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.
By Amelia Collins, Policy Analyst, NCLR
Next Tuesday, the Trump administration is expected to release its full fiscal year 2018 (FY18) budget request, which will be a blueprint for funding levels for federal programs. Many of those programs, like nutrition assistance for families, affordable housing initiatives, early childhood education opportunities, and Medicaid and Social Security, help millions of Americans.
If the “skinny budget” Trump released in March is any indication, the full Trump budget will gut programs that provide basic living standards for millions of low-income Americans to pay for tax cuts for millionaires, to increase defense spending, and to ramp up immigration enforcement by funding an unnecessary wall and a deportation force.
Week Ending March 3
This week in immigration: NCLR responds to the President’s address to a joint session of Congress and highlights additional tools for advocates.
NCLR responds to president’s address to a joint session of Congress: This week, the president gave an address to a joint session of Congress and NCLR expressed continued deep concern over President Trump’s pursuit of policies that undermine the significant progress made by Latinos and other diverse communities across the United States. “President Trump’s moderated tone and soft overtures to bipartisanship do not make the policies he has implemented and defended mightily in this speech any less harsh,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “The policies are still the policies he has been touting since the beginning of the campaign, and his justifications are still as hyperbolic and fictional as they’ve ever been.”
In an op-ed published in The Hill, Janet Murguía noted that the President’s statements continue to peddle fiction about the immigrant community, writing “Last night, President Trump painted immigrants with the same ugly, broad brush he used during the campaign. It was a slur then and it is a slur now.”
Meanwhile, in the Capitol as guests of many Democratic members of congress, refugees, DREAMers, DACA recipients, and U.S. citizen children whose mother has been deported spoke out about the impact that the president’s policies are having on them and on their communities. In addition to the guests in the audience, Astrid Silva, one of the more than 750,000 DACA recipients in the country, delivered the Democratic Party’s response in Spanish.
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore
In the president’s first speech to Congress, Mr. Trump managed to maintain his composure without resorting to the usual antics that have become a hallmark of his speeches. Still, his softer tone cannot mask his harmful policies that have affected millions of Americans.
We are deeply concerned by the president’s pursuit of policies that undermine the significant progress that our community, and other diverse communities across the country, have made in recent years. Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to vital programs, his refugee travel ban, and his inhumane, un-American executive orders on immigration have a real and lasting impact: the erosion of the civil rights of a significant number of our citizens, the separation of families, and the gutting of important education, housing, and health initiatives that will affect millions.
The administration’s new immigration executive orders will result in disaster. Our President and CEO, Janet Murguía, made the case for why in a Washington Post op-ed this week.
While the courts have effectively stalled the failed initial executive order rolled out just days after his inauguration, nobody should be fooled in believing that the pending new order will do anything but put a target on the backs of Latinos all over the country.