This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending December 4

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Week Ending December 4

This week in immigration reform: NCLR joins Congressional leader to talk tax extenders; Coalition urges Supreme Court to hear administrative relief case; and USCIS unveils tool for navigating its website.

NCLR kept the community informed with staff quotes in the Las Vegas Sun, Latin Post, and Diario Las Americas.

NCLR calls on Congress to consider immigrant families in tax extender negotiations: As Congress looks to renew tax credits for businesses and working families in year-end negotiations, NCLR reminded lawmakers to include immigrant families in extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) joined NCLR and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) on Tuesday to urge Congress to keep immigrant families eligible for credits which are proven to fight poverty, promote employment, and bolster the overall economy. “I have seen and I have fought against these attacks for several years, both in public and in private, and now I’m doing everything possible to ensure that immigrants and all working families have access to the CTC and EITC. A vote against these important family credits is a vote to increase the taxes on millions of working immigrant families,” said Senator Menendez, senior member of the Senate Finance Committee. Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Deputy Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at NCLR, added, “The EITC and CTC, first and foremost, reward hard work. Millions of American families deserve this hard-earned income boost, which many rely on to pay for basic expenses such as school supplies and child care. Renewing the improvements that were made to these programs is sensible policy that strengthens our workforce.”

NCLR joins over 200 organizations urging Supreme Court to hear president’s immigration executive action case: NCLR joined a coalition of 223 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear Texas v. U.S., involving President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The brief shares personal stories from potential recipients of administrative relief, explaining how the two deferred action initiatives (DAPA and expanded DACA) would positively impact millions of community members currently residing in the United States. “The individuals profiled in the brief illustrate the havoc this case has wreaked on the lives of millions of immigrants who remain in legal limbo,” remarked Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council, one of the organizations included in the brief. “We urge the U.S. Supreme Court to take up this case and give hardworking immigrant families the chance to live and work without fear of deportation.” An additional brief calling for similar Supreme Court action was filed by 216 Congressional Democrats this week, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

DCist features work of NCLR Affiliate Carlos Rosario at International Public Charter School: In a profile of Chef Benjamin Velasquez, DCist shares the story of the Director of Food Services at Carlos Rosario and his work training aspiring culinary workers.  Chef Velasquez has worked at Carlos Rosario for 29 years and oversees two training kitchens that teach immigrant students about working in professional kitchens while working to earn a GED.  The students who hail from all over the world also increase their English skills and computer literacy skills. As the story notes, “Today, the school runs three teaching shifts—morning, afternoon, and evening for its 2,500-strong student body. Many of the students enrolled in Carlos Rosario also have full-time jobs. In addition to ESL training, students can pick from three career paths: culinary arts, health care, and technology. The program has graduated more than 50,000 immigrants from all over the globe, and continues to provide services after graduation.”

USCIS unveils “Emma” personal assistant: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled out a new tool to make navigating its website easier this week. “Emma,” named after Emma Lazarus, who wrote the poem at the Statue of Liberty about helping immigrants, is a new computer-generated assistant designed to answer questions and provide assistance finding the right areas on the USCIS website. Currently available in English only, USCIS expects to add the feature to its Spanish website within the next few months.

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