Category Archives: News Releases

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Batalla Vidal v. McAleenan and Other Legal Challenges to Trump’s Termination of DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019

CONTACT
– Juan Gastelum, National Immigration Law Center, 213-375-3149, [email protected]
– Yatziri Tovar, Make the Road New York, [email protected], 917-771-2818
– Edgar Melgar, Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School, 203-479-2316, [email protected]

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Batalla Vidal v. McAleenan and Other Legal Challenges to Trump’s Termination of DACA

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court today granted the Trump administration’s unusual request to review legal challenges to the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) even before two federal appeals courts have reviewed the cases.

The Court is likely to hear oral arguments in the fall or winter. For now, three U.S. district courts’ orders, which allow current DACA recipients to renew their protections, are still in effect. The Supreme Court did not stay any of the lower court orders when it agreed to hear the cases, which means that DACA recipients can continue to submit renewal applications.

“President Trump has been overt about his unconscionable scheme to throw the future of DACA into uncertainty and use immigrant youth as a bargaining chip to advance an extremist, anti-immigrant agenda,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law center. “His administration has gone so far as to refuse even to consider legislative action to provide relief and has repeatedly blocked bipartisan efforts to enact a permanent solution. This tactic, which is rooted in white nationalism and includes jailing and deporting as many people as possible, militarizing the border, and severely cutting avenues for people to come to the U.S, has already caused immeasurable harm.“

Batalla Vidal v. McAleenan, the first lawsuit that sought to challenge the termination of DACA, was brought by six New York DACA recipients and the advocacy organization 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 (WIRAC) at Yale Law School.

“For seven years, the hugely successful and popular DACA initiative has opened up opportunities and provided a sense of security to hundreds of thousands of eligible immigrant youth, to the benefit of everyone in our communities,” said Edgar Melgar, law student intern in WIRAC at Yale Law School. “We will continue 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, race-driven, and illegal termination of DACA.”

Courts across the country have repeatedly agreed with plaintiffs in their assertion that the Trump administration’s termination of DACA was arbitrary and capricious, with callous disregard for the major disruption this sudden move would cause.

“If the Supreme Court reverses the current injunctions and allows Trump to end DACA, the consequences will be devastating for myself and my family, and I know my story is echoed by hundreds of thousands of people like me across the country,” said Eliana Fernandez, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and member of Make the Road New York. “Trump’s decision to end DACA doesn’t just hurt immigrant youth: our children, our parents, our employers, our schools, and the country as a whole would be worse off if DACA were to disappear.”

“DACA isn’t just morally and legally sound, it’s also broadly supported across the country,” said Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York. “We hope the Supreme Court will agree with the analysis of the lower courts, affirm the injunctions, and uphold the rule of law. Now is the time for justices to do what’s right for the rule of law and our country and reject the Trump administration’s unlawful termination of DACA.”

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NILC Statement Following SCOTUS Decision on Citizenship Question in 2020 Census

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2019

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

NILC Statement Following SCOTUS Decision on Citizenship Question in 2020 Census

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the U.S. district court’s ruling in New York v. United States Department of Commerce, which blocks for now the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. However, the ruling allows the U.S. Department of Commerce to attempt to reinsert the question.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in response to the Court’s decision:

“In an important victory for immigrant communities across the nation, the Supreme Court today issued a rebuke to the Trump administration and its Department of Commerce, blocking it from adding the citizenship question, as previously proposed, to the 2020 census. This decision makes clear that the reasoning behind the agency’s decision was contrived and that the Commerce secretary’s rationale for adding the citizenship question in the first place was deeply flawed, political, and pretextual.

“At the root of placing a citizenship question on the census questionnaire is an effort to discriminate against, disempower, and silence communities of color and immigrant families, which include U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike. The Supreme Court recognized today that the Department of Commerce engaged in a manipulated effort to force this question onto the census, but it does not ensure there will be no similar question in the future. Lower courts must consider the growing evidence of discriminatory intent by those who proposed the question — an intent to weaken the full participation in the census of Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latinx, Black, and other immigrant communities of color.

“Those behind the citizenship question clearly intend to make our communities afraid to complete the census questionnaire for fear of what will happen to them if they do. The result would be an undercount, leading to fewer resources and less power for our growing and diverse communities. We can’t allow this, and we will work to ensure that the government fulfills its obligation to fully count all of us. We must all be counted.”

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Immigrants’ Rights Groups Mobilize Ahead of Potential ICE Raids

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2019

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

Immigrants’ Rights Groups Mobilize Ahead of Potential ICE Raids

LOS ANGELES — Immigrants’ rights groups are mobilizing ahead of potential U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids targeting immigrant families in Los Angeles and across the country this weekend.

Shiu-Ming Cheer, senior staff attorney and field coordinator at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in light of the potential raids:

“Once again, Donald Trump is working to ignite his base by creating terror and fear for immigrant families. These raids serve to terrorize our communities and bolster Trump’s broader agenda of dismantling our immigration system and demonizing immigrants.

“It’s as important as ever for communities to know their rights and to be informed of how to respond to any kind of enforcement activity. Our know-your-rights resources help ensure that immigrants know what to do if they encounter ICE at home or at work: www.nilc.org/know-your-rights/.

“We must stand up to oppose this administration’s fearmongering, including efforts in Congress to allocate more money to ICE, which will only be used for more arbitrary raids that do nothing to improve our immigration system.”

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NILC Supports the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2019

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

NILC Supports the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and 36 cosponsors today introduced a bill, the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act, that would prohibit the use of federal funds to implement the Trump administration’s proposed “public charge” regulation. The bill, H.R. 3222, would create a barrier to the Trump administration’s attempts to vastly expand the number of people who may be deemed ineligible for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) based on their household income, use of certain essential government services, and other criteria.

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

“We proudly support Rep. Chu’s No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act and are encouraged to see leaders in Congress join in on efforts to stop President Trump’s attempts to fundamentally transform our immigration system to favor the wealthy. Like so many of Trump’s hate-driven actions, the proposed public charge regulation is ill-conceived and meant to separate our families and disenfranchise communities of color. We cannot allow a single tax dollar to go toward implementing this regulation, if it is finalized. At the National Immigration Law Center, we will continue to fight alongside our communities on every front — including in the courtroom, if necessary.”

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NILC Statement Following Historic House Passage of Dream and Promise Act

MORE: Read Berenice Gonzalez’s excellent article in The Torch about some reasons why this bill passed the House of Representatives and the work that remains to be done.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2019

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

NILC Statement Following Historic House Passage of Dream and Promise Act

WASHINGTON — In a 237-187 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Dream and Promise Act, legislation that, if enacted, would allow more than 2.5 million immigrant youth, people with TPS, and other immigrants to get on a road to U.S. citizenship. Below is a statement from the National Immigration Law Center’s executive director, Marielena Hincapié, noting the historic nature of this vote.

“The passage of Dream and Promise Act is a testament to the work, commitment, and growing power of immigrant communities and the movement for immigrant justice. This victory, eight years in the making, is more urgent now than ever before.

“This bill includes precedent-setting inclusivity, including a roadmap to U.S. citizenship for 2.5 million immigrant youth and people with temporary protected status or deferred enforced departure, an increase in age caps, stronger judicial protections, and more.

“However, this compromise bill is not perfect. At a time when the country has undergone an evolution with respect to criminal justice reform, this bill includes troubling language that unfairly criminalizes communities of color. Any future legislation must work to ensure that the language is updated to reflect the country’s changing values.

“Despite the regular attacks on immigrants by this administration, NILC and our partners fought to secure and expand measures that provide greater opportunity to them. The passage of this bill sends a message that they are a priority. While the House has answered them with passage of this important bill, the Senate has shown no interest in representing the millions of immigrants in their states. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell should stand up for the 157,336 immigrants in Kentucky who contribute to his state every day by ensuring that the Senate prioritizes its own bill that addresses immigrants.

“NILC has been advocating for the Dream Act since 2001, and we won’t stop until immigrants and their families are able to remain with their loved ones, live freely, and have the tools they need to thrive and fulfill their full human potential.”

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Ahead of House Vote, NILC Urges Lawmakers to Support the Dream and Promise Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2019

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

Ahead of House Vote, NILC Urges Lawmakers to Support the Dream and Promise Act

WASHINGTON — Ahead of the House of Representatives vote on the Dream and Promise Act, the National Immigration Law Center urges lawmakers to support the bill in its current form and to reject any last-minute poison pill amendments designed solely to weaken the bill.

The legislation has some of the most inclusive provisions in years, including a roadmap to U.S. citizenship for more than two million immigrant youth and people with temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED).

Reiterating NILC’s longtime work on this legislation, Legislative Director Avideh Moussavian called on lawmakers to pass the legislation with no changes.

“This is a critical piece of legislation and passing it will send a message of inclusion to the millions who contribute to this country every day. As Trump’s attacks on immigrants occur with inhumane regularity, this bill provides a reminder that our community is strong, powerful, and resilient.

“While there are many aspects of the bill to celebrate, it isn’t perfect. At a time when both sides of the political aisle are engaging in courageous conversations about reforming our dysfunctional criminal justice system, it is particularly disheartening to see provisions that further criminalize immigrant communities in ways that fly in the face of our values of due process and fairness. We are committed to the long-term work of building stronger alliances with our criminal and juvenile justice partners to fight these harmful narratives and policies.

“As lawmakers prepare to vote on this historic bill, they must consider how such legislation, if enacted, would benefit their own districts. Immigrants are part of the fabric of every community across America, and legislation such as the Dream and Promise Act brings us closer to recognizing this reality. The Trump administration threw millions of long-term immigrant residents into limbo when he cruelly and unlawfully ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), TPS, and DED. This bill provides practical and long-overdue solutions. Lawmakers should support this bill without further changes and ensure greater opportunity and a stronger future for our communities and for our country.”

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Latest Trump Attack on Immigrant Families Is Reckless, Dangerous, Advocates Say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2019

CONTACT
National Immigration Law Center: Hayley Burgess (202-805-0375), [email protected]
Center for Law and Social Policy: Tom Salyers (202-906-8002), [email protected]

Latest Trump Attack on Immigrant Families Is Reckless, Dangerous, Advocates Say

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump this afternoon signed a memorandum ordering federal agencies to expand attacks on immigrants and their family members by targeting the U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who sponsor their relatives when they immigrate. The announcement, which directs agencies to develop policies within 90 or 180 days, will intimidate sponsors from reuniting with their family members and will deter lawfully admitted immigrants from securing services for which they are eligible.

The order comes on the heels of a series of attacks that would put immigration status at risk if families use public programs such as Medicaid or nutrition assistance. The memo released today targets the same immigrant communities but magnifies the assault by directing agencies to develop plans to sue the sponsors of immigrants who use certain public programs.

Immigrants who have sponsors already face multiple barriers to receiving services. This directive undermines individual and public health by increasing these barriers and chilling access to services.

The co-chairs of the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign reacted this afternoon by releasing the following statement by Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, and Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy:

“Trump will do anything to send immigrant families the message that if you’re not white and wealthy, you’re not welcome — or even safe — here. And he doesn’t care that children and entire families will be harmed in the process. This is the latest in a string of desperate, dangerous attacks on our neighbors, our friends, our classmates, our families, and the communities they call home. We’re committed to fighting these anti-family attacks on every front. We urge leaders in Congress to take a stand against this administration’s brutal, reckless, dangerous, inhumane agenda.”

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NILC Statement Following Dream and Promise Act Markup

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2019

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

NILC Statement Following Dream and Promise Act Markup

WASHINGTON — Following the House Judiciary Committee’s markup of the Dream and Promise Act, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“This is a good day. In the midst of so much pain and trauma caused by the Trump administration, the House Judiciary Committee has taken an important leap forward to show us a more inclusive vision for our country. The Dream and Promise Act would bring long-overdue stability to millions of immigrants, including recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other immigrant youth, as well as to people with temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED).

“And we’re equally pleased to see that those who tried to derail this important effort were seen for what they are: fearmongers who prefer to demonize immigrants rather than recognize our humanity and how inextricably linked we are to communities across the country.

“The Dream and Promise Act is the most encouraging step we’ve seen Congress take in years to provide permanent relief for community members who have had their futures placed in limbo by the Trump administration’s cruel actions to end DACA and TPS for so many.

“The timing of this legislation couldn’t be more relevant. With more than 100,000 DACA-eligible students graduating high school this year and looking to start the next chapter of their lives, we are reminded of how critical it is for Congress to act swiftly to pass bipartisan legislation — without harmful trade-offs — that will allow these young people to continue to contribute to the country they know as home.

“This bill is not perfect. It contains problematic measures that undermine fundamental principles of fairness embedded in our legal system and further narratives that only serve to criminalize communities of color. We are committed to building stronger alliances with our criminal justice reform allies so that one day soon we will dismantle this criminalization framework that scapegoats people of color, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Nevertheless, we urge the House of Representatives to pass this much-needed solution and send a message to the country that the immigrants who would be eligible for relief under the Dream and Promise Act belong here. This is their country too, and their families, communities, and our country will benefit greatly from their being able to remain here. The House must pass this legislation  without delay.”

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Dream & Promise Act Most Inclusive Dream Legislation in Decades

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2019

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

Dream & Promise Act Most Inclusive Dream Legislation in Decades

WASHINGTON — Ahead of the House Judiciary Committee markup of the Dream and Promise Act — introduced by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) — there is growing praise for the legislation. The legislation includes a permanent road to U.S. citizenship for immigrant youth, including recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and individuals with temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED); an increase in age limits to ensure protections go beyond young people, but also to people who’ve been in the country for decades; and strong due process protections and judicial review.

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

“The first two years of the Trump administration have been marked by chaos and a complete decimation of long-standing pillars of our legal immigration framework. Immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED primarily from African and Central American countries were among those most directly impacted when the administration unlawfully attempted to end these programs, leaving millions in legal limbo after doing everything the government has asked of them.

“The Dream and Promise Act, as introduced, is more than a solution: it’s a blueprint for an inclusive, positive vision for the country that rightly recognizes immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED as integral members of our families, communities, and society. Those who will benefit from this legislation call this country home. It’s where they go to school, raise their children, run their small businesses, and are building their careers and purchasing homes.

“Though this legislation represents a progressive step forward, we also know it falls short of our vision for truly inclusive change in important ways. We have deep concerns about provisions added after its introduction that conflict with long-standing criminal justice reform efforts aimed at combating racial profiling and criminalization of youth of color. Specifically, the proposed legislation leaves people’s futures potentially subject to error-ridden databases that purport to track alleged gang members. These provisions are wasteful and contrary to the direction we have taken as a nation toward much-needed reform of our criminal justice system. Immigrants must not be left out of this conversation, and Democrats should not perpetuate a criminal narrative that harms so many communities of color across the country.

“Notwithstanding these serious concerns, we recognize that House leadership is presenting substantive policy proposals that address some of the largest immigration issues we face and are in strong contrast to the president’s punitive, cruel, and unlawful policies that serve solely to terrorize and separate millions of immigrant families. It is crucial that, as the bill moves forward, no further changes are made that threaten to undermine the inclusive vision we are fighting for.

“The Dream and Promise Act is a strong first step toward creating an immigration system that is in line with our 21st century needs. Members of Congress should use the markup process as an opportunity to discuss expanding opportunities for all of us to thrive. We will continue to fight in the halls of Congress and alongside our communities for a day in which all of us, regardless of country of birth or income, belong in this country we call home.”

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In White House Address, Trump Proposes Rigging Immigration System in Favor of the Wealthy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2019

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

In White House Address, Trump Proposes Rigging Immigration System in Favor of the Wealthy

WASHINGTON — In an address at the White House Rose Garden today, President Trump outlined a sweeping immigration plan that would drastically impact family-based immigration. The proposal, known to have been drafted by Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller, would starkly alter decades of U.S. immigration policy by favoring immigrants with higher incomes and advanced academic achievement over families seeking to reunite with their loved ones.

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

“From the first day of his presidential candidacy, Trump has made it clear that his anti-immigrant sentiments would shape his administration. Through every one of his immigration policy changes, Trump, together with Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, is seeking to radically redefine who is worthy of being an American and what we look like as a nation. This latest announcement is part and parcel of the same strategy. This sweeping proposed change to our country’s immigration system is based not in values, but in white nationalism and an elitist belief that this country is only for the wealthy. This is not a serious policy proposal, but rather another attack on immigrant families and an effort to shape the narrative to rally his base.

“Actions speak louder than words. Behind the Rose Garden podium and beneath all the tweets, the Trump administration has been systematically dismantling our legal immigration and refugee system, bit by bit. The theatrics at the Rose Garden obfuscate the reality that this administration’s radical shift to a ‘merit-based’ system is already underway through regulatory changes that are an end-run around Congress. The biggest blow is coming shortly: a devastating wealth-test regulation targeting lawfully residing immigrant families who seek care for themselves and their children, effectively telling all but the wealthiest few that they are not welcome here.

“We at the National Immigration Law Center will continue to advocate and litigate, and also educate policymakers and our communities to prevent the worst atrocities from taking place, but the damage to immigrant communities is already being done. The Trump administration is already taking a regulatory buzz saw to our nation’s legal immigration system, and it will devastate millions of families for years to come.”

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