Category Archives: May 2016

NILC Reacts to Federal Judge’s Demand for Dreamers’ Personal Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2016

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

NILC Reacts to Federal Judge’s Demand for Dreamers’ Personal Data

LOS ANGELES — U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen today issued an outlandish order demanding that the federal government turn over personal data for thousands of immigrant youth who are protected from deportation and obtained work permits through the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The federal judge, who in February 2015 issued an overreaching, nationwide injunction to block the expansion of DACA and the implementation of another deferred action initiative, DAPA, that extends similar benefits to certain undocumented parents of American children, ordered the Justice Department to provide the names and locations of individuals who received a three-year deportation relief and work authorization before Hanen issued the injunction.

The Obama administration announced DAPA and the expansion of DACA in November 2014, including an increase in the relief period to three years from two years when DACA was originally announced in June 2012. Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit to block the programs in December 2014, prompting the injunction by Hanen two months later. The lawsuit is now awaiting a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Approximately 100,000 individuals who applied or reapplied for DACA between the administration’s announcement and the injunction received deportation relief and work permits for three years. Now, Hanen wants the federal government to hand over the personal information of those individuals to the court. The order would not consider the release of the information to any of the 26 states until after the Supreme Court hands down a decision.

Hanen also ordered all Justice Department lawyers who appear in court in any of the 26 states involved in the lawsuit to attend a yearly ethics course for five years before they can present cases in those states.

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

“This is the latest in a long line of outrageous and outsized orders from this extremist court, which has gone to great lengths to obstruct the Obama administration’s deferred action initiatives—harming millions of immigrant families and our country in the process. The clear disdain for the administration and our families inherent in Judge Hanen’s actions is further evidence that this lawsuit has never been about the law but, rather, is purely about politics.

“What Judge Hanen is demanding is tantamount to a witch hunt intended to instill fear in immigrant youth with DACA and perhaps even those who would benefit from a positive Supreme Court decision. It has no legal justification. We urge the Department of Justice to do what is necessary to protect the identities and privacy of Dreamers, whose lives could be severely impacted by this order. The February 2015 injunction has already caused so much pain for countless immigrant families. We hope the Supreme Court will issue a decisive order that puts this politically driven lawsuit to rest.”

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California Makes a Healthy Choice in Covering Kids

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2016

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

California Makes a Healthy Choice in Covering Kids

LOS ANGELES — Today, California began providing comprehensive health care to all children who meet income requirements, regardless of their immigration status. California is the largest state to enact such an immigrant-inclusive policy. Other states, including Washington and Illinois, currently provide all children with access to affordable care regardless of their immigration status. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“This is a great day to be a Californian. All kids—regardless of where they were born or how much money their parents have—should be able to visit the doctor when they’re sick and have access to the medicines they need to stay strong. California took a giant step toward strengthening our future by allowing our youngest Californians to get the coverage they need to stay healthy.

“Parents should know that the information they provide in an online application is confidential and will not be shared with immigration authorities. Fear of attracting the attention of immigration enforcement should not deter parents from enrolling their children to get the care they need to stay healthy.

“Although California should be celebrated for covering all kids, the legislature has more work to do to achieve true health justice. We know that kids need healthy parents to have truly bright and secure futures. That’s why we are committed to fighting until we achieve #Health4All.”

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President Obama Ramps Up Family Separations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2016

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

President Obama Ramps Up Family Separations

ICE actions violate due process and will send waves of fear throughout immigrant communities

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration intends to ramp up raids against Central American mothers and children fleeing violence, according to news reports from Reuters and other outlets.

In forging ahead with more of these planned raids, which were first announced in late 2015, the administration is turning a blind eye to the many serious due process violations that took place during the last round of raids, which have been repeatedly highlighted by attorneys, advocates, educators and elected officials, and the shockwaves of fear they set off throughout the immigrant community.

Attorneys with the National Immigration Law Center, who visited mothers detained during the first rounds of these raids, reported clear instances in which women were not fully aware of their legal rights or adequately informed of how to get in touch with their lawyers, even when they had strong asylum claims because they were afraid of being returned to their home countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—all of which rank as some of the most dangerous places in the world for women. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“These military-style raids against mothers and children fleeing violence are reprehensible. We are outraged that the Obama administration has once again decided to engage in a PR stunt that serves only to create fear and paralyze everyday life and civic participation in immigrant communities, in our schools, and in workplaces. The federal government’s failure to address the violent conditions that are causing women and children to flee in the first place mean that these raids are a complete and utter policy failure.

“The damage caused by such raids extends far beyond the families swept away and broken apart by them. Central American students will be kept away from schools for fear that they, too, will be detained and deported. U.S. citizen classmates of raid victims will be left without their friends. And entire immigrant communities will become even more afraid of participating fully in our communities and society.

“How these families fleeing violence are being treated reflects a blatant hemispheric bias. President Obama refuses to view increasing violence in Central America as a regional problem that needs a regional response and somehow denies that the people fleeing violent conditions in Central America are, like their Syrian counterparts across the globe and other vulnerable populations, simply seeking refuge.

“It is incomprehensible that President Obama continues to rely on this failed deterrence approach, which will do nothing to deter a mother’s decision to make the perilous journey north in order to save her family’s life. Instead, parents will fear sending their children to school or to a medical appointment. These proposed immigration raids will serve only to confuse immigrant communities about an administration that has detained and separated our families in record numbers.

“These raids—and his deportation record—could be President Obama’s immigration legacy. Those who hope to succeed him will have to work that much harder to regain the trust of immigrant voters and their allies, making their journey to the White House that much more difficult.”

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Colorado Supreme Court to Weigh Legality of Law Criminalizing Daily Interactions with Undocumented Immigrants

Download the Colorado Supreme Court’s
decision in this case, issued Oct. 10, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2016

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, gastelum@nilc.org, 213-375-3149, or
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 202-385-1275

Colorado Supreme Court to Weigh Legality of Law Criminalizing Daily Interactions with Undocumented Immigrants

National Immigration Law Center to argue on behalf of petitioner

DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on Thursday will hear oral arguments in a case that could determine the fate of the state’s unconstitutional law that criminalizes those who engage in daily interactions with undocumented immigrants. Seven justices will review an appellate court decision in Fuentes-Espinoza v. Colorado, which has brought into question whether the state statute is preempted by federal law.

National Immigration Law Center staff attorney Nicholas Espíritu will be among those to present arguments on behalf of Mr. Fuentes-Espinoza, a man who was prosecuted under the state statute.

“This unconstitutional law was the product of ill-intentioned efforts to force Colorado into the business of immigration enforcement,” Espíritu said. “The courts have made it clear that only the federal government has the power to criminalize and prosecute immigration-related offenses, and that states have no authority in this area. Beyond this law’s fatal legal flaws, it is also bad policy to turn cab drivers and other members of our communities into de facto immigration agents. Laws like this open up the door to discrimination and other unnecessary ills.”

Colorado’s law, passed in 2006, made it a felony to engage in a wide variety of activities with noncitizens who lack legal status. The law mirrors anti-immigrant statutes in seven states that have been enjoined or struck down by federal courts across the country in the past five years.

Just this month, a federal judge in Texas blocked a nearly identical provision in the state’s omnibus border-security bill, finding that the state has no authority to create its own immigration law, and upholding the longstanding principle that such authority is exclusively federal.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the federal government’s sole jurisdiction over immigration matters in the 2012 case involving Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. In that case, the nation’s highest court made clear that the states have a very limited role in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and rejected key portions of the state law. The National Immigration Law Center filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court.

“It is troubling that Colorado continues to have this law on the books when so many others just like it—in Arizona, Utah, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas—have been declared unlawful,” said Julien Ross, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. “Colorado has made great strides in the last decade to be a more welcoming and thriving state by repealing other anti-immigrant laws. Removing this remaining harmful law will further advance trust and dignity for all Coloradans.”

The National Immigration Law Center, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief in support of Fuentes-Espinoza in August 2014. The National Immigration Law Center has also been involved in fighting back similar anti-immigrant legislation in several states, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah.

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NOTE: The Colorado Supreme Court issued a decision in this case on Oct. 10, 2017. The advance sheet headnote included with the decision states:

This case requires the supreme court to determine whether Colorado’s human smuggling statute, section 18-13-128, C.R.S. (2017), is preempted by the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101–1537 (2017) (“INA”). The supreme court concludes that the INA preempts section 18-13-128 under the doctrines of both field and conflict preemption [emphasis added].

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