Category Archives: October 2015

North Carolina Anti-Immigrant Bill Becomes Law

October 28, 2015

Adela de la Torre, 202-384-1275, [email protected]

Despite Recommendations from Law Enforcement Leaders, North Carolina Anti-Immigrant Bill Becomes Law

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Despite vocal opposition from local law enforcement leaders, elected officials, and community advocates, Gov. Pat McCrory today signed HB 318 into law. The bill, which attacks attempts to improve trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities and restricts an immigrants’ ability to identify him or herself, could have major unintended consequences for many North Carolinians, according to recent news reports. The bill also limits access to SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps) for certain childless adults. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“At a time when communities’ trust in law enforcement severely strained, it is troubling that North Carolina has enacted a law that will further undermine North Carolinians’ trust. Though the legislature may claim otherwise, this bill is a direct attack on immigrant communities and on those struggling to make ends meet, at great cost to all North Carolinians. Community and law enforcement leaders from Charlotte to Guilford County have pointed out that this measure could hurt public safety and threaten civil rights, but their warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

“These sorts of attacks are nothing new, and opposition — especially from those charged with protecting our public safety — is unequivocal: A recent federal attempt to stop community trust policies drew fire from police chiefs, mayors, and many others who know that we’re all safer if immigrants and their families feel safe to work with police to prevent and solve crime. Furthermore, limiting ways in which a person can identify her or himself could effectively bar immigrants from accessing essential services, including obtaining a marriage license or child’s birth certificate, utilities, and potentially even school enrollment.

“North Carolina, much like the rest of our nation, is at a crossroads: We can continue to ostracize and criminalize vital members of our communities, or we can work together to come up with inclusive policies that make us all safer, healthier, and better able to use essential services when needed. We – along with those elected to represent us – must move past the hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric that spurs legally questionable legislation and instead get to work on solutions that move our communities forward together.”

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Vote on Anti-Immigrant Bill Fast-Tracked

October 20, 2015

Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, [email protected]

Senate Fast-Tracks Vote on Extreme, Anti-Immigrant Bill Opposed by Law Enforcement, Mayors, Anti–Domestic Violence Advocates

WASHINGTON — After skipping committee debate on a controversial bill, the full Senate is scheduled to vote today on legislation that gambles away community safety and sound policy for the sake of replaying the anti-immigrant political card. The bill, S. 2146, authored by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), targets local law enforcement agencies that have instituted successful “community trust” programs that improve relationships with immigrants. It would punish them by stripping away federal grants used by cities and states to house seniors and provide services to low-income communities, as well as Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding that funds law enforcement personnel and other costs.

With more than 350 cities and local jurisdictions potentially being impacted by the legislation, a broad coalition has come together to oppose this extreme measure. The following is a statement by National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié:

“Cities across the country should do whatever they can to restore or maintain trust between residents and local law enforcement, and congressional conservatives shouldn’t get in their way. This legislation would devastate community safety by making immigrants even more fearful of reporting crimes or serving as witnesses to help police solve crimes.

“Under the proposal by Sen. Vitter, communities would be forced to choose between building trust with immigrants or maintaining grants for programs that help low- and moderate-income families and seniors.

“The faith community, advocates of survivors of domestic violence, law enforcement leaders, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, and theCommunity Development Block Grant Coalition all oppose this extreme measure for good reason.

“Before they vote, senators should remember it is wrong to play with the lives of real people, that they should not be used as chips in the political game of anti-immigrant politics.

“We urge the Senate to reject S. 2146.”

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Senate Rejects Misguided Anti-Immigrant Bill

October 20, 2015

Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, [email protected]

Senate Rejects Misguided Anti-Immigrant Bill Opposed by Broad Coalition of Mayors, Police Chiefs, and Crime-Victim Advocates

WASHINGTON — The Senate today rejected a punitive bill that would have stripped law enforcement funding and grants for low-income housing from jurisdictions— over 350 of them—that have “community trust” programs aimed at making immigrants and other residents feel safe coming forward to report and help investigate crimes. The final vote was 45-54.

The bill, S. 2145, by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), threatened to cut off federal grants used by cities and states to fund community services and housing for seniors and low-income residents. It also would have denied Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding to certain law enforcement agencies.

The following is a statement by National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié:

“Once again, conservatives in Congress today tried to score cheap political points by scapegoating immigrants. This latest effort aimed to bully hundreds of cities and counties into choosing between either dropping community trust policies or losing funding for their low-income residents and seniors.

“The bill did not attempt to fix our immigration system. It simply would have penalized the very jurisdictions that have recognized immigrants as vital components of their communities and treated them as such.

“This was cynical politics at their worst. The Senate was right to stop this bill.”

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States Take Steps to Improve Life for All Residents

October 12, 2015

Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, [email protected]

As Washington is Mired in Partisan Bickering, California and Other States Take Steps toward Policies to Improve Life for All Residents

LOS ANGELES — California Governor Jerry Brown marked the end of the 2015 legislative session by approving a series of bills designed to create a more inclusive health care system, improve our criminal justice system, make the workplace fairer, and protect civil rights for all Californians. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the Los Angeles–based National Immigration Law Center:

“One need only look at the California legislature to be reminded that policy, especially when it affects the lives of working families, matters. Immigrant youth in the Golden State will soon have access to crucial health coverage, regardless of their immigration status. All workers—regardless of their status or the color of their skin—will enjoy new protections against wage theft. And all Californians will be better protected from the harmful effects of racial profiling.

“These are just a few of the commonsense policies that will have a profound impact on our workplaces and make our communities healthier. There is, however, much left to be done. While California’s children may no longer be denied health coverage unjustly, immigrant parents continue to live one accident or illness away from total financial devastation.

“Californians have long advocated for an inclusive state that values the contributions of all its residents. This year’s legislative session took us several steps closer to the fulfilment of this important vision. We look forward to continuing to work with advocates and policymakers across the country to enact state and local policies that improve the lives of our community members on a daily basis.”

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More information about California’s expansion of access to health care is available

Battle Against SB 1070 Continues

October 5, 2015

Elizabeth Beresford, NILC, [email protected], 917-648-0189
Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona, [email protected], 602-492-8540
Larry Gonzales, MALDEF, [email protected], 202-309-2182

Civil Rights Coalition Continues Battle Against Arizona’s Nativist Law, SB 1070

PHOENIX — Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s SB 1070,Valle del Sol v. Whiting, announced Monday that they will appeal part of the trial court’s summary judgment decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“While many aspects of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law have been dismantled over the course of a 5-year legal battle, the most recent district court ruling left some of the law’s most shameful and discriminatory provisions intact,” said Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), plaintiffs’ counsel in the suit. “We are confident that ruling will be overturned on appeal and will work alongside our courageous plaintiffs to move Arizona towards policies that are inclusive and humane—not fueled by hatred and racial animus.”

“Through this litigation, we have eliminated all the criminal provisions of SB 1070. As a result, Arizona is a safer place for people of color than it was when this law passed five years ago,” said Jorge Castillo, staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which also represents the plaintiffs. “The appeal we file today will help to finish the job against a law that was a mistake from its inception.”

“All Arizonans, regardless of what they look like or language they speak, should be treated equally under the law,” said Salvador Reza, a representative of organizational plaintiff Tonatierra Community Development Institute. “No law based on discrimination and racial profiling should stand.”

“All communities—Asian, Latino, African-American—must unite to bring down this hateful law once and for all,” said plaintiff Jim Shee. “This appeal is another important step for people across the state to show that they will not stand for intolerance and hate.”

“SB 1070 was modeled on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s divisive, race-motivated policies,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, which also represents the plaintiffs. “Sheriff Arpaio’s practice of profiling Latinos was ruled unconstitutional years ago and Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ law is no different. SB 1070 inevitably leads to unconstitutional racial profiling and unreasonable seizures by police. Despite Gov. Ducey’s overtures to re-brand the state as an inclusive place, his continued defense of SB 1070 serves as a constant reminder that Arizona sanctions race-based policing.”

In September, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued an order permanently blocking SB 1070’s punitive and unconstitutional provisions that aimed to suppress the free speech rights of the day laborers who live and work in Arizona. Judge Bolton, however, let stand two of the laws most harmful provisions, Section 2(B), which requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain or arrest if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person … is unlawfully present in the United States,” and Section 2(D), which authorizes police to transfer people to the custody of federal immigration officials.

In addition to Tonatierra and Shee, plaintiffs in the case include labor unions, community organizations, chambers of commerce and individuals.

In addition to the ACLU of Arizona, MALDEF, and NILC, plaintiffs’ counsel team includes the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Los Angeles, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Ortega Law Firm P.C., Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and Altshuler Berzon LLP.