This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending May 1

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Week Ending May 1

This week in immigration reform: NCLR Affiliates continue to ready for executive action implementation; NCLR continues our blog series on deferred action recipients; and House Republicans hold hearing on birthright citizenship.

NCLR kept the community informed with staff quoted in NBC News and the Tennessean.

Congressman Gutierrez and NCLR Affiliates rally to support executive action and comprehensive immigration reform: This Thursday, Congressman Gutierrez (D-Ill.) spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 at a high school in Washington, DC, touching on executive action, comprehensive immigration reform, and his own personal story. This was the Congressman’s 20th stop on his “Immigration Action National Tour,” a national undertaking to inform the immigrant community of the requirements and importance of DACA and DAPA. An article quotes Gutierrez saying, “It’s a huge task and the more people know, the earlier they know it, the better prepared they will be to take advantage. It’s my responsibility not only to demand action here in Washington, D.C., but to ensure to the best of my ability that it is implemented as broadly and as widely and as generously as possible.” Each event also includes volunteers who meet with those potentially eligible for deferred action to inform them about the process and to help get them ready to apply once the programs are no longer on a court-mandated hold. NCLR Affiliates, including Ayuda, CARECEN, Carlos Rosario, La Clinica del Pueblo, Latin American Youth Center, and Mary’s Center, co-sponsored the community town hall.


NCLR blog series features DACA recipient Carla Mena: This week’s installment of our ‘Living the American DREAM’ blog series profiles North Carolinian Carla Mena, who received DACA in 2012. DACA has enabled Carla to get a full-time job at Duke University’s Global Health Institute and to continue engaging her community through serving on the Wake Health Services Board of Trustees and working with NCLR Affiliate Youth Council at El Pueblo, Inc. While Carla has a temporary reprieve from deportation, her parents, and millions of others, don’t. DAPA, the program for parents of U.S. citizen children or legal permanent residents, is on hold. Our blog notes: “DAPA would provide opportunities for millions of skilled immigrants to work in fields where they can earn and contribute more. If DACA recipients have demonstrated in just three years what this program can do for communities like Raleigh, perhaps it’s time to consider something more stable. Carla’s story attests to the social and economic benefits of administrative relief, however, the overhaul of our immigration policies remain a critical task that Congress must undertake.”

House Republicans Convene hearing on birthright citizenship: This week,  a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on whether or not birthright citizenship, the policy of granting U.S. citizenship to each child born on U.S. soil supported by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, is good for America. In advance of the subcommittee hearing, civil rights leaders and members of Congress held a press conference to denounce the hearing. NCLR Deputy Vice President, Clarissa Martinez de Castro, said “It’s time to legislate responsibly; we want relief, resolution, and reform.” Democratic Members of Congress weighed in decrying the substance of the hearing, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying, “Evidently, there is no American principle too sacred not to be surrendered in Republicans’ race to pander to the most radical, anti-immigrant corners of their party.  Today’s hearing is an appalling Republican effort to reverse one of our most fundamental constitutional guarantees: people born on American soil are Americans.” A Latin Post article quoted other Members of Congress, including Senator Menendez (D-N.J.), who said the hearing is a “painful reminder that we cannot and must not tolerate second-class citizenship, inequality, intolerance, and injustice. It is a humiliating reminder of the jingoistic insensitivity of the few toward multiculturalism and the changing face of America in the 21st Century.”

ImmReformUpdate_5_1_2015_pic3Clarissa Martinez de Castro of NCLR with Reps. Al Green, Luis Gutierrez, and Ruben Gallego

Day One of #NCLR14 Starts With a Bang

Check out highlights from the first official day of our 2014 NCLR Annual Conference.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart Speaks Out on Immigration Reform

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Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)

Today, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) delivered remarks on the state of immigration reform. He expressed disappointment with Congressional inaction and reiterated his committment to passing a bill. Full text of his remarks are below.

“From 2009-2010, I had been working with a group of bipartisan colleagues to draft immigration reform legislation. Unfortunately, Democratic Leadership refused to consider the bill when they had the majority.

During the last year and a half, I have been working non-stop with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to draft legislation that would obtain a majority of the Republicans and a number of the Democrats who are willing to put politics aside and get immigration reform done.

In particular, I want to thank Luis Gutierrez for all his help, for his willingness, when necessary, to take on Republicans, Democrats, and the President.

After lots of work and revisions, we finally drafted legislation that could garner the necessary bipartisan support. We learned our lessons from the 1986 amnesty bill and last year’s Senate bill, and did not repeat their mistakes.

Due to the extraordinary lack of trust in this President, I worked to ensure that the legislation would independently verify and hold this and future presidents accountable for finally securing the borders. The bill is a commonsense solution to illegal immigration that recognizes we are not going to spend tens of billions of dollars to roundup and deport millions of undocumented workers who have been here for many years. My solution would require those who came here illegally to earn legal status, earn their right to remain here, and demonstrate their commitment to the United States. It is an efficient and effective approach that is good for the American economy and fair to the people who came here legally.

I am grateful for the cooperation, advice, and trust I received from so many of my colleagues, specifically Speaker Boehner and his staff. I also want to thank Paul Ryan for his guidance, leadership, and friendship, and countless other House Republicans, like my legislative sister Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for their constructive input on this issue.

Despite our best efforts, today I was informed by the Republican leadership that they have no intention to bring this bill to the floor this year. It is disappointing and highly unfortunate, because we have a unique opportunity to secure the borders, fix our broken immigration system, and strengthen our economy.

This system is not going to fix itself, and delaying a commonsense solution is only going to make matters worse as is evident by what is going on today with the crisis on the southern border.

It is highly irresponsible not to deal with the issue. I know it is difficult, especially when you have a President that failed to build the trust of the American people or the U.S. Congress, and who has done little to enforce current law despite his assertions to the contrary. But we were sent here by the American people precisely to tackle difficult issues and not to take the easy way out.

By blocking reform, whether it was when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker or now, we are in effect abdicating our duty. Particularly when we have a President that is willing to unilaterally act through executive action, that he himself has said is legally circumspect, will not provide a long-term solution to our immigration system, and I believe could even make it worse.

I hope that in the near future leadership will reconsider and allow my legislation to come to the floor. I for one am not willing to give up and will continue to work until we can finally fix a broken immigration system that everyone recognizes is dysfunctional.

I want to make it clear that I am ready to proceed at any time.”

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending June 13

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Week Ending June 13, 2014

This week in immigration reform: After the shocking loss in the district primary of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), polls find that Rep. Cantor did not lose his primary because of immigration as 72 percent of voters in his district support comprehensive immigration reform; 10 GOP pollsters confirm that Americans want immigration reform done and that doing so will not hurt Republican representatives during their primaries; and in the wake of last week’s release of the new DACA renewal form, NCLR has released a guide to help applicants get information about  the process.

–Voters in Rep Eric Cantor’s District support Immigration Reform. While some commentators were quick to blame Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprising defeat in his district primary on immigration reform, exit polling data suggested that the majority of Republican primary voters in the district support immigration reform. Polling found that 72 percent of voters in Cantor’s district support immigration reform. In South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a strong supporter of immigration reform, won his primary handily, winning nearly 60 percent of the vote and avoiding a run-off.  A number of people responded that the Majority Leader’s loss in the primary did not mean that immigration reform efforts are dead- including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donahue, Reps. Becerra and Gutierrez. Rep. Terry Lee from Nebraska said that other factors led to the primary result more than immigration did.  As Politico points out, polling conducted by conservatives and progressives shows widespread support for reform among voters in the Rep. Cantor’s district.  Rep. McCarthy is expected to be elected the next Majority Leader and advocates continue to urge him and House Republican leadership to give us a vote on immigration.

10 GOP Pollsters confirm that Americans support Immigration Reform. A group of conservative pollsters conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters in May of 2014. They found that 71 percent of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform. The poll established that Republican registered voters supported the proposal by even higher margins, with 81 percent support. The poll also confirmed that among voters who opposed amnesty 75 percent would support an immigration proposal similar to the Senate Bill (S-744). The poll also confirmed that supporting comprehensive immigration reform is smart politics for Representatives as 66 percent of Republican voters said they’d most likely vote for a candidate that supported immigration.

–Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Renewal Guide and FAQ. NCLR has released a factsheet with information and resources that applicants can use when navigating the process. Click here for more information about the renewal process and the requirements for first time applicants.

NCLR and affiliates in action.

  • California: NCLR affiliate TODEC hosted two phone banks in support of immigration reform this past week in California. Over a hundred calls were generated into the offices of Rep. Issa and Gary Miller.

ImmReformUpdate_6_13_2014Volunteers calling into the offices of Reps. Issa and Gary Miller asking for a vote on immigration reform

  • Ohio: Former ELC grantee, HOLA, held a rally in front of the Cleveland ICE office to call on the director of the office to implement ICE policy of granting prosecutorial discretion in cases that are not a priority for removal.  HOLA and community leaders rallied around Luis Padilla, a husband and father of 3 U.S. citizen sons who has lived in Ohio for ten years and contributing to his community.

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NCLR urges you honor Father’s Day by joining us in the fight for immigration reform.  Every day, approximately 1,100 people are deported and we need a solution.Fathers_day_sharegraphic (2)

NCLR Celebrates and Advocates!

Hundreds joined NCLR this week for our Annual NCLR Capital Awards and National Latino Advocacy Days. Below are highlights from this past week.