This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending November 13

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Week Ending November 13

This week in immigration reform: NCLR calls for appeal to Fifth Circuit ruling on administrative relief; USCIS honors immigrant members of the military; NCLR shares information on health care enrollment for immigrant and mixed-status families; and NCLR Deputy Vice President participates in immigration discussion.

NCLR responds to Fifth Circuit decision on administrative relief: Monday evening saw the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans uphold an earlier ruling in Texas v. United States, temporarily blocking implementation of President Obama’s executive actions related to immigration. Announced in November 2014, these executive actions would provide deportation relief through expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and creation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Shortly following the decision’s announcement, NCLR issued a press release calling on the Department of Justice to appeal the case as soon as possible. NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía was quoted in the statement, saying, “The record is clear—since the end of World War II, presidents of both parties have used discretionary powers on multiple occasions and for an extensively wide range of reasons to protect various groups from deportation. This decision disregards both this precedent and the necessity and practicality of setting priorities when it comes to immigration enforcement.”

The Department of Justice has announced that it will appeal the Fifth Circuit decision and ask the Supreme Court to review the case. For more information on possible next steps in the case, check out this graphic created by NILC. 

Although implementation of these specific programs remains halted, eligible applicants may still apply for DACA. For more information on how to apply for DACA, please visit uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.

In commemoration of Veterans Day, USCIS recognizes military members among new citizens: In recognition of Veterans Day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will welcome more than 255 veterans, service members, and military spouses as new American citizens this week. These veterans will be among the 10,000 new citizens naturalized at roughly 130 ceremonies nationwide. The military has always relied heavily on immigrants, with approximately 65,000 immigrants serving in the armed forces as of 2008. Recognizing the large role immigrants play, Congress and the Department of Defense have created multiple programs making it easier for foreign-born military members to obtain citizenship. Currently, USCIS can accelerate the application for citizenship for members of the United States armed forces and recently discharged members. Additionally, the Department of Defense created the Naturalization and Basic Training Initiative in 2009, which permits enlisted members to finish the naturalization process during basic training.

NCLR provides information for immigrant and mixed-status families on health care enrollment: As open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gets underway, we know there are people eligible for coverage who remain uninsured and are looking for information and resources to understand their options and get covered. NCLR provides immigrants and mixed status families resources and shares important facts to know about enrolling in health coverage under the ACA in this blog post

NCLR Deputy Vice President participates in conversation on immigration reform: NCLR Deputy Vice President Clarissa Martinez de Castro participated in a discussion titled, “Immigration: Open the doors or build some walls,” as part of the “Consider It” program in Reading, Pennsylvania. The discussion centered around immigration reform and its impact on the local community. “Consider It” promotes civil public discourse on divisive or controversial topics, based on the American Public Square Initiative in Kansas City. Other participants included the Heritage Foundation, a professor from Albright College, and a Reading School District employee.

What Happens Now That the Fifth Circuit Has Decided?

The fight for DAPA and DACA is not over, but we know you might have some questions about what happened and where we go from here. Our friends at iAmerica.org have prepared a handy infographic on what to expect now that the Fifth Circuit has made its decision.

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We Remain Committed to Keeping Families Together

Demonstrators joined our Affiliate, Latin American Coalition, in North Carolina last week for a DAPA Day of Action, part of rallies that happened all across the country.

Demonstrators joined our Affiliate, Latin American Coalition, in North Carolina last week for a DAPA Day of Action, part of rallies that happened all across the country.

This week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay to lift an injunction against the president’s administrative relief programs, expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), so they could move forward. The court’s decision leaves in limbo millions of American families as they wait to apply for the two programs.

This is not the end of legal proceedings on this matter, however, as an appeal of the preliminary injunction is scheduled for the week of July 6. While this is a setback, this is not the end of the long and arduous legal road. It is important to note that the Fifth Circuit Court has still not decided on the full appeal of the case to lift the injunction.

“Our community remains steadfast in our commitment to keeping hardworking families together,” said Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, NCLR Deputy Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, in a statement. “Not only will these executive actions bring relief to millions of American families, they are in the best interest of this nation’s economy and national security.”

Martinez-De-Castro further highlighted how those who are blocking relief in order to settle a score with the president are alienating the large and influential voting bloc of Latinos who “will remember these very personal attacks on our families and our community come Election Day,” said Martínez-De-Castro. “It should not be lost on anyone that a key function of the president is to nominate federal judges, and for the Senate to ‘advise and consent’ to those nominations. We will continue to remind our community that by exercising their power at the ballot box, they can help determine who will be making judicial decisions that, with the stroke of a pen, can snatch potential lawful status away from millions.”