Category Archives: News Releases

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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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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NILC and TIRRC: New Tennessee Law Does Not Pass Constitutional Muster

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2017

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

NILC and TIRRC: New Tennessee Law Does Not Pass Constitutional Muster

NASHVILLE — Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has signed SB 1260, an anti-immigrant measure that effectively criminalizes someone for being in the U.S. without authorization if that person has been convicted of any state offense, including minor misdemeanors. Such legislation has been proposed in the state several times before, but this is the first time such legislation has been enacted.

“All of us, regardless of where we were born, should expect to be treated equally and fairly, whether we’re in Nashville or New York,” said Melissa Keaney, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “Tennessee’s elected officials have enacted an indefensible piece of legislation, and we will work with our partners in the state to prevent it from infringing upon the constitutionally protected rights of all Tennesseans. Governor Haslam, we will not be afraid to challenge these harmful policies in court.”

“Without making a case for how this bill keeps communities safe or advances justice, the legislature has once again singled out a group of Tennesseans for differential treatment, undermining our values of fairness and due process,” said Stephanie Teatro, the co–executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). ”From banning refugees to criminalizing all undocumented immigrants, it has become abundantly clear that elected officials in Tennessee will copy and paste the Trump administration’s failing policies rather than finding real solutions to real problems facing Tennessee communities.”

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Trump Administration Appeals to Supreme Court in Muslim Ban Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2017

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, NILC, 213-400-7822, delatorre@nilc.org
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, 347-514-3984, isarda-sorensen@aclu.org

Trump Administration Appeals to Supreme Court in Muslim Ban Case

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice late last night requested that the Supreme Court consider the government’s appeal from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump and allow the Muslim ban to go into effect in the meantime. The American Civil Liberties Union and National Immigration Law Center represent the plaintiffs in this case.

Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said: “Again and again, our nation’s courts have found that President Trump’s Muslim ban is unconstitutional. We will continue to defend our plaintiffs’ right to live free from fear of discriminatory treatment by the federal government.”

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, had this reaction: “There is no reason to disturb the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of the judges on the full court, is consistent with rulings from other courts across the nation, and enforces a fundamental principle that protects all of us from government condemnation of our religious beliefs.”

For more information on the case, visit www.nilc.org/irap-v-trump/.

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Horrifying Attack in Portland Should Not Be Met with Silence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2017

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

Horrifying Attack in Portland Should Not Be Met with Silence

PORTLAND, Ore. — A man viciously attacked three men who defended two young women on a Portland light rail train yesterday afternoon. Witnesses reported that the man was verbally attacking the women by making violent anti-Muslim remarks. Two of the men who intervened died because of the attack, and a third is injured but expected to survive. Below is a statement from Reshma Shamasunder, deputy director of programs for the National Immigration Law Center:

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this heinous attack. This incident should make clear that hate speech and harassment has very real and devastating consequences for entire communities.

“The brave men who stood up to defend two young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, and others who led police to locate the man who allegedly committed the attack, should serve as a model for President Trump and other elected officials, who have not spoken out in the face of increased Islamophobia.

“All of us should be able to live free from fear of harassment or assault, regardless of where we were born or how we pray. And we each have a responsibility to speak out against such injustice. Today, on the first day of Ramadan, the silence of our nation’s elected leaders is deafening. Portland — and the nation — deserve better.”

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Fourth Circuit Decision: Muslim Ban Remains Unconstitutional

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2017

CONTACT
Hayley Burgess, media@nilc.org, 202-384-1279

Fourth Circuit’s Decision: Muslim Ban Remains Unconstitutional

RICHMOND, VA — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today refusing to lift the nationwide injunction on President Trump’s Muslim and refugee ban. The court’s opinion in International Refugee Assistance Project, et al. v. Donald Trump, et al. affirms the plaintiffs’ right to challenge an executive order and upholds their claims under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The National Immigration Law Center and the ACLU filed this case on behalf of the International Refugee Assistance Project, HIAS, the Middle East Studies Association, and others.

Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The Fourth Circuit’s decision today is yet another resounding indictment and rejection of the Trump administration’s Muslim and refugee ban. While the administration has tried to justify its ban under an unfounded and unclear cloak of national security, the courts continue to call it out for what it is: religious intolerance, racial animus, and discrimination.

“The court’s opinion upholds our most sacred and cherished constitutional principles by again affirming what our founders intended when writing the First Amendment — that our government may not favor or disfavor one religion over another, or establish any one particular religious orthodoxy. Our founders were clear in protecting that fundamental principle more than 200 years ago, and our institutions continue to stand guard to ensure it endures any and every attempt to undermine it.

“While the spotlight today is on the Muslim ban, the truth is that this executive order is just one part of President Trump’s xenophobic agenda. We will continue to fight to ensure that all people — regardless of where they were born, what they earn, or how they pray — can live freely and be treated fairly in this country.”

The decision issued today is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/IRAP-v-Trump-4th-Cir-affirming-and-vacating-2017-05-25.pdf.

More information about IRAP v. Trump is available at www.nilc.org/issues/litigation/irap-v-trump/.

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