Category Archives: April 2015

Loretta Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2015

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 213-400-7822

NILC: Loretta Lynch Is the Right Choice

WASHINGTON — Loretta Lynch, a champion of civil rights, was confirmed today by the Senate to be the next attorney general of the United States, the first African American woman to serve in that post. Most recently, she served as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Following the 56-43 Senate vote, National Immigration Law Center (NILC) Executive Director Marielena Hincapié issued the following statement:

“Although her nomination was beset by hyperpartisan attacks and delays, the Department of Justice will finally be able to count on Attorney General Lynch to lead them into this next, crucial phase of its history.

“Lynch’s credentials and her record of vigorously fighting financial fraud, cybercrimes, and civil rights violations by law enforcement officers won bipartisan Senate praise. She has pledged to work to strengthen the bonds between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

“Unfortunately, the final Senate tally did not reflect her qualifications, because some chose to politicize this important vote for the country’s chief law enforcement officer and instead used their vote as a protest against President Obama’s immigration initiatives. During her Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, Lynch observed that DAPA and DACA are legally sound. The new attorney general’s independent assessment has support: Over a hundred legal scholars agree that the law is on President Obama’s side with regard to the November 20 immigration actions.

“The needless, long delay in the confirmation vote was a disappointing commentary on the broken legislative process that held her confirmation hostage to an unrelated political dispute. Lynch, the execution of justice, and our nation deserve better from elected officials.

“As the first African American woman to lead this important post, Loretta Lynch serves as a role model not just to women of color, but to all Americans, no matter where they were born or how humble their beginnings. We look forward to working with her and with others at the Department of Justice to ensure that all people, regardless of immigration or socioeconomic status, are treated equally under the law.”

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CHIP Reauthorization Applauded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2015

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, delatorre@nilc.org

NILC Applauds Children’s Health Care Program Funding

WASHINGTON — Last night the Senate approved legislation that would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. The House of Representatives has already approved this legislation, which was combined with a proposal to create a new and permanent payment system for doctors who accept Medicare. President Obama has indicated that he will sign the bill. Below is a statement from Angel Padilla, National Immigration Law Center health policy analyst:

“Millions of children and pregnant women, native-born and immigrant alike, will continue to have access to affordable, reliable health care coverage, thanks to this rare display of bipartisan action in Congress. Ensuring access to health care coverage is vital for all of us, but especially for our nation’s children, for whom any absence of care can mean the difference between life and death.

“This vote serves as a reminder that we must continue to fight for the future of this important program. Although proposals to extend CHIP funding for four years, rather than two, would have prevented the need for yet another vote in an increasingly polarized Congress, we — along with allies across the country — will continue to fight to ensure that this sound investment in our health and our future remains on our law books.”

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Coalition Asks Appellate Court to Reverse Texas Ruling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2015

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 213-400-7822

Unprecedented Coalition of Elected Officials, Advocates Ask Appellate Court to Reverse Texas Ruling Blocking President’s Immigration Initiatives

Attorneys general, 181 members of Congress, 73 mayors and county officials from 27 states, educators, law enforcement, civil rights, faith, labor and business leaders file legal briefs defending executive action

WASHINGTON — The Texas federal district court order that blocked parts of President Obama’s executive action on immigration was based on unproven or incomplete presentations to the court and should be reversed, civil rights and immigration advocates argue in an amicus(“friend-of-the-court”) brief in the case of State of Texas, et al. v. United States, et al. Texas and 25 other states have sued the federal government to stop the implementation of initiatives that will provide temporary relief from deportation, but advocates maintain the president’s actions are legally sound.

The legal briefs defending the deferred action initiatives are being filed today with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by a range of advocates, leaders, and elected officials. One of these briefs will be filed on behalf of more than 150 civil rights, labor, and immigration advocacy groups, led by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), American Immigration Council (AIC), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Briefs also expected to be submitted to the court today include 15 states and the District of Columbia, 73 mayors, county officials from 27 states, 181 members of Congress, and educators, law enforcement, faith and business leaders. These briefs discuss the economic and community benefits that result from expansion of the successful DACA program and the new DAPA initiative for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

“Collectively, the parties in these filings represent more than half of the foreign-born population in our country, which means they have a demonstrated track record of producing inclusive immigration policies,” noted Marielena Hincapié, NILC executive director, during a telephonic press briefing announcing the briefs. “We are confident that we will win because the law is on our side. But we also know that the wheels of justice often move slowly. In the meantime, our message to eligible immigrants and their families is to be patient, continue gathering the necessary documents to apply, save up for application fee, and don’t lose faith,” added Hincapié.

“We are undeterred and we will continue in this campaign [to realize the start of the DACA and DAPA programs],” added Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. An early signer of the amicus brief by local officials, the mayor said the filing before the appellate court by mayors and counties has twice as many signers as an earlier brief submitted to the Texas district court. Citing the economic and community benefits that would come from allowing immigrants to come out of the shadows, Mayor Hancock added, “This is about our communities. This is about working with those who have chosen to call our cities ‘home.’”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA, said the legal filing by 181 members of Congress argues the Texas court overturned Congress’ decision to give the executive branch authority to set immigration enforcement priorities.

“What the court has done is not only an affront to what the executive has done [in setting priorities] and to the authority we have — well-grounded in law and in precedent — but also an affront to what Congress has done,” Lofgren said. “There are millions of people living in fear, who have made our economy and lived here for decades, whose lives have been turned upside down by an erroneous ruling.”

Some states claimed that the administrative relief will harm them, but the legal briefs argue the judgment was incorrect.

“That is incorrect. The states have to show irreparable harm to get a preliminary injunction; they have not,” Noah Purcell, solicitor general in the Washington state Attorney General’s Office told reporters. “The president’s directives are good for states; they are not harming states.”

The human aspect of the case also was highlighted during Monday’s press call.

“Although I was disappointed by the news that a federal district judge blocked implementation of DACA expansion, I was not disillusioned,” said Jong-Min You, an immigrant from New York who would be eligible for relief under DACA expansion. “I know that eventually, I will be able to come forward and apply for relief from deportation and work authorization, and I’m not the only one. Other Elder Dreamers, along with their parents and millions of others, are ready for the legal battle ahead and for the legal battle to end so that we can finally move forward.”

Rocio Saenz, SEIU international executive vice president, said advocates for expanded DACA and DAPA will never give up.

“The plaintiff states and Republicans who support this lawsuit can ignore the will of their own constituents and immigrants’ contributions, but we will continue to defend the immigration action in the courts. We will continue to fight for immigration reform. We will continue to inform future applicants and make sure that when the time comes — and it will come — that every eligible person applies for the immigration action. We are and will continue to send a strong message to the naysayers, to Republicans who stand in the way of progress: We are not the enemy. But we are ready – ready to fight back, ready for the immigration action, and ready to vote,” Saenz said.

“Amici and the government are clearly on the right side of the law, and we are confident that a stay [of the Texas order] will be granted, hopefully by the Fifth Circuit, one day very soon,” said Melissa Crow, legal director of the American Immigration Council.

A recording of Monday’s press call can be downloaded at
www.nilc.org/document.html?id=1222

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