This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending May 12

Week Ending May 12

Texas’ S.B. 4 is a License to Discriminate: This past Sunday in the shadow of night, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law SB4 which would go into effect in September. The legislation, opposed by a host of police chiefs from all over Texas, calls on law enforcement to inquire about immigration status in traffic stops and other interactions, allows police officers to question children about immigration status, and mandates fines and jail time for elected officials and law enforcement who fail to comply with the discriminatory law, even though it may make them complicit in violating constitutional safeguards. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it has the spirit of previous racial profiling bills passed in Alabama, Arizona and other states where taxpayers bore the burden of litigation. NCLR joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the  Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), Mi Familia Vota, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Urban League (NUL) in a press conference denouncing the legislation. Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR, said, “Gov. Abbott’s action is reckless and irresponsible. S.B.4 represents a false promise to those looking for real solutions on immigration. Rather than solving anything, this deeply troubling and unconstitutional legislation will jeopardize the civil rights of millions of Texans, nearly half of whom are Hispanic, and undermine public safety in communities across the state. As an organization that works to protect and defend America’s Latino community and uphold the core values of this nation, NCLR condemns this new law and others like it, and the bigotry and intolerance they represent.”

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Protecting Nevada’s Working Families

Last week, NCLR traveled to Las Vegas for a town hall where local elected officials, as well as business and advocacy groups in the area, joined a discussion on the need to protect refundable tax credits for working families.

With Congress set to renew tax credits for businesses this fall, panelists, which included Nevada State Assemblyman Nelson Araujo; Margarita Rebollal, Executive Director of Community Services of Nevada; and Rafael Collazo, Director of Political Campaigns at NCLR, shared personal stories about how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) offer vital financial relief for low- and moderate-income families throughout the Las Vegas area.

In 2009, Congress expanded the EITC and CTC, which are only available to working people, in order to reach lower-income earners. The expansion had an important impact for Nevadans. Approximately 500,000 households in Nevada received the credits in 2013, helping lift more than 100,000 households out of poverty. The EITC also added more than $550 million into Nevada’s economy in 2012. If Congress doesn’t act to make the expansions permanent this fall, more than 440,000 Nevadans could lose some or all of their working-family tax credits, pushing more than 100,000 of Nevada’s children deeper into poverty.

“If lawmakers are willing to help Nevada’s businesses, then they should also support Nevada’s hardworking families. After all, our local businesses rely on consumers in order to thrive,” said Collazo.

The event generated a lively discussion among attendees, who also had the chance to register to vote with Mi Familia Vota, and sign on to a letter to Nevada’s Congressional representatives asking that they support working families by protecting these vital tax credits. A number of local officials also came out to support the campaign and hear from constituents on the issue, including Nevada State Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz and Councilman Issac Barron.