This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending July 25

Immigration_reform_Updates_blueWeek Ending July 25, 2014

This week in immigration reform: The NCLR Annual Conference featured sessions on immigration and unaccompanied children; Congress continues to debate how to address the humanitarian emergency at the Southern border; and Representatives take a vote to take away a tax credit from vulnerable families. NCLR kept the community informed in a number of media appearances this week, with staff quoted in stories on MSNBC, Huffington Post, and appearing on the program Jose Diaz Balart which broadcast live outside the Conference.

  • Immigration and Unaccompanied Children were focus of presentations at the NCLR Annual Conference. For four days in Los Angeles, leaders from across the country discussed topics important to the Latino community, including immigration and the humanitarian emergency at the Southern border. From Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D-IL-4), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) conference participants heard about the benefits of passing immigration reform, the need for President Obama to act and provide administrative relief, and the need for a compassionate response for the children who are fleeing violence in Central America. NCLR Affiliate, Southwest Key Programs, presented on the work they are doing providing care and shelter to unaccompanied children. Check out the NCLR Blog for photos and summaries of the successful conference!

Rep. Luis Gutierrez addresses the NCLR Annual Conference in Los Angeles

  • Congress continues to debate how to respond to the humanitarian emergency at the Southern border. The House and Senate continue to have discussions on how to proceed with the President’s request for supplemental funds to respond to the children and families fleeing violence in Central America. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) penned an op-ed articulating the need to protect the children and keep the protections that they have under current law.  As he writes, “we must not repeal the law that offers them protection. We must enforce it and provide the administration with the funding necessary to better address both the domestic and international aspects of this crisis.”

Children at the NCLR Family Expo wrote letters to children fleeing violence as part of the They Are Children campaign

The House of Representatives voted this week to take away a tax credit from vulnerable families. Instead of attempting to improve their failing score on immigration, the House Republican leadership allowed a vote on Friday afternoon that would expand the Child Tax Credit for higher income families, while denying taxpaying immigrant workers with families who use an ITIN for filing from accessing the credit. HR 4935 passed 237-173 despite opposition from the administration: “ H.R. 4935 would immediately eliminate the Child Tax Credit for millions of American children whose parents immigrated to this country, including U.S. citizen children and “Dreamers,” and would push many of these children into or deeper into poverty.”  Click here to see roll call vote 451 and see how your Representative voted on this legislation that would harm hardworking immigrant families. Tune in on Monday as NCLR and Latino, AAPI, faith, and labor organizations issue the final CIR Scores by following #CIRScores.

Honoring Servicemen and Women, the Best and Brightest Latinos: Highlights from the Final Day of #NCLR14

The last day of the 2014 NCLR Annual Conference closed with an inspiring Tuesday lunch and our annual Awards Gala. Check out the highlights from our last day in Los Angeles.

Stern Words for Congress on Immigration: Day Three of #NCLR14

The Economy and Early Child Education were also major themes for day three.

Day One of #NCLR14 Starts With a Bang

Check out highlights from the first official day of our 2014 NCLR Annual Conference.

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending July 18


Week Ending July 18, 2014

This week in immigration reform: President Obama meets with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the need for administrative action on immigration reform as well as how best to protect children fleeing violence; President Obama and Congress continue to debate what course of action to pursue regarding children fleeing violence, as a number of lawmakers introduce bills related to the emergency; NCLR launches “Hanging in the Balance: Stories of Aspiring Americans,” a blog series focused on individuals in need of administrative relief from immigration enforcement; and NCLR’s 2014 Annual Conference in Los Angeles presents an array of immigration-related events.

Pres. Obama meets with CHC, which urges him to act on administrative relief and to ensure legal protections for children fleeing violence.  President Obama met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) this Wednesday, July 16.  The CHC urged President Obama to stand firm on his existing promises to review and reform our broken immigration enforcement practices.  CHC members also encouraged the President to resist appeals from Republican lawmakers who wish to change the law so that child migrants from Central America would be denied due process and their day in court.

Following the meeting, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4) remarked that CHC members will refuse to support any legislative changes that undermine the legal protections for child migrants, and reaffirmed that the CHC will work with Pres. Obama to organize the necessary resources needed to address the ongoing humanitarian emergency of children fleeing violence.  Rep. Gutierrez also reported that CHC members asked the President to be “broad and expansive in using prosecutorial discretion and executive action” to relieve aspiring Americans from the threat of deportation.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) published an op-ed following the meeting in which he called on members of Congress to cease their callous, “detain and deport” approach to the children fleeing violence; pointed at Congress’ failure to consider immigration reform legislation as a root cause of the current troubles; and reminded his colleagues that America has historically provided refuge to those fleeing danger.

Pres. Obama and Congress continue debating best course of action on children fleeing violence.  As the Obama administration deals with the humanitarian emergency of children fleeing violence as best it can, political theater has replaced pragmatic policy-making as various members of Congress are introducing bills that would do little to address the root causes of the situation. So far bills have been introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas); Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.); and Rep. John Carter (R-Texas).  It remains unclear how Congress will move forward with addressing the emergency.

Other lawmakers, however, have suggested constructive proposals on how to address children fleeing violence.  The Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, chaired by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, firmly rejected proposals to change the law that would eliminate existing due process and humanitarian protections by indiscriminately sending children back to unsafe conditions of rampant gang violence, rape, murder, and human trafficking.

–NCLR launches “Hanging in the Balance: Stories of Aspiring Americans” series.  This week NCLR launched “Hanging in the Balance: Stories of Aspiring Americans,” a blog series that will highlight stories of individuals and families who would benefit immensely from relief from indiscriminate detention and deportation. Since Republican leadership in the House has wasted the best opportunity we’ve had in years to fix our broken immigration system, millions of hard-working individuals must now look to President Obama for action on immigration.

The first story in the series looks at how Congressional inaction on immigration has affected the Maldonado family of Northeast Ohio.  Check it out here, and stay tuned to NCLR’s blog for future updates to this series.

NCLR’s 2014 Annual Conference in Los Angeles presents an array of immigration-related events.  NCLR’s 2014 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA is just around the corner.  Conference kicks off on July 19 and runs through July 22.  NCLR is committed to the fight for immigration reform and for administrative action on the part of President Obama, and immigration-related events will be front and center at this year’s conference.

On Saturday, July 19 don’t miss NCLR’s featured session “The Battle for Immigration: Legislation, Executive Action, and Unaccompanied Children” at 10:45 A.M. in Room 515A. If you won’t be able to attend in person, you can

Also on Saturday, July 19 be sure to check out “Casa Azafrán: A Case Study in Immigrant Integration through Placemaking” at 9:00 A.M. in LACC West Hall 511C.  Later that day NCLR will be screening “Documented,” the new film by journalist, filmmaker, and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas, at 2:45 P.M. in LACC Theatre 411.  Vargas will take questions and answers after the session.

Finally, NCLR will be holding a roundtable discussion on the humanitarian emergency of children fleeing violence in Central America on Sunday, July 20 at 1:30 P.M. in LACC West Hall 150B.  Check out the full pocket agenda for NCLR’s 2014 Annual Conference here.

While at NCLR’s 2014 Annual Conference, be sure to download NCLR’s new immigration integration app “Inmigo” on your smartphone!  The app provides workers in the immigrant integration field with up-to-date information on changing immigration laws and policies. The app is also equipped with an easy-to-use location feature that helps you find legal assistance on immigration-related issues.

#NCLR14 Kicks Off With a Day of Service

We kicked off our Annual Conference in Los Angeles with a day of community service to beautify Berendo Middle School together with Bank of America and our Affiliate, Youth Policy Institute. Below are highlights of the event!

In Memory of Tomas Atencio

By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR

The Hispanic community, and the nation, lost a hero on July 16, when Tomas Atencio, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of New Mexico, passed away at his home in Albuquerque after a long illness.

The son of a Presbyterian minister whose family traced its history in New Mexico to the 1700s, Atencio was a Marine “wireman” in the Korean War, whose job was to check and maintain communications lines running through the rice patties and frozen mountains, often under sniper fire. He had degrees in philosophy, social work, and theology, and he authored or coauthored numerous works, including Albuquerque: Portrait of a Western City (Albuquerque: Clear Light Publishing, 2006) and, most recently, Resolana: Emerging Chicano Dialogues on Community and Globalization (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009). Tomas is perhaps best known for founding community-based academies dedicated to resolanas, or grassroots dialogues. A core concept of the resolana is that all participants are equal and discussions take place in the open, where, according to Papago Indian tradition, the sun is shining and everyone can see and hear what everyone else says, all at the same time.

Atencio’s ties to the National Council of La Raza ran deep. His brother Amos was the long-time CEO of Siete del Norte, one of our oldest Affiliates, and served on the NCLR Board of Directors. Tomas himself worked with two other NCLR Affiliates, the Mexican American Unity Council and the Colorado Migrant Council, as well as Siete del Norte, where among other things he pioneered culturally competent mental health care innovations, battled against heroin traffickers, inspired and catalyzed the development of small family farms, and in the process mentored the next generation of Latino community leaders. He also played a key role in convincing my predecessor, Raul Yzaguirre, to take the job as NCLR’s CEO in 1974, and all of us who have followed in his footsteps are grateful for that profoundly important act. For these and other achievements too numerous to list, Tomas Atencio earned NCLR’s Maclovio Barraza Award for Leadership in 1997.

But what his family, friends, and admirers will remember most about Tomas Atencio was his unique combination of fierce passion, sharp intellect, and gentle spirit. He dedicated his life to striving to help us all find, in his own words, a “new humanity that tears down all class and racial barriers.” May he rest in peace. May his ideas live on forever.

NCLR Affiliate Spotlight: Southwest Key

This month’s Affiliate Spotlight is on Southwest Key, based in Austin, Texas. The former Affiliate of the Year joined NCLR for a Twitter chat to talk about what the group does and where they’re going in the future.