Category Archives: January 2017

NILC Responds to Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court of Judge Neil Gorsuch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2017

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

NILC Responds to Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court of Judge Neil Gorsuch

LOS ANGELES — President Donald Trump today announced the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The announcement comes after Senate Republicans refused for nearly a year to give former President Barack Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland, a fair hearing. The seat has been vacant since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

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

“As the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution and our ability to uphold our most cherished values, the Supreme Court is an indispensable part of our democracy. The American people deserve a justice who is independent and open-minded, and who can fairly weigh the facts when taking on critical legal questions that have broad and meaningful impact on their lives.

“The extreme and deeply concerning actions taken so far by the president, including his recent policies attacking immigrants and refugees, make clear that the next justice to the Supreme Court must be willing to serve as a check on blatant abuses of power and policies that contradict our Constitution and core American values.

“Following the shameful, politically-motivated obstruction on display for nearly a year, we call on all senators to take seriously their constitutional duty to thoroughly and fairly vet Judge Neil Gorsuch’s qualifications and character. We expect the Senate to provide the level of scrutiny worthy of this high post.”

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Federal Court Orders U.S. Government to Allow Refugees and Others Impacted by Trump Immigration Order to Stay

Frequently asked questions about the Trump travel and refugee ban are
answered at www.nilc.org/faq-exec-order-targeting-refugees-and-muslims/.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2017

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

Federal Court Orders U.S. Government to Allow Refugees and Others Impacted by Trump Immigration Order to Stay

NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York has granted a nationwide stay of removal preventing the Trump administration from deporting refugees and others who had lawful authority to enter the United States.

The order issued by Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York comes after leading civil rights groups earlier today filed a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s executive order banning refugees and other individuals from certain countries from entering the U.S. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Iraqi men who were targeted by insurgents for their associations with the U.S. military and who were approved for resettlement in the U.S. earlier this month. Both men have since been released from having been detained at New York’s JFK Airport, but many similarly situated people are currently being detained at U.S. airports.

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

“This is a great victory for our clients Hameed and Haider, and for the many others across the country whose lives were suddenly turned upside-down by President Trump’s inhumane and unconstitutional order. It means that those fleeing horrific conditions, who fought alongside soldiers protecting our country, or who were merely caught up in the sheer irresponsibility of this order will not be sent away.

“Today, we fought to protect the right of our two clients and all similarly held in airports across the country, and we fought to defend our Constitution and treasured American values of equality and freedom. The National Immigration Law Center promised we would use every resource to fight the Trump administration’s anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant agenda, and we will continue to do so. This should serve as a reminder that the Constitution applies to everybody in America.”

Today’s lawsuit was filed by Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi. They are represented by the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

A copy of the stay of removal is available at https://www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/OrderGrantingStay.1.28.17.pdf

More information on this case will be available at www.nilc.org/darweesh-v-trump/ as it becomes available.

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Frequently asked questions about the Trump travel and refugee ban are answered at www.nilc.org/faq-exec-order-targeting-refugees-and-muslims/.

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First Lawsuit Filed Challenging Trump’s Order Banning Refugees from the United States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2017

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

First Lawsuit Filed Challenging Trump’s Order Banning Refugees from the United States

NEW YORK — Today some of the nation’s leading civil rights groups filed the first legal challenge to the Trump administration’s executive order banning refugees and other individuals from certain countries from entering the United States. The complaint was filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of two Iraqi men who were targeted by insurgents for their associations with the U.S. military and who were approved for resettlement in the United States earlier this month. They were denied entry and detained at JFK Airport, though one has now been released.

Karen Tumlin, legal director at National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Trump’s order keeps some of the world’s most vulnerable people in life-threatening danger. This order has wreaked havoc on the lives of the thousands of refugees who desperately need safe refuge from violence and terror, many of whom have already been approved to resettle in the United States and are traveling to be reunited with family and loved ones right now. Many refugees, like our clients, risked their lives to help the United States government. The fact that the government has now decided to turn its back on those who served and protected us isn’t just unconscionable—it’s unconstitutional.”

Today’s filing is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/1-complaint.pdf.

More information about this case is available at www.nilc.org/darweesh-v-trump/.

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Trump’s Backdoor Muslim Ban Is an Affront to America’s Core Values and the Constitution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2017

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

Trump’s Backdoor Muslim Ban Is an Affront to America’s Core Values and the Constitution

NILC and our partners will take the administration to court

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump today acted on his campaign promise to institute a Muslim ban, signing an executive order restricting people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for a period of at least 90 days. Trump also is halting most refugee admissions for 120 days—an action that includes an indefinite halt to admissions of Syrian refugees—and is adding screening requirements for all immigration benefits. Today’s order also slashes the number of annual refugee admissions from 110,000 to 50,000 for this fiscal year.

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

“Today’s announcement is a troubling turn in our country’s history. President Trump unilaterally imposed actions today setting forth an agenda that turns its back on some of the world’s most vulnerable populations and attempts to punish people based purely on where they’re from and what they believe. The National Immigration Law Center will not stand for any such discriminatory policy and we—along with our partners in the civil rights, Muslim, and immigrant and refugee communities—are prepared to take the administration to court.

“Policies that codify hate by singling out entire groups of people contradict our most cherished American values and defy the Constitution. History has shown us how these types of policies that single out communities based on religion or national origin not only inflict great harm on our communities, but are utterly ineffective at addressing national security concerns.

“On a day when we should all be reflecting on our past mistakes, Holocaust Remembrance Day, it would serve the president well to remember that our country’s past indifference and inaction led to the senseless killings of thousands of Jews who sought unsuccessfully to flee persecution in Nazi Germany. It is appalling that on this day, of all days, President Trump would take such heartless and harmful actions against people who have been displaced by horrific violence and abject poverty.

“History will judge us harshly for turning our backs on the most vulnerable because of our ignorance and fear. The National Immigration Law Center remains steadfast in using all of our resources and expertise to defend those this administration has decided to attack.”

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Trump’s Extreme Immigration Orders Will Be Costly, Ineffective, and Harmful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2017

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

Trump’s Extreme Immigration Orders Will Be Costly, Ineffective, and Harmful

NILC is prepared to use all resources to defend our communities and rights

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump today signed several executive orders related to immigration and border security. Trump is mandating the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and wildly increasing resources for detention and deportation, while cutting resources for other immigration processes and for localities that have adopted immigrant-welcoming policies. Trump is also undercutting refugee resettlement programs and visa entry programs to effectively ban the entry into the U.S. of certain people based on their religion.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in response to today’s orders:

“President Trump campaigned on a hateful, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim vision for America—a vision that, through his actions today, could become an extremely harsh reality. These executive orders will be costly, ineffective, and harmful, and they’ll have devastating consequences for all of us.

“Trump’s orders demand that local police become de facto immigration agents and authorize a supersizing of the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, all while freezing the hiring of immigration judges. This will result in a monumental waste of taxpayer money and will create chaos in our immigration system and courts.

“Today’s actions are the first steps taken to implement a deeply troubling agenda that criminalizes people based on where they’re from and what they believe. They not only contradict our most cherished values as Americans and defy the Constitution, they don’t begin to address our country’s real needs.

“We need an immigration system that upholds our longstanding commitment to welcoming and providing for those who seek safety and opportunity, as previous generations have done. And we need to ensure that all newcomers to our country can contribute fully to our communities and economy. Finally, we need Washington to get out of the way of states and localities that have recognized that inclusive policies move everyone forward together and keep communities safe.

“To justify today’s orders, Trump has relied on repeatedly debunked lies pedaled by nativists. At the National Immigration Law Center, we know and value the facts. We are committed to using all our resources to stand with our families and communities—including by challenging these unconstitutional orders in the courts. Together, we will resist and fight to bring out the truth about our communities, our economy, and our borders.”

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NILC Statement on the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2017

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

NILC Statement on the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump

WASHINGTON — The following is a statement by Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, on the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States:

“The National Immigration Law Center for decades has championed a more inclusive vision for America in which all people—regardless of where they were born or how much money they have—are able to achieve their full potential. Incoming President Donald Trump has, in contrast, promised radical policy changes that would further disenfranchise African Americans, women, Muslims, immigrants, Latinos, the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities. Through his cabinet appointments of billionaire ideologues, not only has he doubled down on these promises, but he is creating a federal bureaucracy in which key officials will be hostile to the rights of workers and apathetic about the health and well-being of many in America who strive for a better future—both people born here and aspiring Americans.

“NILC remains steadfast in our commitment to the fundamental American values of inclusion and opportunity for all. When President Trump says that when you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, his words ring hollow.

“Our organization also has a long history of fighting to make sure that the Constitution’s guarantees apply equally to all of us, and we are prepared to use every tool at our disposal to protect this cherished value. We will forcefully resist any attempt to trample on the basic rights of immigrants and refugees. We will fight alongside our community partners, in legislatures all around the country, and, if necessary, in courtrooms, since the courts must now, more than ever, guard vigilantly against any unconstitutional overreach.”

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Immigrant and Civil Rights Groups Seek to Halt Discriminatory Arizona Driver’s License Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, NILC, 213-375-3149, gastelum@nilc.org
Sandra Hernandez, MALDEF, 213-629-2512 x. 129, shernandez@maldef.org

Immigrant and Civil Rights Groups Seek to Halt Discriminatory Arizona Driver’s License Policy

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Civil and immigrants’ rights attorneys asked a federal court on Friday to temporarily block Arizona from continuing to deny certain lawfully present immigrants, including survivors of domestic violence, access to driver’s licenses.

The request for a preliminary injunction comes nearly four months after the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), and the Ortega Law Firm sued Arizona on behalf of five immigrants who are recipients of deferred action, which grants them temporary permission to live and work in the United States. The suit alleges that the Arizona policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

“This unjust law is wrongfully denying otherwise eligible Arizonans the licenses they need to ensure they are able to meet their families’ basic needs,” said Nicholas Espíritu, a staff attorney at NILC who presented oral arguments at today’s hearing. “In many cases, the law is preventing some of the most vulnerable Arizonans from overcoming their challenging circumstances. These individuals especially need immediate relief.”

“Rather than following federal law, Arizona chooses to persist with its campaign against immigrants and continues to waste taxpayer money defending these blatantly illegal and discriminatory policies that serve no one,” said Victor Viramontes, MALDEF national senior counsel, who also presented court arguments today.

Before 2012, anyone who had deferred action and was otherwise qualified could obtain a driver’s license in Arizona. However, shortly after the Obama administration introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, then-governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order mandating that DACA recipients be denied driver’s licenses. Brewer’s policy was eventually struck down by both a federal district court and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Despite this, Arizona officials continue to deny driver’s licenses to other immigrants with deferred action, who are federally authorized to be present in the U.S. These include people awaiting processing of humanitarian visas, such as survivors of domestic violence.

Among the Arizonans challenging the state’s policy is Maria del Carmen Cruz Hernandez, a single mother of two who is battling cancer. Hernandez received deferred action and a work permit in 2015 but was denied a driver’s license last year. Without a license, Cruz has found it difficult to get to her necessary medical treatment appointments.

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Sessions Is Unfit to Be Attorney General

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2017

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

Sessions Is Unfit to Be Attorney General

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee today will begin hearings to determine whether Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s selection for U.S. attorney general, is fit to head the Department of Justice. Sessions is expected to face tough questions about his history of racially discriminatory statements and of championing efforts to undermine the very principles an attorney general is expected to defend. His record of voting against policies to protect and uphold those principles in the Senate will likely also come under scrutiny.

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

“The Justice Department has the responsibility to vigorously and vigilantly protect the rights and liberties of all Americans. At a time when racial tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, and white supremacists feel emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, we cannot entrust that to someone who has made a career of systematically marginalizing and disenfranchising African Americans, Muslims, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and women.

“Senator Sessions has a long history of denigrating the very rights he would have to defend as attorney general. The Senate Judiciary Committee must be resolute in holding him accountable. Sessions is simply the wrong choice.”

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DHS Secretary’s Letter Says DACA Application Information Should Be Safeguarded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 3, 2017

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

NILC Responds to Johnson Letter on DACA Information

WASHINGTON — Responding to concerns about what a future administration could do with the identifying information of individuals who applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Jeh Johnson said in letter to members of Congress that the department has always made clear that information submitted by DACA applicants would be safeguarded, and would not later be used for immigration enforcement purposes.

Johnson explained in the letter that it is a longstanding practice, predating DACA, to use information submitted by individuals applying for deferred action for the primary purpose of adjudicating their requests, and not for other immigration-related purposes, adding that this precedent “must continue to be honored.”

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

“Deferred action is an incredibly valuable tool of our immigration system that provides relief to many people in our most vulnerable populations and allows them an opportunity to contribute more fully to their communities.

“For decades, people who have applied for temporary relief through this tool have provided their information in good faith and relied on our federal government to use it only for its intended purpose. They include DACA recipients as well as many others, such as survivors of domestic violence.

“At a time when many in our communities are grappling with great uncertainty, it is crucially important that our leaders reaffirm and uphold practices that are a longstanding part of how our immigration system works. We are grateful to our Democratic leaders in Congress who sought clarity on this issue.”

Johnson’s letter is available at https://chu.house.gov/sites/chu.house.gov/files/documents/DHS.Signed%20Response%20to%20Chu%2012.30.16.pdf.

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