Trump Administration’s Cruel, Inhumane, and Completely Unworkable Mass Deportation Agenda Advances

U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

On July 13, 2017, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly had a closed-door meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). The discussion focused on the important immigration issues that are top of mind for many in our community, including the futures of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and the designations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Combined, DACA and TPS shield more than 1.1 million—predominantly Latino individuals—from deportation.

Instead of alleviating concerns, the conversation raised many more alarms and led to scathing statements from CHC members. For starters, Secretary Kelly indicated that after talking to various “experts” that he had doubts about the legality of DACA. This is puzzling, given the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that the executive branch has “broad discretion” in matters relating to immigration, and “must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.” DACA is consistent with this reasoning. On DACA, Kelly also stated that decisions about the future of DACA will be left to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions’s strong anti-immigrant positions and ties to extremist groups is well documented, and is a cause for concern for the more than 800,000 DACA recipients and their supporters.

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending July 29

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Week Ending July 29, 2016

This week in immigration: NCLR holds its annual conference consisting of many panels and workshops focused on immigration and immigrant integration.

NCLR Annual Conference: NCLR’s Annual Conference was held this past weekend in Orlando, Florida. The conference started off with a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Field Office in Orlando. NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, and USCIS Southeast Regional Director Kathy Redman Field Officer welcomed nearly 90 new U.S. citizens from 36 different countries. In congratulating the country’s newest citizens, Murguía encouraged them to use their new responsibilities as citizens and cast their votes.  “I want you to vote in this upcoming election,” she told the group. “Your vote now can make a difference in the direction we move our country.”

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Janet Murguía with some of our newest citizens after a naturalization ceremony in Orlando

NCLR also held workshops during the conference focused on immigration legal services and immigrant integration. NCLR Affiliate, Latinos Progresando, shared their expertise in building and sustaining an immigration legal services program. In another session, NCLR Affiliates worked on completing applications to the Board of Immigration Appeals for recognition in order to provide immigration legal services.

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending June 24

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Week Ending June 24

 This week in immigration: NCLR responds to Supreme Court decision.

Supreme Court keeps Administrative Relief on hold: We at NCLR are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s 4–4 decision yesterday, which keeps DAPA and expanded DACA on hold. The decision ignores decades of legal precedent and disregards the previous uses of discretionary powers by presidents—leaving millions of American families in immigration limbo. The Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation released flyers in English and Spanish for use by community based organizations, available here. For a factsheet in English and Spanish explaining the decision click here.

NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía said, “We are disappointed and heartbroken at this disheartening moment for families who are part of our American fabric and contribute so much to our nation. Not only does it dash the hopes of individuals, but it keeps our country from reaping the rewards of the social and economic contributions these policies encourage. Our community remains steadfast in our commitment to keeping hardworking families together and we will keep fighting for a permanent solution.” 

Janet also appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, where she predicted the ruling will impact the upcoming elections, saying “I do anticipate that we will see a lot more [voter] mobilization efforts happening as a result of this decision.” Watch below:

We will continue to keep fighting because this is personal for us. Some of the news coverage of the decision included poignant reminders that this is about American families that are deeply embedded in our communities and contributing in so many ways to our country. DACA recipient Luba Cortes writes about what it was like growing up with an undocumented mother in the New York Times. DACA recipients and DAPA hopefuls vow to continue the push for reform in the Los Angeles Times. And a Xavier University student from Ohio shares what administrative relief would have meant to his family in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Fight for Immigration Relief Is Not Over

Today, in a blow to millions of American families, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that blocked the president’s immigration programs, DAPA and DACA+.

Our fight is not over. We will not stop until every member of our community can live in dignity without the fear of being separated. While today’s decision is a setback, we will keep fighting back against anti-immigrant attacks on our families and our communities. Our President and CEO, Janet Murguía, today joined MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell to talk about the high court’s ruling and what it means to our community. She also reiterated our commitment to keep fighting for families. Watch the full interview below:

This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending April 29

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Week Ending April 29

This week in immigration: Congressman Grijalva introduces resolution condemning 1996 immigration law; 177 organizations call on DOJ to provide counsel for children in immigration proceedings; op-ed describes how Texas benefits if DAPA is implemented.

CONGRESSMAN GRIJALVA INTRODUCES RESOLUTION CONDEMNING 1996 IMMIGRATION LAW: This week, Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3) along with 30 Representatives introduced a congressional resolution calling for immigration policies that reduce automatic deportation and detention, restore due process for immigrants, and repeal unnecessary barriers to legal immigration. The “Fix96 Resolution” marks 20 years since the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act were signed into law in 1996, dramatically broadening and easing deportation and detainment requirements, removing legal defenses and involving local law enforcement. Vox writes an excellent description of the impact of the 1996 laws on today’s immigration system and its impact on families. 

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending April 22

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Week Ending April 22

This week in immigration: NCLR rallies with immigration advocates on steps of Supreme Court and what could happen next in U.S. v Texas

NCLR rallies on Supreme Court steps for administrative relief: NCLR staff members joined thousands of advocates and NCLR Affiliates for a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court in support of the President’s executive actions on immigration on Monday as the justices heard arguments in the U.S. v Texas case. Attendees heard from families and Congressional representatives, as well as NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía, about the need for administrative relief and the effects on American communities. “The presence of thousands of people at the Supreme Court today demonstrates both how many families are impacted by this needless delay and how important it is to let these programs go forward, not only to our community, but also to our economy and our country,” said Ms. Murguía in a statement. “Presidents on both sides of the aisle, on many occasions, have set a clear precedent for the use of executive action to shield people from deportations. We hope and expect that reason and precedent win the day.” Media and highlights from the rally can be found in our blog post and on our website.

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The NCLR Staff Went to the Supreme Court to Fight for Families!

This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for United States v. Texas, the case that could decided whether President Obama’s administrative relief programs, DAPA and expanded DACA, can be implemented.

At a rally outside the court, thousands gathered to “Fight for Families,” and to make sure our voices are heard. In attendance were grassroots organizers, Members of Congress, and thousands of advocates. The entire NCLR staff was also there to hear remarks from our President and CEO, Janet Murguía.

Take a look at some of the social media highlights from the day.

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending April 15

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Week Ending April 15

This week in immigration: Oral arguments for administrative relief to be heard Monday; USCIS releases new N-400; and deadline for USCIS grant opportunities for citizenship and immigrant integration coming up soon.

NCLR kept the community informed with staff quoted in The Associated Press, The Orlando Sentinel, and El Diario NY.

Groups make final push ahead of next week’s oral arguments on administrative relief: Monday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas will potentially decide the fates of five million individuals currently residing in communities across the country. In preparation for Monday, stakeholders are demonstrating the significance of this case. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a press conference earlier today to highlight families affected by the decision. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez wrote about the need for sensible administrative relief in an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. The American Immigration Council released a new guide to the case that provides answers to questions about what is at stake, the specific issues at hand, and the long-term impact the decision will have on the country and its future. Education Weekly penned an article about the implications the decision would have on school-age children; Pomona College Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum wrote a similar piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education framing the issue in the context of higher education. Finally, NCLR will join advocacy groups from across the country in front of the Supreme Court on Monday morning at a rally in favor of administrative relief. Follow NCLR on social media for updates from the rally!

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending April 8

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Week Ending April 8

This week in immigration: NCLR responds to Donald Trump’s latest proposal; newspapers across the country feature stories of U.S. citizens whose families will be paying close attention to the arguments at the Supreme Court this month; and the Supreme Court upholds principle of one person, one vote.

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We’re Getting Ready for Expanded DACA and DAPA

With the positive news that the Supreme Court will hear the case that has been blocking administrative relief this spring, now is the time to prepare for the possibility of the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). To do that, NCLR and its Affiliates, along with partners from across the country, gathered in Crystal City, Virginia, last week for the Ready America conference. Community organizers, advocates, and legal experts came together to plan and strategize for the implementation of administrative relief.

Our staff and Affiliates participated in workshops on community outreach and communications strategies, effective strategies, and service delivery models. Staff from more than 20 NCLR Affiliates were there to share their ideas for implementation and to learn from others.

The conference kicked off with a session focused on the process for applying for recognition from the Board of Immigration Appeals in order to provide immigration legal services. The workshop led by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) will allow NCLR Affiliates and other community-based organizations to add much-needed capacity to provide high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services. According to research we contributed to, the implementation of expanded DACA and DAPA will require three times more full-time staff providing immigration legal assistance than are currently in the field.

ReadyAmerica1Irma Morin and Raquel Reyes of NCLR Affiliate Community Council of Idaho were among the participants in the workshop preparing applications to become immigration legal service providers. Photo: Laura Vazquez.

Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Leon Rodriguez joined the conference participants and shared his goal that if the injunction is lifted when the Supreme Court issues its ruling, USCIS will be ready to go with expanded DACA. The audience was reminded that the agency was on the cusp of accepting those applications when Judge Hanen put a halt to people being able to come forward and apply.

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USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez addressed the crowd of advocates and immigration legal service providers at the Ready America conference. Photo: Laura Vazquez.

In addition to discussing the models and practices that organizations can use to prepare and the lessons learned from DACA, participants discussed strategies to encourage families to come forward and apply for relief.

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Peter Roos and Guadalupe Alcala of NCLR Affiliate Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation at the DACA Education and Outreach workshop.