Week Ending March 3
This week in immigration: NCLR responds to the President’s address to a joint session of Congress and highlights additional tools for advocates.
NCLR responds to president’s address to a joint session of Congress: This week, the president gave an address to a joint session of Congress and NCLR expressed continued deep concern over President Trump’s pursuit of policies that undermine the significant progress made by Latinos and other diverse communities across the United States. “President Trump’s moderated tone and soft overtures to bipartisanship do not make the policies he has implemented and defended mightily in this speech any less harsh,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “The policies are still the policies he has been touting since the beginning of the campaign, and his justifications are still as hyperbolic and fictional as they’ve ever been.”
In an op-ed published in The Hill, Janet Murguía noted that the President’s statements continue to peddle fiction about the immigrant community, writing “Last night, President Trump painted immigrants with the same ugly, broad brush he used during the campaign. It was a slur then and it is a slur now.”
Meanwhile, in the Capitol as guests of many Democratic members of congress, refugees, DREAMers, DACA recipients, and U.S. citizen children whose mother has been deported spoke out about the impact that the president’s policies are having on them and on their communities. In addition to the guests in the audience, Astrid Silva, one of the more than 750,000 DACA recipients in the country, delivered the Democratic Party’s response in Spanish.
Earlier this week in Jackson, Miss., 22-year-old Dany Vargas stood bravely before reporters to speak about the fear that she and many of her friends and family have of being deported at any moment under a new administration that has targeted the Latino community.
Dany’s fears are real. After all, it was just two weeks ago that she watched her father get arrested outside their home. She literally hid inside her bedroom closet for fear that she too could be deported. Dany’s father and her brother were arrested, detained, and are currently awaiting deportation. Despite her fears after watching her family members taken away, Dany spoke eloquently about being a DREAMer and how much she wants to contribute to her country, which she has called home since she was seven years old.
As a DACA recipient, Dany has been able to work as a store manager, and has dreams of being a math teacher. But, her DACA status lapsed after she was unable to pay the $500 fee that is required every two years to maintain the status. However, Dany did save up the money she needed, and last month got her paperwork in order so that she could begin the renewal process. Since her application is pending, what happened next was shocking.
Week Ending February 24
This week in immigration: NCLR responds to immigration enforcement memos.
NCLR responds to immigration enforcement memos: This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued new memos outlining how the administration would implement the Executive Orders signed by President Trump on January 25. The implementation memos serve as a mass deportation blueprint. NCLR condemned this unnecessary and wasteful plan. “It opens the floodgates to terrorizing millions of people in this country—citizens and noncitizens alike—to combat a nonexistent immigrant crime wave. Or, to put in the words of this administration, based on ‘fake news,” stated NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “We will do everything in our power to protect and defend our community in the face of this unconscionable assault on our civil rights,” Murguía added.
Photo: Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
On January 18, in anticipation of expected executive orders on immigration from the Trump administration, NCLR signed onto a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights urging the new president to keep the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program for immigrant youth intact.
The DACA program was established in 2012 under former President Obama to grant temporary deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before their sixteenth birthday. More than 750,000 individuals—known as “DREAMers”—have enjoyed the benefits of the DACA program. For many DREAMers who have grown up in the United States, this has been the only country that they have ever known.
We applaud the bipartisan bill legislation Senator Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced late last week that would provide provisional protected status for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients.
The 2012 program allows unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children—also known as “DREAMers”—who have completed or are enrolled in high school, and who have not committed serious offenses, to obtain temporary protection from deportation, as well as a work permit, renewable every two years. Since DACA’s implementation, almost 740,000 DREAMers have received temporary deportation relief.