Category Archives: News Releases

NILC Statement on the Essential Role of Immigrant Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

NILC Statement on the Essential Role of Immigrant Workers

WASHINGTON — Immigrant workers, experts, and advocates testified at a hearing before a key U.S. Senate subcommittee today highlighting the experiences of immigrant essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and pending legislation to provide them a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety — chaired by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) — featured Rose Tilus, a Haitian nurse in Rhode Island with temporary protected status, who spoke about her experience caring for COVID-19 patients and contracting the virus. Witnesses also highlighted the contributions of farmworkers and other essential workers in industries heavily staffed by immigrants.

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

“Immigrants are essential to our communities, economy, and our nation. Nearly three quarters of all immigrants in the U.S. workforce — including more than 5 million who are undocumented — are working in essential roles and helping us get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whether caring for our most vulnerable, teaching our kids, rebuilding after climate disasters, or keeping us fed, millions of immigrants are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk for all of us. We have applauded these courageous workers for keeping our country running in the midst of a global public health and economic crisis, but that’s not enough. We must recognize immigrant essential workers under the law and put them on a pathway to U.S. citizenship as part of our relief and recovery efforts.

“Courageous workers like Rose should have the certainty that they will not be separated from their loved ones and the communities and country they call home because of their immigration status. We thank Senator Padilla for shining a light on their experiences and contributions, and for his leadership on the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, which provides a permanent solution.

“Today’s hearing is an important step forward, as we continue to urge Congress to seize this critical moment and provide a long overdue pathway to citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, people with temporary protected status, and, eventually, all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. As we move into a recovery from COVID and build back our nation, we must recognize that there is no recovery without immigrants.”

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National Immigration Law Center Statement on President Biden’s First Joint Session Speech to Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center Statement on President Biden’s First Joint Session Speech to Congress

WASHINGTON — President Biden today delivered his first speech before a joint session of Congress. In his speech, Biden renewed his call to Congress to pass legislation this year to reform the U.S. immigration system.

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

“In his first 100 days in office, President Biden has sent a clear signal that our country is ready to chart a new course on immigration. We were heartened to hear the president reiterate that commitment tonight before both chambers of Congress and millions of Americans watching at home, and we urge Congress to meet President Biden’s words of encouragement with courageous, bold action.

“Immigrants are essential to our nation. President Biden’s ability to follow through on the vision he put forth for immigrants will determine whether he will make history not only by undoing the harms of the previous administration but by creating a transformational immigration system that will impact millions of immigrants, their families and loved ones, their communities, and our country as a whole.

“We expect President Biden and Democrats who currently wield the levers of power to deliver on his promises to enact a 21st century immigration system that reflects the values we aspire to as a nation and our role as a global leader. We cannot  let the tired Republican playbook get in the way of long-overdue action on immigration.

“These times call for moral imagination and courageous leadership. Immigration is one of the defining issues of our time, yet politicians have spent more than 30 years talking and not taking action on much-needed reforms. President Biden must lean into this moment when there is broad public support for bold solutions for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who call the U.S. home and who urgently need a pathway to U.S. citizenship. That includes immigrant youth who grew up here, long-time residents with temporary protections, and millions of essential workers helping us get through the pandemic.

“We must take every opportunity available to provide them all a pathway to citizenship as part of our efforts to set our country on a path to a just recovery that lifts us all. There is no recovery without immigrants.”

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NILC and Immigrant Justice Fund Name New Chief Communications Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center and Immigrant Justice Fund Name New Chief Communications Officer

LOS ANGELES — The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF) today announced the promotion of Victoria Ballesteros to serve as chief communications officer for the organizations. In this role, Ballesteros joins NILC and IJF’s executive leadership teams and will develop innovative communication and narrative strategy approaches in furtherance of NILC and IJF’s respective missions, while articulating the vision and impact of the two organizations.

“NILC and IJF’s strategic decision to create this new role signals a recognition of the importance of communication as a strategic driver of our work,” stated Ballesteros. “As the daughter of immigrants, I am humbled and honored to step into this role and shift the public narrative around the role of immigrants in our country, to advocate for a society where we all have the freedom to thrive, and to build visibility of immigrants as an important political constituency.”

“Victoria’s breadth of experience in communications and executive leadership make her the right person to guide our work advocating and amplifying immigrant voices,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of NILC and IJF. “Her leadership as director of communications over the past year has taken our communications efforts to new heights, and we’re thrilled to continue our work together in this new leadership role.”

Ballesteros joined NILC and IJF in 2020 as director of communications. In that role, she led NILC’s narrative and strategic communications work, as well as IJF’s political communications efforts during the 2020 election cycle. A search is currently underway for a new director of communications for NILC and IJF.

Ballesteros has more than 20 years of communications and prior executive leadership experience, including leading communication research and advocacy campaigns primarily in the nonprofit and public sectors. She has worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, California’s Senate Majority Leader, and for The SCAN Foundation.

Ballesteros has a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the California State University, Fullerton, with a minor in Chicano studies. She is fluent in Spanish and resides in Los Angeles.

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NILC Statement on the Verdict in the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center Statement on the Verdict in the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial

WASHINGTON — Upon the announcement that a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges in the murder of George Floyd, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The jury voted to convict Derek Chauvin on all counts. Though the verdict is just, this is not justice. Justice will not be served until we dismantle the sanctioned white supremacy plaguing Black communities and communities of color and invest in all communities so that everyone has the freedom to thrive. We demand more.

“George Floyd was murdered. No verdict can give back the life that was taken from him. No single verdict can fix a system founded on violence and dehumanization. No single verdict can ease the fear wrought by an unbroken history of white supremacy and police violence against people of color.

“The march toward justice began long ago, and yet there is a long road ahead. Today gives hope for the work to which we have committed ourselves, but today remains a day we mourn as we keep George Floyd, his loved ones, and all the people who have been killed or impacted by police violence in our hearts.”

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National Immigration Law Center and Immigrant Justice Fund Statement on Appointment of Immigration Expert Kamal Essaheb

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center and Immigrant Justice Fund Statement on Appointment of Immigration Expert Kamal Essaheb

WASHINGTON — Today, the White House appointed Kamal Essaheb, former deputy director of programs at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF), as counselor to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Marielena Hincapié, executive director of NILC and the IJF, issued the following statement:

“The Biden administration continues to signal its commitment not only to undoing the harms of the last administration, but also to bringing to fruition a 21st century immigration system that is rooted in fairness and that honors the dignity and contributions of the millions of immigrants who call this country home. We at the National Immigration Law Center and Immigrant Justice Fund could not be more proud of Kamal’s appointment to serve at the Department of Homeland Security.

“Kamal has worked tirelessly as an attorney and immigration advocate for years, including as a leading voice in the fight to enact, implement, and defend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As a former DACA recipient himself, he understands first-hand the needs of immigrants in this country and will bring valuable technical and legal expertise at a time when it is needed most.

“Kamal’s expertise and experience will allow him to hit the ground running in transforming our immigration system. This is a win for immigrants on whose behalf we work every day, for the immigrants’ rights movement, and for our nation as well. Kamal joins many other close allies who have decided to step into public service at this pivotal moment in our country’s history, and for that we thank them. We look forward to our continued work with the Biden administration to leap forward in creating a society in which everyone — regardless of where we were born or how much money we have — has the freedom to thrive.”

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National Immigration Law Center Celebrates House Passage of the Dream and Promise Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center Celebrates House Passage of the Dream and Promise Act

WASHINGTON — In a 228-197 bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Dream and Promise Act. The bill, also known as H.R. 6, would provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship to an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., including immigrant youth and longtime residents with temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED).

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

“At the National Immigration Law Center, we are celebrating the passage of the Dream and Promise Act in the House, and we urge the Senate to meet this critical step with urgency and courageous action. We must enact the Dream and Promise Act quickly as we continue to work to provide a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., as part of our efforts to set our country on a path to a just recovery that lifts us all.

“The Dream and Promise Act would provide long-overdue relief and stability to millions of undocumented immigrant youth and longtime residents whose home is here. Its advancement today with bipartisan support is a testament to the strength and political power our communities have built over years of organizing for justice, including NILC’s own efforts over more than two decades to support and fight alongside immigrant youth so that all of us have the freedom to thrive.

“We are thrilled to see the Dream and Promise Act move forward, and, at the same time, we urge members of the Senate to remove harmful criminalizing provisions in the bill that would compound racial disparities in our legal system. This moment requires that lawmakers act quickly and courageously to address the racial injustices that have long marred our country. That requires that they make this the strongest, most inclusive bill possible and immediately send it to President Biden to sign into law.”

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National Immigration Law Center and Immigrant Justice Fund Condemn Violence Against AAPI Communities, Call for National Leadership to Address Increase in Hate Crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund Condemn Violence Against AAPI Communities, Call for National Leadership to Address Increase in Hate Crimes

WASHINGTON — Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, issued the following statement in response to the increasing acts of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities:

“We at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF) are horrified by and condemn the increasing acts of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the country and, most recently, yesterday in Georgia. We mourn with the families of everyone impacted by these murders, including the six AAPI women killed by a white supremacist and misogynist who felt entitled to exotify and destroy their lives.

“For over a century, AAPI communities have been afflicted by both being made invisible and yet also racially targeted. Many AAPI community members make a living in low-wage, high-risk workplaces to financially support their families. Regardless of where we are from, how much money we have, or what we look like, all of us deserve to have our humanity respected and the freedom to thrive.

“This latest act of violence is rooted in the same white supremacist and mysoginist culture that has led to countless Black and brown community members being killed, from George Floyd to Breonna Taylor to the El Paso shooting. We must all commit to doing our part to build a society in which everyone feels safe regardless of the color of our skin, the language we speak, or where we were born, and to ensure that everyone can feel they belong in this country we call home.

“NILC and IJF condemn these acts of violence, and we call upon our nation’s leaders to do their part to end these destructive and senseless acts. We call for stronger actions by policymakers, both nationally and in the states, to protect AAPI community members from racist violence at home, work, and in public. We call on law enforcement to move swiftly in condemning and prosecuting these hate crimes. All Americans must play a role in shattering the racism and acts of violence, and in stepping up to advance racial justice for AAPIs and communities of color.”

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National Immigration Law Center Responds to the Introduction of the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center Responds to the Introduction of the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress introduced a new bill this week that would provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship for undocumented essential workers. U.S. Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act in the U.S. Senate. U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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

“Immigrants are essential, not just to our economy, but to our communities, our society, and our nation. The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act would provide long-overdue recognition by placing millions of people on a pathway to U.S. citizenship. We at the National Immigration Law Center welcome the bill’s introduction as a crucial step toward our nation’s recovery and ensuring that all of us have the freedom to thrive. We thank Senators Padilla and Warren and Representatives Castro and Lieu for their leadership and recognition of the vital role immigrants play in our society.

“Nearly three quarters of all immigrants in the U.S. workforce — including more than 5 million undocumented immigrants — are working in essential roles and helping us get through the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of us stay safe at home, millions of immigrants in our communities are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk to care for our most vulnerable, teach our kids, keep us fed, and deliver the goods we need.

“These are people who are keeping our country running during the pandemic and who will also play an equally critical role as our country enters into the recovery phase. Applauding their contributions is not enough; we must recognize immigrant essential workers under the law, as part of our efforts to provide relief from the pandemic. Not doing so, while also excluding immigrants from other forms of relief, will hinder our recovery. There is no COVID recovery for any of us without immigrants.

“While there is much to celebrate in this bill, we are deeply disappointed that it would add to existing bars in immigration law that already exclude many people from U.S. citizenship and leave them vulnerable to deportation for coming into contact with the racialized criminal legal system. This misguided approach, entangling mass incarceration with mass deportation, perpetuates the devastation of our communities by an already unjust system that disproportionately harms Black and brown people, including immigrants.

“At a time when we are having a much-needed national conversation about the racial injustices embedded in mass incarceration and the need for redemption and providing people second chances, we must recognize that low-income immigrants are impacted by the same structural racism. We urge Democrats to lead courageously in this moment, remove these proposed new bars, and instead put forward an inclusive approach that moves us closer to racial justice and equity.

“Millions of immigrants have built their lives in the U.S., call this country home, and have long been essential members of our communities. We urge Congress to provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship for all immigrants, including essential workers, immigrant youth, those with temporary immigration status, and undocumented people, without the harmful addition of new criminal exclusions. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how interdependent we all are. Our collective health and well-being depend on full immigrant inclusion.”

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National Immigration Law Center Responds to Biden Administration’s Petition to Drop Appeal in “Public Charge” Immigrant Wealth Test Cases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2021

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

National Immigration Law Center Responds to Biden Administration’s Petition to Drop Appeal in “Public Charge” Immigrant Wealth Test Cases

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration today agreed to withdraw the federal government’s appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court to hear cases challenging the previous administration’s “public charge” rule.

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

“Today’s actions by the Biden administration pave the way for ending President Trump’s dangerous and racist public charge wealth test. For the last four years, the National Immigration Law Center and diverse allies across the nation in the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition have fought back against this cruel policy that threatened the health, nutrition, and housing of millions of families. It is dangerous to the health and well-being of our nation and has impeded our ability to fully recover from the pandemic.

“Ending the public charge wealth test is an important step forward to build back trust within our immigrant communities, particularly in light of the pandemic. The Biden administration clearly recognizes that, now more than ever, we must ensure that everyone in this country has the freedom to thrive. We will continue our work alongside our plaintiffs and partners to ensure that everyone — regardless of who we are or where we’re from — has access to the health care and economic relief we need. Our collective health and well-being depends on all of us being healthy and feeling safe and free to seek the health care and other vital services our families need.”

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National Immigration Law Center Statement Regarding $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2021

CONTACT
Victoria Ballesteros, [email protected]

National Immigration Law Center Statement Regarding $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Act, to provide additional economic relief amidst the ongoing pandemic. Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“As we mark the painful one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in this country, including the over 500,000 loved ones we have lost, we applaud Congress for passing an urgently needed relief bill that will provide more immigrant-inclusive, life-saving relief to our communities. In December of last year, Congress finally took the step of including nearly 3 miIlion people from mixed–immigration status families who had previously been denied stimulus checks. This latest relief package’s inclusion of 2.2 million more people is a further victory to be celebrated. Among those who will receive relief under this bill are U.S. citizens and lawfully present children in mixed-status families who wrongfully were denied stimulus checks previously.

“While we celebrate these aspects of the American Rescue Act, Congress unconscionably still  continues to exclude 9.3 million immigrant workers and taxpayers from eligibility for stimulus checks, even as many of these same immigrants are working in essential roles and ensuring that our communities are able to weather this prolonged health crisis. Any future COVID-19 relief bills must ensure that all immigrants are eligible for stimulus checks and access to health care, regardless of their immigration status — and provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

“We at the National Immigration Law Center remain committed to fighting for crucial access to health care and other vital supports that will provide all of us with opportunities to thrive.”

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