This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending July 14

UnidosUS Immigration Update

Week Ending July 14

NCLR Is Officially UnidosUS: This week, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, announced it will change its name to UnidosUS. The announcement was made at the close of its Annual Conference, where thousands of national and community leaders gathered for this significant moment in the organization’s 49-year history. “Unidos” is the Spanish-language word for “united;” the new brand spotlights the organization’s commitment to uniting all communities across the United States, reflects its history and role in uniting diverse communities, and reinforces Latinos’ role as a unifying force.

UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía stated, “we are excited to announce that we are now UnidosUS. As we have over the course of the past 49 years, we will continue embracing change and ensuring that our organization is evolving and addressing the critical needs of the Latino community. In unity there is strength, and in strength there is power. Unidos is a call to action for all Latinos, but also signals a message for others to join us and to come together united in the best interest of the country and all Americans.” Make sure to visit our website at unidosus.org and check out a video from Janet below:

NCLR Annual Conference Wrap Up: Our Annual Conference wrapped up this week after three days of workshops, townhalls, and activities at the National Latino Family Expo. At a workshop hosted by the American Federation of Teachers, panelists discussed what educators can do to protect students and families from increased immigration enforcement. Workshop participants learned about resources available for educators to share with families and tools to create welcoming spaces in their schools and classrooms. Participants were reminded that all students regardless of immigration status have the right to a K-12th grade education. Areli Zarate, a teacher and DACA recipient, explained that she has tried to create a safe environment as an educator, and one of the ways she has done this was putting up a poster in her classroom of a butterfly that says ‘Dreamers Welcome.’ Additional workshops featured a legislative update on immigration efforts on Capitol Hill, strategies and tools to push back on anti-immigrant measures like SB 4 in Texas, as well as ways that community based organizations can protect individuals and keep families together by offering immigration screenings and providing immigration legal services.

In the National Latino Family Expo, eligible permanent residents in Arizona could receive information on applying for U.S. citizenship from Affiliates. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were also providing citizenship information at their table in the expo, and the Immigration Advocates Network was providing demonstrations of Citizenshipworks, the online tool that guides individuals through the naturalization process.

Trump Administration’s Cruel and Completely Unworkable Mass Deportation Agenda Advances: Back in Washington, DC the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations took a significant step toward funding President Trump’s mass deportation agenda this week by voting a bill out of the subcommittee that calls for a $705 million increase for immigration enforcement. The funding approved by the subcommittee would provide for an unprecedented level of 44,000 detention beds and the hiring of 1,000 additional ICE officers and agents who would be focused primarily on interior enforcement. If that isn’t bad enough, the bill would give the president $1.6 billion for a senseless border wall that members on both side of the aisle say we don’t need.

Also on the Hill, DHS Secretary Kelly stated to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that the future of DACA would be left to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has had a long and well-known record of hostility toward immigrants and Latinos. During that same meeting, Kelly told the CHC that the fates of the more than 250,000 people currently on TPS from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua would also be left to Sessions.

Janet Murguía stated, “the Trump administration, well out of the public spotlight, made progress on their unspeakably cruel and entirely unworkable mass deportation agenda this week with the approval of funding for their dark and un-American policy. As importantly, the steps the administration took this week belies the president’s purported rationale of wanting to focus on ‘bad guys.’ Both DACA and TPS recipients have been heavily vetted and the overwhelming majority pose no threat to our country. Ironically, taking away their ability to work does.”

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