This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending May 29


Week Ending May 29

This week in immigration: decision in Texas lawsuit maintains the temporary halt to the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA; NCLR continues blog series on deferred action recipients; and Members of Congress call for an end to family detention. NCLR kept the community informed on immigration with staff quoted in Bloomberg PoliticsCNN Politics, and appeared on Univision and CNN en Español.

Court case continues hampering implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA: This week a panel of three judges for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by a 2 to 1 decision to grant an emergency stay of the preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded DACA, programs announced in the president’s November 2014 immigration actions. An appeal of the preliminary injunction is scheduled for July 10th. Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Deputy Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, NCLR reacted to the decision: “Those who continue to block commonsense relief to settle a score with the president should realize that their political gamesmanship is destroying lives and alienating an increasingly influential voting bloc, who will remember these very personal attacks on our families and our community come Election Day.” Read more in our press release.

This decision is by no means the final one. The appeal of the injunction is still pending, as is the underlying case challenging DAPA and expanded DACA. Find out more in a National Immigration Law Center fact sheet.

NCLR Blog features DACA recipient Yazmin Abreu: This week’s installment of our ‘Living the American DREAM’ blog profiles a 30-year-old from Orange County, California. Yazmin Abreu arrived in the United States from Mexico when she was eight years old. Growing up, Yazmin didn’t quite understand why her family moved to the United States and what being undocumented meant for her future. In middle school, she realized her undocumented status, but was determined to attend college upon graduating high school. Thanks to the California DREAM Act, Yazmin was able to pay in-state tuition at California State University, Long Beach, where she graduated in 2012 with a degree in health science education. With DACA, Yazmin can now search for a job that matches her skills and interests. The journey hasn’t been easy, but Yazmin is determined and she wants everyone in her community to have the same opportunity to reach the American Dream.

Advocates call family detention an affront to our nation’s values: This week 136 House Democrats sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security urging the end of the practice of family detention. The letter notes: “We believe is it undeniable that detention in a secure facility is detrimental to mothers and children and is not reflective of our values as a Nation. Children require special protections and should not be placed in jail-like facilities.” The letter is spearheaded by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). APolitico article notes DHS’ response, with spokeswoman Marsha Catron saying “Family residential centers are an effective and humane alternative for maintaining family unity as families go through immigration proceedings or await return to their home countries. ICE remains committed to ensuring all individuals in our custody are held and treated in a safe, secure and humane manner.” However, House Democrats contend “We must prioritize the health and well-being of mothers and children while also prioritizing our enforcement objectives. Detaining mothers and children in jail-like settings is not the answer.”

Nebraska lawmakers override veto on driver’s license bill: Last week we noted in the update that Nebraska lawmakers had voted to reverse a policy denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. This week, Nebraska lawmakers overrode Gov. Pete Rickett’s veto of legislation DACA recipients to get driver’s licenses – ending that state’s status as the only one to deny driving privileges to DACA recipients. NCLR Affiliate, Latino American Commission, was joined by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in supporting the measure.


A group photo sent to NCLR by Affiliate, Latino American Commission, taken after the victory outside the legislative chamber.


Not Only DREAMers, but Doers


Photo: Jobs with Justice

On May 28, 2013, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman invited the Omaha South High School boys soccer team to a lunch in honor of their recent state championship.  The team decided to use this opportunity to deliver a letter expressing their disappointment in the governor’s decision to not issue driver’s licenses to young undocumented immigrants who have received a temporary reprieve from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The governor’s decision also prompted the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) to file suit against the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.

Even though the team indicated in the letter that they were honored by the governor’s invitation, some people are still calling their move brash when they should be calling it brave.  How often do regular people get a chance to have a face-to-face meeting with their elected official to discuss important community issues? Very rarely.  Even if immigration was not part of the lunch agenda, the boys soccer team had every right to use the event to bring awareness to this issue.  In fact, one could argue that it was their responsibility to inform the governor about how his decision affected his constituents.  After all, isn’t that what democracy is all about?

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