Category Archives: August 2015

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Lawsuit on Obama’s Immigration Policies

August 14, 2015

Gena Madow, [email protected], 802-345-1191, or
Andrea Alford, [email protected], 703-477-1075

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Lawsuit on Obama’s Immigration Policies

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court today unanimously rejected a lawsuit on behalf of Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ruling that his challenge to the Obama administration’s recent executive initiatives on immigration have no legal standing. The court’s decision affirmed last year’s district court decision dismissing the lawsuit.

Statement by National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié:

“Today’s sound decision is another victory for aspiring Americans and their 5 million U.S. citizen children who stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s immigration policy directives. This was a baseless attack, on behalf of the country’s most anti-immigrant sheriff. Let this be another reminder to Sheriff Arpaio and his allies that they are standing on the wrong side of the law, public opinion, and history.

“This is just the latest decision following a long line of legal precedent and showing that the decisions in the Texas v U.S. case have so far been outliers. While Sheriff Arpaio, Texas Gov. Abbott, and others opposed to commonsense policies that are good for our country and inclusive of immigrants may continue fighting their legal challenges, we are committed to protecting our communities and ensuring that the programs are fully implemented.

“As a country, we must continue moving toward a world where immigrants are treated with dignity and respect.”

According to the court’s decision:

  • “We conclude that Sheriff Arpaio has failed to allege an injury that is both fairly traceable to the deferred action policies and redressable by enjoining them, as our standing precedents require.”
  • “[Sheriff Arpaio’s] allegations that the policies will cause more crime in Maricopa County are unduly speculative.”

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Candidates in First Debate Out of Touch

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Gena Madow, [email protected], 802-345-1191, or
Andrea Alford, [email protected], 703-477-1075

GOP Presidential Field Reinforces Intolerance and Prejudice; Deeply Out of Touch with American Views on Immigrants

National Immigration Law Center calls on candidates to stop scapegoating entire communities

WASHINGTON — In the first televised Republican presidential debate, candidates tonight doubled down on their extreme and outdated views on immigration policy, showing yet again how out of touch they are.

In 2012, Latinos who voted favored President Barack Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney by 71 percent to 27 percent, according to an analysis of exit polls by the Pew Hispanic Center. In that election, 25.2 million Latinos were eligible to vote. That same election, three-quarters (77 percent) of Asian Americans polled voted for Barack Obama while only 21 percent voted for Mitt Romney, according to data from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Post-election analyses of the 2012 election results generally agreed that Latino and Asian American voters had been put off by candidate Romney’s restrictionist positions on immigration policy.

The following is a statement by National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié:

“We need a president who represents the entire country. Yet tonight, what we heard from Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP field is the same old prejudice against and intolerance of immigrant communities that cost Republicans the White House in 2008 and 2012. What needs to stop is the scapegoating of entire communities. If the GOP is serious about ever finding their way back to the White House, they must learn from the California experience over the last 20 years. The infamous Pete Wilson’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies inspired hundreds of thousands of immigrants to become U.S. citizens and exercise their right to vote. Today, we are equally inspired to vote.

“Change is inevitable, and progress is inevitable — and across the country people are speaking out in support of policies that treat immigrants with dignity and respect. We are a nation of immigrants that values tolerance and diversity above all. Tonight, these GOP candidates showed that they are intent on racing each other to the bottom.

“We will not stand by and let our elected officials and candidates seeking office criminalize and stereotype immigrant communities. The power of our voices and our votes will prevail and bring about change and progress, as we have seen throughout our country’s history. Our movement is stronger than ever before, and every time any candidate doubles down on his or her anti-immigrant attacks, we only get stronger and have greater resolve.”

According to reports from the American Immigration Council, between 1996 and 2012 the number of registered voters who identified as Latinos or Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) increased by 9.8 million, and, in 2012, 13.7 million Latinos accounted for 8.9 percent of all registered voters, while 4.8 million APIs accounted for 3.2 percent. Conversely, fewer and fewer voters are native-born whites.

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U.S. Sued Over Unjust Deportation Process

August 22, 2014

Adela de la Torre, National Immigration Law Center, 213-400-7822, [email protected]
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, American Civil Liberties Union, 212-549-2666, [email protected]
Wendy Feliz, American Immigration Council, 202-507-7524, [email protected]
Paromita Shah, National Immigration Project/NLG, 202-271-2286, [email protected]

Groups Sue U.S. Government Over Life-Threatening Deportation Process Used Against Mothers and Children Escaping Extreme Violence in Central America

WASHINGTON — The National Immigration Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild today sued the federal government to challenge its policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.

The groups filed the case on behalf of mothers and children locked up at an isolated detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, which is hours from the nearest major metropolitan area. The complaint charges the Obama administration with enacting a new strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these mothers and their children to a nearly insurmountable and erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing countless hurdles in front of them.

“These mothers and their children have sought refuge in the United States after fleeing for their lives from threats of death and violence in their home countries,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “U.S. law guarantees them a fair opportunity to seek asylum. Yet, the government’s policy violates that basic law and core American values — we do not send people who are seeking asylum back into harm’s way. We should not sacrifice fairness for speed in life-or-death situations.”

According to the complaint, the Obama administration is violating long-established constitutional and statutory law by enacting policies that have:

• Categorically prejudged asylum cases with a “detain and deport” policy, regardless of individual circumstances.

• Drastically restricted communication with the outside world for the women and children held at the remote detention center, including communication with attorneys. If women got to make phone calls at all, they were cut off after three minutes when consulting with their attorneys. This makes it impossible to prepare for a hearing or get legal help.

• Given virtually no notice to detainees of critically important interviews used to determine the outcome of asylum requests. Mothers have no time to prepare, are rushed through their interviews, are cut off by officials throughout the process, and are forced to answer traumatic questions, including detailing instances of rape, while their children are listening.

• Led to the intimidation and coercion of the women and children by immigration officers, including being screamed at for wanting to see a lawyer.

“Fast-tracking the deportations of women and children from immigration detention is an assault on due process. There is no way that justice can be served when so many people are being rushed through the system without any real opportunity to assert claims for relief. What we are seeing in Artesia is nothing less than a sham process that values expediency over justice,” said Melissa Crow, legal director of the American Immigration Council.

The plaintiffs include:

• A Honduran mother who fled repeated death threats in her home country to seek asylum in the United States with her two young children. The children’s father was killed by a violent gang that then sent the mother and her children continuous death threats. When she went to the police, they told her that they could not do anything to help her. It is common knowledge where she lived that the police are afraid of the gang and will do nothing to stop it.

• A mother who fled El Salvador with her two children because of threats by the gang that controls the area where they lived. The gang stalked her 12-year-old child every time he left the house and threatened kidnapping. She fears that if the family returns to El Salvador, the gang will kill her son. Some police officers are known to be corrupt and influenced by gangs. The mother says she knows of people who have been killed by gang members after reporting them to police.

• A mother who fled El Salvador with her 10-month old son after rival gangs threatened to kill her and her baby. One gang tried to force the mother to become an informant on the activities of another gang and, when she refused, told her she had 48 hours to leave or be killed.

“The women and children detained in Artesia have endured brutal murders of loved ones, rapes, death threats, and similar atrocities that no mother or child ever should have to endure, and our government is herding them through the asylum process like cattle,” said Trina Realmuto, an attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. “The deportation-mill in Artesia lacks even the most basic protections, like notice and the opportunity to be heard, that form the cornerstone of due process in this country.”

The lawsuit, M.S.P.C. v. Johnson, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Co-counsel in this case include the law firms of Jenner & Block, and Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP; and the ACLU of New Mexico, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and ACLU of the Nation’s Capital.

“Any mother will do whatever it takes to make sure her children are safe from harm’s way,” said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “Our plaintiffs are no different: they have fled their homes to protect their children, only to find that the U.S. deportation system is intent upon placing them back in the dangerous situations they left. We are filing this lawsuit today to ensure that each mother is able to have her fair day in court and that we are not sending children and their mothers back to violence or their deaths.”

The complaint is available at

Written declarations submitted by witnesses to injustice at the Artesia, New Mexico, immigration detention facility are available

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