Category Archives: February 2017

NILC Statement on the President’s First Address to Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2017

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

NILC Statement on the President’s First Address to Congress

WASHINGTON — In President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress this evening, he sketched out his policy agenda for the coming year. Included in his list of policy priorities was mention of a need to come to some sort of compromise on immigration. This policy proposal comes mere weeks after the Trump administration released several executive orders that created chaos at airports and spread fear among immigrant communities. Below is a statement from Kamal Essaheb, policy and advocacy director for the National Immigration Law Center:

“Actions speak louder than words. Trump has spent nearly two years bashing immigrants and Muslims, using this xenophobic, racist rhetoric to gain votes. His actions since taking office have followed the same path of criminalization, disenfranchisement, and deportation for people of color. If Trump is truly serious about coming to some sort of compromise on immigration, he should start by rescinding the executive orders that make it easier to criminalize and deport the very people he purports to defend.

“Our communities have been subject to unconstitutional bans, appalling treatment at the hands of immigration enforcement, and a surge in hate crimes. We will continue to use every legal and advocacy tool necessary to fight for our communities. Stray sentences in prepared remarks are of little comfort to the children of those already deported under the Trump administration.”

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NILC Announces New Deputy Director Reshma Shamasunder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

NILC Announces New Deputy Director Reshma Shamasunder

LOS ANGELES — The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is excited to welcome Reshma Shamasunder, a longtime champion for immigrants’ rights, as its new Deputy Director, Programs.

In this role, Shamasunder will oversee the organization’s legal, policy and advocacy, and communications strategies. She will also serve as a key member of NILC’s Senior Leadership Team.

“The National Immigration Law Center is and has been a leading advocate for low-income immigrants and their families for many years,” Shamasunder said. “In these challenging times, NILC’s role in fighting back against a xenophobic and nativist-driven agenda is crucial. I am humbled to take on a leadership role in these efforts at a time when they are more important than ever. I intend to take on my new role with the seriousness and passion this moment warrants.”

Prior to joining NILC, Shamasunder played a key role in state-level campaigns in California that benefit low-income, immigrant, and vulnerable communities. For 12 years she served as the executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), helping to spearhead important policy wins, including placing limits on cooperation between local law enforcement and immigration authorities, preserving important health and human services programs, providing access to driver’s licenses for all Californians, and furthering important immigrant integration efforts. Under Shamasunder’s leadership, CIPC became a vibrant statewide organization that now not only helps shape California’s most inclusive policies, but also helps to build the capacity of nascent immigrants’ rights organizations and coalitions throughout California.

Shamasunder also served on the boards of Health Access California and the South Asian Network in Los Angeles, and was an inaugural fellow of the Rockwood Fellowship for a New California, a leadership program for California’s immigrant rights leaders. Shamasunder most recently received Families USA’s Health Equity Advocate Award. Last year she received a NILC Courageous Luminaries Award.

“I am thrilled to have Reshma join NILC’s leadership. For more than a decade she has helped transform the lives of countless California families, and she is poised to help us do the same across the country,” said NILC Executive Director Marielena Hincapié. “Her many years of service to immigrant communities will be a tremendous asset as we advance our mission of ensuring that all people, regardless of where they were born or their income, have access to opportunities that have helped generations of new Americans thrive and contribute to our communities. We are incredibly proud and grateful to welcome Reshma to our team.”

Shamasunder is the daughter of Indian immigrants and was raised in California’s Mojave Desert. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She will start in her new role at NILC on March 1 and will be based in NILC’s Los Angeles headquarters.

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DHS Memos Lay Out Mass Deportation Blueprint

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

DHS Memos Lay Out Mass Deportation Blueprint

LOS ANGELES — The Trump administration today released documents laying out a plan for radical changes to immigration enforcement. The documents set into policy draconian and expensive measures outlined in President Trump’s immigration executive orders, including mandatory detention, rushed court proceedings, and a rollback in protections for unaccompanied children apprehended at the border.

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

“The Trump administration has created a blueprint for mass deportation like we’ve never seen. Today’s memos are breathtaking in scope, undoing decades of guidance and best practice intended to help protect vulnerable populations. If unhindered, they will wreak havoc on our economy, our communities, and our families.

“President Trump is governing by fear and not by what is best for the American people. As we have seen in the past few weeks, the consistency and uniformity required to have rule of law has gone out the window. Longtime community members and members of well-established families are being detained and deported. Everyone is now a priority for immigration enforcement.

“Our country is better than this, and better judgment will ultimately prevail, but this is a dangerous time that requires us all to fight back against these policies. We are committed to ensuring immigrants are well-informed about their constitutional rights so that they can make empowered decisions. Every single immigrant needs to have a safety plan in place. We are determined to do everything necessary to ensure that these policies don’t get implemented.”

Information about immigration enforcement–related rights is available at www.nilc.org/KnowYourRights (www.nilc.org/ConozcaSusDerechos) and www.nilc.org/know-your-rights/.

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Statement on Leaked DHS Memo Proposing National Guard Mobilization for Immigration Enforcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

Statement on Leaked DHS Memo Proposing National Guard Mobilization for Immigration Enforcement

WASHINGTON — Media reports on Friday revealed that the Trump administration may be considering draconian and expensive immigration enforcement measures, including mandatory detention, rushed court proceedings, a rollback in protections for unaccompanied children apprehended at the border, construction of new detention facilities and a border wall, and the enlisting of National Guard troops as immigration enforcement agents.

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

“For a month now the Trump administration has terrorized our communities with a chaotic and inhumane reimaging of our immigration system. The Muslim ban rollout, widespread raids, and the arrests of a domestic violence survivor and immigrant youth have created a climate of fear in our communities like never before. We don’t need to see the implementation of this leaked memo to understand the xenophobic and nativist vision driving the administration’s immigration policies.

“The leaked memo contemplates a virtual police state for millions of Americans. It would entail an unprecedented, legally dubious expansion of a failed program, 287g, that federal courts have found sets the groundwork for racial profiling. And it would roll back legal protections and deny due process and other civil rights to people seeking refuge from violence and extreme poverty.

“That the administration would even consider such reprehensible measures is unacceptable, and it will certainly continue to stoke fear in our immigrant communities until DHS Secretary John Kelly provides clarity. We call on Kelly to immediately and categorically disavow the contents of this leaked memo.”

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Statement on Reported Detention of DACA Recipient

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

Statement on Reported Detention of DACA Recipient

WASHINGTON — Media reports on Tuesday made public the case of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, who was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at his home in Seattle, Wash., last week.

DACA, announced by the Obama administration in 2012, allows immigrant youth who were brought to the U.S. as children to live and work here temporarily if they meet certain requirements and pay a fee. President Donald Trump has not made clear what he intends to do with the program, but there have been no announced changes to DACA to date.

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

“This is part of the chaos created by the Trump administration’s recent actions undoing guidelines intended to provide clarity to field agents. The people ICE calls ‘collateral’ are in fact integral members of our communities.

“People like Daniel came forward, submitted applications, passed background checks, and earned work authorization and a temporary reprieve from deportation. To detain him now isn’t just senseless, it’s cruel. President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress have created a climate of fear in immigrant communities. Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly must take the reins and end the chaos now.”

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NILC Statement on the Confirmation of Tom Price to Head HHS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

NILC Statement on the Confirmation of Tom Price to Head HHS

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Senate today voted to confirm Rep. Tom Price of Georgia as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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

“Rep. Tom Price for years has led a hyperpartisan attack on the Affordable Care Act and other federal programs that have been essential in expanding access to affordable health care to millions of Americans. Along with his fellow Republicans, Price has failed to come up with an acceptable alternative, instead advocating for policies that would undermine protections for those most in need. It is disheartening that Price will now oversee the very programs he has worked to undo.”

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Ninth Circuit Keeps Muslim Ban Temporary Restraining Order in Place

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

Ninth Circuit Keeps Muslim Ban Temporary Restraining Order in Place

LOS ANGELES — A panel of federal judges today rejected the Trump administration’s request to stay a temporary restraining order that temporarily blocks key sections of President Donald Trump’s Muslim and refugee ban executive order, which he signed on January 27.

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

“The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today acted, as the courts are supposed to, as a necessary check on the blatantly unconstitutional overreach President Trump made in issuing this unlawful and un-American executive order.

“This decision means, for now, that people seeking refuge from horrific conditions will not be turned away, that families torn apart by this discriminatory policy can reunite, and that America can continue to benefit from the contributions of immigrants who have long fueled the engines of innovation and helped our communities thrive. We are grateful to the state of Washington—and to all the other states, business leaders, and others who filed friend-of-the-court briefs—for being leaders in the fight to stop President Trump’s shameful actions.”

The complaint is available at https://www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2-9-17-9th-Circuit-Order.pdf.

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NILC Statement on the Confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

NILC Statement on the Confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate today voted to confirm Alabama senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, the top post in the Department of Justice.

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

“The attorney general is the people’s lawyer. As the head of the principal arm of our government charged with protecting our rights and civil liberties, anyone taking on this role must decisively stand up to those who would attempt to undermine them.

“Sadly, given his track record of systematically marginalizing already disenfranchised communities, we are not confident that Sessions will live up to this high standard. The National Immigration Law Center will be watching closely, and we will not hesitate to hold Sessions accountable for any misstep in his running of the Justice Department.”

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Groups File New Challenge to Trump Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, NILC, 213-375-3149, gastelum@nilc.org
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, 212-284-7347, isarda-sorensen@aclu.org

Groups File New Challenge to Trump Muslim Ban

BALTIMORE — A new federal lawsuit was filed today challenging President Trump’s Muslim-ban executive order, charging it violates the Constitution—including the First Amendment’s prohibition against government establishment of religion and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantees of equal treatment under the law—and federal laws.

The lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Maryland, and the National Immigration Law Center on behalf of HIAS and the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, along with individuals, including U.S. citizens, impacted by the ban. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland.

The following are quotes from:

Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center. “We represent over 500 displaced families from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and elsewhere, who are desperate to find safety in the United States. The president’s discriminatory executive order has trapped these vulnerable people in life-threatening conditions. We are currently devoting nearly all of our resources to finding emergency remedies to protect them, when we should be utilizing existing legal pathways that could offer them permanent safety.”

Nicholas Espíritu, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “There is no question that President Trump’s executive order violates bedrock legal principles and protections, and that it singles out Muslims for disfavored treatment. We will not stand for this kind of government discrimination that clearly runs afoul of our Constitution and human decency. These actions are shameful and un-American.”

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “President Trump’s Muslim ban is unconstitutional. Appropriately, the government is currently prohibited from implementing the executive order, and the plaintiffs in this case stand ready to take further action to protect their rights.”

HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “As an organization that has long partnered with the U.S. government, litigation is unprecedented for HIAS, but we feel we have no other choice. We cannot remain silent as Muslim refugees are turned away just for being Muslim, just as we could not stand idly by when the U.S. turned away Jewish refugees fleeing Germany during the 1930s and 40s. Our history and our values, as Jews and as Americans, require us to fight this illegal and immoral new policy with every tool at our disposal—including litigation.”

A copy of the complaint can be downloaded here: https://www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DoesvTrump2.7.17.pdf

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