Category Archives: July 2016

NILC Applauds Justice Department Request for Rehearing in U.S. v. Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2016

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

NILC Applauds Justice Department Request for Rehearing in U.S. v. Texas

LOS ANGELES — Following a Supreme Court deadlock in June that left millions of immigrant families across the country in limbo, the U.S. Department of Justice today filed a motion for rehearing in United States v. Texas, the case involving the Obama administration’s 2014 immigration executive actions.

If granted, a rehearing would allow both sides to reargue the case before the nation’s highest court after a ninth justice is confirmed, making it much less likely that the result would remain a stalemate. A favorable decision in the case would provide much-needed clarity for the country and finally free up for implementation the administration’s deferred action initiatives, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

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

“The Supreme Court failed millions of immigrant families, and our country as a whole, when it deadlocked in U.S. v. Texas. Now, the justices have an opportunity to right this wrong and fulfill their duty to the American people.

U.S. v. Texas is without a doubt one of the most consequential immigration cases in recent history. It is appropriate and, in fact, necessary for the Court to rehear the case with a full bench and deliver a decisive ruling. We commend the Justice Department for taking a necessary first step toward ensuring that those whose lives are hanging in the balance get a fair day in court. We hope the Supreme Court will recognize that the millions of families living in limbo—and our country as a whole—deserve better than a nondecision. We beseech the justices to grant a rehearing.”

Announced by the Department of Homeland Security in November 2014, DAPA and the expansion of DACA are programs intended to build off the success of the administration’s 2012 DACA initiative, which allows eligible undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children to live and work here temporarily without fear of deportation. DAPA would extend similar benefits to certain undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, while the expansion of DACA would broaden eligibility for DACA, making the program available to a larger range of people.

The original (2012) DACA initiative was not challenged in U.S. v Texas and remains open to eligible applicants.

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Immigrant, Health, and Civil Rights Advocates Demand Access to Affordable Health Care for DACAmented Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2016

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

Immigrant, Health, and Civil Rights Advocates Demand Access to Affordable Health Care for DACAmented Youth

More than 360 labor, civil rights, and health groups ask President Obama to revoke policy denying DACA recipients access to Affordable Care Act programs, Medicaid, and CHIP

WASHINGTON — Following a Supreme Court deadlock on immigration initiatives designed to provide deportation relief to millions, groups ranging from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the NAACP on Monday urged President Obama to restore access to affordable health insurance programs to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. DACA is an immigration initiative announced in 2012 that allows certain immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to apply for deportation relief and work authorization.

The National Immigration Law Center, along with more than 360 organizations from across the country, sent the president a letter demanding that he revoke unnecessary and harmful regulations enacted by his administration in 2012. The regulations affirmatively deny DACA recipients access to affordable health insurance under Affordable Care Act programs, and also to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in states that have enacted expanded coverage options for children or pregnant women.

“Living in a healthy community means ensuring that all people, regardless of where they were born, can access quality, affordable health care. Immigrant youth with DACA are currently unjustly excluded from being able to purchase health insurance through Affordable Care Act programs, even though they can live and work here,” said NILC Executive Director Marielena Hincapié. “Not only is this unfair and unnecessary, it runs contrary to the Affordable Care Act’s objective of expanding access to health insurance as broadly as possible. President Obama has the power and a moral obligation to change this damaging policy.”

The Obama administration announced regulatory changes on August 28, 2012, that exclude DACA recipients from federal health insurance programs. The policies do not affect any other immigration category and do not affect people granted deferred action apart from the DACA program.

If not for the 2012 regulatory changes, some DACA recipients would have gained access to more options for affordable and comprehensive health insurance. DACA recipients who are under 21 years old or pregnant, and otherwise eligible, would have been able to apply for free or low-cost health insurance through a state’s Medicaid program or CHIP in about half of the states.

“We’ve spent many years working to expand affordable health coverage to all children and families in this country, and we’ve come a long way, but a glaring coverage gap still exists among immigrant youth who live, study, and work here legally,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus. “Not only is providing health coverage to DACAmented youth the right thing to do, it contributes to a better and healthier America. Every young person in this country should have access to health care.”

“It’s only fair and common sense to remove political interference so immigrant women and their families can participate in the health care programs their tax dollars support,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). “We strongly recommend that the administration continue to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act by removing the ban restricting DACA-eligible youth from accessing the comprehensive, quality, and affordable health care they need. NLIRH will continue to work to advance a more compassionate and inclusive immigration system, including access to a healthy future for all families regardless of who they are or where they come from,” González-Rojas said.

Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, said, “We call on the Obama administration to allow young DREAMers who are DACAmented to realize the benefits of this administration’s other signature achievement—the Affordable Care Act—and grant them access to the same health care options as other lawfully present people.”

In the letter, the groups told President Obama that “[i]t required both dedication and political courage to create the DACA program, as it did to pursue health reform when it had eluded so many of your predecessors. In order for each of these programs to succeed, they must be brought into alignment.”

“We urge you to extend the promise of meaningful and affordable health care to all deferred action recipients, without distinction,” the letter goes on. “Doing so would provide DACA-mented youth with a real opportunity to stay healthy and to succeed in our communities.”

Some states, such as California, continue to provide all young residents, regardless of their immigration status, access to affordable health care through state-funded Medicaid and CHIP.

The full letter is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/ACA-DACA-letter-to-POTUS-2016-07-11.pdf

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NILC Calls for More Empathy, Dialogue, and Action Following Deadly Shootings of Black Men, Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2016

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

NILC Calls for More Empathy, Dialogue, and Action Following Deadly Shootings of Black Men, Police 

LOS ANGELES — The following is a statement by Marielena Hincapié, executive director at the National Immigration Law Center, in response to the recent incidents of police brutality and police killings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas:

“Our hearts were broken to learn about yet another series of shootings this week in which two young black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed in interactions with police. We are also saddened that Dallas police officers were gunned down while monitoring a peaceful protest. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those lost to these tragic episodes of gun violence.

“In a country that aspires to advancing equality, opportunity and respect for others, these horrific events warn us of a festering culture of hate, fear and violence, which disproportionately harms communities of color and which we must bring to an end. We must not give in to hate. We cannot give in to fear. And we must reject violence.

“We stand in solidarity with those who for years have been working peacefully and constructively for acknowledgment that there is a grave problem with the way law enforcement treats black people and other communities of color, and to bring about systemic change. We are especially grateful for the leadership role that the Black Lives Matter network has played in calling for an end to violence and for police accountability. As much as ever, we need these conversations to continue, with empathy and respect as our guiding principles.

“The National Immigration Law Center remains committed to fighting for the dignity and justice of all our community members. We urge our leaders and our communities not to allow these incidents to stifle progress or breed more animosity. We join others in calling for justice and accountability for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and for the countless others who have lost their lives far too soon. Black lives matter, today and every day.”

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U.S. Senate Rejects Attacks on Community-Policing Policies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2016

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

U.S. Senate Rejects Attacks on Community-Policing Policies

WASHINGTON —Today, the U.S. Senate rejected attempts to move forward two bills that would have eroded hard-won community-policing policies in so-called sanctuary cities and further criminalized immigrants. The two bills, sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), would have penalized jurisdictions that have community-trust policies by withholding federal funds aimed at rebuilding and revitalizing communities, and would have created new mandatory minimum sentences for undocumented immigrants charged with unlawful reentry, respectively.

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

“The politics of xenophobia and fear-mongering lost today. Sen. Toomey and Sen. Cruz’s bills would have threatened public safety and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, all while scapegoating immigrant communities. We are glad that neither of these backward proposals will see the light of day, and we commend those who chose to stand in recognition of immigrants’ contributions to our communities rather than use them as scapegoats.”

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NILC Opposes Bills Attacking Community-Policing Policies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2016

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

NILC Opposes Bills Attacking Community-Policing Policies

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is expected to vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on whether to consider two bills that, by attacking so-called sanctuary cities, where local police have adopted practices to encourage community safety for all residents, threaten to undo hard-won community-policing policies. One bill, S. 3100, sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would withhold federal funds for economic, social, and community development services from local governments with “sanctuary” jurisdictions. The other, known as Kate’s Law and sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would impose additional mandatory minimum sentencing for undocumented immigrants charged with illegal reentry, at a cost of $2 billion to taxpayers.

The following is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Sen. Toomey’s proposal is an affront to communities that have fought to ensure that all residents, regardless of where they were born, feel safe in our communities and feel safe interacting with local police. It is an attempt to coerce cities into adopting policies that undermine public safety and should not be allowed to become law. Sen. Cruz’s bill should also be rejected. It would waste billions of taxpayer dollars and force a draconian, one-size-fits-all punishment at a time when criminal justice reform advocates from both sides of the aisle are calling for more, not less, discretion.

“The practical effect of further criminalizing immigrants and threatening to withhold funds designated for much-needed community and economic development programs is to pit vulnerable populations—especially people of color—against each other. We know that communities are safer when local governments and law enforcements officials don’t have to act as immigration agents. And it is simply unacceptable to hold hostage funds intended to help communities prosper.

“Senators should see past Toomey’s rhetoric and recognize tomorrow’s votes on the motions to proceed for what they are: an effort to exploit rising nativism to scapegoat immigrants. We are better than this, and the Senate should be, too. We fully expect those who believe in sound policy to vote ‘no’ tomorrow on the motions to proceed.”

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