Category Archives: June 2013

Immigration Bill Passes Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2013

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

Immigration Reform Clears Major Hurdle
Will It Reach the Finish Line?

WASHINGTON —  In a historic vote presided over by Vice President Biden, the Senate today voted 68-32 to pass S. 744, the bipartisan immigration reform bill. The measure underwent a vigorous markup and amendment process. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“After more than two decades of prodding and education on the issue, the Senate finally has recognized that our immigration system is broken and has voted to create a road to citizenship for millions, including members of our families and other integral members of our society. Latinos, Asian Americans, immigrants, and friends of immigrants across the country marched in the streets and to voting booths to demand that we be recognized for who we are: a vital component of the fabric of this country.

“Over the last week, this bill — an already bipartisan framework for our immigration system — took an expensive and unnecessary turn to the right. Our strong fiscal, moral, and societal reservations have already been made clear. Of deeper concern is that the House of Representatives has dismissed this overly harsh bill as not ‘strong’ enough.

“Make no mistake: Proposals from the House to spread the spirit and provisions of S.B. 1070, Arizona’s noxious racial profiling law, across the country or to implement the error-ridden E-Verify program without putting due process protections in place for workers will be rejected by advocates and voters.

“We will fight hard to keep the Senate’s direct road to citizenship for DREAMers, to protect due process rights for the most vulnerable members of our immigrant communities, and to ensure that workers who exercise their labor rights are not deported for their actions.”

“We will continue to advocate for policies that ensure that all families, regardless of income level, have the tools they need to contribute fully to our society. If necessary, we will consider opposing legislation that prevents these families from reaching the first rung on the ladder of opportunity. In the rush to score a political win on immigration reform, we must not create policies and exclusions that push working families deeper into poverty. For too many of our working families, the stakes are simply too high.”

NILC’s analysis of S. 744 is available at www.nilc.org/irsenate2013.html#analysis.

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Tucson Police Chief on Immigration Enforcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2013

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

TUCSON POLICE CHIEF VILLASEÑOR
Congress Should Drop Unfunded Mandates on Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON — Changes proposed to S. 744, the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, as well as the SAFE Act, an anti-immigrant bill that could head to the House floor in the coming weeks, would compel law enforcement officers to engage in immigration enforcement activities or risk losing funding. Below is a statement from Roberto Villaseñor, police chief of Tucson, Arizona:

“Legislation that would take laws like SB 1070 and make them law in communities across the nation are not just misguided, they could make all our communities less safe by requiring local law enforcement to assume a responsibility they are not able to meet, and that is inconsistent with their primary mission.

“We remain concerned that Arizona’s SB 1070 threatens law enforcement officers’ delicate ties with Latino and immigrant communities because members of these communities may be afraid to come forward as victims of, or witnesses to, crime.  That’s why reports that legislators in the Senate and the House of Representatives are considering legislation that would expand upon SB 1070’s mandates, essentially turning police officers into immigration agents, are so disturbing.

“The House’s SAFE Act and amendments being considered in the Senate would blur the line between local policing and immigration enforcement, making our job as law enforcement officers more difficult and detracting from public safety as a result.  Law enforcement officers have taken an oath to protect all those who live within our communities, regardless of race, culture, or nation of birth. We don’t need shortsighted laws that tie our hands and prevent us from establishing the trust we need to protect the communities we serve.

“Congress has an historic opportunity to address a broken immigration system by bringing about reasonable immigration reform. They should not squander this opportunity by adding unfunded immigrant detention and deportation mandates to a local law enforcement officer’s already-full plate.”

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Austin Police Chief on Immigration Enforcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2013

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

AUSTIN POLICE CHIEF
Congress Should Consider Good Policy, Not Politics, When Dealing with Immigration

WASHINGTON — Changes proposed to S. 744, the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, as well as the SAFE Act, an anti-immigrant bill that could be considered by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks, would compel law enforcement officers to engage in immigration enforcement activities or risk losing funding. Proposed amendments to the Senate bill also would require that civil immigration status information be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Below is a statement from Art Acevedo, police chief of Austin,Texas, and member of the board of directors of the Major Cities Chiefs:

“Immigration is a federal policy and it demands a national solution. When local police are required to aid in the detection and detention of immigrants who but for their immigration status are otherwise law abiding and productive members of society, we lose the trust and cooperation of the immigrant community, which we rely upon for effective policing. Police departments throughout the United States have worked hard to build community partnerships because that is how we prevent crime and apprehend criminals. We have taken a solemn oath to protect everyone in our community, and that means everyone. Senators who propose that we should engage in immigration enforcement do not realize how this would undermine everything we do to build trust and prevent crime, not to mention the cost of what would amount to an unfunded mandate.

“My colleagues and I urge Congress to reject proposals that would turn police officers into immigration agents. These proposed tactics are being billed as law enforcement measures, but what they will actually do is create fear instead of trust. Victims and witnesses do not come to the police for help and protection when they fear it will result in deportation. The public we serve should expect protection from their police — not deportation.

“Immigration enforcement must remain solely a federal responsibility because immigrants will never help their local police to fight crime once they fear we have become immigration officers. For these reasons, I and my colleagues on the Major Cities Chiefs Association oppose the so-called SAFE Act now pending in the House of Representatives as well as similar provisions proposed in the Senate. These measures would force local cops to investigate and detain persons based upon their immigration status and impose many burdensome new requirements that are inappropriate. It’s no surprise that this legislation is opposed by every major city police agency in the nation. I stand with all those cities when I say that the SAFE Act is misguided and would be destructive. This represents a huge step backward at a time when we must move forward together as one community.”

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Corker-Hoeven Amendment Blows $46 Billion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2013

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

Corker-Hoeven Amendment
A High Price to Pay

WASHINGTON — The Senate today agreed to move forward with the bipartisan immigration bill, S. 744, by accepting language that would add 20,000 Border Patrol agents and dedicate billions of dollars to bring surveillance and detection technologies to the southern border. The amendment also strips immigrants of a decade’s worth of their past Social Security earnings. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Today’s vote wasn’t about policy — it was about politics. The Corker-Hoeven amendment will blow an additional $46 billion hole in our federal budget, an expenditure that is as wasteful as it is unconscionable in our current economy.

“The price of this amendment extends beyond our pocketbooks: millions of U.S. residents along the U.S.-Mexico border will witness an unprecedented militarization of their neighborhoods, even though these communities are among the safest in the nation.

“For aspiring citizens, this amendment inflicts more undue punishment by denying them the Social Security benefits they earned before these workers got on the road to citizenship. Instead of allowing these immigrants to get on the first rung of the ladder of opportunity, this provision could instead keep many immigrants on the brink of poverty.

“Today’s vote brings us one step closer toward allowing millions of mothers, fathers, and children to realize their dream of becoming Americans on paper, as well as in their hearts. Aspiring and current citizens alike deserve a better bill, one that recognizes that our country is strongest when we move forward together. We call upon Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle to rise above petty politics and create the kind of immigration policy this country deserves.”

NILC’s analysis of S. 744, as amended, is available here.

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Corker-Hoeven Amendment and Senate Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2013

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

Filing of Corker-Hoeven Amendment to Senate Immigration Reform Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senators Corker and Hoeven filed an amendment that would alter several aspects of the immigration reform bill currently on the Senate floor. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center:

“The Senate has received an excessive and expensive proposal to militarize the border in exchange for demands from the Latino and immigrants’ rights communities to create a road to citizenship for 11 million immigrants now in the country without documents.

“The amendment is so expensive, in fact, that Senator Leahy said the border militarization provision ‘reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.’ This sort of expenditure translates not just to wasted taxpayer money, but to a rollback on the American values for due process and equal treatment for millions of Americans living along our border.

“We are deeply concerned that in their zeal to score a major political win, senators allowed the fundamental freedoms of border communities and aspiring citizens to be trampled.

“We will analyze the legislation and its impact on low-income immigrant families, but one thing is immediately clear: border and immigrant communities cannot — and should not — tolerate additional efforts to strip immigrants of their basic rights. Latino, Asian-American, and immigrant voters have said time and again that they want a true and direct road to citizenship. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice American good governance, fiscal responsibility, and basic rights in the process.”

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Police Officers Already Overburdened

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2013

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

Law Enforcement to Washington:
Don’t Turn Police Officers into the Long Arm of Immigration Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Changes proposed to S. 744, the bipartisan Senate immigration bill, as well as the SAFE Act, an anti-immigrant bill that was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee on June 18, would compel law enforcement officers to engage in immigration enforcement activities or risk losing funding. Proposed amendments to the Senate bill also would require that civil immigration status information be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Below is a statement from George Gascon, San Francisco’s district attorney:

“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect and serve their communities, no matter where the members of those communities were born. Forcing officers to engage in detecting and detaining immigrants here without authorization could threaten the delicate ties with immigrant and Latino communities that law enforcement leaders and officers work so hard to foster. Worse, these practices add to an already overburdened police officer’s to-do list, potentially limiting his or her ability to investigate or prevent crime.

“The House of Representatives’ proposal to add extraneous civil immigration information to the NCIC database doesn’t just add unnecessary clutter, it could make a police officer’s job more dangerous. The NCIC is a valuable tool that can tell an officer whether the person the officer has stopped is a threat to the community or to the officer himself. The value of NCIC is lost when we throw in thousands of civil immigration records that local police are not trained or equipped to analyze. We shouldn’t force an officer to wade through civil immigration information during these potentially dangerous moments in an officer’s day.

“Instead of burdening police officers with unfunded mandates, both the House of Representatives and the Senate should focus on how best to reform our immigration system to allow those living in fear of deportation to get on a road to citizenship.”

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Police Chief Speaks Out

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2013

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

Law Enforcement Leader Speaks Out Against House and Senate Anti-Immigrant Proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Changes proposed to S. 744, the bipartisan Senate immigration bill, as well as provisions in the SAFE Act, an anti-immigrant bill undergoing markup in the House Judiciary Committee, would compel law enforcement officers to engage in immigration enforcement activities or risk losing funding. Proposed amendments to the Senate bill also would require that civil immigration status information be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Below is a statement from Chris Burbank, Police Chief of Salt Lake City:

“The goal of police agencies should always be to prevent crime from occurring, not simply respond and document the victimization of our citizens and neighborhoods. In order to effectively prevent crime, police officers must maintain the trust of the communities we protect. When police officers are forced to detect and detain immigrants who are here without authorization, this trust is easily broken. It inappropriately interjects bias into our profession and makes the compassionate service provided daily by police officers throughout the country less legitimate.

“That’s why reports that legislators in both the Senate and House of Representatives are advancing proposals that would essentially turn police officers into the long arm of immigration law are so troubling. These tactics aren’t just political theater; they threaten public safety across our nation by making members of immigrant and Latino communities reluctant to come forward as victims of, or witnesses to, crime. Additionally, placing local law enforcement in the position of immigration agents inappropriately interjects bias into daily interactions.

“The House Judiciary Committee’s SAFE Act also proposes to infuse information about civil immigration issues into the NCIC system, cluttering a valuable law enforcement tool. An NCIC check can inform a law enforcement officer within minutes whether the person he or she has detained is a threat to the officer or the community. Adding complicated, and unnecessary, immigration information will only hinder an officer’s ability to do his job effectively and will lead to unconstitutionally extended detentions of individuals.

“In police work, every second matters and every relationship with a community member counts. We shouldn’t be forced to waste time or lose trust with the communities we serve. Every individual, regardless of race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation, is entitled to equal access to law enforcement resources. The measure of successful immigration reform should never be based upon the number of violators detained but upon the number of new citizens we welcome to our nation.”

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NOTE: The last sentence in the first paragraph of Chief Burbank’s statement was revised on June 19.

 

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CBO Finds Senate Immigration Bill Grows Economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2013

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

CBO Finds Senate Immigration Bill Grows Economy and Cuts Deficit

House Bucks Senate Bill and Advances Racial Profiling Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Senate “Gang of 8” bipartisan immigration bill would reduce the federal budget deficit and grow the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) from 2014 to 2033, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The second decade of the program is the period when many of the current 11 million undocumented immigrants would become citizens if they meet certain rigorous conditions throughout the long and arduous 13-year road.

As the CBO released its cost estimate of the Senate bill, members of the House of Representatives showed their contempt for aspiring citizens by advancing through the House Judiciary Committee a severe racial profiling bill under the guise of immigration reform. An amendment that passed in the committee would also dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which temporarily halted deportation proceedings for young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children without documents.

“The CBO proved what we have been saying all along: Enacting commonsense immigration reform that creates a road to citizenship isn’t just the moral thing to do, it’s also the fiscally responsible thing to do.” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “Legislation that allows aspiring citizens to live in safe and healthy environments will help our country grow and prosper, in keeping with our national values.”

“Today’s CBO news stands in stark contrast to a House bill championed by Reps. Goodlatte and Gowdy that would create an unfunded and costly mandate for local law enforcement to detect, detain, and aid in the deportation of immigrants who could be here without proper authorization,” Hincapié added.

Instead of offering a balanced immigration solution, the House is prioritizing racial profiling and considering two other bills. Together, these three House bills are “the most harmful and counterproductive bills ever introduced on immigration,” stated a letter to House members by 133 immigration advocacy groups, including NILC.

Salt Lake City, UT, Police Chief Chris Burbank also issued a statement opposing the House racial profiling bill and efforts by some in the Senate to force local police to engage in immigrant detection and detention. “These tactics aren’t just political theater; they threaten public safety across our nation by making members of immigrant and Latino communities reluctant to come forward as victims of, or witnesses to, crime,” Burbank said.

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Senate to Take up Immigration Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2013

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

Senate Votes to Take up Immigration Bill

NILC Urges Senate to Pass an Attainable Road to Citizenship

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) commends the Senate for voting today to move forward with consideration of S. 744, the immigration reform bill that creates a road to citizenship for most of the 11 million U.S. residents without documents. NILC Executive Director Marielena Hincapié issued a statement following the Senate vote.

“The Senate’s strong bipartisan vote to debate the bill underscores the national imperative to reform the immigration system so that it benefits our workers, our communities, and our economic security. As the debate moves forward in coming days, support for the bill will fluctuate, based on changes that are made to the measure.

“To be sure, this legislation is far from perfect. The base bill, drafted by the bipartisan ‘Gang of 8’ in the Senate, creates an extraordinarily difficult, lengthy, and expensive legalization process.NILC will work to block amendments by immigration restrictionists that would undermine the core of the reforms by erecting more sky-high roadblocks to citizenship.

“The bill contains many provisions that may cut costs now, but will create a greater long term expense for American communities and economy in the future. Under this bill immigrant pregnant women and children would be denied the supports they need to stay healthy, and high fees could prevent workers from even applying to get on the road to citizenship.

“Citizenship should be determined based on the content of one’s character, not upon the contents of one’s wallet. This bill already makes citizenship dangerously close to unaffordable for too many –immigrants.”

“As President Obama said today at the White House, the road to citizenship will be ‘no cake walk.’”

“Despite these difficult requirements, some senators are likely to propose amendments that would make life even tougher for aspiring citizens, such as denying taxpaying workers on the road to citizenship the same tax credits that all other workers rely upon to make ends meet. This would set a dangerous precedent in our tax code and undermine taxpayer fairness.

“Clearly, opponents would like to make sure many eligible applicants never make it across the finish line. Yet, that result would ensure the failure of the immigration reform program that was designed to bring millions of mothers, fathers, children, and workers out of the shadows. Further, if immigrants are denied access to affordable health care or the ability to spend their hard-earned dollars in their communities, the positive economic gains that could be derived from this legislation also would be undermined.

“Instead of needlessly spending $1 billion on the border fence, senators should consider investing that money to keep 568,000 aspiring citizen children nourished and healthy.”

“NILC will continue to work for a bill that allows for a healthy and productive workforce so that our economy will continue to grow.”

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