Category Archives: October 2019

NILC and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund Welcome New Board Members

October 28, 2019

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.


Senate Letter Challenging Trump “Junk” Insurance Mandate Applauded

October 23, 2019

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.”


Courts Block Trump Public Charge Regulations

October 11, 2019

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.”


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

October 11, 2019

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


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

October 2, 2019

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),, 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 Americans can also contribute to a DACA recipient in need of the $495 renewal fee by visiting


­– 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:


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 “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. 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.”


For more information, visit the Home Is Here website,

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