The NCLR Staff Went to the Supreme Court to Fight for Families!

This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for United States v. Texas, the case that could decided whether President Obama’s administrative relief programs, DAPA and expanded DACA, can be implemented.

At a rally outside the court, thousands gathered to “Fight for Families,” and to make sure our voices are heard. In attendance were grassroots organizers, Members of Congress, and thousands of advocates. The entire NCLR staff was also there to hear remarks from our President and CEO, Janet Murguía.

Take a look at some of the social media highlights from the day.

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending April 15

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Week Ending April 15

This week in immigration: Oral arguments for administrative relief to be heard Monday; USCIS releases new N-400; and deadline for USCIS grant opportunities for citizenship and immigrant integration coming up soon.

NCLR kept the community informed with staff quoted in The Associated Press, The Orlando Sentinel, and El Diario NY.

Groups make final push ahead of next week’s oral arguments on administrative relief: Monday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas will potentially decide the fates of five million individuals currently residing in communities across the country. In preparation for Monday, stakeholders are demonstrating the significance of this case. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a press conference earlier today to highlight families affected by the decision. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez wrote about the need for sensible administrative relief in an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. The American Immigration Council released a new guide to the case that provides answers to questions about what is at stake, the specific issues at hand, and the long-term impact the decision will have on the country and its future. Education Weekly penned an article about the implications the decision would have on school-age children; Pomona College Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum wrote a similar piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education framing the issue in the context of higher education. Finally, NCLR will join advocacy groups from across the country in front of the Supreme Court on Monday morning at a rally in favor of administrative relief. Follow NCLR on social media for updates from the rally!

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending April 8

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Week Ending April 8

This week in immigration: NCLR responds to Donald Trump’s latest proposal; newspapers across the country feature stories of U.S. citizens whose families will be paying close attention to the arguments at the Supreme Court this month; and the Supreme Court upholds principle of one person, one vote.

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We’re Getting Ready for Expanded DACA and DAPA

With the positive news that the Supreme Court will hear the case that has been blocking administrative relief this spring, now is the time to prepare for the possibility of the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). To do that, NCLR and its Affiliates, along with partners from across the country, gathered in Crystal City, Virginia, last week for the Ready America conference. Community organizers, advocates, and legal experts came together to plan and strategize for the implementation of administrative relief.

Our staff and Affiliates participated in workshops on community outreach and communications strategies, effective strategies, and service delivery models. Staff from more than 20 NCLR Affiliates were there to share their ideas for implementation and to learn from others.

The conference kicked off with a session focused on the process for applying for recognition from the Board of Immigration Appeals in order to provide immigration legal services. The workshop led by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) will allow NCLR Affiliates and other community-based organizations to add much-needed capacity to provide high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services. According to research we contributed to, the implementation of expanded DACA and DAPA will require three times more full-time staff providing immigration legal assistance than are currently in the field.

ReadyAmerica1Irma Morin and Raquel Reyes of NCLR Affiliate Community Council of Idaho were among the participants in the workshop preparing applications to become immigration legal service providers. Photo: Laura Vazquez.

Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Leon Rodriguez joined the conference participants and shared his goal that if the injunction is lifted when the Supreme Court issues its ruling, USCIS will be ready to go with expanded DACA. The audience was reminded that the agency was on the cusp of accepting those applications when Judge Hanen put a halt to people being able to come forward and apply.

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USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez addressed the crowd of advocates and immigration legal service providers at the Ready America conference. Photo: Laura Vazquez.

In addition to discussing the models and practices that organizations can use to prepare and the lessons learned from DACA, participants discussed strategies to encourage families to come forward and apply for relief.

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Peter Roos and Guadalupe Alcala of NCLR Affiliate Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation at the DACA Education and Outreach workshop.

Weekly Washington Outlook — January 11, 2016

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What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

On Monday, the House will vote on the following legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • 142 – Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 757 – North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • R. 1777 – Presidential Allowance Modernization Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 1069 – Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Duncan / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • 1629 – District of Columbia Courts, Public Defender Service, and Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • 1115 – Grants Oversight and New Efficiency (GONE) Act (Sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 598 – Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 653 – FOIA Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 3231 – Federal Intern Protection Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

On Tuesday, the House will consider H.R. 1644 – STREAM Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Alex Mooney / Natural Resources Committee) before recessing in the evening for a Joint Session of Congress to receive the President’s State of the Union Address.

On Wednesday and Thursday the House will vote on the following:

  • R. 3662 – Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Russell / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • J. Res. 22 – Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

Senate:

The Senate returns from its winter break on Monday and plans to consider the nomination of Luis Restrepo to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit. Later in the week, the Senate plans to take a procedural vote on S.2232, legislation to audit the Federal Reserve.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Tuesday, President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union Address at 9:00 PM EST. The vice president, the first lady, and Dr. Biden will attend.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the president will travel to Omaha, Neb. and then to Baton Rouge, La. to highlight the progress made in each state since he took office and what more can be done in the next year to move the country forward.

On Friday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

Supreme Court:

On Monday, the Court will hear oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The case seeks to overturn a 1977 ruling that allows public-sector unions to charge “fair share fees” to non-members benefitting from collective bargaining. More information available.

On Friday, the Court could decide whether or not to hear arguments in the Fifth Circuit litigation on DAPA and expanded DACA.

Also this Week:

Criminal Justice – The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a mark-up on Tuesday of the first pieces of a criminal justice reform package. H.R. 3406 would reauthorize adult and juvenile offer re-entry programs and H.R. 1854 would authorize programs related to the intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system. Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) has indicated a willingness to address criminal justice and sentencing reform issues through a piecemeal approach, focusing on elements that have broad bipartisan support. In contrast, the Senate could vote in the coming weeks on bipartisan sentencing and prison reform legislation.

Puerto Rico – At the end of last year, Republican leadership in the House pledged to take action on Puerto Rico by the end of March. The House Judiciary Committee originally planned to hold a hearing in early January, but this has not yet been scheduled. However, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee will convene a hearing a Tuesday on energy and electricity issues on the island. House Speaker Paul Ryan has set a March 31st deadline for the House to act on Puerto Rico’s financial crisis.

Budget – The Congressional Budget Office will release next Tuesday, January 19th its annual budget and economic outlook. The release will come in two parts: a broad overview and the report itself.

Republican Retreat – House and Senate Republican members will hold a joint retreat in Baltimore this week to map out a 2016 agenda. While Speaker Ryan has recently spoken on the need to provide a positive vision for the party, it is widely expected members will push for additional votes to repeal the ACA and other conservative priorities headed into the election.

State of the Union – The President is expected to use his last State of the Union to draw a contrast with some Presidential campaign rhetoric to make the case that America is on the right track. He is likely to have an aspirational message and it has been reported he will spend little time focusing on legislative priorities or accomplishments. More details. Guests of the first lady will include a Dreamer, a Syrian refugee, and activists and law enforcement officials working on criminal justice reform, among others.