Category Archives: July 2017

Senate Should Focus on Solutions That Move the Country Forward, Not Backward

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2017

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

Senate Should Focus on Solutions That Move the Country Forward, Not Backward

WASHINGTON — After the U.S. Senate rejected several Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal proposals on a bipartisan basis last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) closed debate, ending for now the Republican-led Congress’s ACA repeal efforts.

The Congressional Budget Office determined that the various repeal and, in some cases, replacement proposals considered by Congress in recent weeks would take health coverage away from between 16 and 32 million people. In addition to repealing the ACA, those bills included provisions making deep cuts to Medicaid, dramatically increasing out-of-pocket costs and premiums, undermining employer-sponsored insurance, and eliminating critical patient protection reforms.

The GOP legislation included proposals that would particularly harm immigrant families by excluding lawfully present immigrants from assistance for and even enrollment in the ACA marketplaces. Several senators who have supported responsible immigration reform proposals in the past, including Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dean Heller (R-NV), nevertheless voted this week to deny immigrants health care.

Reacting to the Senate vote, the National Immigration Law Center released the following statement from its director of policy and advocacy, Kamal Essaheb:

“Last night’s vote was the latest in a series of failed attempts to pass bad legislation that would have caused millions of people to suffer, and it sends a pretty clear signal. Dismantling solutions isn’t legislating, and denying people—any people—health care and other basic needs isn’t a solution.

“This isn’t a loss for congressional Republicans, it’s an opportunity for lawmakers of both parties to recommit to finding real paths forward for our country. Leaders from both parties should know that if and when they return to health policy or the funding of health programs, the people they represent will hold them accountable for last night’s vote and for any votes in the future that harm the health of their communities.”

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New House Bills Signal Growing Bipartisan Support for Protecting Immigrant Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2017

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

New House Bills Signal Growing Bipartisan Support for Protecting Immigrant Youth

LOS ANGELES — Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives today introduced a new bill, the American Hope Act, that would provide undocumented immigrant youth who have been in the U.S. from a young age with a pathway to U.S. citizenship. The bill, which was crafted with the input of undocumented young immigrants themselves and introduced with 112 cosponsors, would provide permanent protections to immigrant youth regardless of education level, military service, or work history. It follows the bipartisan, bicameral introduction of the Dream Act, which would similarly provide permanent protections under more limited criteria.

The introduction of legislative proposals to protect immigrant youth in both chambers of Congress comes in the midst of uncertainty about the Trump administration’s plans for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has authorized nearly 800,000 young immigrants to live and work in the U.S. temporarily since 2012. President Trump has said that immigrant youth can “rest easy,” but his administration has targeted DACA recipients and made conflicting statements about the future of the program.

Ignacia Rodriguez, an immigration policy advocate with the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The American Hope Act underscores that the starting point for any conversation about policies that have broad impact on people’s lives should be a recognition of value in every person. It embodies the principle—dignity—that should be at the core of any proposal to protect undocumented immigrant youth.

“We are encouraged by the bill’s introduction, as well as that of other legislative proposals that demonstrate broad, bipartisan support for immigrant youth who have fought for the opportunity to stay in their communities and pursue their full potential.

“However, these bills and the lives of the people they would directly impact should not be held ransom for more border militarization. And, crucially, we must continue to uphold DACA, which has been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and benefitted our country as a whole.”

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Irresponsible Vote on Senate “Repeal and Disgrace” Health Care Bill Opposed by Immigrant Advocates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2017

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

Irresponsible Vote on Senate “Repeal and Disgrace” Health Care Bill Opposed by Immigrant Advocates

WASHINGTON — After two prior failures, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—this time without even knowing what form of the deeply unpopular bill the Senate will be considering.

Today’s anticipated vote on a “motion to proceed” will determine whether the Senate can consider GOP plans to repeal the ACA, which the Congressional Budget Office has determined will take health coverage away from between 22 to 32 million people, depending on which plan the Senate takes up. In addition to repealing the ACA, the bills put forth so far would make deep cuts to Medicaid, dramatically increase out-of-pocket costs and raise premiums, undermine employer-sponsored insurance, and eliminate critical patient protection reforms.

The different GOP proposals all include proposals that would particularly harm immigrant families. The Senate GOP bill—the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)—goes further than a radical proposal passed earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill backed by McConnell cuts off all access to health insurance for some lawfully present immigrants, by barring them from accessing the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces and eliminating their access to the financial assistance that 84 percent of participants on the marketplace rely on. However, by denying tax credits to many lawfully present immigrants, the House bill would effectively achieve a similar unacceptable outcome.

In anticipation of today’s vote, the National Immigration Law Center released the following statement by its health policy attorney, Matthew Lopas:

“Congressional Republicans promised repeal and replace, but this is repeal and disgrace. Decisions about the health of millions of families, immigrant and citizen alike, should not be made on the fly on the floor of the Senate. I rarely agree with President Trump, but he was right when he called the House bill ‘mean.’ The Senate Republican bill is downright cruel, and that’s why responsible Republicans like Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski, and Dean Heller have all publicly opposed it. They must keep their word and reject this unpopular, anti–health care scheme.”

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Bipartisan Dream Act Highlights Broad Support for Existing Immigrant Youth Protections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2017

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

Bipartisan Dream Act Highlights Broad Support for Existing Immigrant Youth Protections

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today introduced a new Dream Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide a pathway to legal status for some undocumented immigrant youth. The bill would provide a path to legal status for immigrant youth who arrived in the U.S. as children and who either attend college or perform military service.

The introduction comes amidst news media reports that Trump administration officials are pushing to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, despite the president’s previous comments that he would “work something out” for immigrant youth and that they can “rest easy.” DACA, which has been in place since 2012, authorizes some young immigrants to live and work in the U.S. temporarily.

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

“It is encouraging to see members of Congress from both parties willing to work together to bring forward the Dream Act, which has always enjoyed broad, bipartisan support. The legislation would provide a necessary, longer-term solution for immigrant youth who have fought for the ability to work, go to school, and live without fear of deportation.

“However, politicians who would try to hold the lives of immigrant youth hostage to get more immigration enforcement should be ashamed.

“Nor should any bill introduction serve to diminish the critical importance of DACA, which has fundamentally enhanced the lives of nearly 800,000 people, including my own.

“Thanks to DACA, our country has seen what people can accomplish when given an opportunity to contribute more fully to their communities. DACA works, and it should be kept in place regardless of any potential legislation. President Trump needs to end the uncertainty his administration has imposed on immigrant youth and unequivocally support DACA.”

A table comparing provisions of the 2010 and 2017 Dream Acts and DACA is available at www.nilc.org/dream-acts-and-daca-compared/.

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SCOTUS Decision to Limit What Qualifies as a “Bona Fide” Relationship for Refugees Affected by Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2017

CONTACT
Marcos Rodríguez Maciel, 559-920-0534, mmaciel@skdknick.com

NILC Disappointed by Today’s Supreme Court Decision to Limit What Qualifies as a “Bona Fide” Relationship for Refugees Affected by Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that partially stays the Hawaii federal district court’s order clarifying that refugees with a relationship with resettlement agencies in the United States remain protected by the preliminary injunction of President Trump’s Muslim-ban executive order. In response to today’s decision, Justin Cox, a National Immigration Law Center staff attorney, issued the following statement:

“The Trump administration has been clear about its intention to slam the door on Muslims and refugees however it can. The opening provided last month by the Supreme Court was abused by the administration, and we will continue to fight alongside our immigrant and refugee communities and in courtrooms to prevent our plaintiffs’ clients from being shut out of the country they already consider their home.

“Whether aimed at nationals of Muslim-majority countries or refugees, the intent behind the ban is clear: to keep people out based on how they pray. This action isn’t just unconstitutional, it betrays our nation’s deepest values for inclusivity and religious freedom.

“Family unity won today, but clarity and security for refugees remains at risk. We will continue the fight in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to ensure that refugees can find the shelter they were offered by settlement agencies in the United States. We hope the court of appeals will take up this case as soon as possible.”

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Advocates Urge Democrats to Reject Reckless Spending Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2017

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

Frelinghuysen Rubber-Stamps Trump Deportation Machine;
Advocates Urge Democrats to Reject Reckless Spending Bill

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11), marked up and approved an appropriations bill yesterday that funds key elements of President Trump’s proposed immigration budget. The bill provides full funding of $1.6 billion for Trump’s “border wall,” as well as $185 million to hire additional U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol officers, staffing up the president’s “deportation force.” It also provides $4.4 billion for detention and removal programs, including funding to expand by more than 4,600 the capacity of detention camps that house children and families.

The bill Frelinghuysen shepherded through the committee fully funds the Trump budget’s “deportation force” with spending to hire an additional 1,500 ICE and Border Patrol officers. It also fully funds Trump’s border wall request and his budget to militarize local law enforcement agencies as immigration enforcement auxiliaries in 26 additional communities. In total, the Frelinghuysen-led bill would provide 99.5 percent of Homeland Security funding requested by the Trump budget.

This provides a substantial down payment on the president’s proposal to increase immigration enforcement funding by $23.5 billion. Trump’s budget also proposes hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts over ten years to health care and nutrition programs, anti-poverty initiatives, and other programs that provide housing, clean water, energy conservation, the arts, and other priorities.

Responding to the planned committee debate, the National Immigration Law Center released the following statement from Policy Analyst Jackie Vimo:

“President Trump is out of control, and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is rubber-stamping his radical immigration enforcement budget. Trump wants billions of your tax dollars to rip families apart, and he’ll fund that deportation machine with deep cuts to education, environmental protection, and health care.

“The $1.6 billion this bill wastes on Trump’s wall could cover more than a million uninsured children. The $185 million it spends to build Trump’s deportation force would triple the highly effective Energy Star program, helping consumers save money, protecting children and families from power plant pollution, and improving the reliability of America’s power grid. The $4.4 billion it spends to jail kids and families could provide nutritious meals to nearly 5 million children under the National School Lunch Program.

“The federal government already spends more money detecting, detaining, and deporting immigrants than on all other federal law enforcement efforts combined. But instead of investing in kids and families, Rep. Frelinghuysen is helping Trump supersize an already bloated immigration enforcement budget.

“America faces real, serious problems. But rather than solve them, President Trump wants to create new ones with a deportation machine designed to tear families apart. And with Rep. Frelinghuysen rubber-stamping Trump’s plan, the ball is now in the court of the Appropriations Committee’s Democrats. We urge them to reject Trump’s radical, anti-immigrant agenda and build a budget that funds families, not fear.”

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NILC Responds to Reports of Potential New “Dream Act”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2017

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

NILC Responds to Reports of Potential New “Dream Act”

WASHINGTON — Late Monday night, news media reported that U.S. senators may introduce a new, bipartisan bill this week to provide a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrant youth. The news follows worrisome comments from high-level Trump administration officials concerning the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which authorizes some immigrant youth to live and work in the U.S. temporarily.

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

“Five years ago, the DACA program unlocked the door for immigrant youth who had previously been unfairly shut out from many of the opportunities enjoyed by their peers. Hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients are now going to school, working, and contributing more fully to our communities. DACA is hugely successful, and President Trump must keep it, regardless of any legislative prospect for a longer-term solution.

“Since Trump took office, his administration’s doublespeak on DACA has forced immigrant youth to grapple with uncertainty and fear. The renewed introduction of the Dream Act, which has always enjoyed broad, bipartisan support, underscores the urgency of continuing to protect immigrant youth and to keep in place policies that allow them to thrive. Anything short of that would not only be morally wrong, it would be disastrous for communities and the economy.

“As the president has said, the future of DACA is his decision to make. In making his decision, he can’t succumb to bullying by anti-immigrant hardliners trying to force his hand, and he must not forget that the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and their families hang in the balance. It’s past time for the president to stand definitively by the DACA program.”

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New Evidence Proves Deported DACA Recipient Juan Manuel Montes Was Kicked Out of the U.S. by Immigration Officials Against His Will

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2017

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

New Evidence Proves Deported DACA Recipient Juan Manuel Montes Was Kicked Out of the U.S. by Immigration Officials Against His Will

Montes’s attorneys ask the court to order his return home

LOS ANGELES — Attorneys representing Juan Manuel Montes, the first known Dreamer to be unlawfully removed by the Trump administration despite being protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, today introduced new evidence that proves he was unlawfully expelled from the United States. Attorneys are asking the court to order Montes’s return home immediately.

“Juan Manuel was ripped from his family and community in the dead of night without a chance to even say goodbye, collect his belongings, or find a safe place to stay,” said Nora A. Preciado, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “He and his mother have suffered enormous emotional trauma, as has the rest of his family. The court can and should bring him back home.”

Montes, 23, was physically removed to Mexico in February, despite having permission to live and work in the United States. He is represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Covington & Burling LLP, the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin, and the Law Offices of Belinda Escobosa Helzer.

The new evidence includes several dozen pages of declarations which, taken together, paint a complete picture of what happened to Montes the night he was physically expelled and the following day when he was stranded in Mexicali. These accounts range from expert testimony, friends who spoke with Montes before and after he was removed, and time-stamped Facebook Messenger records.

They also describe the fallout for Montes and his family. Montes’s mother, who has chosen not to publicly reveal her name, said: “Juan Manuel has not been the same since he was deported. He is not doing well. We talk almost daily and he sounds very depressed. He often cries when we talk. He tells me he misses our family, our home, his things, his friends, and his school. He does not know what to do in Mexico. He wants to come home because he feels lost and alone there.”

Immigration officials detained Montes near the U.S.-Mexico border in Calexico, Calif., on Feb. 18, after he had been visiting a friend at her house nearby. At the time, he did not have his wallet, which contained his state identification card and federal work permit.

The officials took Montes to a nearby facility and held him for several hours. Then, without explaining why or giving him an opportunity to consult an attorney or go before a judge, they forced him across the border to Mexicali, Mexico, in the darkness of the night.

In April, Montes sued the federal government, who had refused to turn over any information that could shed light on his unlawful removal. In response, the Department of Homeland Security told the media that Montes’s DACA had expired, but that was false. They later changed their story, falsely claiming that he left the country voluntarily without permission to re-enter.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has denied any record of any interaction with Montes the night of Feb. 18.

“The government initially denied that Juan Manuel had DACA, but that was false.  The government then proclaimed that Juan Manuel left the country of his own volition, but that too defies the facts.  As demonstrated by our filing today, Juan Manuel was unlawfully expelled from the United States, and the government must bring him back,” said Mónica Ramírez Almadani, an attorney with Covington & Burling LLP in Los Angeles.

On the night Montes was physically removed to a city he remembered only vaguely from his childhood, he contacted friends. One friend, who was also in Mexicali, saw him briefly that night. Another, who crossed the border to see him the next morning, helped him find a place to rest after he spent the night wandering the streets alone. That friend also encouraged Montes get in touch with his mother, who sent him clothes and some personal belongings in a suitcase.

After picking up the suitcase near the port of entry, Montes was robbed at knifepoint by two men, who beat him. Scared, he jumped the border fence back into the U.S. He was apprehended by Border Patrol and deported once again. Until now, U.S. immigration officials have only acknowledged this interaction with Montes.

Montes is currently staying with family in Mexico.

Today’s filing is available at https://www.nilc.org/issues/litigation/montes-v-uscbp/

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Federal Court Judge Expands “Bona Fide” Relationships Protected Under Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban Stay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2017

CONTACT
Charlie DiPasquale, 240-481-6632, cdipasquale@skdknick.com

Federal Court Judge Expands “Bona Fide” Relationships Protected Under Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban Stay

WASHINGTON — A federal district court issued an order clarifying the U.S. Supreme Court’s injunction regarding the type of relationships that constitute a “bona fide” tie to the United States and are thus protected from the Trump administration’s discriminatory Muslim ban.

In response to this clarification, Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center released the following statement:

“The federal district court clarified for the country what almost every grandchild, niece, and extended family member has long known: that grandmothers, aunts, and other family members are invaluable members of our families and communities, and should be treated as such. The Supreme Court’s ruling may have opened the door to the Muslim and refugee ban, but the Trump administration tried to bust the door off its hinges. In chiding the Trump administration’s interpretation as “the antithesis of common sense,” the district court order provides protections to a more inclusive group and will help serve of the needs of all refugees and immigrants seeking admission to the United States.

“Today’s order once again makes it clear that this administration is willing to play fast and loose with the law in order to suit its xenophobic agenda.

“While a partial ban remains in effect as a result of last month’s Supreme Court ruling, this decision limits its application to ensure that fewer refugees, families and loved ones are discriminated against based solely on their religion or country of origin. For us, and for our clients, today’s decision represents an important step in speaking out against the ban in any form and in the path toward justice and fair treatment for all.”

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House Spending Bill Rubber-stamps Trump Deportation Machine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2017

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279, media@nilc.org

House Spending Bill Rubber-stamps Trump Deportation Machine

WASHINGTON – The United States House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security is scheduled to consider legislation today funding key elements of President Donald Trump’s immigration budget. The bill provides $1.6 billion for Trump’s border wall, as well as $185 million to hire additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, staffing up the president’s “deportation force.” It also provides $4.4 billion for detention and removal programs, including funding to expand by more than 4,600 the capacity of detention camps that house children and families.

This provides a substantial down payment on the president’s proposal to increase immigration enforcement funding by $23.5 billion. That budget also proposes hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts over ten years to health care, nutrition, anti-poverty initiatives, housing, clean water programs, energy conservation, the arts, and other priorities.

Responding to the Subcommittee’s draft spending bill, the National Immigration Law Center released the following statement from its executive director, Marielena Hincapié:

“President Trump is out of control, and his immigration enforcement budget is yet another example of how radical his administration is if left unchecked. It uses billions of our tax dollars to rip families apart, and to fund his deportation machine, Trump slashes funding for priorities such as education, environmental protection, and health care.

“The $1.6 billion this bill wastes on Trump’s wall could provide health care for more than a million uninsured children. The $185 million it spends to build Trump’s deportation force could triple the highly effective Energy Star program, which helps consumers save money, helps protect children and families from power plant pollution, and improves the reliability of America’s power grid. The $4.4 billion it spends to jail kids and families could provide nutritious meals to nearly 5 million children under the National School Lunch Program.

“Americans are facing real, serious problems. Rather than solve them, President Trump wants to create new ones with a deportation machine designed to tear families apart. The subcommittee bill rubber-stamps that radical, anti-immigrant agenda, and we urge lawmakers to reject it. If the subcommittee do not reject it, it’s up to the full appropriations committee and its chairman, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, to build a budget that funds families, not fear.”

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