Category Archives: April 2012

Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012

April 30, 2012

Adela de la Torre
213-400-7822 | [email protected]


Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012 Would Improve Access to Health Care for Immigrants and Communities of Color

WASHINGTON — Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI) took another step toward decreasing ethnic disparities in health care by introducing the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012, legislation that would improve the health and well-being of immigrants and communities of color. If passed, the legislation would expand health coverage to more families, promote jobs in the growing health care sector, and increase investments in innovative health delivery methods and technologies to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs. The legislation compliments a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in 2011. Below is a statement from Jenny Rejeske, policy analyst for the National Immigration Law Center:

“Lost in the current debate about the Affordable Care Act is the fact that millions of our fellow Americans are without access to quality affordable health care and the opportunity to live without fear and worry. Rather than attempting to dismantle helpful policies, policymakers should instead be working to make health care reform stronger through legislation such as the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012 that will help improve the lives of more Americans. We look forward to working with the U.S. Senate to pass this critically important legislation that directly addresses, rather than ignores, the needs of Americans.”




S-Comm: Cosmetic Changes Proposed

April 27, 2012


ICE’s Proposed Changes to Secure Communities Can’t Fix a Broken Immigration System

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released its proposed changes to Secure Communities (S-Comm), the Obama administration’s signature detention and deportation system. DHS’s announcement comes in response torecommendations made in September 2011 by the remaining members of an appointed S-Comm task force composed of government officials, advocates, and immigration experts. The task force had recommended that DHS not pursue deportation of individuals who come to their attention as a result of a traffic infraction. DHS refused to take that position.

S-Comm, which requires state and local jails to run immigration background checks on any person booked into custody, regardless of the seriousness or ultimate disposition of their charges, has resulted in a marked increase in deportations of U.S. citizens’ parents, as well as deportations of many other immigrants who are longstanding members of their communities here in the U.S. The program also undermines community safety by deterring immigrants from reporting crimes.

Below is a statement from Don Lyster, director of the National Immigration Law Center’s Washington, DC, office:

“Cosmetic tweaks to S-Comm can’t mend a fundamentally flawed program. S-Comm exploits the worst of our broken immigration system by automating the destruction of families and placing people on an often irrevocable pathway out of the country they call home.

“The Obama administration often touts its deportation numbers. These numbers can’t begin to describe the destruction each deportation leaves in its wake. Families, communities, and local economies have been devastated, all to score cheap political points by looking ‘tough’ on immigration. It’s time to abandon automated programs such as S-Comm and restore some semblance of common sense and humanity to our immigration system. Only then will we live up to our most cherished American family values.”

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Supreme Court Hearing on SB 1070

April 25, 2012

Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822 or [email protected]


Ultimate Court Ruling on Constitutionality of SB 1070 Will Impact Civil Rights for All

WASHINGTON — The United States Supreme Court today heard oral argument in Arizona v. United States, the Department of Justice’s challenge to SB 1070, Arizona’s racial profiling law. A decision in this case could affect legislation similar to Arizona’s across the country.

The National Immigration Law Center and others have filed class action lawsuits against racial profiling laws in Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. These cases, which bring other legal claims against the racial profiling laws, will proceed regardless of the outcome of this case. Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, attended today’s hearing and offered these remarks:

“The federal government’s arguments presented before the Supreme Court today focused on whether SB 1070 is preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. However, there is much more than the Supremacy Clause at stake: the battle over SB 1070 is a fight for our core values as an increasingly diverse country. SB 1070 is a law that, if allowed to take effect, will turn back the clock on our most cherished civil rights by legally sanctioning discriminatory behavior against those who happen to look or sound ‘foreign.’ SB 1070’s requirement that officials demand ‘papers’ of those they suspect are in this country without authorization would result in people of color suffering street interrogations, detention, and degradation simply because of the way we look or sound.

“This law does not measure up to American principles. Civil rights leaders of the past and present have fought for decades to rid our country of shameful legal sanction of racially discriminatory behavior. The Roberts Court must continue to protect the principles of fairness and equality enshrined in our Constitution, and strike down SB 1070.”

More information about Arizona v. U.S. is available at

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SB 1070 Decried on Anniversary of Passage

April 23, 2011

Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822 or [email protected]

Civil Rights Leaders, Plaintiffs, and Litigators Decry Arizona’s Racial Profiling Law

WASHINGTON — Plaintiffs in the lawsuits against Arizona’s SB 1070 and Georgia’s HB 87 brought by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and others described havoc already wreaked upon their states by anti-immigrant legislation that has thus far been blocked in the courts. The plaintiffs participated in a press conference with civil rights leaders and litigators who observed the second anniversary of the passage of SB 1070 and discussed the upcoming Supreme Court hearing on the law’s constitutionality. The press conference was moderated by Lisa Navarrete of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

“The last two years have shown us that the politics of divisiveness, though perhaps politically expedient, only serve to tear apart communities, sow anger, and burden taxpayers,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Today, two years after SB 1070’s passage, we have finally begun to see states reject this sort of negative legislation. We hope states will continue to dismiss laws such as SB 1070 as myopic at best and economically catastrophic at worst.”

When SB 1070, Arizona’s racial profiling law, passed, it was considered the most draconian anti-immigrant measure in the country. NILC and a coalition of civil rights organizations, as well as the federal government, sued to block the most pernicious elements of the law from going into effect.

Luz Santiago, a pastor in Mesa, Arizona, and a plaintiff in Friendly House v. Whiting, the civil rights coalition’s challenge to SB 1070, noted that, despite the fact that most of SB 1070’s provisions have been blocked, Latino Arizonans still have felt the law’s sting.

“Legislators in Arizona created a racial trickle-down effect after passing SB 1070, without realizing the impact it would have on the community,” said Santiago. “Arizona has been divided along ethnic lines. This isn’t the Arizona I knew for so many years. This shouldn’t be the Arizona we are today.”

In 2011, five states—Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina—passed their own versions of SB 1070. In each state except Alabama, NILC and partners successfully sued to block major elements of each law from going into effect. However, the court in the Alabama case allowed several of the Alabama law’s worst provisions, including its infamous “show me your papers” provision, to go into effect on September 28, 2012.

“Laws like SB 1070 are a lose-lose proposition for states. Instead of boosting our economy, they leave crops rotting in the fields. Instead of promoting civility and neighborliness, they incite division and mistrust,” said Paul Bridges, mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, and a plaintiff in the civil rights challenge to HB 87, the state’s racial profiling law. “Federal legislators must stop scapegoating our immigrant communities and start focusing on creating legislation that reflects our nation’s values of fairness and opportunity.”

“While the Supreme Court will focus on the issue of whether state laws are preempted by federal immigration laws, this case poses more fundamental questions for everyone,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “Will we tolerate a police state that requires everyone to carry identification documents at all times?  We must stop discriminatory laws that invite constant police intrusion, encourage racial profiling and compromise the American way of life.”

On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument on United States v. Arizona. Whatever the court decides could have implications for the civil rights coalition’s lawsuits in Arizona and other states.

“We are here today to let the Supreme Court, as well as the court of public opinion, know that we will not allow these laws to take us back to the times of black codes when there were two distinct classes of people, and that these groups are treated differently by the law,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the senior vice president for advocacy and policy.  “We will not return to a time when racial profiling is not only prevalent, it is in fact sanctioned and even called for by the law of the land.”

At issue before the Supreme Court are four provisions of SB 1070: the “show me your papers” provision, which mandates that law enforcement officers demand papers of anyone they “reasonably suspect” is undocumented; the criminalization-of-work provision; the provision creating a statewide noncitizen registration and criminalizing failure to carry one’s “papers”; and a provision authorizing law enforcement officers to arrest without a warrant those they suspect to be guilty of a deportable offense.

For more information about the upcoming Supreme Court Lawsuit, please visit

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Press Conference to Be Held April 23

April 20, 2012

Adela de la Torre
213-400-7822; [email protected]


Plaintiffs to Discuss Their Concerns As Supreme Court Takes On Arizona Law

WASHINGTON – Affected individuals, civil rights advocates, and leading litigators will gather outside the Capitol to observe the second anniversary of SB 1070, Arizona’s racial profiling law. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Department of Justice’s challenge to SB 1070. Plaintiffs in cases that would be affected by a Supreme Court ruling will discuss their concerns about anti-immigrant laws in their states, and press federal legislators for a comprehensive solution to fix our broken immigration system.


Press conference to commemorate second anniversary of SB 1070, discuss issues with anti-immigrant legislation.


Monday, April 23, 2012, 1 p.m.


Capitol Visitor’s Center, Room 200 (House side)
Washington, DC  20002


  • Paul Bridges, mayor, Uvalda, Georgia, and plaintiff in GLAHR et al  v. Bentley et al., a civil rights coalition challenge to HB 87
  • Marielena Hincapié, executive director, National Immigration Law Center
  • Lisa Navarette, advisor to the president, National Council of La Raza
  • Luz Santiago, church pastor in Mesa, Arizona, and plaintiff in Friendly House et. al. v. Whiting et. al., the civil rights coalition’s challenge to SB 1070
  • Andre Segura, staff attorney, ACLU, and lead litigator in challenges to anti-immigrant laws in Utah, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina
  • Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for policy and advocacy, NAACP

Karen Tumlin, managing attorney at the National Immigration Law Center and lead litigator inFriendly House et. al. v. Whiting et. al., will be available to answer questions about the lawsuit and the upcoming Supreme Court hearing.


Media should RSVP to Adela de la Torre at [email protected] or 213-400-7822.


On April 23, 2010, Arizona set off a political firestorm by passing SB 1070, a racial profiling law that was, at the time, considered the nation’s most draconian. The law was quickly challenged by a coalition of civil rights groups, including the National Immigration Law Center, and the federal government. As a result, the most pernicious sections of the law were put on hold. Since then, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina have followed suit.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the United States’ challenge to SB 1070. However the Court decides will impact pending cases in other states. The civil rights coalition challenge in Arizona and elsewhere, however, will continue to move forward.

For more information about SB 1070 and the upcoming Supreme Court Hearing, visit