The Torch

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The National Immigration Law Center’s blog.

Vote Today on Court Nominee Who Disregards Rights of the Most Vulnerable
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Gaining a seat on the Court confers a lifetime duty to uphold the rights and values of our democracy, including the responsibility to protect the rights of everyone living in the United States. Kavanaugh’s judicial record shows a disregard for the rights of women, workers, and immigrants that will be dangerous for families all across our country. (September 13, 2018)

Government Vacuuming Up Information on Immigrants and Citizens
In the service of its immigrant surveillance and deportation machine, the Trump administration is vacuuming up vast amounts of unfiltered information about immigrants and U.S. citizens. Among the ways information is being collected are “visa lifecycle vetting,” tracking of social media and and other Internet use, relying on commercial database aggregators, creating a giant information database, and using automated license plate readers. (August 22, 2018)

Questions Remain Weeks After Failure to Reunite Children and Parents
President Trump’s family separation policy has harmed about 2,500 migrant children over the past several months, and serious questions remain about how the administration is treating immigrant families once they are reunited. To get answers, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request last month on behalf of an organization that represents several families who’ve experienced the inhumane consequences of the Trump administration’s family separation policies. (August 14, 2018)

Should I renew my DACA now?
Why has there been an uptick in chatter about renewing DACA now? Some experts think it’s possible that USCIS could stop accepting DACA renewal applications as early as the end of August. Depending on what happens in the courts, the option to renew may remain indefinitely or may be modified or eliminated by the courts’ decisions. You will need to decide whether it makes sense for you to apply for DACA renewal now. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision.  (August 7, 2018)

Where Are the Children? Not in Trump’s Priorities
The climate of fear, the separation and detention of families, and the uncertainty of the future compels every American to ask, “Where are the children?” in the Trump administration’s priorities. Children in immigrant families are enduring toxic stress, anxiety, and other longstanding negative health impacts due to unjust policies that separate families, traumatize children, and go against American values of protecting children. (June 26, 2018)

Untangling Trump’s Mass Deportation Agenda
By terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, rescinding temporary protected status for people from certain countries, issuing the Muslim ban, and banning certain refugees, the current administration has made clear that its agenda is to bar entry of immigrants and deport both documented and undocumented individuals. Our immigration struggles are linked to this larger agenda of exclusion and expulsion. (June 15, 2018)

What to Look for in Any “DACA Solution”
It’s critically important to carefully read and evaluate any proposed “DACA solution” bill. The public messaging about it may be focused on “protecting DACA and immigrant youth,” but we must look at the entire bill and understand any potential harm it may have on immigrant communities and broader communities of color. It’s usually the case that, until you read a bill section by section, you can’t really tell what its real purpose is, regardless of its title. (June 14, 2018)

What Does the Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling Mean for Immigrant Communities?
Several commentators have noted similarities between the “official expressions of hostility” to religious beliefs in this case and the anti-Muslim comments made by President Trump in relation to his Muslim ban executive orders. It remains to be seen whether the Court will take Trump’s comments as seriously, while it considers the constitutionality of the administration’s Muslim ban in the Trump v. Hawaii case. (June 5, 2018)

The Promise of America?
Yes, we are being threatened in bold ways, and our communities are under constant assault. But this hasn’t happened spontaneously. In fact, this is the reality of America for far too many of its citizens and residents. So we do what we have always done in this country. We resist. We continue to educate and politicize our people and allies, we organize, and we build a more connected and accountable multiracial movement. (May 8, 2018)

3 Important Points to Know about Texas’s DACA Lawsuit
On May 1, 2018, Texas and six other states filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Naturally, Texas’s latest lawsuit has created confusion and concerns about what it means for immigrant youth and the fight to protect immigrant families across the country. Here are three important points to know about the Texas lawsuit. (May 4, 2018)

Government’s Supreme Court Argument Tries to Divorce from Trump’s Own Words and Record His Ban on Travel from Muslim-majority Countries
Throughout its argument before the Supreme Court today, the government took pains to distance Trump’s ban not only from its predecessor executive orders, but also from President Trump and the many anti-Muslim statements he has made throughout his candidacy and presidency. (Apr. 25, 2018)

Trump’s Ban As Experienced by Yemeni-Americans
Although the presidential proclamation about the ban states that waivers are to be issued on a case-by-case basis, and though it prohibits consular and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from issuing waivers to groups or categories of applicants, the U.S. embassy in Djibouti has issued en masse visa denials — to children, mothers, fathers, spouses, and other relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents seeking to reunite with their families in the U.S. (Apr. 25, 2018)

Four Ways You Can Help #BringMarcoBack
As he has with many Dreamers, President Trump failed Marco Villada when he cruelly terminated the DACA program. Congress failed Marco again by failing to pass the Dream Act. Now, finally, the Trump administration has failed Marco yet again by barring him from coming home and thus separating him from his husband, family, friends, and life here in the U.S. If you stand with Marco and his husband, Israel, here are four things you can do to help #BringMarcoBack. (Apr. 23, 2018)

A Year in Review: Reflections on Resistance against the Muslim Ban
I am personally moved by the amicus brief of the children of Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Minoru Yasui. They see the disturbing relevance of the Supreme Court’s decisions in their fathers’ infamous cases challenging the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Their amicus brief outlines the parallels between the two cases as the U.S. government is once again asking the Court to blindly justify blanket action against an entire group. (Apr. 17, 2018)

Trump’s Latest Muslim Ban Makes Its Way to the Supreme Court
On April 25, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether one of the latest versions of Trump’s Muslim ban exceeds the authority of the president under federal immigration law and whether it violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against a certain religious group. Unlike prior versions of the ban, this iteration is permanent and was allowed to go into full effect until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling. (Apr. 2, 2018)

Trump’s Proposed Immigration Rule Would Harm All of Us
If the Trump administration gets its way, factors like income, number of children, or any use of programs that help people meet basic needs would make you ineligible to bring your family to the U.S, and could affect your ability to get a green card. The proposed rule would punish lawfully present families who attempt to access basic human needs such as food and health care — including for their U.S. citizen children. (Mar. 29, 2018)

Wrong Info on USCIS Website Resulted in Rejected DACA Renewal Application
The lives of Lisbeth and her family have been put in crisis by the Trump administration’s reckless termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and by incorrect information published by the very government agency charged with administering the process that would provide them some relief and protection. (Feb. 26, 2018)

Allowed to Finally Shine
Once I had DACA, my whole life changed. I was immediately hired by … a world-renowned interior design and architecture firm. I was allowed to finally shine at what I studied to do. DACA gave me the opportunity to work in my field, becoming well known in the New York City interior design world before becoming a small business owner of a growing textile company. (Feb. 23, 2018)

This Little Piece of Freedom to Be Almost Normal, Like My Peers
But most importantly — this is gonna sound crazy — but I love paying income taxes. I love taking my shoe box to H&R Block and doing my taxes every year. It confirms my belief that I am a contributing member of this country. And, yes, sometimes as a DACAmented youth it feels like “taxation without representation,” but it is still something that allows me to be part of this country. (Feb. 22, 2018)

Anywhere We Are Planted We Are Capable of Blooming
I strongly believe anywhere we are planted we are capable of blooming. As a child living in Jamaica, I had to walk five miles each day just to get clean water to drink and bathe. Every day was a struggle. … Although I had to grow up early in order to help my family, I consider the hardships of my early life an important source of my strong work ethic today. (Feb. 21, 2018)

We Are Not Afraid
We are Mexican, we are Latinos, we are Asians, we are Muslims, we are Everyone, and WE ARE NOT AFRAID. We are educated individuals ready to fight, because we don’t know anything else — we have been fighting since we were born. Fighting to keep our cultures and traditions while being American, fighting to make our families proud, fighting for our space in this country, fighting to never go back into the shadows again. (Feb. 20, 2018)

PHOTO JOURNAL: Not Just a Dreamer
Brittany Aguilera lost her DACA on December 7, 2017. A trained photographer who lives in New York, Brittany documented her experiences through photos the day before and the day after her DACA expired. Her photo journal of those two days is accompanied by excerpts adapted from a speech she gave recently at a press conference in Washington, DC. (Feb. 16, 2018)

Dreamers Are Trailblazers for Their Families and Communities
I’m the kind of individual who has recognized that in order to help others, I must help myself. My parents’ separation led to both financial and emotional instabilities, but it did not deter my efforts to self-sustain. I pay for my own education and bills. I sign my own lease and responsibly manage my debts. I know the value I possess in the eyes of potential employers, and I am bold enough to say, “You need me.” (Feb. 15, 2018)

It’s February, and I’m Undocumented Again
An immigration attorney I was working with forgot to include the expiration date of my DACA on the renewal form, and I received a notice that I needed to resubmit. Although I fixed it and sent it back as soon as I got the notification, I was told it was too late. My stomach dropped. Given how much DACA has meant for my life, this felt like a major setback. (Feb. 14, 2018)

A Dreamer Whose Contributions Help Drive America
Chances are that if you drive a Ford or GM vehicle you have an HVAC system designed by me and my team. … I have bought a house, and I support my family financially, including helping pay for my sister’s college tuition. I look forward to the Dream Act or similar comprehensive immigration reform being passed in Congress. This will assure that the protections I have under DACA are maintained and that I get to contribute to society as much as I can. (Feb. 13, 2018)

We Hope for an American Future
When an Ethiopian boy effectively arrived on our rural central Maryland doorstep as a one-year-old, my wife and I chose to do the right thing. … So began our journey of learning the bumpy road of immigration in America. … It seemed odd to us that it was legally possible to adopt him, despite it being legally impossible for him to obtain U.S. citizenship — but adoption was at least a step in the right direction. (Feb. 12, 2018)

How ICE Uses Databases and Information-Sharing to Deport Immigrants
Immigrants’ rights advocates are concerned about how ICE and DHS use databases and information-sharing systems to target people for deportation. Advocates are particularly interested in understanding how ICE interacts with state and local law enforcement agencies and DMVs, fearing that even innocent contact with police or DMVs will put immigrants and their family members at risk of deportation. (Jan. 25, 2018)

Five Things to Know about the Latest USCIS Announcements
USCIS has announced that it would resume accepting DACA renewal applications beginning January 13, 2018. This policy change is in response to the January 9 injunction by a U.S. district court in San Francisco requiring the federal government to resume accepting DACA renewal applications. This policy reversal is the result of several lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s September 5, 2017, decision to terminate the wildly successful DACA program. (Jan. 14, 2018)

“The Fosters” Season Premiere Shows How You Can Support Immigrant Families (Jan. 9, 2018)
Tonight’s season premiere episode, “Sanctuary,” of “The Fosters” on the Freeform channel touches on some important topics related to how our country’s immigration system continues to rip families apart. In last season’s finale, Callie and AJ helped their friend Ximena seek sanctuary in a church when ICE came looking for Ximena because she had spoken out at a rally and disclosed that she’s undocumented.

Updates on REAL ID and Increased Information Sharing by Departments of Motor Vehicles (Jan. 8, 2018)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that, as of Jan. 22, 2018, airports may begin requiring REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses of travelers from certain states. As a reminder, the REAL ID Act requires states to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet specific requirements in order to be accepted for identification for certain (but not all) official federal purposes.

Tips on How to be a Better Ally for the Immigrants’ Rights Cause (Dec. 8, 2017)
This week, thousands of immigrants and allies hit the streets to demand the passage of the Dream Act before the end of the year, and it was amazing. Over 200 people put their bodies on the line and were arrested demanding the #DreamActNow. Now more than ever, immigrant youth need our allies to stand strong and firm with us in this fight for the Dream Act. As a DACAmented immigrant, I’d like to share a few tips with you on how to be an even better ally for the cause.

DHS Is Collecting Information on Immigrants’ and Citizens’ Social Media Use and Making It Part of Their Permanent Records (Nov. 30, 2017)
If you’re an immigrant—whether you’re authorized to be in the U.S. or not—or a naturalized U.S. citizen, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to track your activities. The targets of DHS’s plan to continually surveil and monitor are not only people applying for immigration status or attempting to cross the border into the U.S. DHS wants to keep its eye on all aspects of immigrants’ daily lives.

NILC’s Immigration Policy Advocate Shares Tips for Coping with Holiday and
DACA-related Stress (Nov. 21, 2017)

Since the 2016 presidential election, I’ve heard more and more people talk about “self-care” and “wellness.” I’ve struggled trying to achieve both since well before the election, so I’ve had to think through what they mean for me, and I hope what I’ve discovered may be helpful to you too. Remember, though, nothing can replace the advice and recommendations of mental health professionals.

Muslim Ban 3.0 (and 4.0): How We’re Fighting in the Courts, in Congress and in Our Communities (Nov. 9, 2017)
Once again, U.S. district courts in both Hawaii and Maryland ordered a halt to Muslim Ban 3.0, the latest attempt by the Trump administration to block Muslims from entering the U.S. Muslim Ban 3.0 indefinitely bars nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela from coming in to the U.S. (the restriction on people from Venezuela applies only to government officials and their family members).

Open Enrollment Under the Affordable Care Act is Nov. 1 Through Dec. 15.
Are You Ready? (Nov. 1, 2017)
This year’s open enrollment for health insurance in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s/Obamacare’s) marketplace begins on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Although immigrant families’ concerns may be heightened, the laws and policies about immigrants’ eligibility for health coverage have not changed. And assisters need to be prepared to answer questions about whether it is safe to apply.

The Butterfly Story Collective: Social Change Through the Power of Sharing Stories (Oct. 27, 2017)
The Butterfly Story Collective strives to create more intimate connections through the collective power of storytelling. A brand new initiative, the collective is a network of local storytelling projects, produced by immigrants, about immigrants’ diverse experiences in the U.S. The collective’s participants seek to share resources, learn from one another, and strengthen local relationships.

The Fight Continues: What Muslim Ban 3.0 Means in the Courts and in the Streets
(Oct. 13, 2017)

Muslim Ban 3.0 is a revision of the 2.0 version. It removes Sudan from the list of countries whose citizens and longtime residents are banned from traveling to the U.S. and adds Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. Another change is that it doesn’t ban refugees as the earlier bans did though the president recently slashed the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. in fiscal year 2018 to a 30-year low of 45,000.

The Clock is Ticking, Congress. It’s Time to Pass a Clean Dream Act Now
(Oct. 5, 2017)

The normal day-to-day existence that most of us tend to take for granted now has an expiration date for almost 800,000 young immigrants. For these hundreds of thousands of young people, the day their DACA expires is the day their jobs, schooling, and security could go up in smoke. It’s the day they will become vulnerable to being deported to a country they may not even have a memory of.

Untangling the Immigration Enforcement Web: New NILC Report Looks at Cooperation Between Local Law Enforcement and Federal Agencies (Sept. 22, 2017)
Immigrants are caught in a complex and opaque web of databases, related systems, and information-sharing mechanisms that make it easier for immigration enforcement to disrupt their lives and prevent them from fully participating in economic and social life in the U.S. These systems often depend on the entanglement of state and local law enforcement or licensing agencies with federal agencies.

They Risked Everything for a Shot at the American Dream; Now We Must Stand Up and Defend Them (Sept. 7, 2017)
For five years, DACA has allowed young people, often referred to as “dreamers,” to come forward and pursue the same educational, professional, and life opportunities available to anyone who grew up in the U.S. It is up to all of us to ensure that these protections remain in place. We must continue to raise our voices and tell our representatives in Congress to swiftly pass the Dream Act of 2017.

Dreamers’ Stories Show What Would Be Lost if DACA Were to End
(Aug. 25, 2017)

Getting a driver’s license, finding a job, going to college—these are milestones in life that most of us take for granted, but for more than 800,000 young people, these things are only possible because of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). We asked DACA recipients, along with their friends and family members, to tell us what DACA means for them. The responses poured in, and the message was plain: DACA changes lives.

On Its Fifth Anniversary, Let’s Celebrate and #DefendDACA!
(Aug. 15, 2017)

I cautiously celebrate this milestone as I recognize DACA’s success, while grappling with the concern about its possible rescission and what that could mean to so many people in this country. Since DACA’s implementation in 2012, over 800, 000people have benefited from it, getting a chance to work with authorization, along with a reprieve from the threat of deportation.

Even Though There Are Legal Threats to DACA, There Is Reason to Be Hopeful
(Aug. 4, 2017)

Several legal threats to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have its beneficiaries and prospective applicants understandably worried, but it’s important to remember that there haven’t been any major changes to the program and that, because there’s broad bipartisan support for keeping it, there’s also reason to be hopeful.

From Japanese-American Internment Camps to the Muslim Ban: The Terrible Consequences of Discriminatory Executive Orders (July 27, 2017)
In February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the removal and incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast. People had just a few days to prepare and were permitted to bring only what they could carry. Many families suffered crushing economic losses as they hurriedly sold their farms, homes, and businesses.

While We’re Watching the Trumpcare Train Wreck, Let’s Not Allow Our Dollars to Fund Trump’s Wall and Deportation Machine (July 21, 2017)
It has been another eventful week in Washington, DC, under the Trump administration. Congress continues to dominate headlines with its failing efforts to repeal Obamacare and leave millions without health care; threats to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may put 800,000 youth at risk of deportation; and yesterday the bipartisan Durban-Graham DREAM Act was introduced.

What Does it Mean That the Supreme Court Asked for the Solicitor General’s View on the Arizona DACA Driver’s License Case? (July 17, 2017)
The solicitor general is the Department of Justice’s officer responsible for representing the federal government of the United States before the Supreme Court. Additionally, the Court can ask for the solicitor general’s view through what is called a “Call for the Views of the Solicitor General” or a “CVSG.”  The solicitor general then submits a legal brief to the Court in which he offers his opinions on whether the Court should hear the case.

Increasing the Number of Uninsured Would Hurt Everyone (July 6, 2017)
Immigrants would be directly impacted if the BCRA became law because under the current Affordable Care Act lawfully present immigrants (with the exception of DACA recipients) are eligible to obtain health plans and income-based subsidies through the health care exchanges. The BCRA would strip eligibility from all but the subset of lawfully present immigrants deemed “qualified” under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

What Does the DAPA Rescission Mean and What Implications Does It Have for DACA? (June 23, 2017)
On June 15, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly signed a memo rescinding the Obama administration’s November 2014 memorandum that announced a deferred action program for parents of citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA),  as well as expansions of  DACA. The DACA expansion would have covered more people who came to the  U.S. as children.

On Plyler v. Doe’s 35th Anniversary, This Landmark Supreme Court Decision Must Be Honored and Protected (June 15, 2017)
Today marks the 35th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, in which the Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to deny students access to public elementary or secondary education based on their immigration status. As someone who was undocumented and who benefited from a public education, I’ll be forever grateful to those who, in arguing Plyler, defended my right to an education. And I am proud to be among those who will continue fighting to maintain this right for others.

Muslim Ban 2.0: What Happens Next? (June 9, 2017)
Late on the night of June 1, 2017, the administration filed papers asking the Supreme Court to “stay” the injunction issued by the federal court in Maryland and another injunction that was issued by a federal court in Hawaii—in other words, to lift both injunctions and allow the Muslim-ban executive order to go into full effect. The Maryland court’s injunction currently prevents section 2(c) of the executive order—the section that creates the Muslim ban (also known as the “travel ban”)—from taking effect.

A Simple Way to Resist the Trump Anti-Immigrant Agenda?
Refuse to Pay for It (June 1, 2017)

Trump’s budget uses tax cuts for the wealthy to pay for his anti-immigrant agenda, including increased funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is currently under fire for fiscal mismanagement and allegations of agent misconduct. This budget is a “Robin Hood in reverse” that steals money from the nation’s vulnerable communities to fill the pockets of millionaires and corporations.

Health Centers Can Become Safe Spaces for Immigrant Patients (May 25, 2017)
Since Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, there has been an unwelcome chill in the air for immigrants and their families. The new administration has promised to deport any removable immigrant, and an increase in federal immigration enforcement has terrified immigrant families across the country. Some immigrants have decided to forego obtaining necessary medical care out of fear that they may be putting themselves or their family members at risk of deportation.

Name Variations in Proof Documents Create Major Headaches for Many
Low-Income Driver’s License Applicants (May 11, 2017)

If you are a woman, a person of color, or a low-wage worker, you may find it harder than others to get a driver’s license that meets the requirements of the REAL ID Act. That’s because the name on the documents required to prove the applicant’s identity, citizenship or immigration status, Social Security number, and state residency must match, and any variations must be supported by proof of a name change.

School Settings Are Sensitive Locations That Should Be Off-Limits to Immigration Enforcement (May 4, 2017)
Not only do parents and family members drop their children off at schools in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon, but they also come to school to attend events and learn important information relevant to themselves or their children. For these reasons, chilling access to schools has a deeply negative impact not only on the directly affected individuals and families, but also on the wider community.

This Year’s May Day Protests Highlight the Importance of Protecting All Workers’ Rights (April 27, 2017)
May 1—or May Day, or International Workers’ Day—is just around the corner. It has long been recognized as a day to celebrate workers and labor organizing. This year in the U.S., immigrants’ and workers’ rights organizations, labor unions, worker centers, and allied groups not only are planning public marches, but are also preparing for what may be the largest nationwide strike by immigrants in the past decade.

Why Protecting Safe Access to Health Facilities for Everyone Should Be a National Priority (April 13, 2017)
The Trump administration’s aggressive immigration enforcement stance has caused immigrant communities to fear that spaces formerly considered safe may not continue to be safe to visit or use. This fear and uncertainty has made immigrants more reluctant to access health facilities, and over the past month, many health facilities have reported significant increases in missed appointments by their immigrant patients.

As a Sikh Woman of Color and Child of Immigrants, I Found Gorsuch’s Vague Answers Troubling (April 6, 2017)
When Senator Patrick Leahy asked Gorsuch if a blanket religious test is consistent with the First Amendment, I noticed how vague his response was, and it almost made me choke. “If you are asking about how to apply it to a specific case, I can’t talk about that for understandable reasons. You ask me to apply it to a set of facts that look an awful lot like a pending case in many circuits now,” Gorsuch answered.

This Cesar Chavez Day, Immigrant Workers Fight Back Against Trump through Robust Organizing and Resistance (March 31, 2017)
March 31st is the birthday of Cesar Chavez, the American civil rights activist and labor organizer who cofounded United Farm Workers with Dolores Huerta. In honor of Chavez’s legacy, we highlight some new forms of immigrant-worker organizing emerging in resistance to the Trump administration’s aggressive efforts to instill fear in immigrant communities.

Love Wins in Louisiana Immigrant Marriage Case (March 24, 2017)
Viet “Victor” Anh Vo and his fiancée are the portrait of commitment. Yet, their home state of Louisiana would not allow them to get married. Two months before their scheduled wedding the Louisiana legislature passed Act 436, which required Victor to present a birth certificate from the country he was born in to acquire a marriage license.  The problem was, Victor had been born in a refugee camp in Indonesia to Vietnamese parents, and neither Indonesia, nor Vietnam had any record of his birth.

ACA Replacement Bill Not a Good Deal for Immigrants (March 16, 2017)
The headlines regarding the American Health Care Act, the House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill, have rightly focused on the 24 million people the Congressional Budget Office expects will lose health care coverage if the bill is enacted. But if you dig into the bill, you find that it proposes policies that could harm many communities, including immigrants. Republicans released the bill and jammed it through the committees of jurisdiction within days.

Trump Can Try to Rebrand It, but the New Refugee and Muslim Ban Is Still
Illegal (March 9, 2017)
On January 27, President Trump tried to sell the country on a losing (and unconstitutional) idea: that banning vulnerable refugees and people from certain Muslim-majority countries was somehow a matter of national security. After abandoning any attempts to continue defending in court the flagrantly discriminatory first version of his refugee and Muslim ban, Trump issued a new EO on March 6 under the same title.

Unpacking the References to Public Benefits and the Privacy Act in Trump’s Executive Order on Interior Enforcement (March 2, 2017)
One lesson President Trump’s administration learned from his campaign is that misinformation and fear are powerful tools—tools they are now using in drafting, releasing, and carrying out his executive orders. They are already putting these lessons into practice in an issue area ripe for exploiting misunderstanding: public benefits and economic supports.

Answers from Our DACA Expert: Our immigration policy advocate answers the questions she’s been asked most often during Trump’s first month in office (Feb. 23, 2017)
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would end DACA if he were elected president. Unsubstantiated rumors circulated that he would end DACA on the day he was inaugurated, but that didn’t happen. Then rumors circulated that DACA would end his first week in office, but that didn’t happen either.

Five Things You Should Know About the Draft Executive Order on
Public Benefits (Feb. 16, 2017)
A draft executive order titled “Protecting Taxpayer Resources by Ensuring Our Immigration Laws Promote Accountability and Responsibility” has appeared several times in the news media. If signed by the president, the draft order would open a new front in the administration’s campaign against immigrants—an attack on lawfully present immigrants and their families.

How to Prepare Yourself and Others for Encounters With Immigration Enforcement (Feb. 10, 2017)
There have been disturbing reports over recent days of dozens or even hundreds of people across the country being picked up in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids. Though we knew these types of raids were likely coming soon under the Trump administration, it serves as an important reminder to be prepared and know your rights in the event that you encounter ICE.

The Sprint That Saved Hundreds of Refugees and Immigrants from Being Deported (Feb. 3, 2017)
Lawyers from NILC, the ACLU, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and the Yale Law School Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic rushed to the aid of two Iraqi men who had landed at JFK Airport in New York to find that, as NILC Legal Director Karen Tumlin put it, “The world had shifted under their feet.” The resulting class-action lawsuit saved hundreds from deportation.

NILCer Teamed Up with Other Ex-Congressional Staffers, Civil Servants and Advocates to Create a Playbook for Resisting the Trump Agenda (Jan. 20, 2017)
Former congressional staffers, civil servants, and advocates began meeting in mid-November to talk about what we could do to mitigate the harm that would almost certainly result from a Trump presidency and Republican control of Congress. The group eventually produced a guide that we hoped would empower more people to effectively influence their members of Congress.

Sen. Sessions Scorns Principles and Laws He Would Be Charged with Enforcing as Attorney General (Jan. 10, 2017)
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will seek to determine whether Sen. Jeff Sessions is fit to serve as our nation’s next attorney general, but the senators’ track record speaks for itself. His disdain for the very principles America was founded on is well documented. He has consistently demonstrated contempt for the diversity that makes America great.

nyc-h-hNYC Health + Hospitals’ “Open Letter” Sets an Inspiring Example That Could and Should Be Copied Across the Country (Jan. 5, 2017)
NYC Health + Hospitals, which runs the public hospitals and clinics in New York City, published a message of welcome to immigrant New Yorkers in a public letter that renewed a commitment to protect patients’ privacy and, in particular, the privacy of their immigration status information.

dickdurbinBRIDGE Act is a Hopeful Development But Would Not Be a Long-Term Solution (Dec. 22, 2016)
The BRIDGE Act, whose name is derived from “Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream of Growing Our Economy,” was introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Dec. 9. It seeks to provide “provisional protected presence” to certain non–U.S. citizens, which would include authorization to work in the U.S. and protection from deportation, the two main benefits that DACA currently provides.

kevin-de-leon-2California Steps Forward to Protect Immigrants from Anticipated Trump Administration Policies (Dec. 15, 2016)
Three new measures recently introduced in the California legislature would provide much-needed support to immigrants who live in the state, and would erect roadblocks against aggressive immigration enforcement efforts anticipated under the incoming Trump administration. Two senators and an assembly member introduced the bills on Dec. 5.

sessionsA Deplorable Choice to Head the Justice Department (Dec. 5, 2016)
Over the past few weeks, the incoming administration has announced its nominees to head the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services. These individuals will be primarily responsible for shaping our nation’s priorities over the next four years. But the personal history that each of these appointees brings to their job makes it highly doubtful that all of us living here in the U.S., regardless of where we were born, will be treated equally under the incoming administration.

dreamerswelcomeOur Recommendations for People Considering Applying for DACA Following the Election (Nov. 14, 2016)
There are many concerns about what could happen to the DACA program once President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Trump said during his campaign that he intends to end DACA, though he has not said exactly if, how or when this might actually occur. We also won’t know until after Trump takes office what Trump administration officials might do with the information that DACA applicants have submitted.

kidsatrallycropTrump’s Victory Will Not Defeat Immigrants or Constitutional Rights
(Nov. 10, 2016)

Tuesday’s election signaled the start of a difficult period for immigrants in the United States. On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump said he would impose many policies that would tear communities apart, including mass deportations and a ban on Muslim immigrants. He made a lot of promises, but campaigning is not governing. In fact, Trump has already backtracked on his plan for a mass deportation initiative.

wedding-rings-croppedLove Knows No Borders (Nov. 3, 2016)
Victor Vo met Heather Pham, and they fell in love. They decided to get married and, for more than a year, they meticulously planned a gorgeous wedding celebration. The decorations, the deejay, and the dinner menu were all set. Invitations were sent to over three hundred friends and family members. But just two weeks before the ceremony, the state of Louisiana—the place they call home—refused to grant Victor and Heather a marriage license.

dacapermitNew Study Confirms That DACA Provides Concrete Benefits to Both Immigrants and Native-Born (Oct. 27, 2016)
The National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream, the Center for American Progress, and Professor Tom Wong of the University of California, San Diego conducted a survey on how having Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) affects the people who’ve received it. A new report on the results shows how deferred action has changed people’s lives for the better.

boy-nurse-croppedReexamining the Medical Needs of Unaccompanied Children (October 20, 2016)
Now that the school year has begun, we are reminded of the various inequities affecting low-income immigrant children. One particular inequity—the lack of access to affordable, quality health care—impacts more than just the immigrant child. It impacts the learning opportunities of everyone in the classroom. And despite expansions in health care coverage programs available to immigrant children, unaccompanied children remain an especially vulnerable population that demands our attention.

josecroppedChicagoan Joins New Yorker in Fighting Texas Injunction Against DAPA and Expanded DACA (October 13, 2016)
For too long, immigrant families in one part of the country have seen the federal courts in another part of the country rule—time and time again—against DAPA and the expansion of DACA, immigration programs that restore some fairness to our immigration system. Today, one more person took a courageous stand against this injustice.

renatablogAt 23, I Still Don’t Know What it’s Like to Call ‘My Doctor’ (October 6, 2016)
The year I got DACA I found myself in a paradox. DACA has opened new doors to me, allowing me to live and work without fear of deportation. It helped me be recognized as a person and as a member of my community and this country. Unfortunately, when undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients were restricted from accessing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it reminded me that I was still not welcomed here—worthy enough to work and pay taxes, but not to live a healthy life.

aaron-harveyThe List That Can Take Your Life (September 27, 2016)
Today, in California, you can be placed on a secret list, with life-threatening implications, and never even know your name was added. The only reason I found out about this hidden database, called CalGang, is because being on the list nearly landed me in prison for life less than a year ago. Right now, a bill to address some of the problems with CalGang and other shared gang databases, AB 2298, is sitting on the governor’s desk, and Governor Jerry Brown has until this Friday, Sept. 30, to sign or veto it.

martinLawsuit Win Could Make DAPA and DACA+ Available in States That Weren’t Parties to Texas v. U.S. (September 22, 2016)
Today, the first hearing was held in Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al. The plaintiff in the case, Martin Batalla Vidal, is suing in New York federal district court to restrict the reach of an injunction issued early last year by a Texas federal district court that blocked the Obama administration’s DAPA and expanded-DACA executive actions from being implemented, putting the lives of millions of immigrants and their families on hold.

dmvLawsuit Challenges Arizona’s Discriminatory Denial of Driver’s Licenses to Domestic Violence Survivors and Others (September 15, 2016)
Earlier this week, Marcos and four other Arizonans who were denied licenses under the new policy filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s continuing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence, parents of critically ill children, and Liberian nationals forced to flee their country because of armed conflict and widespread civil strife. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from NILC, MALDEF, and the Ortega Law Firm.

WorkersStrikeCropExpanded Joint Policy Provides New Protections for Immigrant Workers Who Allege Employment Discrimination or Unfair Labor Practices (September 1, 2016)
When workers decide to come forward to make complaints about labor violations in their workplaces, they face many risks. Yet our system of labor protections depends on the courage of everyday people to speak up in the face of workplace violations because the government agencies responsible for enforcing labor laws are understaffed and many violations would go undetected if workers didn’t come forward to file complaints.

clintonwelfarereformReflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (August 22, 2016)

PRWORA curtailed many immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits, including cash, food, and medical programs. With respect to “federal public benefits,” it limited eligibility to certain immigrants it defined as “qualified.” These qualified immigrants included lawful permanent residents (LPRs), refugees, asylees, and certain other immigrants admitted for humanitarian reasons.

Ex147cropImages Ordered Released Confirm Immigrants’ Stories of Abusive Practices by U.S. Border Patrol (August 19, 2016)
For years, we’ve heard accounts of inhumane conditions at the U.S. Border Patrol’s processing facilities, or hieleras (Spanish for iceboxes) as these short-term detention facilities have come to be known. Detainees described being held in frigid, overcrowded, filthy cells for days on end and being denied food, water, medical care, and basic hygiene necessities.

DACAstressCropStressed About Your DACA Renewal? Here Are Some Steps You Can Take
(August 11, 2016)

There have been delays at the USCIS Nebraska Service Center—one of four service centers—in processing renewal applications for DACA and the work permits that allow DACA recipients to work legally in the U.S. Though USCIS recommends that DACA recipients apply for renewal 120 to 150 days before their work permits expire, currently it’s taking the Nebraska Service Center about 180 days to process renewal applications.

Roll_call_DNC_2008Politicians fail to connect the dots on health care and immigration
(August 4, 2016)

Over the course of the recently held Democratic and Republican conventions, two issues in particular received significant attention: health care and immigration. Whatever your position on either of these two issues, the conventions demonstrated that they will remain in national headlines and in political and policy debates over the next several months.

Health kidsExpanded Medi-Cal for undocumented kids: What it means and how to apply (July 28, 2016)
Under a new law that took effect this spring, all low-income California residents under age 19 are eligible to receive comprehensive health care through Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. Children and youth who did not meet immigration status requirements were previously eligible for only “restricted scope” emergency and pregnancy services.

SCOTUSBuildingCropThe Ties That Bind: The Supreme Court and the U.S. v. Texas Deadlock (July 19, 2016)

In United States v. Texas, a case examining the Executive’s ability to exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer the deportation of immigrants with strong ties to our country, the Court could not garner a majority. Due to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year, the Court currently has only eight justices. The result: a handful of 4–4 tie votes and the uncertainty that comes with inconclusiveness.

GangDatabasesCrewCropThe need to shed light on gang databases and fight the criminalization of people of color (July 14, 2016)

Gang databases have been used by law enforcement to criminalize people of color and immigrants, who are often targets of racial profiling. “Secret” databases like gang databases undermine fundamental values such as transparency and accountability. Adults have no way of knowing whether they are on a gang database, and no way of challenging their inclusion.

test photoIn his final months in office, will the president choose compassion or more deportations? (June 30, 2016)
The Supreme Court tie in U.S. v. Texas was a frustrating setback for millions of immigrant families, but the fight must continue and another question of historical significance for immigrants looms large: Will President Obama, in the final months of his administration, continue to round up and deport Central American mothers, children and youth seeking safe refuge in the United States?

YoSoyImmigrant Families Deserve a Decisive Answer, Not a Supreme Nondecision (June 28, 2016)
One June 23 the Court split evenly on whether the executive branch was within its lawful authority in announcing two initiatives — an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the creation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would allow millions of immigrants apply for deportation deferral and work authorization.

NILCLawyersSCOTUS15 Years After Coming to the U.S. Undocumented, I Became a Lawyer. This Week I Was in the Supreme Court (April 20, 2016)
This week, I was fortunate enough to be inside the U.S. Supreme Court for the argument in the U.S. v Texas case challenging the president’s immigration relief initiatives, known as DAPA and the expansion of DACA. While I entered the courthouse as a member of the Supreme Court Bar, having practiced law for 10 years, this scene would’ve seemed but a dream not too long ago.