Category Archives: News Releases

NILC and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund Welcome New Board Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2019

CONTACT
Alex Gilliland, [email protected], 650-823-4575

NILC and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund Welcome New Board Members

LOS ANGELES — The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF) each has added a new member to its board of directors: Angela Banks now serves on NILC’s board, and Ginette Magaña serves on IJF’s board.

“The NILC and IJF boards set the strategic direction of our organizations, and the additions of Angela and Ginette will ensure that we continue to lead with a values-based approach that makes a real difference for immigrant communities and our country,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of NILC and IJF. “Now more than ever, NILC and IJF are needed to fight for the rights of immigrants and ensure that our communities can thrive. Ginette and Angela bring crucial skills and talents to our boards from their leadership in the social and immigrant justice movement, and I’m eager to work with them to help propel our organizations forward.”

“As a legal scholar and researcher, I know that NILC’s litigation work and its effort to shift the narrative around immigrants and immigration is extremely important, and I’m honored to join the board,” Banks said. “NILC serves a critical role defending and advancing the rights of immigrants, especially as those rights come under attack, and I look forward to working with this team to drive change in the immigrant rights movement.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining the board for the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund. Since my time in the Obama White House, I’ve admired the litigation, advocacy, and narrative-change work the organization is engaged in,” Magaña said. “Now more than ever, our country needs a bold vision for the future of immigration, and I look forward to working to advance this goal.”

Angela M. Banks is the Charles J. Merriam Distinguished Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. She’s an immigration and citizenship expert whose research focuses on membership and belonging in democratic societies.

Prior to joining the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law faculty, Banks was a professor of law at William & Mary School of Law. She has also served as the Reginald F. Lewis Fellow for Law Teaching at Harvard Law School; as legal advisor to Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald at the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal; as an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, DC (now WilmerHale); and as a law clerk for Judge Carlos F. Lucero of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

She received a B.A. in sociology from Spelman College and a master of letters in sociology from the University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar. Banks is a 2000 graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and the Harvard International Law Journal.

Ginette Magaña is president and founder of Talavera Strategies, a strategic communications and public affairs consulting firm. With more than 15 years of multicultural outreach and experience in electoral campaigns, government, private sector, and nonprofits, Magaña provides high-level strategic advice to engage and mobilize the public, manage issues, and help organizations thrive.

Previously, Magaña served as director of corporate affairs at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, where she oversaw the company’s national award–winning corporate social responsibility initiative program. Prior to that, she led President Obama’s engagement with the nation’s Latino community and worked on immigration-related issues in her role as senior associate director of public engagement at the White House.

From her outreach and communications role in the U.S. House of Representatives to her numerous leadership roles on various campaigns, including President Obama’s successful reelection campaign, to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Magaña has worked to engage the Latino community on key policy and advocacy issues.

###

Share

Senate Letter Challenging Trump “Junk” Insurance Mandate Applauded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2019

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375

Senate Letter Challenging Trump “Junk” Insurance Mandate Applauded

WASHINGTON — United States Senators Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), ranking Democrats on key Senate committees with jurisdiction over health care, today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar challenging a proclamation requiring that immigrant visa applicants overseas obtain health insurance, but barring them from purchasing health coverage for which they qualify under U.S. law.

The proclamation, issued by the White House on October 4, “punishes middle- and low-income immigrants by going after health care benefits they are legally entitled to obtain,” the senators wrote. Adding that “the President’s proclamation is a direct attack on those who are most vulnerable, and on the health care system itself.”

As the senators noted, the proclamation is aligned with the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulation, which was blocked by federal courts earlier this month. That regulation would threaten the health of nearly 26 million people nationwide, according to independent estimates.

Responding to the senators’ letters, the National Immigration Law Center released the following statement by its senior policy attorney for advocacy, Sonya Schwartz:

“Senator Murray and Senator Wyden took action today to protect the nation’s health and our health care system. Like the public charge regulation and other bricks in Trump’s ‘invisible wall,’ this proclamation puts people’s health at risk to send a message that if you’re not white or wealthy, you’re not welcome here. This reckless, dangerous, anti-immigrant, anti-health agenda must be stopped.”

###

Share

Courts Block Trump Public Charge Regulations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2019

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, NILC, 202-805-0375, [email protected]
Barbara Semedo, CLASP, 202-906-8010, [email protected]

Courts Block Trump Public Charge Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC — Federal courts today issued national injunctions blocking any implementation of the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulations, which threaten the health, nutrition, and housing of millions of families. The orders, issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, find, in part, that the plaintiffs are likely to prevail at trial. A third court arrived at similar legal findings but limited the scope of its injunction. As a result, the public charge regulations, which were scheduled to be implemented on October 15, are blocked across the country.

“CLASP applauds the work of the committed litigators, brave plaintiffs, and numerous amici who worked together to fight back in the courts,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy. “The public charge rule is rooted in discrimination and racial animus, targets lawfully present immigrants, and sends the message that only wealthy and white immigrants have a place in the United States. But today, once again, the courts have stepped in to stop this administration in its attempt to implement a policy that divides us as a nation and damages the lives of millions of immigrants, their families, their children and their communities. Today’s ruling means a temporary halt in the implementation of the public charge rule. The rule will not be implemented as scheduled on October 15th. We encourage immigrants to continue to seek the services they need to take care of their families and to ensure their children’s health and economic security.”

The regulations were finalized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in August, despite receiving a record-breaking 266,000 public comments, the overwhelming majority of which opposed the proposed rule. The regulations represent a drastic departure from how the public charge test was previously administered and are opposed by experts who predict large-scale increases in poverty, hunger, and unmet health and housing needs if they take effect. They would have taken effect on October 15. As a result of today’s orders, the regulations will not be implemented, and families can continue to access the services they need.

“Today’s decisions by numerous courts blocking Trump from implementing the public charge rule are a great victory for our courageous plaintiffs and others who joined lawsuits filed across the country, from the San Francisco Bay Area to New York. These orders will preserve dignity for countless families, who will be able to continue making empowered decisions about their well-being without concern,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We have known from day one that this racially-motivated public charge rule is unlawful. The public charge attack is about sending one message: If you’re not white or you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome. We will continue to fight to defend children and their families until the public charge rule is ultimately struck down, because it has no place in a country that’s supposed to be the land of freedom and justice for all.”

###

Share

Eleventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Lawsuit Challenging Georgia City’s Policies Unlawfully Restricting Access to Basic Utility Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2019

CONTACT
Alexandra Gilliland, [email protected]
Hannah Riley, [email protected]

Eleventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Lawsuit Challenging Georgia City’s Policies Unlawfully Restricting Access to Basic Utility Services

ATLANTA — The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday issued a unanimous opinion and order vacating the 2017 decision of a U.S. district court in Georgia in Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, et al. v. City of LaGrange, thus allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

In May 2017, the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and Relman, Dane & Colfax filed a lawsuit against the city of LaGrange, Georgia, alleging that the city’s discriminatory utility policies violate the Fair Housing Act. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, the Troup County Chapter of the NAACP, Project South, and seven affected individuals. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit In December 2017.

The city of LaGrange is the sole provider of electricity, gas, and water utility services to residents of the city. Unlike most municipalities in the country, LaGrange does not levy property taxes, a policy decision that the city routinely touts to recruit new employers and residents. Instead, municipal operations are largely funded through the city’s sale of basic utilities to its residents.

The city requires that utility customers comply with two policies in order to initiate and maintain those basic utility services. First, both applicants and current customers must pay any debts they owe to the city, including unrelated municipal court fees and fines, to maintain their utilities. Under a city ordinance, residents with municipal court debt cannot obtain electricity, gas, or water, and current customers who owe court debt to the city may have their utilities turned off, sometimes with little advance notice. Second, the city requires an applicant seeking to open a new utility account to present a valid state- or federally-issued photo ID, which many Latinx residents in LaGrange are categorically ineligible to obtain.

The disproportionate impact of these policies on Black and Latinx communities is clear: 90 percent of the residents subjected to the court debt policy were Black (LaGrange’s population is only 48 percent Black), and Latinx immigrants are overwhelmingly impacted by the city’s policy of requiring photo identification in order to obtain utilities.

“This is a tremendous victory for the Black and Latinx communities in LaGrange who have suffered because of the city’s discriminatory utility policies,” said Mayra Joachin, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “Everyone, regardless of their nationality or socioeconomic status, should be able to access gas, water, and electricity. Policies like these are regressive and often hurt immigrant and low-income communities of color the most. Today, the judges reminded us that policies affecting access to essential utilities are protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, and we’re encouraged to see such a clear decision.”

“The court’s order could not have been more clear — housing discrimination is unlawful regardless of whether it occurs before or after someone moves into their home. This is a win for everyone committed to achieving fair housing practices in Georgia and beyond,” said Atteeyah Hollie, senior attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights.

“We are truly excited about the decision handed down yesterday,” said Ernest Ward, former president of the Troup County NAACP. “It was huge for our disenfranchised community members, who are continually impacted by the barriers associated with poverty. We have a reason to be excited, but at the same time, we have a reason to be sad. Sad because lawsuits do not change the heart of a person, and we desire a time in our community when one doesn’t have to litigate equality.”

“We are thrilled with this decision from the court,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, legal and policy director of Project South. “Access to water and sanitation services is a human right. No city should deny this essential service to its residents.”

Yesterday’s order is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Georgia-NAACP-v-LaGrange-11th-Cir-order-2019-10-10.pdf.

###

Share

DACA Recipients, Broad Coalition of Immigrants’ Rights Organizations Launch “Home Is Here” Campaign Ahead of Crucial Supreme Court Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2019

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, National Immigration Law Center, [email protected]
Yatziri Tovar, Make the Road New York, [email protected]
Josh Dorner, Home Is Here Campaign, [email protected]

DACA Recipients, Broad Coalition of Immigrants’ Rights Organizations Launch “Home Is Here” Campaign Ahead of Crucial Supreme Court Hearing

Campaign to spotlight what’s at stake for 700,000 DACA recipients, their families, our communities, the economy, and our country if the Supreme Court allows unlawful termination of DACA to proceed

WASHINGTON, DC — Ahead of the November 12, 2019, U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in three consolidated cases regarding President Trump’s unlawful termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, DACA recipients and a broad coalition of immigrants’ rights organizations today launched the Home Is Here campaign to highlight what is at stake for 700,000 DACA recipients, their families (including 256,000 U.S. citizen children), our communities, the economy, and our country if the Court overturns the lower court rulings currently allowing DACA renewals to continue.

“For the past seven years, DACA has been an incredibly successful program, providing temporary protection from deportation and peace of mind to nearly 800,000 young people who have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives. These Dreamers are part of the fabric of our country, but their futures are once again hanging by a thread as DACA heads to the Supreme Court,” said Karen Tumlin, founder and director of the Justice Action Center, manager of the Home Is Here Campaign, and part of the counsel team for McAleenan v. Batalla Vidal. “Ending DACA was both immoral and unlawful, as multiple courts across the country have found. We will continue to fight for DACA recipients and their families whose home is here, in the United States.”

Organizations participating in the campaign include CASA, the Center for American Progress, Community Change/FIRM, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), FWD.us, Justice Action Center, Make the Road New York, NAKASEC, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and United We Dream (UWD).

The Home Is Here campaign tells the stories of and commits to protect DACA recipients who arrived in the United States as children and their families. Over the past seven years, more than 700,000 immigrant youth have been able to work, attend school, better support their families, and make even greater contributions to our communities and our country because of the temporary protection from deportation granted by the DACA program. If DACA ends, DACA recipients would be added to the list of those targeted in the deportation dragnet and threatened with deportation to a country that they may not remember and where they may not even speak the language, sparking a new wave of family separation crises nationwide. Their homes are here in the United States.

The campaign will underscore why DACA is legal, constitutional, and highly successful through events across the country over the next six weeks, including DACA renewal clinics and other efforts to encourage DACA recipients to renew their protections as soon as possible, digital storytelling, paid advertising, organizing, and rallies at the Supreme Court and in multiple cities across the country on November 12.

On November 12, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in McAleenan v. Batalla Vidal, Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, and Trump v. NAACP. The lower courts in each of these cases ruled that the Trump administration’s September 2017 termination of the DACA program is unlawful. Nationwide injunctions and other court orders in place have allowed DACA renewals to continue since early 2018; however, no new first-time applications have been considered or granted since the attempted termination. A decision from the Supreme Court is expected between January and June 2020.

The deputy solicitor general of California, Michael Mongan, and noted Supreme Court advocate Ted Olson, solicitor general of the United States under the George W. Bush Administration, will argue on behalf of a number of individual DACA recipients and the other plaintiffs in these cases, including the regents of the University of California, Microsoft, Princeton University, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Current DACA recipients are encouraged to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to consider their renewal options. More information is available at www.RenewMyDACA.com. Americans can also contribute to a DACA recipient in need of the $495 renewal fee by visiting www.GoFundMe.com/DACA.

KEY DACA FACTS

­– DACA recipients, on average, arrived in the United States at the age of 7 and have lived here for 20 years. More than a third arrived before age 5. They are our classmates, our coworkers, and our friends. Most know no other country as home.

– DACA recipients are parents to nearly 256,000 U.S. citizen children, and nearly every DACA recipient is part of a mixed–immigration status family. Ending DACA would rip apart hundreds of thousands of families.

– DACA recipients contribute significant federal, state, and local tax revenues that help provide important benefits to millions of Americans:

QUOTES FROM PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center: “For hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth whose home is here, DACA opened the door to opportunities and the stability many of us take for granted. For seven years, DACA has been transformative in the lives of DACA recipients who have grown up here, for our communities, and for our country as a whole. Allowing Trump’s unlawful and cruel attempt to end DACA to move forward would vastly compound the already devastating consequences of Trump’s relentless actions to criminalize, disenfranchise, and shut our doors to immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and other communities of color. In this critical moment, we’re reinvigorated and determined to keep fighting for DACA alongside immigrant youth and our partners across the country. We call on you to join us in this fight.”

Martin Batalla-Vidal, lead plaintiff in the Batalla Vidal v. McAleenan lawsuit to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and member of Make the Road New York: “Because of DACA, for the past seven years I have been able to go to school, work at my dream job, and remain with my family in the United States. The Trump administration’s cruel and unlawful termination of DACA has caused chaos and uncertainty in young immigrants across the country. DACA has been a valuable policy that has allowed hundreds of thousands to work, to go to school, and pursue their dreams. Next month, we hope the court will listen to voices of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants like me, whose lives are at stake. The court should uphold the rule of law by rejecting the Trump administration’s reckless attack on DACA and leave this vital policy in place.”

Gustavo Torres, CASA Executive Director: “CASA is proud to be a part of the #HomeIsHere campaign. We cannot allow the termination of DACA for over 700,000 young people who have been living and working in the United States for decades. Several federal courts have already ruled that Trump’s September 2017 attempt to end the DACA program was completely unlawful. On November 12th, we will go to the Supreme Court and continue to fight against this injustice. Our families are emboldened by knowing they are on the right side of history. We cannot let them down.”

Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress: “We are united with our partners in the fight to defend DACA, and with it, the future of hundreds of thousands of young people who are woven into the fabric of our communities. Over the past six years, CAP’s research has demonstrated that DACA works, helping to strengthen national, state, and local economies and unlock tremendous human potential. Like every lower court that has ruled on the question so far, the U.S. Supreme Court should halt the Trump administration’s illegal efforts to end DACA so that we can work together to build a fair, humane, and workable immigration system that advances the nation’s interests and values.”

Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA: “There have been key moments in our nation’s history when our hearts and minds join as one to form a strong union. One of those moments was the start of DACA, which welcomed so many Americans-in-waiting into this society. But, some key moments can mean danger especially if fear and hatred reign. This is one of those moments and it calls for us to defend the progress we have made. This is why together, as a movement and a society, we are rising up for DACA.”

Lorella Praeli, Vice President of Community Change: “DACA created a way for undocumented youth to fearlessly live their lives. We have to come together to build a country where all of us are free to thrive and where everyone has full citizenship. That’s what Home Is Here is about: fighting together to expand the circle, not close it.”

Maria Praeli, Government Relations Manager at FWD.us: “The Supreme Court’s decision will have life-altering consequences for DACA recipients like me, our families, and our communities. Millions of people across the country will be impacted by the decision. Dreamers have shown immeasurable bravery as we fight for the right to continue contributing to the only country that most of us have ever known. FWD.us is proud to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dreamers, and the millions of our friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors across the country who have made their voices heard in support of Dreamers.”

Becky Belcore, Co-Director of NAKASEC: “Many people are unaware that thousands of Asian Americans are DACA recipients and that this is a core issue within our community. We know that the vast majority of Americans support our young people. It is critical in this moment that all Americans show their support for the DACA program and call on the Supreme Court to rule on the right side of history!”

Cristina Jiménez, Executive Director & Co-Founder of United We Dream: “For the over 700,000 DACA recipients and our families: our home is here. We will be loud and unapologetic about our hopes, dreams, and fight for justice, and we won’t be scared by Trump’s personal mission to detain and deport as many people as possible. Immigrant youth are not bargaining chips and the Supreme Court should not be a tool for his mass deportation agenda either. Our communities are organizing nationwide to defend DACA and create a country where everyone has the freedom to thrive. The Supreme Court should uphold the three courts’ rulings that have kept DACA in place and not greenlight putting immigrant youth in the crosshairs for family separation.”

DACA RESOURCES

For more information, visit the Home Is Here website, HomeIsHere.us.

# # #

Share

Immigrant Advocates Support Hirono Bill Blocking “Public Charge” Regulations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2019

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-384-1279

Immigrant Advocates Support Hirono Bill Blocking “Public Charge” Regulations

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) has introduced the Protect American Values Act, legislation that would prohibit the use of federal funds to implement the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulations.

The legislation was cosponsored by 26 Senate Democrats: Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Published by the administration on August 14, 2019, the public charge regulations would vastly expand the number of people who may be deemed ineligible for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) or admission to the U.S. based on their household income, use of certain essential government programs, and other criteria. Independent estimates show the regulations threaten nearly 26 million people, half of whom were born in the U.S. Experts expect the policy will result in large-scale increases in poverty, hunger, and unmet housing needs. The National Immigration Law Center and allies have sued the Trump administration to block implementation of the regulations, which will otherwise take effect on October 15, 2019.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement on the legislation’s introduction:

“We applaud Senator Hirono for taking leadership in protecting millions of immigrant families from Trump’s brutal public charge attack. Trump is building an invisible wall to send families of color one message: If you’re not white and you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome here. And he’ll separate families and destroy communities to send that message.

“Members of Congress in both chambers and from both parties have spoken out against the public charge rule, which fundamentally changes our legal immigration system and is an end-run around Congress. Senators who are serious about protecting families and communities from this threat, the time to act is now: Cosponsor the Protect American Values Act today. Our country’s health and future is at stake.”

###

Share

NILC Denounces New Trump Rule to Hold Children and Families in Detention Indefinitely

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2019

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

NILC Denounces New Trump Rule to Hold Children and Families in Detention Indefinitely

LOS ANGELES — The Trump administration today announced a regulation intended to circumvent longstanding protections for children detained by immigration officials. The new rule, which is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, is designed to eviscerate the settlement agreement in Flores v. Reno, which has for decades required minimum safety and custody standards for children in immigrant detention and required they be released within 20 days. In doing so,the government seeks to ignore basic standards of care and indefinitely detain children and families seeking safety and a better life in the United States.

Avideh Moussavian, legislative director for the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement is yet another example of this administration’s callous disregard for the health and wellbeing of children. This unspeakably cruel rollback will result in more children in cages and more families locked up, despite enormously successful, humane, and cost-effective alternatives the government willfully refuses to implement. It will grant greater authority to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an agency that, under Trump’s watch, has allowed at least seven children to die in its custody in the past year alone.

“This new rule would allow DHS to hold people indefinitely, without oversight or other basic standards of care and protections required by the Flores agreement. We must fight this latest policy in Trump’s ongoing agenda of cruelty and his administration’s efforts to skirt the law and our democratic processes.”

###

Share

Trump “Public Charge” Regulation Unlawful, Lawsuit Claims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2019

CONTACT
– National Immigration Law Center: Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279, [email protected]
– Western Center on Law & Poverty: Courtney McKinney, 214-395-2755, [email protected]
– Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles: Alison Vu, [email protected]

Trump “Public Charge” Regulation Unlawful, Lawsuit Claims

Nonprofits aim to block policy targeting millions of families of color

SAN FRANCISCO — Nonprofits serving immigrant communities and advocates for racial equity, health, children, farmworkers, and working families today filed suit to block implementation of the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulation, which threatens millions of immigrant families — disproportionally families of color. La Clínica de la Raza et al. v. Trump et al., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asks the court to declare the regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unlawful and unconstitutional. DHS finalized the regulation on August 14, 2019.

“The public charge regulation is an attack on the culturally diverse families we serve, threatening their health and their very lives,” said Jane Garcia, chief executive officer of La Clínica de La Raza. “We will stand with our patients and their families and fight this.”

In addition to La Clínica de la Raza, the suit was brought by African Communities Together, the California Primary Care Association, the Central American Resource Center, the Council on American Islamic Relations – California, Farmworker Justice, the Korean Resource Center, the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, and Maternal and Child Health Access. The plaintiffs are represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, the National Health Law Program, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

The complaint argues that the regulation was motivated by racial bias against nonwhite immigrants and asks the court to strike it down as a violation of Equal Protection under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As indicators of a motivating racial animus, the complaint cites the administration’s acknowledgement that the policy will have a disparate impact on families of color, President Donald Trump’s own racist statements, and his administration’s other racially-biased policies.

“Donald Trump pushed to execute innocent Black men wrongly accused of murder. He called the white supremacists in Charlottesville ‘very fine people.’ He slurred Black immigrants from Haiti and Nigeria. And he froze or cancelled protected status for immigrants from majority-Black countries. Donald Trump’s words and his actions have consistently targeted Black families,” said Amaha Kassa, founder and executive director of African Communities Together. “When Ken Cuccinelli, the man who signed this regulation, goes on the radio and says ‘not everyone has the right to be an American,’ Black families know exactly who he’s talking about.”

“This rule change is a direct attack on communities of color and their families, and furthers this administration’s desire to make this country work primarily for the wealthy and white. Our immigration system cannot be based on the racial animosities of this administration, or whether or not people are wealthy,” said Antionette Dozier, senior attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

“This expansion of the rule is part and parcel of the administration’s crusade to instill fear in immigrant communities of color,” said Laboni Hoq, litigation director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA). “By including criteria such as English language proficiency as a negative factor for obtaining permanent residency, the administration is telling immigrants that they are not welcome here. This is unacceptable. Xenophobia has no place in our country, let alone our laws.”

Plaintiffs also assert that the regulation violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is contrary to law and arbitrary and capricious. The complaint also argues that the regulation is invalid because the official who approved its publication, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, was appointed in violation of the Constitution’s Appointments Clause and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

More than 260,000 public comments were submitted on the draft regulation last fall, the vast majority in opposition. The regulation targets programs that serve whole families — Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Section 8 housing assistance — meaning its impact will extend well beyond immigrants directly affected. As a result, experts warn, the regulation will result in increases in hunger, unmet health and housing needs, and poverty. Because affected immigrants are overwhelmingly immigrants of color, the rule is also expected to widen racial disparities. Independent analysts estimate that the regulation threatens millions of people. A significant portion of those threatened by the regulation were born in the U.S., and nearly a third of those are children.

“This rule is a scare tactic designed to create fear and confusion in immigrant communities. The devastating effects will reach even further than the text of the rule itself, as immigrants and their families forgo vital food, housing, and health care services,” said Jane Perkins, legal director at the National Health Law Program.

La Clínica de la Raza and other plaintiffs are health care providers and other nonprofit organizations that seek to protect access to health care, nutrition, housing, and other government benefits for immigrants of color, regardless of their immigration status or financial means. The complaint asserts that the public charge regulation threatens their missions and the communities they serve.

“If the changes made to public charge are implemented, this will cause irrevocable damage to our communities. Deterring anyone from seeking public services that help them survive and support their families is inhumane,” said Carmela Castellano-Garcia, president and CEO of the California Primary Care Association. “We have an obligation to our patients and our communities to protect the rights of everyone, regardless of immigration status, which is why we are suing to stop the implementation of this rule.”

“The Trump administration has deliberately designed this policy to target families of color, which is part of its overall blueprint to change the face of what we look like as a nation and who is considered worthy of being an American. It threatens immigrants of color with exclusion and Americans of color with deprivation or family separation. And it aims to deny working-class immigrants of color the ability to thrive in the land of opportunity,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We will not stand for it. We’re fighting back against this racist policy, and we’re going to win the fight to protect immigrant families.”

Today’s filing is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Clinica-de-la-Raza-v-Trump-complaint-2019-08-16.pdf.

The recording of today’s conference call regarding this filing is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/public-charge-lawsuit-2019-08-16.mp3.

###

Share

Los abogados prometen bloquear el ataque de Trump a millones de familias y a la democracia americana

PARA DIFUSIÓN INMEDIATA
12 de agosto de 2019

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

Los abogados prometen bloquear el ataque de Trump a millones de familias y a la democracia americana

Los abogados instan al Congreso a rechazar la reglamentación de “carga pública”

WASHINGTON, DC — Los abogados de las familias inmigrantes y la oportunidad económica denunciaron un nuevo reglamento del gobierno de Trump que tiene como finalidad privar a millones de familias del acceso a la atención médica y a otros programas o correr el riesgo del rechazo a conseguir el estado de residencia permanente legal en los Estados Unidos. Este reglamento de “carga pública” recibió un número récord de comentarios, la extensa mayoría de ellos opuesta al movimiento de Trump. Ahora que la norma ha terminado, los abogados se están movilizando en las cortes y en el Congreso para bloquear su puesta en práctica.

“Esta política niega un futuro permanente y seguro en este país a todas las personas que no sean blancas y ricas,” dijo Marielena Hincapié, directora ejecutiva del Centro Nacional de Leyes Migratorias (National Immigration Law Center). “No lo toleraremos. El Centro Nacional de Leyes Migratorias se está preparando para presentar una demanda para luchar en contra de este reglamento y proteger a las familias inmigrantes”.

El reglamento de “carga pública” fue propuesta el otoño pasado por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS, por su sigla en inglés). Las estimaciones independientes indicaron que amenazaría a unos 26 millones de personas en todo el país, directa o indirectamente. Además de enfocarse en inmigrantes de color, con discapacidades, y en quiénes tienen ingresos por debajo de $62,000, esa propuesta habría puesto las solicitudes para la admisión a los EE.UU. o solicitudes para una “tarjeta verde” en riesgo si un inmigrante utiliza ciertas prestaciones sociales.

“Esta administración ha sido constante en su uso de tácticas dañosas y odiosas para asustar a las comunidades inmigrantes y crear miedo y ansiedad a muchas familias inmigrantes y sus hijos,” dijo Olivia Golden, directora ejecutiva del Centro de Derecho y Política Social (Center for Law and Social Policy). “La rápida publicación de esta norma a pesar de más de un cuarto de millón de comentarios registrados durante el período de comentarios de 60 días indica que el gobierno ha elegido deliberadamente hacer caso omiso de las perspectivas, experiencias, e investigación proporcionadas por una amplia sección representativa de americanos.  Entre los observadores que han comentado hay miembros del Congreso, alcaldes, abogados para las mujeres y las comunidades de color, líderes espirituales, la comunidad médica, educadores, inmigrantes y muchos otros americanos. Estos observadores eran personas de todos los ámbitos de nuestro país que enviaron el mensaje de que este reglamento amenaza la fuerza económica de nuestro país, y el futuro de nuestros hijos. ¡La decisión de hacer caso omiso es vergonzosa y demuestra una falta de consideración por la ley!”

La propuesta atrajo más de 266,000 comentarios públicos, de forma aplastante en la oposición. Además, se opusieron a la propuesta grupos de abogados y proveedores de atención médica, abogados de alimentación, abogados de vivienda, directores ejecutivos de corporaciones, y abogados para la oportunidad económica, niños, y familias trabajadoras.

“Como pediatra, este reglamento de carga pública es un asalto a mi papel profesional — me siento inseguro sobre cómo orientar a familias cuando sé que esa inscripción en los servicios básicos que los mantendrán sanos podría comprometer la unidad familiar. Esta norma final sirve para intimidar y asustar aún más a las familias que buscan servicios necesarios para mantenerse sanos y productivos. Junto con otras inminentes propuestas, estas acciones dañinas tendrán consecuencias perjudiciales para la salud y bienestar del inmigrante,” dijo Julie Linton, MD, FAAP, presidenta de la American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health.

El reglamento del DHS es uno de varios ataques recientes y planeados contra las familias inmigrantes de color. El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos (DOJ, por su sigla en inglés) del gobierno de Trump ha redactado un reglamento complementario que ampliaría las deportaciones basadas en el uso de las familias inmigrantes de programas públicos. Los abogados cuentan con que el reglamento del DOJ tenga un mayor “efecto escalofriante”, debido a las consecuencias de la separación de la familia por la deportación. El Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano también propuso reglamentos que negaban la ayuda de vivienda a las familias de estado mixto que incluyen una persona indocumentada — un paso que según se informa podría llevar a que 55,000 niños nacidos en los EE.UU. se queden sin hogar. El Departamento de Comercio también intentó agregar una pregunta sobre la nacionalidad al censo 2020, incitando un pleito al final ganado que discutía que la política privaría del derecho al voto a votantes de color. Al igual que estas políticas, se espera que el reglamento de carga pública concluida hoy tenga un impacto desproporcionado en niños y familias de color.

“Esta inhumana norma con raíces racistas es una vergonzosa estratagema por parte del gobierno de Trump para manipular el sistema de inmigración para los ricos,” dijo Cynthia Buiza, directora ejecutiva del Centro de Política Inmigrante de California (California Immigrant Policy Center). “Nuestro mensaje a la fuerte y diversa comunidad inmigrante de nuestro estado es sencillo: California le dará su respaldo. Una red valiente de abogados y grupos de la comunidad está luchando por ustedes. No permitiremos que este dañino reglamento deshaga el poderoso trabajo que hemos hecho en California para proteger a todos los que consideran a nuestro estado su casa”.

“Para dejarlo claro, el reglamento de carga pública final de Trump sigue siendo racista, clasista y es parte de la agenda supremacista blanca de su gobierno para blanquear la composición de este país,” dijo Jonathan Jayes-Green, cofundador y director, de UndocuBlack Network. “Es inmoral, cruel y obliga a la gente a elegir entre sus necesidades básicas y la gente que ama. En todo el país, debido al miedo, la gente se está retirando de las prestaciones sociales para las cuales califica. Rechazamos estas tácticas basadas en el miedo y contraatacaremos como siempre hemos hecho”.

El Congreso también tiene el poder de bloquear la puesta en práctica del reglamento, y la Cámara de Representantes ya está tomando medidas para proteger a las familias. La Ley de Ningún Fondo Federal para Carga Pública, patrocinada por la representante Judy Chu (D-California), tiene más de 40 copatrocinadores y es respaldada por abogados clave. Como sugiere su nombre, la propuesta de ley bloquearía el financiamiento de la puesta en práctica del reglamento. La senadora Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) tiene pensado presentar legislación complementaria después del descanso del Congreso.

Una grabación de los comentarios de abogados durante una llamada de prensa hoy (en inglés) está disponible en www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PublicCharge-2019-08-12.mp3.

###

Share

Advocates Vow to Block Trump Attack on Millions of Families and American Democracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2019

CONTACT
– National Immigration Law Center: Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375, [email protected]
– Center on Law and Social Policy: Tom Salyers, 202-906-8010, [email protected]

Advocates Vow to Block Trump Attack on Millions of Families and American Democracy

Congress must reject “public charge” regulation, advocates urge

WASHINGTON — Advocates for immigrant families and economic opportunity spoke out against a new Trump administration regulation that aims to prevent millions of families from accessing health care and other programs or risk denial of lawful permanent status in the United States. This “public charge” regulation received a record number of comments, the vast majority opposed to Trump’s move. Now that the rule has been finalized, advocates are mobilizing in courts and in Congress to block its implementation.

“This policy denies a permanent, secure future in this country to anyone who isn’t white and wealthy,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We will not stand for it. The National Immigration Law Center is preparing to sue to fight back against this regulation and protect immigrant families.”

The “public charge” regulation was proposed last fall by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Independent estimates indicated it would threaten about 26 million people nationwide, directly or indirectly. In addition to targeting immigrants of color, with disabilities, and who have incomes below $62,000, that proposal would have put applications for admission to the U.S. or applications for a “green card” at risk if an immigrant uses certain public benefits.

“This administration has been consistent in its use of harmful and hateful tactics to scare immigrant communities and create fear and anxiety for many immigrant families and their children,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy. “The rapid publication of this rule despite more than a quarter of a million comments filed during the 60-day comment period indicates that the Administration has deliberately chosen to ignore the perspectives, experiences, and research provided by a broad cross-section of Americans.  These commenters included Members of Congress, Mayors, advocates for women and communities of color, faith leaders, the medical community, educators, immigrants and so many other Americans. These were people from all walks of life in our country who sent a message that this regulation threatens the economic strength of our country, and the future of our children. The decision to ignore them is shameful and lawless!”

The proposal drew more than 266,000 public comments, overwhelmingly in opposition. In addition, it was opposed by leading health care advocacy and provider groups, nutrition advocates, housing advocates, corporate CEOs, and advocates for economic opportunity, children, and working families.

“As a pediatrician, this public charge regulation is an assault on my professional role—I am unsure how to guide families when I know that enrollment in bread and butter services that keep them healthy could jeopardize the family unity. This final rule serves to further intimidate and frighten families who seek needed services to keep them healthy and productive. Taken together with other looming harmful proposals, these actions will have detrimental consequences on immigrant health and well-being,” said Julie Linton, MD, FAAP, Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health.

The DHS regulation is one of several recent and planned attacks on immigrant families of color. Trump’s United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has drafted a companion regulation that would expand deportations based on immigrant families’ use of public programs. Advocates expect that the DOJ regulation will have an even greater “chilling effect,” because of the family separation consequences of deportation. The Department of Housing and Urban Development also proposed regulations denying housing assistance to mixed-status families that include an undocumented person—a move that could reportedly make 55,000 U.S.-born children homeless. The Commerce Department also attempted to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, prompting ultimately successful litigation arguing that the policy would disenfranchise voters of color. Like these policies, the public charge regulation finalized today is expected to have a disproportionate impact on children and families of color.

“This inhumane rule with racist roots is a shameful ploy by the Trump Administration to rig the immigration system for the wealthy,” said Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director, California Immigrant Policy Center. “Our message to our state’s strong, diverse immigrant community is simple: California has your back. A courageous network of advocates and community groups is fighting for you. We will not allow this harmful regulation to undo the powerful work we have done in California to protect all who call our state home.”

“To be clear, Trump’s final public charge regulation is still racist, classist and part of his administration’s white supremacist agenda to whiten the composition of this country,” said Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Founder and Director, UndocuBlack Network. “It is immoral, cruel and forces people to choose between their basic needs and the people they love. Across the country, out of fear, people are pulling out of public benefits that they qualify for. We reject these fear-based tactics and we will fight back as we always have.”

Congress also has the power to block the regulation’s implementation, and the House of Representatives is already taking action to protect families. The No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act, sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu (D-California), has more than 40 cosponsors and is endorsed by key advocates. As its name suggests, the bill would block funding of the regulation’s implementation. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) intends to introduce companion legislation after the congressional recess.

A recording of advocates’ comments during a press call today is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PublicCharge-2019-08-12.mp3.

###

Share
111