Week Ending May 26
NCLR denounces Trump’s slash and burn budget: This week, the administration released its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018. The proposed budget eliminates $1.7 trillion in funding that provides basic living standards to millions of Americans, gutting key programs and assistance that help families afford food, housing and health care. At the same time, the administration is asking for an increase of $4.5 billion (in addition to the existing $19 billion in immigration enforcement each year) to implement the President’s Executive Orders that expand a deportation force that has ripped families and communities apart. In a press release, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía stated, “With this budget, the administration is proposing taking food off the tables of American families, taking health coverage from those who need it most, and relegating education to the bottom of the priorities list, all while helping the wealthy get wealthier and unnecessarily directing billions more to mass deportations designed to split families apart and leave millions of citizen children destitute.”
NCLR releases new report on financial inclusion: This week NCLR released a new report, Small Dollars for Big Change: Immigrant Financial Inclusion and Access to Credit, which explores the linkages between immigration legal services and financial products to finance fees for applications such as DACA, family petitions, and naturalization. The report highlights potential solutions to help immigrants who are ready to adjust their status but need help financing the process with small-dollar credit options. The report discusses innovative solutions for increasing immigrant financial inclusion and promising approaches to expand the availability of small-dollar credit products that are mainstream and affordable instead of predatory.
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.”
Last week, while press attention was heavily focused on passage of House legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, Latino and pro-immigration advocates won an almost unnoticed, but nevertheless important, victory. President Trump signed a $1.1 trillion spending deal to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year that, according to Bloomberg News, “largely tracks Democratic priorities and rejects most of [President Trump’s] wish list, including funds for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.” The bill, H.R. 244, was required because Congress previously only appropriated enough funding for half of the 2017 fiscal year.
In mid-March, the White House formally requested an additional $30 billion in defense spending and more than $3 billion for the wall and other immigration enforcement. The Trump administration further asked Congress to cut $18 billion in funds for domestic programs to partially offset these increases. Separately, the administration also urged Congress to eliminate funding for so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with his mass deportation scheme. With a single political party controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, one might’ve assumed that the president’s priorities would sail through the legislative process. Early on, Democratic negotiators made clear they would fight funding for the wall, seeking to beat back one of the president’s signature issues.
On Sunday night, without notice and in an apparent effort to avoid the rising tide of protests, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law, an unnecessary, unworkable, and dangerous piece of legislation.
This new law, 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. S.B.4 is scheduled to go into effect in September.
Week Ending May 5
This week in immigration: NCLR on the first 100 days; May Day we rise up; Texas legislature passes SB 4; and NCLR participated in the New Americans Campaign conference.
NCLR reflects on the first 100 days of the administration: NCLR released a video statement by NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía regarding the first 100 days of the Trump administration and its effects on the Latino community. In the video, Janet highlights the importance of community solidarity throughout the first 100 days and notes that the president’s attitude towards Latinos has been one of continued attacks.
Janet’s take on the first 100 days was also included in a piece in the Kansas City Star. She notes that the Trump administration has continued to antagonize the Latino community and the president “puts every undocumented immigrant at risk of deportation, even though 97 percent of them pose no threat. And he threatens to force 24 million people to live without health coverage.” The president’s actions in the first 100 days continued a pattern of stirring divisiveness and fear, Janet notes in an op-ed for Univision.