Category Archives: News Releases

Trump Refuses to Listen to Taxpayers, Congress and Declares State of Emergency on Manufactured Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2019

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

Trump Refuses to Listen to Taxpayers, Congress and Declares State of Emergency on Manufactured Crisis

WASHINGTON — Shortly after signing a federal spending package that includes billions of dollars for additional border militarization and ramped-up immigration enforcement, and following the longest partial government shutdown in history, President Trump today declared a state of emergency in a desperate attempt to subvert Congress and secure funding for his border wall project.

Kamal Essaheb, director of policy and advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“By declaring a national emergency, President Trump is once again taking unilateral action with a complete disregard for the real issues facing this country. Trump’s decision to do an end-around on Congress and steal taxpayer dollars is an egregious abuse of power and yet another display of hostility toward our Constitution and our democracy, further compromising the dignity of his office.

“It’s abundantly clear that for Trump this is all about the politics of fear. He shows contemptuous disregard for the institutional toll his actions take and refuses to listen to taxpayers, elected leaders in Congress, or voters whose land and livelihoods are at stake about the destructive harms of militarization and mass surveillance of our borders.

“Senator McConnell and Republican leaders are complicit. They cannot sit idly by as Trump slams his fists during negotiations and makes gratuitous speeches to amplify his message of hate and fearmongering. We deserve better, and we are counting on Congress to reject Trump’s declaration and demand solutions that work for all of us.”

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The Latest Homeland Security Funding “Deal” Hurts Us All

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2018

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

The Latest Homeland Security Funding “Deal” Hurts Us All

WASHINGTON — With the threat of another partial government shutdown looming, a bicameral congressional conference committee released a proposal late last night to fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the remainder of this fiscal year. The proposal includes numerous harmful provisions: $1.375 billion for more border militarization and surveillance, a 12 percent increase in the number of people in immigration jails, and no restrictions to rein in a long track record of abuse and overspending by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Lawmakers are expected to vote before the end of this week in order to avert another shutdown.

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

“President Trump has now repeatedly presented members of Congress and the country with a false choice between paychecks for nearly a million federal workers and the public’s access to basic services or a blank check for his administration to inflict harm on our immigrant and border communities. It’s clear that there are no real winners in this scenario and that Democrats need to stand up to this extortionist style of governing.

“In immigration law, details matter. Unfortunately, negotiators seem to have overlooked the details that would devastate immigrant communities by increasing the number of jail beds for immigrants and essentially handing ICE and CBP — two agencies known for their disregard for compassion or the Constitution — free rein to further terrorize immigrant communities.

“Our nation’s economy and millions of families were devastated when President Trump threw our country into the longest government shutdown in history, and too many families are still suffering the consequences. For immigrant families, this funding proposal will only compound their suffering  by rewarding ICE and CBP with more resources to terrorize, cage, deport, and deny due process to more people who are longstanding members of our communities or have come here seeking safety and a better future. Elected leaders in Congress, especially those who call themselves champions of immigrant communities and good governance, must hold these agencies accountable.

“Voters across the country rejected the politics of hate and fear last November. They sent a clear message demanding accountability, transparency, and good governance. Nowhere is this change more sorely needed  than within the Department of Homeland Security. We will continue working to hold these agencies accountable and toward a more humane and just immigration system.”

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Barr Will Continue Sessions’s Anti-Immigrant Agenda in Justice Department

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2019

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

Barr Will Continue Sessions’s Anti-Immigrant Agenda in Justice Department

WASHINGTON — Following a series of hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved the nomination of William Barr to be U.S. attorney general. The full Senate vote to confirm him is expected today, despite warnings and outcry from several prominent civil rights and social justice groups.

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

“Jeff Sessions’s tenure as U.S. attorney general is a stain on this country’s moral record. During his time in office, our government callously terminated the path to U.S. citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people who have lived here for most of their lives, stole children from their parents at the border and detained them indefinitely, made it nearly impossible for people fearing for their lives to exercise their legal right to apply for asylum, and preached hatred and fear over justice and dignity.

“William Barr, his likely successor, has made it clear that he not only condones Sessions’s shameful legacy of demonizing and cruelly targeting low-income immigrants and people of color in this country, but he will work to further it.

“Barr’s testimony offered in plain view what is clear from his prior public statements and his record at the Justice Department: His views of justice are deeply rooted in racism, a reckless disregard for facts and honesty, and a willingness to squander the rights of those not afforded the financial or social privileges to stand up to an unfair justice system. He has expressed support for Trump’s border wall and Muslim ban, for punishing localities and states that reject a mass deportation agenda, and for weaponizing the 2020 census to target immigrants as well as cast doubt on the constitutional right of birthright citizenship.

“We need a sharp course correction, not a promise of more of the same. Those serving in our country’s highest offices — and especially those tasked with overseeing our justice system — must demonstrate a commitment to preserving the civil rights, justice, and dignity of all who call this country home.”

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Groups File FOIA Request to Demand Transparency on Implementation of “Remain in Mexico” Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2019

CONTACT
NILC: Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375
Asylum Access: Lisa D’Annunzio, [email protected], 909-215-1639
Immigrant Defenders Law Center: Lindsay Toczylowski, [email protected], 213-534-7181

Groups File FOIA Request to Demand Transparency on Implementation of “Remain in Mexico” Policy

WASHINGTON — Advocacy groups are seeking information regarding the Trump administration’s recent changes to the asylum process at the southern border, which have been outlined only in vague terms so far but promise to significantly change the process as we know it. Asylum Access and Immigrant Defenders Law Center, represented by the National Immigration Law Center, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request this week to demand transparency from the U.S. and Mexican governments on the “Remain in Mexico” policy and other key changes to the asylum-seeking process recently announced by the Trump administration.

“U.S. government agencies must be held accountable for their actions. To this day, children are still in the process of being reunited with their parents, there have been multiple deaths in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, and there has been a dearth of information about the impact and implementation of the newly introduced ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy,” said Josh Rosenthal, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “The government has a responsibility to be clear and open about how they plan to implement these new changes to the asylum-seeking process, and we will demand that it be held accountable.”

Under this drastic new policy, asylum-seekers allegedly will be forced to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are being considered by the U.S. government. Until this recent change, people seeking asylum would await their court date in the U.S., but the Trump administration has indicated that under the “Remain” policy, it will force such people to wait in Mexico until they are summoned to their court hearing. Neither the U.S. nor Mexican government has been clear about the implementation plan, although it has already gone into effect.

“Both the U.S. and Mexican governments have a responsibility to be clear and straightforward about their involvement in the implementation of new policies and regulations about seeking asylum at the southern border,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center. “The process of sending asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their applications to be processed requires coordination with the Mexican government, which has acquiesced to unreasonable demands from U.S. agencies and officials. We have a right to understand the details of an agreement that is putting people’s lives at risk.”

“This is part of a broader effort to discourage people from seeking asylum and is undermining their ability to do so. This is immoral and goes against not only international law, but is in stark contrast to who we aspire to be as a nation,” said Diana Essex-Lettieri, deputy director of Asylum Access. “We believe it is critically important that the U.S. provide safe haven to those who need it. Some refugees will not be safe in Mexico, or will not be able to rebuild their lives effectively there. The U.S. must comply fully with its own obligations to provide full and fair asylum proceedings. We will continue to fight for the right to seek asylum for all refugees, including all those who seek refuge in the U.S.”

The FOIA request seeks documents related to the coordination between the U.S. and Mexican governments for the purpose of metering, waitlisting, vetting, impeding, and/or preventing asylum-seekers from accessing ports of entry at the U.S.’s southern border, as well as documents related to the processing and detention of asylum applicants who present themselves at southern border ports of entry.

The FOIA request is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/AA-ImmDef-FOIA-Request-2019-02-05.pdf.

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Marco Villada, Dreamer Once Stranded in Mexico, to Attend State of the Union Address

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2019

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

Marco Villada, Dreamer Once Stranded in Mexico, to Attend State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON — Marco Villada, a former DACA recipient whose life was turned upside down by an injustice that separated him from his husband and left him stranded in Mexico for half a year, will attend the State of the Union Address on Tuesday as a guest of Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46).

“My husband, Israel, and I are grateful for the opportunity to show decision-makers and the country that, despite attempts by some people in power to dehumanize, vilify and harm our immigrant communities, we are undeniably a part of the fabric of this country,” Villada said.

Villada, who grew up and lives in California, traveled to Mexico for a consular interview as part of the process of applying for lawful permanent residence after marrying Israel Serrato, a U.S. citizen. Once he arrived there, his application was wrongfully denied, and he was barred from reentering the U.S.

Villada and Serrato — represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Mayer Brown LLP, and the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin — sued the Trump administration. After the legal action and broad public support, including from groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, the government reversed its decision. Marco was allowed to return home, but not before he and his husband lost their home and their savings, and missed out on precious time together.

“Marco and Israel are pillars of our community here in Los Angeles, and their struggle demonstrated what we all know to be true: that our current immigration policies hurt all of us,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Thousands were inspired by their fight to be reunited, and thousands more cheered when Marco was allowed to come back home. We were so proud to stand with them in their fight to be reunited as a family, and we know they will carry their message of dignity all the way to Washington.”

Villada will be among more than a dozen guests at the State of the Union impacted by the Trump administration’s xenophobic and anti-immigrant policies. They include Shaima Swileh, a Yemeni mother who nearly missed her sick child’s last days due Trump’s Muslim ban. Swileh was granted an elusive waiver, but only after enormous public pressure. Her husband Ali Hassan, a U.S. citizen, will also attend the State of the Union.

Dreamers, people with TPS, refugees, and mothers impacted by President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy will also be present to give voice to the millions who have been impacted by Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

“We hope our experience offers hope to all those who are feeling the toll of our unjust immigration policies and the current political climate,” Serrato said. “Our communities are strong and resilient. And, as our story shows, even when there’s a lot of hurt, there can be a happy ending.”

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President Trump Accepts Short-Term Bill to Reopen Government Without Border Wall Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2019

CONTACT
[email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

President Trump Accepts Short-Term Bill to Reopen Government Without Border Wall Funding

WASHINGTON — More than one month into a White House–driven government shutdown — by far the longest in U.S. history — President Trump announced today that he would finally agree to a bill to temporarily reopen the government and pay government workers. This temporary agreement between the White House and congressional leaders will finally reopen the government for three more weeks while Trump continues his exploitative demands for a racist border wall.

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

“Careening from crisis to crisis is no way for our leaders to govern. We already waste tens of billions of dollars detaining and deporting immigrant families. We don’t need more money for Trump’s vanity projects or to address fictional scare tactics dreamed up by Stephen Miller.

“The major damage — to federal workers, our economy, access to essential services, and our nation’s stability — of the Trump-inflicted shutdown is temporarily over. In today’s announcement, Trump repeated his ultimatum to invoke a legally dubious ‘national emergency’ to build a wall, making it clear that Trump continues to prioritize threats over good-faith negotiations and that he does not value the well-being of federal workers or those who rely on their service. Trump hasn’t opened a negotiation process, he’s perpetuated a hostage situation.

“It has been clear from day one that Trump is committed to inflicting harm on immigrant communities, and this past month he showed the country just how far he’s willing to go to get what he wants. Elected leaders in Congress must stand up to and stop enabling these fear-mongering and dangerous tactics. Our legislative branch has the power of the purse, not Trump. We call on Congress to look at what’s in the best interest of the nation, rather than looking to appease the political whims of the White House. And we remind our members of Congress and our communities that when we remain committed to our values, we are stronger.”

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Supreme Court Declines to Take Up DACA Cases This Term

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2019

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

Supreme Court Declines to Take Up DACA Cases This Term

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected the Trump administration’s attempts to rush a review of legal challenges to the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, this spring. The Court will meet again on February 15 to discuss the possibility of hearing the cases later this year.

For now, three federal district courts’ orders allowing DACA recipients to submit renewal applications remain in effect. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen, the first lawsuit that challenged the termination of DACA, on Friday, Jan. 25.

Batalla Vidal
was brought by six New York DACA recipients and Make the Road New York. They are represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Make the Road New York, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

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

“The Supreme Court’s decision not to engage Trump’s attempt to sidestep the judicial process and use the courts to do his dirty work is welcome news for DACA recipients, their families, employers, and the country as a whole. The Court’s rejection of the Trump administration’s political games means that DACA recipients can continue to submit renewal applications as several legal challenges to President Trump’s cruel and reckless termination of DACA move forward.

“By all accounts, DACA has been hugely successful and transformative for immigrant youth who simply aspire to be recognized by the country they have called home since they were children. We at the National Immigration Law Center remain committed to vigorously defend DACA alongside the many courageous young people and organizations — including our plaintiffs Martín Batalla Vidal, Antonio Alarcon, Eliana Fernandez, Carolina Fung Feng, Mariano Mondragon, Carlos Vargas, and Make the Road New York — who are fighting back against Trump’s cruel, reckless, and race-driven attack on immigrants.

“We will continue fighting on all fronts: in the courts, Congress, and at the state and local levels so that DACA recipients can remain with their loved ones, thrive, and contribute to their adopted country.”

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Trump’s So-called “Deal” to End the Shutdown Is a List of Hostage Demands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2019

CONTACT
Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-805-0375

Trump’s So-called “Deal” to End the Shutdown Is a List of Hostage Demands

WASHINGTON — In a televised speech from the White House today — a month into a partial government shutdown — President Trump proposed a one-sided “deal” to reopen the government in exchange for $5.7 billion in taxpayer dollars for a border wall, further border militarization, and decimating protections for asylum-seekers and trafficking survivors. Trump’s proposal attempts to justify these xenophobic, harmful demands by offering grossly inadequate and temporary protections for long-term residents, including DACA youth and those with temporary protected status (TPS), whose protections he took away.

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

“Trump is the chief architect of what has become the longest shutdown in modern history — which his enablers in Congress have allowed the administration to prolong. He is also similarly responsible for terminating DACA and TPS and for trampling on the rights of people coming to the U.S. in search of safety. Instead of reopening the government, he is rehashing nonstarter proposals to once again torpedo every good-faith effort to fix the very harms he created in service of his racist, xenophobic agenda. To blindly trust that this isn’t just another attempt to hurt our immigrant and border communities would be foolish.

“The Trump administration has taken immigrant youth and other immigrant communities, our government, and the financial well-being of 800,000 federal workers hostage to his demands. We should call this so-called ‘deal’ what it really is: an extortionist wishlist dressed up to look like an offer. It’s past time for Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to stop playing games with people’s lives and reopen the government now.”

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A Dangerous Trumper Tantrum: NILC Responds to Latest Trump Asylum Changes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2018

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

A Dangerous Trumper Tantrum

NILC responds to latest Trump asylum changes

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced a policy change that will force people seeking asylum at the southwest border to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated.

Kamal Essaheb, policy and advocacy director at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“This latest attack in Trump’s war on the asylum process is a shameful abdication of our nation’s moral and legal obligation to provide an orderly process for people to seek safety in the U.S. The announcement this morning — in the midst of budget negotiations in which Trump has tried desperately to coerce money for his unpopular, wasteful wall — makes clear that this is just another Trumper tantrum, with serious long-term consequences.

“The American people want solutions that treat people with dignity and compassion, not dangerous policies that create more barriers for people in vulnerable situations and complicate an already fraught process. We must put an end to the culture of cruelty at the border.”

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Following Death of 7-Year-Old, a Call to End Culture of Cruelty at the Border

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2018

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

Following Death of 7-Year-Old, a Call to End Culture of Cruelty at the Border

LOS ANGELES — Below is a statement by Nora Preciado, senior staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, following the tragic death of a 7-year-old girl in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. Preciado is co-counsel in Doe v. Nielsen, a class-action lawsuit filed by the National Immigration Law Center, the American Immigration Council, the ACLU of Arizona, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Morrison & Foerster LLP, challenging deplorable conditions in Border Patrol holding facilities in the Tucson Sector.

“The death of 7-year-old Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin is a tragic reminder of a longstanding pattern of systemic cruelty and secrecy at CBP and its parent agency, DHS, and underscores the stark need for greater transparency and accountability at these agencies. As we mourn and demand justice for Jakelin and her loved ones, we must also take meaningful steps to prevent anything like this from happening again.

“Direct accounts over years from people in CBP custody and hard evidence obtained through litigation reveal a culture of utter disregard for human life at the agency. This toxic environment has resulted in civil and human rights violations, physical and psychological harm, and numerous preventable deaths.

“In June 2015, we sued CBP to demand humane conditions for those jailed in Border Patrol holding facilities known as hieleras. We demanded medical screenings, adequate food and water, and other basic necessities. The lawsuit continues, but we shouldn’t have to sue our government to force it to abide by our laws and treat people with dignity.

“Sadly, the culture of cruelty at CBP has only worsened under the Trump administration. By DHS’s own account, Jakelin and dozens of people apprehended by CBP at the same time were kept for hours in a ‘covered area’ before being transported to a Border Patrol station and before she received medical care. Overnight temperatures in the region can fall to below freezing this time of year.

“Our tax dollars have paid for this culture of abuse for far too long. We demand that Congress investigate the atrocities being committed under President Trump’s watch.”

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