIRAC at the Yale Law School, BatallaVidal_LSO@mailman.yale.edu, 908-240-6252

New York Dreamer Challenges Trump Administration’s Termination of DACA

NEW YORK — A young immigrant New Yorker and Make the Road New York (MRNY) went to federal court today to challenge the Trump administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In a lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Martín Batalla Vidal, a DACA recipient, and MRNY are asking permission to amend their original complaint in order to argue that President Trump’s actions violate federal law and the equal protection guarantee of the Constitution.

The case, Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al, was originally filed on behalf of Batalla Vidal and MRNY in 2016 challenging the court decision in United States v. Texas that blocked Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of DACA from going into effect. Batalla Vidal and MRNY are represented by Make the Road New York, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

Nearly 800,000 young people now have DACA. They have provided personal and confidential information to the U.S. government and gone through a rigorous application process and background check which has allowed them to receive a two-year work permit and relief from deportation.

In the more than five years since DACA was first implemented, the program has been a resounding success. According to a recent survey, 91 percent of DACA recipients are currently employed, and their average earnings have increased during the time that DACA has been in place.

The benefits of DACA extend beyond the recipients themselves. Nearly three quarters of all DACA recipients have a U.S. citizen spouse, sibling, or child. Terminating the program would create emotional and economic harm for these family members as well.

Batalla Vidal’s family is no different. Batalla Vidal is 26 years old and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was seven years old. He works in a nursing home and rehabilitation center, and financially supports his mother. He is a member of Make the Road New York.

Martin Batalla Vidal, plaintiff and member of Make the Road New York, said, “DACA has changed my life. It’s allowed me to pursue my dream of continuing my education and supporting my family, with the peace of mind that I won’t be separated from the people I love the most. Losing DACA would have a dramatic impact on my life. It would prevent me from being able to take on major professional or academic goals, make me unable to work legally, and put me at risk of being deported and separated from my family. This decision by Donald Trump is a direct attack on immigrant youth like me and on our families, and it’s based on one thing: the racist beliefs of a president who has been attacking Latinos and Mexicans since the first day of his campaign.”

Members of Make the Road New York, including staff members, as well as nonmember clients, have filed DACA applications that remain outstanding. As an employer, MRNY will lose significant staff resources; a number of employees rely on DACA to be able to work at the organization.

Javier H. Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said, “DACA recipients, in addition to being core members of our community and families, have been absolutely central to our organization since 2012. From our work organizing youth and adult members to our legal department to our English classes, DACA recipients have been at the forefront of delivering vital services to our membership and clientele. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions’ decision today is not only racist and immoral — it also will do serious damage to our organization.”

“The Trump administration’s zeal for anti-immigrant and racist actions continues today, and with more devastating consequences. Terminating DACA betrays the nearly 800,000 young people who have put their faith in the government, throwing their lives into terrifying chaos. Our fight continues on behalf of these brave young people, and together we will work tirelessly to live up to this country’s ideals of justice and dignity for all,” said Mayra Joachin, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center.

“The bravery of Mr. Batalla Vidal and of the members of Make the Road New York today reveal that young immigrants will not recede into the shadows as the Trump Administration would like them to do. They are here to stay and will continue fighting today’s callous and unlawful decision to eliminate DACA,” said David Chen, law student intern in the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

Today’s filing is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Batalla-Vidal-v-Baran-PMC-Letter-2017-09-05.pdf.

The recording of today’s conference call regarding this filing is available at www.nilc.org/defenddaca-2017-09-05/.

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NILC Will Fight Alongside Immigrant Youth and Allies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2017

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

NILC Will Fight Alongside Immigrant Youth and Allies

WASHINGTON — Today the Trump administration announced the rescission of the transformative DACA program, which for over five years has successfully allowed close to 800,000 immigrant youth to pursue their full potential and contribute more fully to their communities. President Trump decided to end the program despite repeatedly telling immigrant youth not to worry.

The Department of Homeland Security will cut off all new applications immediately. Those whose DACA permits expire between now and March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal by Oct. 5.

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

“This is a defining moment for our country. We are being called upon to choose which side of history we are on: Are we going to stand with young people who have grown up in our country and are striving to achieve their dreams? Or are we going to allow policymakers to erect barriers that block youth from contributing their best to this country, which is their home?

“President Trump allowed DACA to continue for his first seven months in office. He told young immigrant people that they could ‘rest easy’ and not fear deportation. Now Trump has bowed to his anti-immigrant advisors and base—putting politics above people, hate above reason.

“This is a morally bankrupt choice. Trump’s decision to pull the rug out from under nearly a million young people who are contributing to their communities across the country will only serve to destabilize these young people, their families, and their communities.

“DACA applicants relied on a promise by the federal government to allow them to live and work without fear of being deported if they came forward, paid a fee, passed a background check, and were deemed eligible after meeting certain requirements. The National Immigration Law Center will vigorously defend their rights—in the courtroom, if necessary—should the government renege on that promise.

“We call on educators, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, health professionals, and all people of good conscience—regardless of political party affiliation—to stand on the right side of history and by the side of immigrant youth and their families. We must do everything in our reach to ensure they are safe, empowered, and can continue to thrive.

“Though we are heartbroken and enraged, it is crucial in this moment to recall the tremendous organizing power and energy that won DACA in the first place. Now, more than ever, we must all stand up and fight alongside immigrant youth who are fighting to maintain their livelihoods and their sense of security and belonging in this country. DACA is only the beginning of what we can do.

“We urge all members of Congress to swiftly pass the bipartisan Dream Act 2017. However, we are steadfast in our commitment to advancing the rights of all low-income immigrants and will not accept any bill that aims to further militarize border communities, ramps up Trump’s mass deportation force, or diminishes workers’ rights. The lives of immigrant youth are not a bargaining chip.”

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Government Settles in First Lawsuit Filed Against Trump’s Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2017

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, NILC, media@nilc.org, 202.805.0375
Henrike Dessaules, IRAP, hdessaules@refugeerights.org, 646.459.3081
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, isarda-sorensen@aclu.org, 212.284.7347
Clare Kane, WIRAC, clare.kane@ylsclinics.edu, 360.584.7384

Government Settles in First Lawsuit Filed Against Trump’s Muslim Ban

NEW YORK — The Trump administration today settled with the plaintiffs in the first legal challenge to the president’s executive order of Jan. 27, 2017, which sought to bar travelers from certain majority Muslim countries from entering the United States and to dramatically curtail the admission of refugees. The settlement ensures that all travelers who were barred from the country on the basis of the ban and have not since returned to the United States are informed of their right to reapply for a visa and provided with a list of free legal services organizations that can help them do so.

The settlement came in the case of Darweesh v. Trump, which was filed as a nationwide class-action in federal district court in New York City on the morning of January 28, 2017, only hours after the administration’s first Muslim ban went into effect. The ban had plunged airports across the country into chaos as the Trump administration haphazardly implemented its discriminatory policy, leading to the separation of families and exclusion of refugees fleeing persecution. By the evening of January 28, the court had issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the Trump administration from removing anyone from the country on the basis of the Muslim ban. As a result, the administration’s effort to bar Muslims and refugees from the country was halted barely 24 hours after it went into effect.

Having succeeded in halting detentions under the Muslim ban, the lawsuit then sought to address the harm done to those already excluded in the chaotic first days of the Muslim ban. In the settlement announced today, the government agreed to contact all individuals who had been barred from entry as a result of the ban and have not since reapplied for a visa or entered the United States and to inform them of their right to reapply for a visa. The government will also provide a list of pro bono immigration legal aid providers available to assist with the visa application. The written notice will be provided in English, Arabic, and Farsi. The settlement also requires the U.S. Justice Department to coordinate the processing of new applications for any affected individuals identified by the plaintiffs’ attorneys who are seeking to return to the U.S. in the next three months.

The plaintiffs include two Iraqi men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who had been unjustly detained at JFK Airport due to the Muslim ban. They are represented by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

When he was informed of the settlement, lead plaintiff Hameed Darweesh said, “It means a lot to me to be in America. The United States is a great country because of its people. I’m glad that the lawsuit is over. Me and my family are safe; my kids go to school; we can now live a normal life. I suffered back home, but I have my rights now. I’m a human.”

Representatives from each group gave the following statements:

Becca Heller, Director, International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center
“On January 27, Hameed Darweesh and thousands of others attempted to legally enter the United States. They were detained, handcuffed and, in many cases, deported. This settlement forces the government to individually reach out to everyone illegally kept out of the country and begin to remedy that wrong. But it is only a first step — we continue to fight against the illegal, discriminatory, and un-American provisions of the second Muslim ban.”

Esther Sung, staff attorney, National Immigration Law Center
“This settlement is a victory for the individuals who were unlawfully detained and deported as a result of the president’s Muslim ban, but our fight continues. The Muslim ban doesn’t just violate the Constitution, it flies in the face of dearly held values to live free from fear of persecution based on where we’re from or how we pray. This case may have ended, but we remain more committed to the fight now than ever before.”

Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director, Immigrants’ Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union
“Although the government dragged its feet for far too long, it has finally agreed to do the right thing and provide those excluded under the first Muslim ban with proper notice of their right to come to the United States. While this closes one chapter in our challenge to Trump’s efforts to institute his unconstitutional ban, we continue our legal fight against Muslim ban 2.0 at the Supreme Court in October.”

Yusuf Saei, Student, Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC), Yale Law School
“This fight began when thousands of Americans showed up at airports across the country to support refugees and protest religious discrimination. This settlement closes a chapter on the Trump administration’s catastrophic Muslim ban. It delivers a measure of fairness to people who were illegally and discriminatorily barred from entering the country, but the fight against prejudice and hatred is not over.”

A copy of the settlement agreement is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Darweesh-v-Trump-Settlement-Agreement-2017-08-31.pdf.

More information on Darweesh v. Trump is available at www.nilc.org/darweesh-v-trump/.

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Immigrant Youth and Advocates Respond to Trump’s Consideration of Plan to Kill DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149
Adela de la Torre, media@nilc.org, 213-400,7822
Bruna Bouhid, bruna@unitedwedream.org, 202-850-0812

Immigrant Youth and Advocates Respond to Trump’s Consideration of Plan to Kill DACA, Outline Escalation of Fight to Defend Program

WASHINGTON — Following a news report that the Trump administration is “seriously considering” ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, immigrant youth, immigrant and civil rights advocates, and progressive leaders today renewed their call to President Trump to keep the DACA in place and provided the latest updates on ongoing work to defend the program. A recording of today’s call is available here.

Below are quotes from participants in today’s press conference:

Greisa Martinez Rosas, policy and advocacy director, United We Dream
“It is time for all people to organize with fierce and unapologetic determination to counter the vicious hate being pushed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and white supremacists in the White House. Every Republican elected and administration official who has tried to have it both ways is now on notice. You either oppose the drive to kill DACA or you are complicit in our suffering.”

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center
“There is no good moral, legal, or political reason to get rid of this wildly successful program. More than 100 legal scholars, countless faith leaders and economists, along with business and education leaders, have spoken in defense of the program. In addition, polls show that 7 out of 8 voters support this program. DACA is one of those rare instances where doing the right thing is also the politically popular thing.”

Damaris Gonzalez, Texas DACA recipient
“I hope that everyone with DACA, every Texan of conscience, and all people who care about immigrants, people of color in our state, and the future of this country rise up and say enough is enough. We will continue to expose Ken Paxton for his attacks on our humanity and Trump for pandering to his white supremacist supporters. This is our home, and we’re not going anywhere — we are here to stay!”

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights
“It would be a grave moral and legal error for the Trump administration to end the DACA program. We must not allow the hate and violence we saw in the streets of Charlottesville to become the guiding force for policymaking in this country. Targeting innocent immigrant young people would only deepen the moral crisis President Trump has plunged his administration into.”

Jung Woo Kim, lead organizer of NAKASEC’s 22-day round-the-clock action in front of the White House to defend DACA
“I am very scared right now. If DACA goes away, I won’t be able to work, pay my bills or anything. Where would I be then? How would I survive? We need everyone to come join us at the White House today as we fight together to save DACA and our future!”

Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible
“This administration has been systematically targeting immigrants, refugees, people of color. There is a clear connection between Trump’s attacks on DACA and his comments on Charlottesville, hints at pardoning Sheriff Arpaio, and the Muslim ban. This is all one and the same fight, and it’s part of Trump’s white supremacist agenda. We and the 6,000 Indivisible groups across the country will be standing with our partners who’ve been leading this fight to say that DACAmented youth belong here, and they are here to stay.”

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