U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
On July 13, 2017, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly had a closed-door meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). The discussion focused on the important immigration issues that are top of mind for many in our community, including the futures of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and the designations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Combined, DACA and TPS shield more than 1.1 million—predominantly Latino individuals—from deportation.
Instead of alleviating concerns, the conversation raised many more alarms and led to scathing statements from CHC members. For starters, Secretary Kelly indicated that after talking to various “experts” that he had doubts about the legality of DACA. This is puzzling, given the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that the executive branch has “broad discretion” in matters relating to immigration, and “must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.” DACA is consistent with this reasoning. On DACA, Kelly also stated that decisions about the future of DACA will be left to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions’s strong anti-immigrant positions and ties to extremist groups is well documented, and is a cause for concern for the more than 800,000 DACA recipients and their supporters.
Week Ending July 29, 2016
This week in immigration: NCLR holds its annual conference consisting of many panels and workshops focused on immigration and immigrant integration.
NCLR Annual Conference: NCLR’s Annual Conference was held this past weekend in Orlando, Florida. The conference started off with a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Field Office in Orlando. NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, and USCIS Southeast Regional Director Kathy Redman Field Officer welcomed nearly 90 new U.S. citizens from 36 different countries. In congratulating the country’s newest citizens, Murguía encouraged them to use their new responsibilities as citizens and cast their votes. “I want you to vote in this upcoming election,” she told the group. “Your vote now can make a difference in the direction we move our country.”
Janet Murguía with some of our newest citizens after a naturalization ceremony in Orlando
NCLR also held workshops during the conference focused on immigration legal services and immigrant integration. NCLR Affiliate, Latinos Progresando, shared their expertise in building and sustaining an immigration legal services program. In another session, NCLR Affiliates worked on completing applications to the Board of Immigration Appeals for recognition in order to provide immigration legal services.
Week Ending June 24
This week in immigration: NCLR responds to Supreme Court decision.
Supreme Court keeps Administrative Relief on hold: We at NCLR are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s 4–4 decision yesterday, which keeps DAPA and expanded DACA on hold. The decision ignores decades of legal precedent and disregards the previous uses of discretionary powers by presidents—leaving millions of American families in immigration limbo. The Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation released flyers in English and Spanish for use by community based organizations, available here. For a factsheet in English and Spanish explaining the decision click here.
NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía said, “We are disappointed and heartbroken at this disheartening moment for families who are part of our American fabric and contribute so much to our nation. Not only does it dash the hopes of individuals, but it keeps our country from reaping the rewards of the social and economic contributions these policies encourage. Our community remains steadfast in our commitment to keeping hardworking families together and we will keep fighting for a permanent solution.”
Janet also appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, where she predicted the ruling will impact the upcoming elections, saying “I do anticipate that we will see a lot more [voter] mobilization efforts happening as a result of this decision.” Watch below:
We will continue to keep fighting because this is personal for us. Some of the news coverage of the decision included poignant reminders that this is about American families that are deeply embedded in our communities and contributing in so many ways to our country. DACA recipient Luba Cortes writes about what it was like growing up with an undocumented mother in the New York Times. DACA recipients and DAPA hopefuls vow to continue the push for reform in the Los Angeles Times. And a Xavier University student from Ohio shares what administrative relief would have meant to his family in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Week Ending April 29
This week in immigration: Congressman Grijalva introduces resolution condemning 1996 immigration law; 177 organizations call on DOJ to provide counsel for children in immigration proceedings; op-ed describes how Texas benefits if DAPA is implemented.
CONGRESSMAN GRIJALVA INTRODUCES RESOLUTION CONDEMNING 1996 IMMIGRATION LAW: This week, Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3) along with 30 Representatives introduced a congressional resolution calling for immigration policies that reduce automatic deportation and detention, restore due process for immigrants, and repeal unnecessary barriers to legal immigration. The “Fix96 Resolution” marks 20 years since the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act were signed into law in 1996, dramatically broadening and easing deportation and detainment requirements, removing legal defenses and involving local law enforcement. Vox writes an excellent description of the impact of the 1996 laws on today’s immigration system and its impact on families.