Week Ending March 27
This week in immigration reform: Congress adopts a budget resolution slashing funding for low-income Americans; appeals court sets hearing date regarding Texas lawsuit; NCLR continues blog series on deferred action recipients; and NCLR profiles an Affiliate providing legal services to the immigrant community.
Congress adopts annual budget resolution cutting trillions from programs benefiting low-income Americans: This week both the House and the Senate debated and voted on similar nonbinding budget resolutions to provide a spending blueprint for the appropriations process later this year. These budget resolutions are reflections of the Majority’s priorities and are largely symbolic. The House passed their version 219-208 and the Senate held a vote at 3 a.m. this morning, passing their version 52-46. Both resolutions would balance the budget over ten years by cutting trillions of dollars from programs that serve Americans with limited means, equaling about 69 percent of total cuts to non-defense spending. Additionally, both budget resolutions repeal the Affordable Care Act and let vital expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) expire in 2017. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes this would push more than 16 million people, including 8 million children, deeper into poverty.
NCLR’s President and CEO Janet Murguía wrote a piece in the Huffington Post highlighting the importance of the EITC and CTC for working families and their children and how changing eligibility for these programs or scaling back their scope would cause harm. She notes, “These tax credits have helped lift millions of families out of poverty and have had a measurable impact on the poverty rate in this country. So why, then, are some Republican members of Congress pushing for proposals to scale back the EITC and significantly reduce the number of families eligible for the CTC? One answer is that they think these cuts will only affect immigrants, since they are proposing to exclude recipients of immigration relief, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), from receiving the credits… The greatest beneficiaries of these tax credits are children — American children. More than 90 percent of the children who would be affected by these proposals are native-born U.S. citizens.”
Update on Texas lawsuit against administrative relief: This week a federal appeals court announced they will hold oral arguments on April 17 on whether or not to stay a Texas judge’s order blocking implementation of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, particularly the expansion of DACA and the initiation of DAPA. Read more in Politico. For resources on preparing for administrative relief that you can use now visit www.adminrelief.org. Also, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) released a brochure outlining eligibility for administrative relief and what people can do to prepare.
NCLR features DACA recipient Karina Velasco: This week’s installment of our ‘Living the American DREAM’ blog series highlights the story of 25-year-old DACA recipient Karina Velasco. Karina attended National Latino Advocacy Days and had the opportunity to share her story with elected officials. Since Karina received DACA, she has obtained a driver’s license, finished community college, transferred to a four-year university, and obtained a job. “Without DACA it would have been harder to accomplish this success. I can finally contribute to my country’s economy and lift some of my parents’ economic burdens,” said Karina. She has also helped other DREAMers navigate the DACA process, assisting her peers in achieving the American Dream.
NCLR monthly Affiliate Spotlight shines on local organization: This month’s Affiliate Spotlight profile features Washington, D.C.-based Ayuda, a provider of legal services for low-income immigrants. NCLR spoke with Ayuda’s Program Initiatives Coordinator, Sarah Block, about Ayuda’s work and how it benefits the Latino community. Block noted the holistic approach her organization takes to addressing the legal needs of the immigrant community. Their services range from combatting notario fraud to applying for work permits to handling asylum cases. Ayuda also provides Spanish-language interpreters, helping bridge the language divide between lawyers and their clients.