Author Archives: Richard Irwin

Latest Trump Attack on Immigrant Families Is Reckless, Dangerous, Advocates Say

May 23, 2019

National Immigration Law Center: Hayley Burgess (202-805-0375), [email protected]
Center for Law and Social Policy: Tom Salyers (202-906-8002), [email protected]

Latest Trump Attack on Immigrant Families Is Reckless, Dangerous, Advocates Say

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump this afternoon signed a memorandum ordering federal agencies to expand attacks on immigrants and their family members by targeting the U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who sponsor their relatives when they immigrate. The announcement, which directs agencies to develop policies within 90 or 180 days, will intimidate sponsors from reuniting with their family members and will deter lawfully admitted immigrants from securing services for which they are eligible.

The order comes on the heels of a series of attacks that would put immigration status at risk if families use public programs such as Medicaid or nutrition assistance. The memo released today targets the same immigrant communities but magnifies the assault by directing agencies to develop plans to sue the sponsors of immigrants who use certain public programs.

Immigrants who have sponsors already face multiple barriers to receiving services. This directive undermines individual and public health by increasing these barriers and chilling access to services.

The co-chairs of the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign reacted this afternoon by releasing the following statement by Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, and Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy:

“Trump will do anything to send immigrant families the message that if you’re not white and wealthy, you’re not welcome — or even safe — here. And he doesn’t care that children and entire families will be harmed in the process. This is the latest in a string of desperate, dangerous attacks on our neighbors, our friends, our classmates, our families, and the communities they call home. We’re committed to fighting these anti-family attacks on every front. We urge leaders in Congress to take a stand against this administration’s brutal, reckless, dangerous, inhumane agenda.”



NILC Statement Following Dream and Promise Act Markup

May 22, 2019

Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375, [email protected]

NILC Statement Following Dream and Promise Act Markup

WASHINGTON — Following the House Judiciary Committee’s markup of the Dream and Promise Act, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“This is a good day. In the midst of so much pain and trauma caused by the Trump administration, the House Judiciary Committee has taken an important leap forward to show us a more inclusive vision for our country. The Dream and Promise Act would bring long-overdue stability to millions of immigrants, including recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other immigrant youth, as well as to people with temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED).

“And we’re equally pleased to see that those who tried to derail this important effort were seen for what they are: fearmongers who prefer to demonize immigrants rather than recognize our humanity and how inextricably linked we are to communities across the country.

“The Dream and Promise Act is the most encouraging step we’ve seen Congress take in years to provide permanent relief for community members who have had their futures placed in limbo by the Trump administration’s cruel actions to end DACA and TPS for so many.

“The timing of this legislation couldn’t be more relevant. With more than 100,000 DACA-eligible students graduating high school this year and looking to start the next chapter of their lives, we are reminded of how critical it is for Congress to act swiftly to pass bipartisan legislation — without harmful trade-offs — that will allow these young people to continue to contribute to the country they know as home.

“This bill is not perfect. It contains problematic measures that undermine fundamental principles of fairness embedded in our legal system and further narratives that only serve to criminalize communities of color. We are committed to building stronger alliances with our criminal justice reform allies so that one day soon we will dismantle this criminalization framework that scapegoats people of color, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Nevertheless, we urge the House of Representatives to pass this much-needed solution and send a message to the country that the immigrants who would be eligible for relief under the Dream and Promise Act belong here. This is their country too, and their families, communities, and our country will benefit greatly from their being able to remain here. The House must pass this legislation  without delay.”



Dream & Promise Act Most Inclusive Dream Legislation in Decades

May 20, 2019

Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375, [email protected]

Dream & Promise Act Most Inclusive Dream Legislation in Decades

WASHINGTON — Ahead of the House Judiciary Committee markup of the Dream and Promise Act — introduced by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) — there is growing praise for the legislation. The legislation includes a permanent road to U.S. citizenship for immigrant youth, including recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and individuals with temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED); an increase in age limits to ensure protections go beyond young people, but also to people who’ve been in the country for decades; and strong due process protections and judicial review.

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

“The first two years of the Trump administration have been marked by chaos and a complete decimation of long-standing pillars of our legal immigration framework. Immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED primarily from African and Central American countries were among those most directly impacted when the administration unlawfully attempted to end these programs, leaving millions in legal limbo after doing everything the government has asked of them.

“The Dream and Promise Act, as introduced, is more than a solution: it’s a blueprint for an inclusive, positive vision for the country that rightly recognizes immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED as integral members of our families, communities, and society. Those who will benefit from this legislation call this country home. It’s where they go to school, raise their children, run their small businesses, and are building their careers and purchasing homes.

“Though this legislation represents a progressive step forward, we also know it falls short of our vision for truly inclusive change in important ways. We have deep concerns about provisions added after its introduction that conflict with long-standing criminal justice reform efforts aimed at combating racial profiling and criminalization of youth of color. Specifically, the proposed legislation leaves people’s futures potentially subject to error-ridden databases that purport to track alleged gang members. These provisions are wasteful and contrary to the direction we have taken as a nation toward much-needed reform of our criminal justice system. Immigrants must not be left out of this conversation, and Democrats should not perpetuate a criminal narrative that harms so many communities of color across the country.

“Notwithstanding these serious concerns, we recognize that House leadership is presenting substantive policy proposals that address some of the largest immigration issues we face and are in strong contrast to the president’s punitive, cruel, and unlawful policies that serve solely to terrorize and separate millions of immigrant families. It is crucial that, as the bill moves forward, no further changes are made that threaten to undermine the inclusive vision we are fighting for.

“The Dream and Promise Act is a strong first step toward creating an immigration system that is in line with our 21st century needs. Members of Congress should use the markup process as an opportunity to discuss expanding opportunities for all of us to thrive. We will continue to fight in the halls of Congress and alongside our communities for a day in which all of us, regardless of country of birth or income, belong in this country we call home.”



In White House Address, Trump Proposes Rigging Immigration System in Favor of the Wealthy

May 16, 2019

Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375, [email protected]

In White House Address, Trump Proposes Rigging Immigration System in Favor of the Wealthy

WASHINGTON — In an address at the White House Rose Garden today, President Trump outlined a sweeping immigration plan that would drastically impact family-based immigration. The proposal, known to have been drafted by Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller, would starkly alter decades of U.S. immigration policy by favoring immigrants with higher incomes and advanced academic achievement over families seeking to reunite with their loved ones.

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

“From the first day of his presidential candidacy, Trump has made it clear that his anti-immigrant sentiments would shape his administration. Through every one of his immigration policy changes, Trump, together with Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, is seeking to radically redefine who is worthy of being an American and what we look like as a nation. This latest announcement is part and parcel of the same strategy. This sweeping proposed change to our country’s immigration system is based not in values, but in white nationalism and an elitist belief that this country is only for the wealthy. This is not a serious policy proposal, but rather another attack on immigrant families and an effort to shape the narrative to rally his base.

“Actions speak louder than words. Behind the Rose Garden podium and beneath all the tweets, the Trump administration has been systematically dismantling our legal immigration and refugee system, bit by bit. The theatrics at the Rose Garden obfuscate the reality that this administration’s radical shift to a ‘merit-based’ system is already underway through regulatory changes that are an end-run around Congress. The biggest blow is coming shortly: a devastating wealth-test regulation targeting lawfully residing immigrant families who seek care for themselves and their children, effectively telling all but the wealthiest few that they are not welcome here.

“We at the National Immigration Law Center will continue to advocate and litigate, and also educate policymakers and our communities to prevent the worst atrocities from taking place, but the damage to immigrant communities is already being done. The Trump administration is already taking a regulatory buzz saw to our nation’s legal immigration system, and it will devastate millions of families for years to come.”



Trump Demands Border Wall in the Face of Evidence Documenting Harms to Migrants, Border Communities, and the Environment (The Torch)

Trump Demands Border Wall in the Face of Evidence Documenting Harms to Migrants, Border Communities, and the Environment

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Holly Straut-Eppsteiner
MAY 7, 2019

In February, President Trump declared a national emergency so that he could allocate $6.7 billion in taxpayer dollars, without congressional appropriation, to construct more wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In February, a 16-state coalition led by California challenged Trump’s emergency declaration by seeking a preliminary injunction against it in a U.S. district court in California. Last week, NILC submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in this case, outlining the harms border walls inflict on migrants, border communities, and the environment.

Evidence of these harms is apparent when examining impacts of restrictive border policies implemented during 1990s. So-called “prevention through deterrence” policies of this era led to increased migrant deaths and harms for border communities. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the federal agency that used to perform the functions that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now perform, presumed that blocking access to common entry points along the border would deter potential migrants from embarking on migration journeys. In practice, however, these policies neither prevented nor deterred migration — they only made migration journeys more difficult and dangerous.

Crosses bearing the names of people who’ve died crossing the U.S. border adorn the Mexican side of the wall in Nogales, Mexico. (Photo by Jonathan McIntosh, Wikimedia Commons, license:

Research shows that attempts to prevent migrants from crossing in heavily-trafficked urban areas like San Diego, Calif., and El Paso, Tex., only pushed people to cross in more remote, hazardous terrain. When the border was fortified along the California-Mexico border under “Operation Gatekeeper,” for example, crossings in San Diego went down, but crossings at points farther east in Arizona increased tremendously. As migrants undertook journeys in the remote mountains, deserts, and across waterways of the Southwest, deaths increased by 474 percent between 1996 and 2000.

The migrants who died endured terrible suffering. Causes of death included hypothermia, dehydration, sunstroke, and drowning. Between 1995 and 2004, more than 2,600 deaths were recorded along the border, and migrants became more likely to die crossing the border than to be apprehended by Border Patrol. Those who survived reported having endured physical hardships, such as running out of food or water along the way. Because migration journeys became so difficult, migrants came to rely on coyotes, or paid guides, to help them cross. The cost of hiring these guides quadrupled. Despite high payments promised to these coyotes, many migrants were abandoned by their guides while crossing the desert.

Border walls have also been detrimental for border communities — communities such as Ambos Nogales, which includes Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora (in Mexico). A steel fence there and, later, a bollard-style wall divided interconnected communities, economies, and even the cooperation of the towns’ fire departments. In 2008, a border wall blocked an underground storm drain during a flash flood, causing flooding on both sides of the wall. Homes, cars, and businesses were damaged, and two people drowned.

Such barriers also encroach on the sovereignty of indigenous lands. The Tohono O’odham Nation’s sacred lands span both sides of the border. Yet Tohono O’odham people are no longer able to freely cross, and their cultural traditions have been interrupted. Remote parts of their land have seen increased traffic from migrants and, as a result, their land has become a place where migrants die. Vehicle barriers constructed by the Border Patrol to discourage migrant crossings have caused environmental damage.

The environmental harms associated with an expanded border wall are extensive. Wildlife in the border region — whose natural migratory patterns don’t account for human-imposed borders — continues to suffer harm as a result of existing walls, because the walls disrupt the habits animals have evolved in adapting to their unforgiving habitat.

Given these well-documented cases of human suffering, deaths, and disruption to human communities and wildlife, why would the Trump administration pursue a border wall? The answer is rooted in Trump’s resentment of immigrants and people of color. When Trump announced his candidacy for president, he justified building a border wall by claiming that Mexican migrants are “bringing drugs … [and] crime” and that “[t]hey’re rapists.” He has also described migrants at the southern border as “animals” and as “bad” people who “infest” the United States.

Trump’s demands reflect broader, systemic efforts by his administration to exclude immigrant communities of color. He slashed refugee admissions, banned entrance to the U.S. of people from certain Muslim-majority countries, and is trying to implement a rule that punishes low-income immigrants who rely on nutrition, health, and housing programs by preventing them from obtaining lawful permanent residence. He has also attempted to get rid of temporary protections for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan, by making temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED) unavailable to them, and for immigrant youth, by terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

By building more wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump is manufacturing another crisis that will cause extensive damage to border communities and the environment and that will lead to greater human suffering — all in the name of perpetuating his racist agenda.

Holly Straut-Eppsteiner is NILC’s Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and research program manager.


Reported Trump Regulation Threatens Immigrant Families

May 3, 2019

National Immigration Law Center: Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375, [email protected]
Center for Law and Social Policy: Tom Salyers, 202-607-1074, [email protected]

Reported Trump Regulation Threatens Immigrant Families

Advocates promise unified resistance, urge massive public opposition

WASHINGTON — The Reuters news agency reported today that the Trump administration is preparing regulations that would allow the federal government to deport lawful permanent residents and other immigrants if they utilize any of an array of public programs aimed at reducing illness, hunger, and poverty.

Current law states that the government may not deport someone just for using public programs for which the person is qualified. Advocates for immigrant families, working families, health, nutrition, economic opportunity, children, older adults, and other communities have pledged to oppose the proposal, which Reuters described as likely to be formally proposed soon by the U.S. Justice Department.

“Our nation is at its strongest when all of us can utilize the food, health, housing, and other resources we need to thrive,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “Immigrants are part of our families, communities, and society and should be allowed to use the programs their tax dollars support without fear of immigration consequences. This leaked proposal is yet another cruel attempt to close the door on new Americans and radically change our legal immigration system by creating a wealth test and doing an end-run around Congress. We are prepared to take Trump to court to defend our communities’ freedom to thrive.”

“The best way to strengthen our country is to strengthen the families who live in it. One-fourth of children in the U.S. today have at least one foreign-born parent, so our future depends on the success of immigrant families,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “We have to stand up against the cruel and harmful policies of this administration that threaten our society, reject our values, and force millions of families to go without the basic needs they need to thrive.”

“Public charge”–based attacks are reportedly a priority for Trump adviser Stephen Miller, architect of the administration’s plan to separate immigrant children from their parents and to jail them. If and when it is proposed, the Justice Department regulation will be subject to a public comment period before it can be finalized and implemented.

A related public charge proposal by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last fall was estimated to potentially affect about 26 million people nationwide. In addition to targeting immigrants with disabilities, who tend to be older and have lower incomes, that proposal would have put applications for admission to the U.S. or applications for a “green card” at risk if an immigrant uses Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “food stamps”), subsidies for Medicare, or certain types of housing assistance, including Section 8 rent vouchers. The proposal drew more than 266,000 public comments, overwhelmingly in opposition.

The new Justice Department proposal is a companion to the DHS public charge regulation. It expands the impact by putting immigrants at risk, including people with green cards, if they’ve accessed programs that meet basic needs. Though the DHS proposal has not yet been finalized, there are already widespread reports of immigrant families withdrawing from critical health and nutrition programs, including for their U.S. citizen children. Even a proposal to expand the deportation criteria will greatly enhance this chilling effect, causing immediate harm to millions of people.

For more information about community education and efforts to fight back against this pernicious proposed rule, visit


3 de mayo de 2019

National Immigration Law Center (Centro Nacional de Leyes Migratorias): Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375, [email protected]
Center for Law and Social Policy: Tom Salyers, 202-607-1074, [email protected]

Regla propuesta por Trump amenaza a las familias inmigrantes

Los defensores de los inmigrantes prometen una resistencia unificada, urgen una oposición pública y masiva

WASHINGTON — La agencia de noticias Reuters informó hoy que la administración del presidente Trump está preparando regulaciones que permitirían al gobierno federal deportar a los residentes permanentes legales y otros inmigrantes si utilizan cualquiera de una serie de servicios públicos destinados a reducir las enfermedades, el hambre y la pobreza.

La ley actual establece que el gobierno no puede deportar a alguien solo por el uso de servicios públicos para los cuales la persona es elegible. Los defensores de las familias inmigrantes, de las familias trabajadoras, de la salud, de la nutrición, de las oportunidades económicas, de los niños, de los ancianos y de otras comunidades se han comprometido a oponerse a la propuesta, que, según Reuters, probablemente será propuesta oficialmente muy pronto por el Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU.

“Nuestra nación es más fuerte y saludable cuando todos podemos aprovechar de la comida, de la salud, de la vivienda y de otros recursos que necesitamos para prosperar”, dijo Marielena Hincapié, directora ejecutiva del Centro Nacional de Leyes Migratorias (NILC, por su sigla en ingés). “Los inmigrantes son parte de nuestras familias, de nuestras comunidades y de nuestra sociedad, y se les debe permitir usar los servicios que ellos apoyan con sus impuestos sin temor a las consecuencias de inmigración. Esta propuesta es otro intento cruel de cerrar la puerta a los nuevos americanos y cambiar radicalmente nuestro sistema de inmigración mediante la creación de una prueba de riqueza y con fin de evitar pasar legislación por los canales normales del Congreso. Estamos preparados a demandar a Trump para defender a nuestras comunidades”.

“La mejor manera de fortalecer nuestro país es fortalecer a las familias que viven aquí. Uno de cada cuatro de los niños en los EE.UU. tiene al menos un padre nacido en el extranjero, y por eso nuestro futuro depende del éxito de las familias inmigrantes”, dijo Olivia Golden, directora ejecutiva del Centro para Ley y Política Social (CLASP, por su sigla en inglés). “Tenemos que enfrentarnos a las políticas crueles y dañinas de esta administración que amenazan a nuestra sociedad, rechazan nuestros valores y obligan a millones de familias a vivir sin las cosas básicas que necesitan para prosperar”.

Los ataques basados ​​en la “carga pública” son una prioridad para el asesor de Trump Stephen Miller, arquitecto del plan de la administración para separar a los niños inmigrantes de sus padres y encarcelarlos. Cuando se proponga, el reglamento del Departamento de Justicia estará sujeto a un período de comentarios públicos antes de que se pueda finalizar e implementar.

Se estimó que una propuesta sobre la carga pública relacionada a esta y realizada por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los EE.UU. (DHS, por su sigla en inglés) el otoño pasado podría afectar a aproximadamente 26 millones de personas en todo el país. Además de dirigirse a los inmigrantes con discapacidades, que tienden a ser mayores y con ingresos más bajos, esa propuesta habría puesto en riesgo las solicitudes de admisión a los EE.UU. o las solicitudes de residencia si un inmigrante usa Medicaid, el Programa de Asistencia de Nutrición Suplementaria (SNAP, por su sigla en inglés, también conocido como “cupones de comida”), subsidios para Medicare o ciertos tipos de asistencia para la vivienda, incluidos los comprobantes de alquiler de la Sección 8. La propuesta atrajo más de 266,000 comentarios públicos, abrumadoramente en oposición.

La nueva propuesta del Departamento de Justicia es un complemento a la regulación de la carga pública del DHS. Expande el impacto al poner en riesgo a los inmigrantes, incluidos a los residentes legales, si han usado servicios que satisfacen necesidades básicas. Aunque la propuesta del DHS aún no se ha finalizado, ya hay informes de familias inmigrantes que se han retirado de servicios críticos de salud y nutrición, incluso para sus hijos ciudadanos de los EE.UU. Una propuesta para ampliar los criterios de deportación incrementará enormemente este efecto escalofriante, causando un daño inmediato a millones de personas.

Para obtener más información para educar a la comunidad y sobre los esfuerzos para luchar contra esta regla perniciosa, visite



Research Shows a Citizenship Question Would Suppress Participation among Latinxs and Immigrants in the 2020 Census, Undermining Its Reliability (The Torch)

Research Shows a Citizenship Question Would Suppress Participation among Latinxs and Immigrants in the 2020 Census, Undermining Its Reliability

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Holly Straut-Eppsteiner
APRIL 22, 2019

The U.S. Constitution requires a decennial census of all persons living in the country, and our nation has carried out this duty since 1790. Specifically, the census must count all people living in the U.S. and record where they live. These counts are crucial for determining each state’s number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, defining legislative districts, and distributing federal funding for state, local, and tribal governments. The census is also a vital source of population data. Therefore, it is imperative that each decade, the census is methodically planned and carried out.

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce has proposed to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. This sudden change would have alarming implications.

Under the Enumeration Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the census must count everyone living in the country, regardless of their immigration status. Social scientists, policymakers, advocates, and even former directors of the Census Bureau have argued that introducing a citizenship question — which has not been tested — would have a chilling effect on the census response rate. This would undermine the reliability of census data by undercounting particular populations, especially low-income people and people of color who have already been undercounted in past iterations of the census.

Three federal judges have already found the addition of the citizenship question to be unlawful. Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about the question (Dept. of Commerce v. New York; NILC attorneys drafted and filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case).

Fears of the gravity of an undercount stemming from the proposed citizenship question are empirically supported by new research coming out of the San Joaquin Valley in California. Researchers from the San Joaquin Valley Census Research Project (SJVCRP) conducted 414 in-person surveys with Latinx immigrants and the U.S.-born, adult children of immigrants to determine whether they would respond to the 2020 census with or without the proposed citizenship question.

The San Joaquin Valley is a highly-populated area of the country, with 4.2 million residents. It has a higher-than-average concentration of foreign-born residents and is majority Latinx. It is also a growing community: the population is expected to reach 4.6 million people in 2020, the year the census will be conducted. Surveys for the SJVCRP reached people in locales in the San Joaquin valley ranging from small, rural communities to major cities.

Researchers uncovered a significant and troubling finding from this survey research: Fewer Latinx immigrant households will participate in the 2020 census if the question is implemented, which will result in an undercount. Without the citizenship question, 84 percent of respondents were willing to participate in the census; after including the citizenship question, however, willingness to participate dropped by almost half, to 46 percent. Willingness dropped among individuals across legal status: naturalized citizens, legal residents, and undocumented individuals.

In addition, declines in willingness to participate were especially notable among the “second generation,” that is, U.S.-born citizens who are children of immigrants. Fewer than half of those surveyed were willing to respond when the citizenship question was included. In fact, these U.S.-born citizens were much less likely to answer than naturalized citizens or legal residents.

These results indicate that a census that includes a citizenship question would not only fail to accurately measure the population, with an estimated 4.1 percent undercount, but also would misrepresent population demographics by undercounting first- and second-generation Latinx Americans by nearly 12 percent. Such an undercount is considered by some experts to be a failed census.

What’s at stake if such an undercount occurs in the San Joaquin Valley? Equitable political representation in Congress, for one thing, and at least $198 million in annual federal funding for residents of the valley. Researchers estimate that these results extrapolated to the state of California would cause an undercount of as many as 1.3 million people in the state, resulting in reduced congressional representation for Californians and annual funding losses ranging between $970 million and $1.5 billion.

The researchers conclude that “[p]roceeding with a politicized decennial census — widely understood by Latino first- and second-generation immigrants as compromising a potentially attractive collective endeavor, the process of ‘standing up and being counted’ to assure one’s community gets its fair share of federal funding and equitable political representation — will further erode already-wavering trust in government.”

We must protect the integrity of the census to ensure that all Americans are counted in 2020.

Holly Straut-Eppsteiner is NILC’s Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and research program manager.


Worksite Immigration Raids Terrorize Workers and Communities Now, and Their Devastating Consequences Are Long-Term (The Torch)

Worksite Immigration Raids Terrorize Workers and Communities Now, and Their Devastating Consequences Are Long-Term

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Holly Straut-Eppsteiner
APRIL 11, 2019

Early in the Trump administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials promised to increase worksite enforcement actions that specifically target immigrant workers. Subsequently, raids conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE’s) Homeland Security Investigations have terrorized workers and communities across the country.

Since the raid on a meat processing facility in Bean Station, Tenn., resulted in the arrest of nearly 100 workers one year ago, a succession of raids has each been dubbed the “largest in a decade.” Last June, there were 146 arrests at Fresh Mark, a meat processing facility in Salem, Ohio. In August, 160 workers were arrested at Load Trail Trailer in Sumner, Tex. Most recently — last week — a raid on CVE Technology Group in Allen, Tex., resulted in the arrests of 284 workers.

Regardless of whether nearly 300 people are arrested, as happened last week in Allen, or 30 people, as during a February raid in Sanford, N.C., these raids are devastating for individuals, families, and communities. The people represented by these numbers are members of local communities: they are workers, parents, friends, and neighbors. While ICE typically claims that these “administrative arrests” are a secondary consequence of its investigations of employers’ criminal activity, it’s actually workers who end up suffering the most because of these investigations.

Workers who have lived through one of these raids describe how a normal workday suddenly transforms into multiple scenes of chaos infused with fear. In Tennessee, the National Immigration Law Center and co-counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of workers whose constitutional rights were violated during last year’s highly militarized raid. One plaintiff, Martha Pulido, described the terror she experienced: “I showed up to work that morning just like I had every day for more than a year, ready to do my job and provide for my family. Instead, I had a gun pointed in my face and saw my coworkers get punched in the face and shoved to the ground by federal agents.”

In Texas last week, workers described “working like a normal day” before hearing “screaming” and their colleagues crying as workers reacted fearfully to ICE agents’ sudden appearance in their workplace, and as the agents made them separate into color-coded subgroups.

Amid the uncertainty workers and their families face, there is continuity in the sequence and pattern of consequences that flow from raids, large and small. Relatives and friends waiting outside workplaces to learn the fate of their loved ones, as some are taken away on buses to detention facilities. Working families hit with financial strain as they struggle to deal with lost income and the costs of posting bond. Children missing school in the days after raids and, in the longer term, both parents and children suffering the effects of toxic stress, trauma, and associated poor health outcomes. Ripple effects of fear and isolation among immigrant communities. Schools, religious and other community groups, and advocacy organizations rallying to support those impacted in the days and months after raids.

Raids conducted in the first decade of the 2000s, under the George W. Bush administration, are instructive for our longer-term expectations of such impacts. In 2008, a raid on a meat processing facility in Postville, Iowa, resulted in the arrest of 389 workers — nearly 20 percent of the town’s residents. Research shows that Iowa infants born to Latina mothers had significantly higher risk of low birthweight after Postville. Postville, the town, experienced long-term economic distress. Research from other raids during this period documents academic, social, and psychological harms to impacted children, as well as downward economic mobility and higher levels of food and housing insecurity for workers and families.

Whether or not the next worksite raid breaks recent records for the number of workers arrested, we can be sure that not only the workers themselves, but also the broader communities where the raids are staged, will suffer devastating consequences for years to come.

Holly Straut-Eppsteiner is NILC’s Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and research program manager.

For more on these issues, see


No Ban Act Introduced in Congress to Repeal the Discriminatory Muslim Ban

April 10, 2019

Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375

No Ban Act Introduced in Congress to Repeal the Discriminatory Muslim Ban

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) announced today the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, or the “No Ban Act,” challenging the Trump administration’s Muslim ban. The ban, which has been in effect in one form or another since January 2017, has separated too many families and continues to have a devastating impact on American Muslim communities.

The No Ban Act would repeal each iteration of the Muslim ban, amend the Immigration and Nationality Act’s nondiscrimination provision to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on religion, and limit overreach by the federal government’s executive branch to introduce future, similar bans.

Avideh Moussavian, legislative director at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The Trump administration’s senseless and deeply racist ban is a moral stain on this nation. Since it went into effect, it has torn apart countless families, and it continues to keep people senselessly separated from their loved ones to this day.

“While the Trump administration is peddling fear-mongering, congressional leaders are taking an important step via the No Ban Act to fight for an affirmative blueprint for making our communities healthy, safe, and welcoming for all who call this country home.

“The Muslim ban — along with family separation, mass detention, limiting access to critical services, and countless other abhorrent policies — is yet another pillar of this administration’s extreme anti-immigrant agenda and stands in stark contrast to our nation’s most sacred values of inclusivity and religious freedom. We continue to stand proudly with refugees and the American Muslim community and will fight in the halls of Congress, in courtrooms, at the ballot box, and alongside our communities until there is no Muslim ban ever.”

More information about the No Ban Act is available at



Congress Adds its Voice to the Fight Against the Muslim Ban (The Torch)

Congress Adds Its Voice to the Fight Against the Muslim Ban

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Subha Varadarajan
APRIL 10, 2019

More than two years have passed since the Trump administration implemented the first version of its Muslim ban, and communities continue to suffer its consequences. The version of the ban currently in effect prevents nationals of five Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — from entering the United States. It separates families, deprives people of life-saving health care, and blocks their access to education and professional opportunities.

The original Muslim ban was the first of many horrific discriminatory policies that have come out of the Trump administration. Since the day Trump issued the first executive order establishing the ban, January 27, 2017, his administration has adopted and implemented many more xenophobic policies, including two additional iterations of the Muslim ban. Each subsequent iteration has had the same discriminatory intention of banning Muslims from entering the U.S., and each version was immediately challenged in the courts. Unfortunately, on June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court turned a blind eye to the injustices inherent in the ban, and it allowed the ban’s third iteration to go into full effect.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision, the Trump administration has continued its attack on immigrant communities — abuses like detaining family members separately from each other, attempting to change the rules about who is considered a “public charge” for immigration purposes, and issuing yet another ban, this one targeting Central American asylum-seekers attempting to enter the U.S. at the border with Mexico. Notwithstanding all the other horrific policies that have been introduced and implemented under President Trump, the Muslim ban continues to be one of the administration’s worst signature policies.

Although a number of important bills have been introduced in Congress to defund the ban’s implementation or require more oversight, none of them have language that would prevent a future ban. Today for the first time, a set of bills was introduced whose aim is to repeal all iterations of the Muslim ban and prevent any future president from enacting a new, similar ban.

Today, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (No Ban) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Due to the hard work of many coalition partners, this bill includes the pieces essential not only to repeal the Muslim ban but also to create barriers against issuing any new ban. The No Ban Act would amend sections of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA) that Trump used as legal authority to create all his various bans. In addition, this legislation is a perfect complement to other legislative efforts, such as HR.810 and S.246, that would prevent American taxpayer dollars from being used to implement the Muslim ban.

Outlined below are the specific reasons why the No Ban Act is a meaningful bill that members of Congress need to get behind:

Repeals all iterations of the Muslim and other bans

This bill would repeal all three iterations of Trump’s Muslim ban, his refugee/extreme-vetting-of-refugees ban, and his asylum ban. The inclusion of each type of ban is vital, since they are all based on the same discriminatory intent.

  • The refugee ban is just another iteration of the Muslim ban. It specifically targets the parts of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program that have accounted for 80 percent of all Muslim refugees resettled in the U.S. in the past two years.
  • The asylum ban was issued based on the same INA authority as the Muslim ban, but targeting asylum-seekers at the southern U.S. border.

Expands the INA’s nondiscrimination provision

This bill would broaden the INA’s nondiscrimination provision by adding religion to the list of protected classes. This addition would also apply to all visa applicants, immigrant and nonimmigrant. The primary motivation for Trump’s ban is religious animus, and this revision seeks to prevent a policy based on similar animus from being implemented in the future.

Limits authority to suspend or restrict the entry of a class of non–U.S. citizens

Most importantly, this bill would amend INA section 212(f), the section that Trump claimed as legal authority to create the Muslim and asylum bans, to require that additional criteria be met before the entry of a person or class of people may be banned. This amendment would limit the ability for a future president to create any type of ban, including but not limited to bans of Muslims, refugees, or asylum-seekers.

Requires more reporting on the implementation of administration policies

This bill would require retroactive reporting on the implementation of each of the Muslim bans. It would also trigger periodic reporting on any future use of INA section 212(f), thus providing Congress with more information to use in conducting its oversight duties.

WE URGE YOU TO REACH OUT to your congressional representative and senators to encourage them to cosponsor the No Ban Act. Two ways to do this are by signing the #RepealTheBan petition and calling your members of Congress. It is imperative that we stand united against white nationalism and #RepealTheBan once and for all.

Subha Varadarajan is NILC’s Muslim and refugee ban legal and outreach fellow.