Category Archives: December 2017

JFS v. Trump Team Responds to Court Ruling Blocking Implementation of Trump’s Policy Banning Certain Refugees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2017

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, NILC, 202-384-1275, delatorre@nilc.org
Henrike Dessaules, IRAP, 646-459-3081, media@refugeerights.org
Gabe Cahn, HIAS, 202-412-1678, gabe.cahn@hias.org
Deb Frockt, Jewish Family Service of Seattle, 206-861-3148, dfrockt@jfsseattle.org
Mindy Berkowitz, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, 408-357-7455, mindyb@jfssv.org

BJFS v. Trump Team Responds to Court Ruling Blocking Implementation of Trump’s Policy Banning Certain Refugees

U.S. district court in Seattle heard arguments on Thurs., Dec. 21, in challenge to latest ban

SEATTLE — Today, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a ruling largely blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s most recent refugee restrictions which suspended the admission of refugees from 11 countries, nine of which are predominantly Muslim, for a minimum of 90 days. The restrictions also stopped the follow-to-join process, which reunites family members with refugees already in the United States.

This is the latest legal setback for the Trump administration, which was also handed a loss yesterday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the latest iteration of the administration’s Muslim ban. Today’s ruling stops the implementation of the new refugee restrictions for refugees with bona fide relationships to the United States.

The decision follows a December 21 hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington regarding two challenges to the Trump administration’s October 25 ban on refugees.

Jewish Family Service v. Trump was brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP); the National Immigration Law Center (NILC); Lauren Aguiar, Mollie M. Kornreich, and Abigail Shaheen Davis; Perkins Coie LLP; and HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, on behalf of Jewish Family Service of Seattle, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, and individual plaintiffs.

The second challenge heard as part of the hearing was ACLU of Washington v. Trump, brought by the ACLU of Washington, on behalf of plaintiff Joseph Doe, a refugee living in Washington state who seeks to be reunited with his family.
In response to the ruling, the counsel and plaintiffs issued the following statements:

Esther Sung, staff attorney, NILC: “The courts have once again rejected the administration’s unlawful attempt to turn its back on refugees. We are proud to stand alongside our plaintiffs, refugees, and Muslims in fighting the Trump Administration’s Muslim Bans.”

Rabbi Will Berkovitz, chief executive officer, Jewish Family Service of Seattle: “We are thrilled that families will have the chance to be reunited and refugees who have suffered so much will have the chance to make it to safety. As we celebrate this moment, we remember our ancestors who did not have anyone standing with them or for them.”

Mindy Berkowitz, executive director, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley: “We are grateful for the judge’s ruling and proud to have acted on our Jewish values in defense of our vulnerable refugee clients. We are committed to always doing so until every last refugee is reunited with his or her family.”

Mark Hetfield, president and CEO, HIAS: “During HIAS’ first 40 years, from 1881 to 1921, this country gave refuge to over two million Jewish refugees while Asians were barred from entry due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The American Jewish community did not protest because we thought it did not affect us. Then, in 1921, Congress did the same to us. Today and every day, we defend the rights of refugees, whoever they are, because we know the consequences of shutting our doors.”

Mariko Hirose, litigation director, IRAP: “This administration has attacked refugee resettlement since the first issuance of the Muslim ban, leaving vulnerable refugees left in limbo. This ruling brings relief to thousands of refugees in precarious situations in the Middle East and East Africa, as well as to refugees already in the U.S. who are trying to reunite with their spouses and children.”

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Congress Failed Dreamers and the Country Tonight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017

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

Congress Failed Dreamers and the Country Tonight
We Are Disappointed but Undeterred in Our Fight for Justice

WASHINGTON — Following the U.S. Senate’s approval of a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running for four more weeks, members of Congress broke for the holidays today without addressing the precarious situation facing hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and their families. Congress failed also to provide adequate relief funding for disaster-impacted areas and to fully reauthorize a vital health insurance program for children.

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

“Today, Congress voted callously to place millions of Americans – and citizens in waiting – in harm’s way. By leaving town, they’re leaving immigrant youth at risk of deportation, children at risk of losing health coverage, and families without the overdue relief they need to overcome recent natural disasters.

“Far too many senators have claimed to stand for the bipartisan Dream Act when it was convenient, and then voted tonight to fund Dreamers’ deportations. Those who call themselves champions for Dreamers but voted against them tonight should feel nothing but shame. While they’re at home celebrating, millions of families will continue in a state of uncertainty, instability, and anxiety, wondering if this may be their last holiday season together.

“It is immoral that some members of Congress refuse to acknowledge the situation of Dreamers for the Trump-fabricated crisis it is. More than 13,000 immigrant youth have lost DACA protections since September, and 3,400 more will become vulnerable to deportation before the next spending bill vote in January. Their lives should weigh heavily on the conscious of every member of Congress.

“This crisis is part of this administration’s continued attempt to implement a white supremacist agenda. But we are also here because some Democrats failed to stand with their brave colleagues to defend their principles and fight for immigrant youth and children needing health care.

“On the heels of the tax heist one thing is clear: We must hold Congress accountable. We must unite and work together for children, families, low-income immigrants, and all of our communities.

“Congress may be leaving town, but we are here to stay. We will be here and ready to put our elected officials back to work in January. We are resolute in our mission to ensure that immigrant youth have a secure future in this country, which is their home, and we will continue to fight alongside immigrant youth and our partners until we win.”

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NILC Urges Senate to Reject House Spending Bill, Do Right By Dreamers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017

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

NILC Urges Senate to Reject House Spending Bill, Do Right by Dreamers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a temporary spending bill to keep the government open and running past Friday, when current funding expires. The four-week continuing resolution does not address urgent issues affecting millions of Americans, including a solution for immigrant youth, adequate emergency relief funding for disaster-impacted areas, or a full reauthorization of a vital health insurance program for children. The bill will now be sent to the Senate.

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

“On the heels of the disastrous tax bill, the House voted today to keep hundreds of thousands of young people and their families in excruciating uncertainty and wondering if this could be their last holiday season together. That is cruel and shameful. Anyone who has claimed to stand with Dreamers who voted for this bill just endorsed their deportation.

“More than 13,000 immigrant youth have already lost DACA protections, including their ability to work and contribute fully to their communities. Americans across all sectors of civic life have raised their voices to tell Congress to enact a solution this year. With each passing day, more immigrant youth become vulnerable to deportation.

“It is now up to the Senate to take a stand and do what is best for the country and morally right. We urge Senators from both parties to come together and vote for a spending bill that includes the bipartisan Dream Act and CHIP reauthorization.”

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Congress, Now is Your Time: Pass the Dream Act Before the Holidays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017

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

Congress, Now is Your Time: Pass the Dream Act Before the Holidays

WASHINGTON — With two days left before the end of the legislative session, Congress must vote on spending legislation to avoid a government shutdown. This is their final opportunity to take action on a bipartisan Dream Act that will allow 800,000 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to go home to their families knowing that this won’t be the last holiday they spend together.

Since President Trump ended DACA in September, leaders on both sides of the aisle have stressed the urgent need for a swift bipartisan fix that will allow Dreamers to continue to contribute to the country they call home. Immigrant youth have put their faith in the government to come up with a solution, and now it is up to Congress to keep their promise.

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

“Congress, the time to act is now. We cannot continue to defer the futures of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth. Before you go home for the holidays, we are holding you accountable: pass a bipartisan Dream Act before the end of the year and deliver on your promise to Dreamers and their families. More than 13,000 DACA recipients have already lost protections. We cannot wait any longer.”

Brittany Aguilera, a DACA recipient whose work authorization expired earlier this month, added:

“For those like myself, whose DACA is now gone, for those who are waiting for theirs to expire, whose futures remain unknown, and for our families who are trying to maintain joy at the end of a very hard year, we are urging Congress to act now. This can all be resolved by passing a clean Dream Act. You can restore the holiday joy and promise of a prosperous and hopeful new year to all of us whose futures remain uncertain. Please, I and so many others like me are begging for you to hear our prayers and our words. Pass the Dream Act and start the New Year off right.”

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Heartless Tax Bill Leaves Millions Out in the Cold

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2017

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

Heartless Tax Bill Leaves Millions Out in the Cold

Congress threatens to go home for the holidays having done nothing for working families

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have passed a comprehensive tax reform bill that would fundamentally alter our nation’s tax structure, skewing benefits to major corporations and extremely wealthy individuals. The bill, which blows a $1.5 trillion hole in the government’s budget, could be paid for in years to come by slashing our health care system, food and nutrition programs, housing support, and a vast array of social programs that make communities healthier and stronger.

The bill also disproportionately harms immigrant families, who will no longer be able to claim the Child Tax Credit for immigrant children without a Social Security Number. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Congress has now passed the most unconscionable piece of legislation, which we expect President Trump will sign into law. This would mark an end to the first year of an administration intent on attacking children, families, women, immigrants and people of color,  LGBTQ communities, and the most vulnerable among us. This is the most regressive bill in recent memory, and the entire nation, no matter where we were born or how much we earn, will suffer the consequences. Republicans tried to sell this disastrous bill to the American public, but we’re not buying it. This is a bill designed to placate the donor class, while leaving the rest of us out in the cold.

“This is a Christmas gift to the richest of the rich which will be paid for by hurting millions of families – including low-income immigrant families – for generations to come. This legislation is particularly cruel to immigrant children and families, who will no longer receive the vital Child Tax Credit. This credit has provided an economic lifeline to millions, allowing families to put food on the table and keep roofs over their children’s heads.

“Today is a shameful day in American history. Today’s children and future generations will remember the Trump Administration and the Republican party as having turned its back on the majority of Americans in favor of corporations and the rich.

“Congress should not go home for the holidays on this disastrous note. Now that they have passed this deeply unpopular piece of legislation, they should do the work Americans actually want them to do: protect Dreamers and reauthorize CHIP without delay.”

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New York Dreamers Formally Ask Federal Court to Reinstate DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, National Immigration Law Center, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149
Daniel Altschuler, Make the Road New York, daniel.altschuler@maketheroadny.org, 917-494-5922

New York Dreamers Formally Ask Federal Court to Reinstate DACA

BROOKLYN, NY — A group of “Dreamers” and their attorneys today formally asked a federal court in Brooklyn to block the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The motion for a preliminary injunction, if granted, would reinstate the program, allowing hundreds of thousands of immigrant young people currently covered by or eligible for DACA to continue applying for its protections.

“The heartless decision to end DACA has already uprooted thousands of people’s lives and caused immeasurable harm,” said Trudy Rebert, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “We are asking the court to correct this unlawful and reckless decision and to provide necessary relief. Ultimately, this crisis needs a permanent fix, and only Congress can deliver that by passing the Dream Act.”

Established in 2012, DACA allows eligible immigrant youth to apply for protection for deportation and work permits in two-year increments. On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced that it would abruptly end the program.

Batalla Vidal v. Duke, the first lawsuit filed challenging the termination of DACA, is brought by six New York “Dreamers”—Martín Batalla Vidal, Antonio Alarcon, Eliana Fernandez, Carolina Fung Feng, Mariano Mondragon, and Carlos Vargas—and Make the Road New York. They are represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Make the Road New York, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn, alleges that the termination of DACA violated administrative law, equal protection, and due process guarantees enshrined in the Constitution. The motion filed today points to the imminent irreparable harm caused by the administration’s decision and asks the court to provide immediate relief by reversing the administration’s actions. Attorneys are also seeking to certify a class that would include all individuals who have or are eligible for DACA.

Antonio Alarcon, DACA recipient and youth organizer with Make the Road New York and a plaintiff in the case, said: “Trump’s heartless decision to end DACA has caused great harm to me and my family by putting my future in jeopardy. We’re filing for a preliminary injunction because what he did was not just wrong—it was illegal. And it’s already hurting thousands of Dreamers around the country who have lost protection. At the same time, we know that the real solution to the crisis Trump has caused is to pass the clean Dream Act before Christmas, and we’re going to fight every day to make sure that happens.”

Every day, an estimated 122 immigrant youth lose DACA protections, including their ability to work and contribute fully to their communities. More than 12,000 young people have lost DACA protections since Sept. 5.

One of the DACA recipients mentioned in the filing, Gustavo Galicia, 30, has lived in California since he was two years old. As an adult, he was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure. Galicia had to receive regular dialysis treatments for a decade until he got a kidney transplant earlier this year. Despite his precarious health condition, he has worked at the California Employment Development Department to help support his family, while he also took college classes. Losing his DACA would mean losing his job and his health insurance. He could face severe health consequences if he does not find an alternative way to pay for his medical costs. “If I lose my DACA in August, I would have to stop school again and focus on staying alive,” Galicia says in his declaration to the court.

A hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction and class certification in the Brooklyn court is set for January 18, 2018.

The Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Batalla-Vidal-v-Nielsen-motion-for-prelim-injunct-2017-12-15.pdf.

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Congress Has Two Weeks to Pass the Dream Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2017

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

Congress Has Two Weeks to Pass the Dream Act

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders reported they had a good meeting today at the White House, and the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate also approved a short-term spending bill early this evening.

In response to these developments, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Leaders in both parties should recognize two things: Our country needs to address the situation facing Dreamers urgently, and the solution is both simple and politically popular across party lines. It’s now time for our country’s leadership to do its job.

“The time to fight for the Dream Act is now. The government has two more weeks to come up with a solution for immigrant youth, and we will use every remaining moment to fight for our friends, families, and coworkers.

“While some lawmakers continue disingenuously to say that we have months to resolve this crisis, thousands of young people have already lost their ability to live and work without fear of being deported. One of those people, Maria Rivas, from New York, submitted a renewal application that was rejected because someone misread her check as being filed in 2012, rather than 2017. Maria and thousands of people like her can’t wait.

“Congress has an opportunity to do something good for our nation. They should take it. We need a Dream Act now.”

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NILC Responds to Introduction of SECURE Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2017

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

NILC Responds to Introduction of SECURE Act

WASHINGTON — A group of Republican immigration hardliners in the Senate today introduced a bill to address the crisis created by the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The bill would provide inadequate and temporary relief for some immigrant young people, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” in exchange for sweeping border enforcement measures. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) are cosponsors.

The introduction of the Senate bill, titled SECURE Act, comes on the same day that 34 Republicans in the House of Representatives urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to act now to pass a permanent legislative fix.

Kamal Essaheb, policy and advocacy director at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Over months, immigrant youth, their communities, advocates, and supporters from all sectors of life and from all around the country have engaged in serious conversation with lawmakers who recognize the need for an urgent and permanent fix for Dreamers. The so-called SECURE Act is lightyears behind and completely out of touch with the progress made in these good-faith efforts. Simply put, this is not a serious attempt at solving the DACA crisis. The bill dedicates a grand total of 14 pages, out of 526, to issues regarding DACA. The rest reads like a nativist wish list.

“To date, more than 11,000 immigrant young people have lost permission to work and contribute fully to their communities since President Trump ended DACA in September. Until Congress acts, an estimated 122 more will lose DACA protections each day. With thousands of people’s lives hanging in the balance, we don’t have time to waste on proposals that only move the conversation backward.”

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NILC Comment on Supreme Court Order on the Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2017

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

NILC Comment on Supreme Court Order on the Muslim Ban

WASHINGTON — This afternoon,  the U.S. Supreme Court announced a stay of the injunctions in the Fourth and Ninth Circuit court cases against President Trump’s Muslim ban, allowing Muslim Ban 3.0 to take immediate effect.

The stay will impact travelers and others who previously were allowed to be reunited with loved ones. The order was silent on the merits of the claims in IRAP v. Trump or Hawaii v. Trump

Below is a statement from Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“This Supreme Court order is a devastating blow for all of us who oppose the Muslim ban and confirms the fears of so many in the Muslim community. For families wishing to be reunited with loved ones or others, the instability and uncertainty they currently face when they travel will only be made worse by this order. Furthermore, it will embolden a president who has made blatantly Islamophobic statements and fanned the flames of discrimination and a white supremacist agenda one tweet at a time.

“All of us—regardless of where were were born or the way we pray—should be treated equally. Any form of the Muslim ban is an attack on the values we aspire to as a nation, and we will continue to stand with community leaders and all those affected to ensure that such hateful and divisive policies have no home here.”

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NILC Statement on Passage of Senate Tax Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2017

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

NILC Statement on Passage of Senate Tax Bill

WASHINGTON — Early this morning, Republicans in the U.S. Senate passed a massive tax overhaul, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that will harm the majority of Americans and benefit corporations and the wealthy.

The Senate tax bill provides $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, to be paid for by low- and middle-income families and children, a large number of them immigrants. Among many harmful provisions, the bill eliminates the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for immigrant children. It also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) “individual mandate,” a key provision of the ACA that has made health insurance generally more affordable.

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

“Today will be remembered as a shameful day in American history. In a cowardly move, Republican senators rushed to pass a tax bill that will cause a tremendous amount of pain for Americans from coast to coast, including many of President Trump’s supporters. Today’s children, workers, and students will be especially hard hit, as will future generations that will be stuck with the consequences of this fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible measure. The Senate has essentially robbed tens of millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. For so many, this bill effectively hikes taxes on those who can least afford to lose more money and could make health care unaffordable for these same people.

“Immigrant families have been especially hard hit: the bill eliminates the Child Tax Credit for immigrant children, a move that is cruel and short-sighted. Republicans in the Senate have voted to harm immigrant children and families to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

“This bill, loaded with holiday treats for the rich and massive corporations and their insatiable greed, delivers nothing more than economic insecurity and greater income inequality for the rest of us. Our lawmakers should be working to make sure all our communities are healthy and thriving, not just the ultra-rich. The halls of Congress failed their constituents early this morning, and voters should not forget it.”

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