Author Archives: Richard Irwin

Washington Wastes More Money Criminalizing Immigrants, While Keeping Dreamers in Limbo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2018

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, media@nilc.org

Washington Wastes More Money Criminalizing Immigrants, While Keeping Dreamers in Limbo

WASHINGTON — After weeks of intense negotiations, the U.S. House of Representatives has reached an agreement to fund the federal government for six months. The $1.3 trillion proposal includes funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to hire several dozen Homeland Security Investigation agents. The proposal also earmarks $1.6 billion for border security measures and funds the hiring of 135 new immigration agents and attorneys.

Absent from these proposals is any effort to provide temporary or permanent immigration relief to immigrant youth who have or may be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Below is a statement from Kamal Essaheb, the National Immigration Law Center’s policy and advocacy director.

“Our government already spends more money to track, detain, and deport established and contributing members of our communities than it does for all other federal criminal law enforcement combined. This proposal throws more money at a problem that doesn’t exist. It would increase resources for the criminalization of people, without providing any real benefit in terms of public safety or investment to better our immigration system.

“And, in doing so, this proposal furthers the Trump administration’s race-driven mission to terrorize immigrants and communities of color, to tear families apart, and to deport millions of people who are integral to their communities.

“Despite Trump’s constant tweets about DACA, this agreement makes clear that his priorities lie in getting his border wall built, not in protecting immigrant youth, who are once again left out of this must-pass legislation.

“And the truth is that if Trump had had his way, this bill could have been much worse. The unrelenting efforts of advocates and community members fighting alongside our immigrant communities have largely stifled, for now, attempts to further militarize the border and supercharge President Trump’s mass deportation machine.”

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Supreme Court Pushes DACA Back to Lower Courts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2018

CONTACT
Email: media@nilc.org
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

Supreme Court Pushes DACA Back to Lower Courts

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear DHS v. UC Regents, the California case that resulted in an injunction temporarily allowing recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to submit renewal applications. This pushes this critical issue back to the lower courts, where two circuits have active cases pending. In the meantime, DACA recipients can continue to apply to renew their status.

The Trump administration terminated the DACA program on September 5, 2017, upending the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and millions of families and community members. Shortly thereafter, several states and nonprofit organizations filed lawsuits challenging the termination.

 A recording of today’s call is available here.

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center:
“The Supreme Court, by denying the Trump administration’s attempt to leapfrog key parts of our judicial system, has rightly allowed our clients and others who brought legal challenges to the termination of DACA to have their day in court. This means that immigrant youth who previously had DACA can continue, for now, to apply for renewals. There is immense urgency for Congress to do the right thing on the Dream Act, and nothing about today’s announcement diminished that. While the injunction helps ensure that immigrant youth can continue to renew their DACA, Dreamers need the certainty that can only come from legislation. We will continue fighting alongside immigrant youth and allies to ensure that Dreamers have a secure future in this country — their home.”

Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General:
“The Trump administration tried to skirt the rule of law. They should look no further in the mirror if they’re concerned why they haven’t had success. This is a win for DACA recipients, a win for California and a win for the rule of law. Two federal courts have already looked closely at the Trump administration’s decision to terminate DACA and correctly concluded that it was unlawful. Our Dreamers are inspiring and as the son of immigrants, I’ve got their back.”

Eliana Fernandez, Plaintiff, Batalla Vidal v. DHS and member of Make the Road New York:
“I’m thrilled with today’s decision. The Department of Justice tried to go around the appeals court to attack our families, and their attempt was rejected. This means that Dreamers like me will be able to continue renewing our DACA, which provides us protection from Trump’s deportation force. As a mother, it means that I can continue to be with my two beautiful children. And I’m going to continue to fight for my family—in the courts, and by demanding a permanent solution in Congress called the Dream Act.”

Andrew Pincus, Partner, Mayer Brown and Supreme Court litigator:
“The Supreme Court today refused to bend its rules for the Trump administration. That means that the two district court injunctions should remain in effect at least for the next several months while the appeals are briefed, argued, and decided in California and New York — and even longer when, as seems likely, the district courts’ well-reasoned decisions are upheld. Although the Department of Justice could ask the courts of appeals or the Supreme Court to stay the injunctions, such a request would almost certainly fail given today’s Supreme Court decision and the irreparable harm to DACA recipients that would result.”

Greisa Martinez, Policy and Advocacy Director, United We Dream:
“Today’s SCOTUS decision means that immigrant young people who have or previously had DACA will be able to renew and that gives our community some relief, but it does not give us permanent protections from the bullies that have been coming after us and our community.

“Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department are the bullies. Their goal is to make sure not one more young immigrant is protected with DACA and to pass a mass deportation plan that must be stopped. That’s what our community is fighting against — attacks on immigrant youth and community members as well as people of color by the anti-immigrant bullies in the Trump administration.

“We are grateful that immigrant young people who have had DACA will have more time to renew. But most immigrant youth are not protected, and we need permanent legislative protection that does not go after our families or communities, like the Dream Act.”

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Wrong Information on USCIS Website Resulted in Rejected DACA Renewal Application (The Torch)

Wrong Information on USCIS Website Resulted in Rejected DACA Renewal Application

A family’s wellbeing is threatened when a mother loses her DACA due to a government mistake

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy NILC staff
FEBRUARY 26, 2018

The day after Christmas, while the rest of the country recovered from holiday celebrations, a 26-year-old mother of two sat helplessly while her Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals, or DACA, expired. Suddenly, she was no longer eligible to work in cleaning services and provide for her family, to which she contributed half of the household income.

Lisbeth met her husband and the father of her children at her family’s church while she was still in high school in Silver Spring, Maryland. Shortly before she graduated from high school, she gave birth to the couple’s first child. She has never feared deportation before. Now she cannot imagine it. She is terrified of being separated from her two U.S. citizen children and of being sent to live in El Salvador, a country that her family left when she was 13 years old because their lives were in imminent danger there.

A few years after graduating from high school, she applied for and was granted deferred action under DACA. Just weeks after the Trump administration announced on Sept. 5, 2017, that it was terminating the DACA program, Lisbeth gave birth to her second son. She mailed in her renewal application by two-day priority mail, and it was received at the Chicago lockbox well in advance of the administration’s arbitrary October 5, 2017, deadline for submitting renewal applications under its regime for terminating the program.

Lisbeth correctly followed the incorrect instructions in a USCIS video, which resulted in her DACA renewal application being rejected.

Lisbeth eventually received a rejection letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), saying that the fee payment she’d submitted with her application, $465, was incorrect, since the fee is $495. Lisbeth was confused, because in preparing her application she’d carefully followed the instructions she’d found in a USCIS video. When she rewatched the video to verify what her mistake had been, she saw that the mistake was actually USCIS’s: The video clearly said that the renewal fee is $465, not $495.

Because the rejection letter was accompanied by a green cover letter inviting Lisbeth to resubmit her application, she did exactly that, this time including a check for $495. A month later, she received another rejection notification saying that USCIS was no longer accepting renewal applications.

Lisbeth’s younger sister — who is also a DACA recipient — is graduating from high school this year, but her future is uncertain because her protected status expires in 2019. Lisbeth is now urgently asking Congress to create a permanent solution for people like her sister so they can continue their studies at the college level and contribute their maximum talents to the only country they’ve ever known — the only place they call home. And Lisbeth needs Congress to create a permanent solution so that her two young boys will not be left without the daily care of their mother, either because she’s been sent back to a place of instability and violence or because she can no longer provide for them.

The lives of Lisbeth and her family have been put in crisis by the Trump administration’s reckless termination of the DACA program and by incorrect information published by the very government agency charged with administering the process that would provide them some relief and protection.

It doesn’t have to be this way. To learn more about what you can do to help people such as Lisbeth, visit www.nilc.org, or call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and ask your senators and representatives to vote on the bipartisan Dream Act now!

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Allowed to Finally Shine (The Torch)

Allowed to finally shine

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Fatima Ahmed, guest blogger
FEBRUARY 23, 2018

My name is Fatima. I am 30 years old and have lived almost my entire life as undocumented in the United States. My mother immigrated from Bangladesh to New York when I was a year and a half old.

“I am lucky to have always known what my passion is, and DACA allowed me the opportunity to pursue it.” (Photo courtesy of Fatima Ahmed.)

I received both my bachelor’s and master’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology summa cum laude. Since DACA did not exist when I attended college, I was not able to pay for school with scholarships or aid, even though I would have been an ideal candidate. Instead, I went to school full-time, while also working various odd jobs full-time to pay for tuition. I interned part-time at prestigious museums and fashion houses, knowing that I would never be able to work at those institutions unless I could gain status. I had to turn down dream jobs because I could not be legally paid. While I was a bright student and beloved by notable figures in my university, I had no prospect of furthering my passion in design.

Once I had DACA, my whole life changed. I was immediately hired by Peter Marino Architects, a world-renowned interior design and architecture firm. I was allowed to finally shine at what I studied to do. DACA gave me the opportunity to work in my field, becoming well known in the New York City interior design world before becoming a small business owner of a growing textile company. However, I had been held back in my career, since I was not able to travel. Most of my work is with international clients.

In my personal life, I had not seen my father in 12 years because his quality of life suffered too much as an undocumented immigrant, so he moved back to Bangladesh. He passed away several months ago, and I was not able to see or be with him, since I couldn’t travel then. This caused me an immense amount of grief.

I’ve lived in this country my whole life. My entire family is here. I am an active member of my community. I volunteer in charities, I pay federal taxes, I contribute to the American economy in numerous ways. I know no one in Bangladesh and have no roots or ties there. I am lucky to have always known what my passion is, and DACA allowed me the opportunity to pursue it.

In 2014, I married my husband, a U.S. citizen, and applied for adjustment of status. Just this past September, after waiting three years, I finally received my green card. Unfortunately, most people with DACA will not be able to adjust their status this way and will need action from Congress.

I’ve lost a lot in my life due to my undocumented status. I have also gained a lot in my life due to DACA. Like me, people who have DACA want to contribute to this country that they call home, but they can’t if they’re not treated as full members of society. Many bright futures that benefit the United States will be lost a permanent solution is created for DACA recipients.

Fatima Ahmed is a designer and former DACA recipient from Sunnyside, New York.

To learn more about what you can do to help people like Fatima, visit www.nilc.org. And you can do more: Call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and insist that your senators and representatives support and vote for the bipartisan Dream Act now!

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This Little Piece of Freedom to Be Almost Normal, Like My Peers (The Torch)

This little piece of freedom to be almost normal, like my peers

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Shahrzad, guest blogger
FEBRUARY 22, 2018

My family applied for visitor visas in the early ’90s, and by 1996 we were granted a visa to come visit my grandparents in Chicago from India. It was a really big deal for my family, and the fact that I hadn’t seen my grandparents in three to four years only added to the excitement.

Once we got here, my grandparents felt strongly that my siblings and I would get a better education in the USA and convinced my parents to leave us here to be raised by them. My parents went back to India, and my siblings and I were left behind in pursuit of higher education and a better life.

I was a sophomore in high school when I first realized that I didn’t have a nine-digit Social Security number and therefore my options were super limited. Unlike in Latino communities, where there is a bit more openness regarding one’s status, in Indian (South Asian) communities there is nothing but fear and stigma.

I never told any of my friends that I was undocumented. I always made an excuse as to why I was not planning to go to college or why I couldn’t apply for certain jobs like my peers. In my senior year, I finally confided in one of my high school teachers, and she was able to find sources for me to be able to go to college.

I’d attended one semester of art school when 9/11 happened. All of a sudden, the school started questioning my immigration status, and I had to drop out. It was the worst feeling to know that I couldn’t continue with my education. I went into deep depression and started self-medicating through alcohol and partying.

A few years later, I finally got myself together and went back to school. I started in community college and took one class at a time. I was able to get my associate’s in 2008. I applied to four-year university to get my bachelor’s in sociology. Toward the last semester of school, I started getting depressed and feeling anxious that even after getting a degree I would continue to work at a dead-end job.

However, that summer President Obama announced DACA. It changed my life. I finally was able to hope and plan for my future. As soon as DACA came out, I applied and was granted approval to be able to work. It has been five years since I got DACA; I will be renewing it in the next few weeks. Having DACA connected me with a job I love. My income went from living paycheck to paycheck to something substantial. I purchased my first car earlier this year, I have health insurance through my work, and I can travel within the USA. The feeling to be able to travel even within the USA is a small freedom, but it’s everything I can ask for: This little piece of freedom to be almost normal, like my peers.

But most importantly — this is gonna sound crazy — but I love paying income taxes. I love taking my shoe box to H&R Block and doing my taxes every year. It confirms my belief that I am a contributing member of this country. And, yes, sometimes as a DACAmented youth it feels like “taxation without representation,” but it is still something that allows me to be part of this country.

I belong here. I don’t remember anything about India except what I hear from my family members who get to visit or still live there. My Hindi is terrible, my sense of independence and feminism too strong that I know, if I am to go back, I will not survive in a culture/country I no longer belong to.

“Shahrzad” is a pseudonym. She is a DACA recipient from Chicago.

To learn more about what you can do to help people like Shahrzad, visit www.nilc.org. And you can do more: Call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and insist that your senators and representatives support and vote for the bipartisan Dream Act now!

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Anywhere We Are Planted We Are Capable of Blooming (The Torch)

Anywhere we are planted we are capable of blooming

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Abigail, guest blogger
FEBRUARY 21, 2018

I am a Jamaican-born, American-raised, Black-immigrant woman. Before President Obama’s executive order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), I was what you’d consider an undocumented immigrant. In some respects, I still am. Why? Because President Trump has ended DACA.

I strongly believe anywhere we are planted we are capable of blooming. As a child living in Jamaica, I had to walk five miles each day just to get clean water to drink and bathe. Every day was a struggle. I remember at the age of nine coming from school and immediately going to the river to get water for my grandmother to cook. Though I knew how tiring and exhausting my walk to get water or to go to school would be, that never stopped me. I lived in a one-bedroom house made of board and zinc, with a poorly covered outside bathroom. Although I had to grow up early in order to help my family, I consider the hardships of my early life an important source of my strong work ethic today.

Days before my twelfth birthday, I was brought to America. I consider my arrival to America my flight to make a difference in the world. When I arrived, it was not what I envisioned. We lived in a neighborhood that was dangerous and infested with gangbangers. It was a crime-driven neighborhood. Staying after school for club meetings and activities meant that I had to walk home by myself each day, even at night, but I never backed down from those challenges.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I found out that I was classified as an undocumented immigrant. Finding this out in high school was challenging, because at that time I was excelling in academics and sports. I became ashamed of my undocumented status. I did not want to be identified or answer any questions about being at the top of my class, yet not applying to college. I did not tell anyone I was undocumented until my senior year. I remember closing my counselor’s door and disclosing my information to him. I felt like a criminal. But I am not a criminal.

After I told my counselor, he introduced me to many groups around campus that supported undocumented immigrants. He told me I could still go to college, but there were so many barriers because I was not eligible for financial aid. There were many support groups for undocumented immigrants, but there were no Jamaicans in those groups. My minority status was further pronounced, as not one person in those awareness groups looked like me. As I sought out scholarships, they did not apply to me, as they were mostly for Latinos. Most of my days and nights were spent researching scholarships. The only thing that kept me going was my faith in God.

I must have applied for over fifty scholarships. Nonetheless, I received an academic scholarship from a small university, which made my transition to college more affordable. While in college, I wanted nothing to do with undocumented immigrants. It was a part of me that I hid from many people. I never disclosed it to any of my friends. Even though I was doing internships, researching resources for undocumented immigrants, I never included myself as a case study. At this time, the DREAM Act was on its way to becoming a law, but it failed, falling eight votes short. It was then I realized that I could not wait on others.

During the last year of my undergraduate education, former President Obama gave young immigrants who were brought to this country [as children] an opportunity to be free from deportation. I remember sitting at home and tears falling from my eyes because I knew it meant that I could legally work in the country that I consider my home. President Obama’s plan meant that I could drive, and have proper identification. However, the work is not done; the deferred action of DACA is merely a two-year stint. There is still work to be done.

After I graduated from my undergraduate institution, I pursued my master’s in public policy at another prestigious university. I graduated at the top of my class. Immediately after graduation, I started working with an underserved community. After working in that community for a few months, I was promoted to a leadership role where I currently manage individuals who want to work in underserved communities.

With President Trump’s presidency, my work is not done. My passion to serve in education is connected to my passion to serve the undocumented community. Undocumented students grow up with legal access to public education, but they face legal barriers to higher education. A small number make it to college on scholarships and private loans, but they are in the shadows of their peers because they are afraid to reveal their undocumented status. Therefore, they are not in the forefront — silenced by their own fears and deterred by legal barriers. I am not a criminal; I am well educated and making a positive difference in the United States — like millions of immigrants in our history.

“Abigail” is a pseudonym. Abigail is a DACA recipient living in Delaware.

To learn more about what you can do to help people like Abigail, visit www.nilc.org. And you can do more: Call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and insist that your senators and representatives support and vote for the bipartisan Dream Act now!

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We Are Not Afraid (The Torch)

We are not afraid

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Gloria Mendoza, guest blogger
FEBRUARY 20, 2018

Like most of my fellow Dreamers, I did not understand what being “illegal” meant until I started applying for higher education.

I graduated high school the summer of 2008 and quickly realized that my dreams of being a college graduate were at risk because of something I didn’t completely understand. Against all odds, I put myself through college. I worked 40-hour weeks as a server, under terrible conditions and with no hourly pay. I went to a private university; with scholarships and full support from my professors, I graduated in 2012.

“I have watched in horror and despair as my community gets terrorized by the current administration, and although it is hard and overwhelming at times, I want everyone to know that we are not afraid.” (Photo courtesy of Gloria Mendoza.)

I have a bachelor’s of fine arts — it took work, blood and tears, but I made it just in time for the DACA permit. I moved from Texas to New York City to pursue my dreams, and I’m currently able to support myself and my mother thanks to my work permit. I’ve been advocating for and educating my family and community about immigration rights since high school.

I have watched in horror and despair as my community gets terrorized by the current administration, and although it is hard and overwhelming at times, I want everyone to know that we are not afraid.

We Dreamers are made of something different. We are the culture and blood of our origins, but we are also the promise and future of this country.

We are Mexican, we are Latinos, we are Asians, we are Muslims, we are Everyone, and WE ARE NOT AFRAID. We are educated individuals ready to fight, because we don’t know anything else — we have been fighting since we were born. Fighting to keep our cultures and traditions while being American, fighting to make our families proud, fighting for our space in this country, fighting to never go back into the shadows again.

And we will keep fighting. NO ME CALLO, NO ME SIENTO, NO ME VOY.

Gloria Mendoza is a DACA recipient living in Brooklyn, New York.

To learn more about what you can do to help people like Gloria, visit www.nilc.org. And you can do more: Call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and insist that your senators and representatives support and vote for the bipartisan Dream Act now!

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Photo Journal: Not Just a Dreamer (The Torch)

Photo journal: Not just a Dreamer

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Brittany Aguilera, guest blogger, and NILC staff
FEBRUARY 16, 2018

Brittany Aguilera lost her DACA on December 7, 2017. A trained photographer who lives in New York, Brittany documented her experiences through photos the day before and the day after her DACA expired. Her photo journal of those two days is accompanied by excerpts adapted from a speech she gave recently at a press conference in Washington, DC.


WITH DACA

It’s Thursday morning.

 

At this hour, I should’ve been on my way to the local story time.

 

I should’ve been pushing a double stroller…

 

…while the twins sang out to everyone they passed in Brooklyn.

 

From walking, to even their first words, I have been there for it all.

 

I’ve had the luxury of watching the twins progress and gain individual personalities, which I’ve come to love as I would my own family members’. I’m about to lose a job with a great family who I care about deeply and who care about me in the same way.

 


WITHOUT DACA

My family as well as myself is affected by this decision, but we are forced to maintain a sense of hope because without it we don’t have much.

 

I’m in a constant exhaustion that I can’t shake off.

 

My message to those who are in this situation with me: Don’t lose hope. Make our voices heard.

 

My sister and I were always taught to never say we can’t do something. Our parents wanted us to believe that nothing was unattainable, and that anything was possible, if you worked hard for it. I’m aware that there are other families who are going through what me and my family are at this very moment. This is why I am here.

 

I’m not just a Dreamer. I’m a daughter, a sister, and an aunt to a beautiful nephew. I’m a body of untapped potential just waiting for a chance to release it.

 

Give me and others like myself the chance to shine — and the chance to dream the way that others do. Give us our smiles back, and our endless hope. Dreaming is not against any law, but what is truly against all laws is taking another’s opportunity to do so.


Brittany Aguilera is a caregiver, photographer, and DACA recipient from Queens, New York.

To learn more about what you can do to help people like Brittany, visit www.nilc.org. And you can do more: Call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and insist that your senators and representatives support and vote for the bipartisan Dream Act now!


Watch Brittany’s speech (on NILC’s Facebook page).

Brittany Aguilera

Brittany Aguilera’s DACA expired last week. She sent in her renewal application in September, but it was rejected due to a clerical error. Listen to her moving testimony to lawmakers:

“I am a body of untapped potential just waiting for a chance to release it.”

#DreamActNow

Posted by National Immigration Law Center on Thursday, December 14, 2017

 

And read this article about Brittany in The New Yorker.

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Senate Sharply Rebukes Trump’s Ploy to Use Dreamers as a Pawn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2018

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

Senate Sharply Rebukes Trump’s Ploy to Use Dreamers as a Pawn

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate today did not cast enough votes to approve any proposal to solve the crisis created by President Trump’s decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Of the four amendments put up for a vote, one that mirrored President Trump’s proposal received the least support, with only 39 votes. The bipartisan USA Act, sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Christopher Coons (D-DE), garnered majority support but fell shy of the 60 votes needed to move forward.

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

“Despite the good-faith efforts of many on both sides of the aisle, we still don’t have a fix for Dreamers — and that’s on President Trump. Trump dragged us into this crisis when he ended DACA. And he has consistently been the barrier standing in the way of a solution.

“Congress has put forward numerous bipartisan proposals, including some that were voted on today. This was Trump’s opportunity to get the deal he’s been saying he wants.

“Instead of working toward a compromise, he and his band of anti-immigrant extremists tacked on to a proposal that lawmakers from both parties resoundingly rebuked. His veto threat today killed any chance at a bipartisan solution before senators even voted. This and his equivocating and destructive actions over the past months confirm that he’s never been serious about resolving this crisis of his own making. It’s clear that to Trump, Dreamers are just a pawn to enact his white supremacist agenda.

“Republican and Democratic members of Congress alike need to stand up and reject these political games. Dreamers urgently need you to act. The onus is still on you to enact a narrowly tailored, bipartisan solution. It’s not only what Americans want, it’s the right thing to do.

“For now, the courts have stepped in — as they’ve done time and again in ruling against the Trump administration over the past year — to protect our communities and provide some relief from this administration’s unlawful actions, even if only temporarily. But make no mistake, DACA recipients continue to lose protections every day and will start doing so at an accelerated rate come March 5. The need for a permanent solution hasn’t changed.

“This is a difficult moment, but we are strong and resolute in our mission. We will continue to fight alongside immigrant youth and our allies — in the courts, in Washington, and with communities across the country — to secure a real solution for immigrant youth.”

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Rounds-King Immigration Proposal Would Harm More Than Help Our Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2018

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

Rounds-King Immigration Proposal Would Harm More Than Help Our Communities

WASHINGTON — During an ongoing immigration debate, senators in Washington will consider an amendment that would provide a fix for Dreamers, but in exchange punish their parents, undermine due process in immigration courts, provide exorbitant funding to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, and create a damaging precedent that would pave the way toward criminalizing immigrant communities and families.

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

“President Trump created a crisis when he ended DACA, and he has perpetuated it at every turn with his equivocating and destructive actions and comments — even as recently as this morning. As we’ve said all along, we need Congress to enact a narrowly tailored solution to secure the future of immigrant youth, without putting families at risk or bending to whims of anti-immigrant extremists. This proposal, while a good faith effort on the parts of many to come to a compromise that works, unfortunately falls short.

“The legalization provisions in this proposal are a true testament to relentless organizing, advocacy, and power built up by immigrant youth and allies over years. That they are a result of a bipartisan negotiation is truly remarkable and a reason to be hopeful that we can find a permanent solution for Dreamers.

“However, on balance, this proposal is outside the bounds of what is acceptable. It would inject billions of dollars into a nonsensical border wall and increase the number of border agents without much-needed responsibility or oversight for agents emboldened since Trump’s election. Moreover, it doesn’t begin to address the real needs of border communities. It would fundamentally alter key parts of our immigration system, harm immigrant families for generations, and leave us with a damaging precedent to fight against for years to come.

“After 16 years of advocating for a solution for immigrant youth, we will not give up now. We continue to believe in the urgency of a legislative solution, which is why we support the carefully crafted bipartisan USA Act introduced by Senators Coons and McCain. We will continue to fight on every front to ensure that immigrant youth have a secure future in this country.”

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