Category Archives: June 2017

NILC Condemns House Approval of Anti-Immigrant Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2017

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

NILC Condemns House Approval of Anti-Immigrant Bills

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives today passed two anti-immigrant bills, H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminal Act, and H.R. 3004, or “Kate’s Law,” which together promote Trump’s agenda of mass incarceration and deportation of immigrants and threaten basic  constitutional rights. These bills seek to ramp up immigration enforcement, make our communities less safe, and further criminalize immigrants.

H.R. 3003 would punish communities that have policies that promote public safety by taking federal law enforcement funding away from them simply for having policies designed to make people feel safer reporting crimes. By trying to coerce local law enforcement into doing the work of federal immigration officials, this bill raises serious constitutional concerns for immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.

H.R. 3004, or Kate’s Law, would expand the government’s ability to prosecute people seeking to enter the U.S. to reunite with their families or because they are fleeing unsafe conditions. It would further criminalize immigrants by increasing the potential penalties they face and by stripping them of due process protections.

Avideh Moussavian, senior policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“These bills are reprehensible. They are tools to enforce mass deportation under this administration and part of a nativist, xenophobic agenda that seeks to vilify immigrants, rather than celebrating them for their great contributions.

“H.R. 3003 bullies local law enforcement into being complicit in the federal government’s unlawful activities and creates barriers between them and the communities they serve. H.R. 3004 exploits a horrendous tragedy to serve the interests of anti-immigrant hardliners and line the pockets of private prison companies motivated by the profits they make from incarcerating communities of color. Neither of these bills does anything to make our communities safer.

“Members of the U.S. Senate have an opportunity to stop these shameful attacks on immigrant communities, which would hurt all of us. Senators from every political party should reject these bills, and those who voted for them should know we are watching.”

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Comment on Reported Guidance for Trump Muslim Ban Implementation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2017

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

Comment on Reported Guidance for Trump Muslim Ban Implementation

WASHINGTON — The federal government has reportedly issued extremely restrictive guidance on how it plans to implement a portion of President Trump’s Muslim ban.

The ban had been blocked by court orders, but on Monday the Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing the government to move forward with a narrowed portion of the ban starting today.

As modified by the Supreme Court, the federal court orders governing the ban provide that the government may not apply either the 90-day ban on nationals of six countries or the 120-day ban on refugees to any individual who can credibly claim a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States.

Reports indicate, however, that the guidance arbitrarily refuses to treat certain categories of familial relationships (grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, cousins, fiancés, fiancées, and more) as “bona fide” relationships.

“It remains clear that President Trump’s purpose is to disparage and condemn Muslims. The reported guidance does not comport with the Supreme Court’s order, is arbitrary, and is not tied to any legitimate government purpose,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Maryland, and National Immigration Law Center are challenging the ban on behalf of HIAS, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Middle East Studies Association, and individuals affected by the ban.

“This reported guidance would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families. Those engaged to be married, for example, have been cruelly left out. This reported guidance should leave no doubt that the Trump administration will exploit any opportunity to advance its xenophobic agenda,” said Karen Tumlin, legal director at the National Immigration Law Center.

More information is available at www.nilc.org/irap-v-trump/.

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Senate Health Bill Vote Delay Confirms It Is Unworkable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2017

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

Senate Health Bill Vote Delay Confirms It Is Unworkable

WASHINGTON — Republicans in the U.S. Senate today postponed a vote on their proposed health bill until after the July 4 recess, indicating that at least some senators recognize that the bill introduced last week is not acceptable.

The bill, which is the latest hyperpartisan effort to repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, was drafted in secret to avoid scrutiny. It has been broadly interpreted as a tax break for the rich at the expense of millions of people’s health.

The Senate bill tracks closely with its counterpart in the U.S House of Representatives and would result in 22 million people losing access to health insurance within ten years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That includes 15 million people kicked off insurance rolls by 2018.

Matthew Lopas, a health policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“This Republican health proposal is fundamentally unworkable. No amount of deal-making or strong-arming will fix that. Rather than continue compromising for a ‘meaner’ bill that throws more of our most vulnerable community members under the bus, the Senate should focus on finding ways to improve on the advances made by the Affordable Care Act to expand affordable health care for all.

“Our communities are stronger when everyone has quality, affordable health care, including immigrants and their families. Congress needs to give up efforts to cripple our health care system and instead focus on ensuring that no one is one health care emergency away from bankruptcy.”

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Limited Supreme Court Order Keeps Muslim Ban Blocked for Many

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2017

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

Limited Supreme Court Order Keeps Muslim Ban Blocked for Many

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Supreme Court granted, in part, the Trump administration’s request to allow some provisions of its Muslim ban to go into effect immediately. The Court will allow the ban to be applied only to individuals with no connection to any person or entity in the U.S.

Lifting of any part the nationwide injunction on the ban contradicts multiple major court rulings from across the country, which have consistently blocked it, finding it both unconstitutional and in violation of antidiscrimination provisions in federal law. Both the Ninth and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeal recently ordered that the great majority of the ban remain blocked.

This is the first time that new portions of the ban will be in effect since the 30-hour period after Trump signed his first Muslim-ban executive order on January 28.

Today the Supreme Court also granted the administration’s request that the Court review the two major legal challenges to the president’s Muslim ban, Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and Trump v. Hawaii. The court has consolidated the two cases for oral argument to be heard in the first session of its October 2017 term.

The National Immigration Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging the Muslim ban in the case, Trump v. IRAP, on behalf of IRAP, HIAS, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), and several individuals directly impacted by the ban.

Allowing the Muslim ban to proceed raises immediate constitutional concerns. Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow some of the Muslim ban to go into effect undermines the values we hold so dear as a nation. We remember the chaos that gripped our country when the ban first went into effect, separating loved ones — and we remember how we mobilized and came together to fight back. Our fight continues now at the High Court, and our fight continues in the streets, in the airports, and at our nation’s capitol.  Given the number of lives at stake, we urge the Court to hear the case quickly.

“Despite this setback, we are still counting on the Supreme Court to affirm what the American people have continued to make so clear: There is no place in this country for any policy that attempts to discriminate and divide us based on how we pray, what we look like, or where we come from.

“Americans across the country believe the Muslim ban is reprehensible at its core, discriminatory in its intent, and at total odds with who we are as a nation. Since the High Court is the ultimate arbiter of justice in the U.S., we believe it ultimately will agree with us.”

Mark Hetfield, HIAS president and CEO, gave the following statement:

“The Supreme Court order today is mixed news for human rights, for refugees, and for those noncitizens whom President Trump is trying to ban from the United States based solely on their place of birth. HIAS welcomes the ruling as an affirmation that the president does not have unfettered, unchecked authority to bar refugees from the U.S. without evidence to justify such action, and that people with ties to the U.S. can continue to enter. We are very disappointed, however, that others will continue to be arbitrarily excluded and that the executive order has been resurrected to once again cause irreparable damage to refugees, immigrants, and America’s reputation as a welcoming country.”

Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, gave the following statement:

“We hope that the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold the ruling of judges across the country and declare the travel ban unconstitutional and discriminatory in nature. When the first order went into effect, tens of thousands of Americans showed the world that this is not who we are and not what we want. We will never give up defending the rights of those who are affected by this discriminatory executive order.”

Beth Baron, president of the Middle East Studies Association, gave the following statement:

“MESA stands alongside fellow plaintiffs in our fight against Muslim Ban 2.0. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling upholds the fundamental principle that protects all of us from government condemnation of our religious beliefs. We will keep fighting for the rights of Muslim Americans and immigrants across the country, and for the Constitution that protects us all.”

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, gave the following statement:

“President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the fundamental constitutional principle that government cannot favor or disfavor any one religion. Courts have repeatedly blocked this indefensible and discriminatory ban. The Supreme Court now has a chance to permanently strike it down.”

Today’s order is available at https://www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Trump-v-IRAP-cert-and-partial-stay-2017-06-26.pdf.

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

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Latest Trump Immigration Attack Will Make Bad Problems Worse, Advocates Say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2017

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

Latest Trump Immigration Attack Will Make Bad Problems Worse, Advocates Say

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday said he will seek legislation to further limit immigrants’ access to federally-funded healthcare, nutrition, housing, and anti-poverty initiatives. Since the specific proposal he made — a 5-year ban for immigrants — has been law for twenty years, it’s likely that his remarks signal an attack on access for U.S. citizen children of immigrants or other broad attacks on working families that go far beyond the safety net.  Those comments are consistent with a draft executive order leaked to media months ago but has not been signed.

Anti-hunger advocates, anti-poverty groups, faith leaders, advocates for immigrants, and advocates for diversity reacted Friday, issuing the following statement:

“This latest attack on America’s immigrant heritage makes serious problems worse. Just for starters, a renewed attack on immigrant families will drive up child poverty, deny kids and families health care, increase hunger and homelessness, and keep kids out of school.

The good news is that President Trump can’t just do whatever he wants. America needs leaders in Congress to pump the brakes. They must all demand answers. How would this policy work? How many U.S. citizens will lose healthcare if it’s adopted? How many will become homeless? How many kids will be kept out of school?

We stand with lawmakers who have the courage to stand with hardworking families and against the latest Trump Administration attack on America’s immigrant heritage.”

Signatories to the statement include:

  1. Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  2. Asian Health Services
  3. California Immigrant Policy Center
  4. CASA (Maryland)
  5. Center for Law and Social Policy
  6. Children’s Alliance (Washington)
  7. Community Catalyst
  8. First Focus
  9. Food Research & Action Center
  10. Legal Council for Health Justice (Illinois)
  11. Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
  12. Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
  13. National Education Association
  14. National Health Law Program
  15. National Immigration Law Center
  16. National WIC Association
  17. NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
  18. New York Immigration Coalition
  19. Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
  20. The Legal Aid Society
  21. The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization
  22. Western Center on Law and Poverty

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Statement on Senate GOP Health Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2017

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

NILC Statement on Senate GOP Health Proposal

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans today unveiled their version of a bill to repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill tracks closely with a deeply unpopular proposal that narrowly passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in May, maintaining similar provisions that would result in millions of people who gained coverage through the ACA losing access to affordable health insurance.

Both the House and Senate bills include provisions that restrict some immigrants’ access to health programs, but the Senate bill would go even further. The proposal released today would cut off all access to health insurance for some immigrants, by barring them from the health insurance marketplaces and eliminating their access to the financial assistance that 84 percent of participants on the marketplace rely on.

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

“Despite widespread disapproval for similar Republican proposals, the Senate GOP have doubled down on a shameful plan that would gift the wealthy with tax breaks at the expense of millions of families’ health care. Through this bill, like its House counterpart, the GOP aims to cut off millions of people’s access to affordable care, with many of our most vulnerable populations taking the brunt of this devastating blow. But the authors of this bill have gone even further, taking yet another opportunity to vilify and make life more difficult for immigrants. This includes community members who are in the process of obtaining forms of humanitarian relief that will allow them to work and live here permanently and visa-holders who are survivors of violent crimes.

“Our country needs a health care system that can care for all people in our communities—no matter where they were born or how much money they have. Senators should put the health of all communities above partisan politics and reject this cruel bill.”

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Response to Trump Comments about Immigrants at Iowa Rally

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2017

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

NILC Statement on Trump Iowa Rally Comments about Immigrants

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday said he will introduce legislation that would further limit immigrants’ access to income-based safety-net programs, for at least five years after they arrive in the country. The proposal, announced without details during a campaign-style rally in Iowa, appears to mirror existing federal welfare and immigration laws enacted in 1996, as well as elements of a draft executive order that was leaked to media months ago but that Trump has not signed.

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

“Though some of what President Trump described is already law, this latest attack on immigrants and people struggling to make ends meet would make an already cruel system even worse. And it also attacks the U.S.’s heritage by attempting to effectively bar some of the world’s most vulnerable people from seeking a chance at a better life here. Our communities demand better, and our leaders in Congress should, too.

“Trump’s recent budget proposal makes it clear that this administration has no real interest in preserving the social safety net, and this proposal certainly wouldn’t help. Instead, it would exacerbate some of our country’s most pressing problems, driving up child poverty and denying kids and families access to health care, nutritious food, and an education.

“Trump’s continued attempts to vilify immigrants in order to sell a xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda have only served to galvanize people and organizations across the country that know that immigrants are vital to our communities and economy. We stand ready with our partners to fight back against this and any other attack on our communities.”

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After Five Successful Years, DACA Faces Biggest Obstacle Yet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2017

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

After Five Successful Years, DACA Faces Biggest Obstacle Yet

WASHINGTON — Five years ago today, President Barack Obama, moved by the organizing and advocacy efforts of thousands of immigrant youth and allies across the country, announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The program has since opened up opportunities for hundreds of thousands of young people who, despite being integral to their communities, until then had been limited by the threat of deportation and by few avenues to access higher education, jobs, and basic necessities like bank accounts. It allows eligible young immigrants who were brought to the country as children to live and work in the United States, and can be renewed every two years.

The Trump administration has said they do not intend to end the program. However, several reported cases of DACA recipients who were detained, targeted for speaking up, or deported, have created an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, even for those protected from deportation.

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

“Five years in, DACA has had a transformative impact in the lives of young immigrants. It has opened the door so that hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth in our communities have an equal chance to achieve their full potential. By all measures, DACA has been a tremendous success—with great benefits for us all.

“Unfortunately, we now face serious challenges, the foremost of which is an administration that tells DACA recipients not to worry, but which seems intent on slowly eroding the program. Under President Trump, the federal government has broken its promise to DACA recipients—including Juan Manuel Montes, Dany Vargas, Daniel Ramirez, and Jessica Colotl—to allow them to live and work in the country they call home without fear. This administration, through hateful rhetoric and careless policy-making, has emboldened agents to target, detain, and even unlawfully deport DACA recipients.

“The status quo is unsustainable. We need a permanent solution now. President Trump must do more than provide DACA recipients empty reassurances when prompted by the media. He must stop threatening their sense of safety and dignity and provide unequivocal protection to DACA recipients now. Immigrant youth and their families should be allowed to thrive in our communities and continue making our country great.”

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“Verify First” Bill Is an Attack on Immigrants and Access to Health Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017

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

“Verify First” Bill Is an Attack on Immigrants and Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill Tuesday that would prevent hundreds of thousands of people from accessing affordable health care due to bureaucratic glitches.

HR 2581, or the “Verify First” Act, aims to throw up serious roadblocks by making people pay the price for incomplete and deficient government databases. This would prevent people from being able to buy affordable, quality health insurance in marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act and would make the immensely unpopular American Health Care Act even worse. This bill harms immigrants and citizens alike, hitting U.S. citizens born abroad, naturalized citizens and some lawfully present immigrants the hardest, including certain domestic violence survivors and victims of human trafficking.

Ahead of the House vote, 228 organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women, called on Congress to oppose the measure.

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

“The indefensible ‘Verify First’ Act is yet another anti-immigrant, hyperpartisan effort to vilify immigrant communities and undermine advances by the previous administration in expanding access to affordable health care. This shameful proposal would prevent both U.S. citizens and immigrants who are not yet citizens from accessing affordable care when they need it most, with potentially devastating consequences for them and their families, and for public health. The health of our families and our communities will suffer under this bill.

“We should be finding ways to increase people’s access to affordable health care instead of setting up roadblocks. When someone is sick, they should be able to see a doctor and get the medical care they need. No eligible person should be unable, because of inefficiencies or errors in government databases, to enroll for affordable health coverage. Leaders in Congress, no matter their party, should pay attention to the detrimental effect such a policy would have on their constituents, and they should reject this bill.”

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Legal Opponents Ask Supreme Court to Keep Muslim Ban Blocked

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017

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

Legal Opponents Ask Supreme Court to Keep Muslim Ban Blocked

LOS ANGELES — Legal opponents of the Trump administration’s Muslim-ban executive order today filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the government’s motion to allow the blocked travel ban provision of the executive order to go into effect and opposing the government’s request for the Supreme Court to take up the case.

The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today asked the Supreme Court to reject the administration’s request to overrule two lower courts that temporarily blocked a key provision of the order, finding it was likely unconstitutional. The U.S. Department of Justice, on June 2, asked the high court to stay separate decisions from the Fourth Circuit and the district court in Hawaii, and to hear the Fourth Circuit case, International Refugee Assistance Project v. Donald Trump.

In the Fourth Circuit case, NILC and the ACLU are representing the International Refugee Assistance Project, HIAS, and several individuals harmed by the executive order.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today also upheld a separate nationwide injunction on the Muslim ban in the case of Hawaii v. Trump, affirming the majority of the lower court’s ruling blocking key provisions of the executive order finding that it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The following is a statement from NILC Legal Director Karen Tumlin:

“President Trump—before and after being sworn in, and under the false pretense of national security—made clear his desire to shut Muslims out of our country. Within days of taking office, his administration delivered an unconstitutional policy to enact his discriminatory whims, creating an untenable civil and human rights crisis that left people fleeing for their safety stranded abroad and in airports, separated families, and authorized border officials to detain hundreds of people with permission to be in the United States.

“Americans, outraged by this blatant attempt to legalize discrimination, took to the nation’s airports and our streets and appealed to their elected representatives to make their voices heard. Then, after the courts confirmed that the policy was unlawful, Trump did it again, changing slightly the contours of the Muslim ban in his version 2.0 but not its discriminatory intent.

“As the courts have found time and time again, condemning people because of where they are from or how they pray violates our core American values and the law. Thinly veiled, government-sanctioned bigotry will not stand.

“The Supreme Court, as the ultimate arbiter of our constitutional rights and protections, must uphold this fundamental principle and reject the government’s request to let Trump’s discriminatory Muslim ban go into effect. As a country, we must address matters of national security based on evidence and never single out an entire group based on their faith, their country of origin, or their skin color.”

Copies of today’s filings are available at

Read more about the case at www.nilc.org/irap-v-trump/.

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