Week Ending May 12
Texas’ S.B. 4 is a License to Discriminate: This past Sunday in the shadow of night, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law SB4 which would go into effect in September. The legislation, opposed by a host of police chiefs from all over Texas, calls on law enforcement to inquire about immigration status in traffic stops and other interactions, allows police officers to question children about immigration status, and mandates fines and jail time for elected officials and law enforcement who fail to comply with the discriminatory law, even though it may make them complicit in violating constitutional safeguards. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it has the spirit of previous racial profiling bills passed in Alabama, Arizona and other states where taxpayers bore the burden of litigation. NCLR joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), Mi Familia Vota, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Urban League (NUL) in a press conference denouncing the legislation. Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR, said, “Gov. Abbott’s action is reckless and irresponsible. S.B.4 represents a false promise to those looking for real solutions on immigration. Rather than solving anything, this deeply troubling and unconstitutional legislation will jeopardize the civil rights of millions of Texans, nearly half of whom are Hispanic, and undermine public safety in communities across the state. As an organization that works to protect and defend America’s Latino community and uphold the core values of this nation, NCLR condemns this new law and others like it, and the bigotry and intolerance they represent.”
Funding Fight Round One is Over and NCLR Looks Ahead to Round Two: When Congress passed its spending bill for Fiscal Year 2017, the New York Times noted that the Trump administration’s top priorities were “conspicuously absent” from the final version of the funding bill. This was a win for NCLR and other civil and immigrant rights groups who coordinated to remove funding for increased deportations from the legislation. It is hardly time to declare victory, however. The legislative cycle for fiscal year 2018 appropriations is just beginning, and another funding showdown on funding for mass deportations is expected in September. Notwithstanding the challenges that lie ahead, what NCLR, its Affiliates, and coalition partners accomplished in defeating major new funding to support the Trump administration’s mass deportation scheme should not go unnoticed. It shows what can be done when advocates use all their assets—grassroots mobilization, aggressive communication, and direct lobbying—to lift the voices of Americans likely to be adversely affected—to defeat unnecessary, divisive, and harmful legislation.
NCLR and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Join to Celebrate Moms: This week NCLR and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus joined social media forces to celebrate the contributions of mothers in a twitter storm campaign. CHC members described what their mothers have done for them and the ways that they are addressing issues currently affecting Latinas.
As a mother, my heart breaks for families torn apart by US policies. Our government must keep families together! #BecauseOfMom
— Rep. Roybal-Allard (@RepRoybalAllard) May 11, 2017
— Adriano Espaillat (@RepEspaillat) May 11, 2017
CHC Members also used their voices to call for the removal of Julie Kirchner as Ombudsman at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. CHC members wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Kelly, “Given that Ms. Kirchner has made a career of attacking immigrant communities, we find her appointment to be offensive, insensitive and malicious. We do not believe that a person who has spent over a decade attacking immigrant communities will now work effectively and thoughtfully to advance the rights of immigrants and fulfill the important duties that are required of this role.”
NCLR Reacts to Kris Kobach Appointment to Voter Commission: NCLR President & CEO Janet Murguía, released a statement regarding the appointment of Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach to the newly created Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. Janet stated that this appointment was the “equivalent of a fox Guarding the hen house” given Mr. Kobach’s record for “long and undistinguished … disenfranchising of eligible voters, particularly minorities, in the name of preventing voter fraud, which every available research shows is virtually nonexistent.” Mr. Kobach also has a long record of associating with anti-immigrant extremist organizations and work on notorious legislation such as Arizona SB 1070 that violates the civil rights of citizens and noncitizens alike.
NCLR Joins Mi Familia Vota, the National Partnership for New Americans, and others to promote Citizenship Now: This week, NPNA and Mi Familia Vota launched the Naturalize NOW! campaign to mobilize over one million people to naturalize in 2017. Naturalization is a critical strategy to secure protection for those being threatened by deportation and to build power for our communities. Across the country, 8.8 million people are eligible to naturalize but haven’t done so yet. 3.7 million of them could become citizens for free or for a reduced cost, using available fee waivers. NCLR is proud to join the campaign and work with its Affiliate Network to promote naturalization.