Immigration Updates: Ending for-profit prisons for good

NIJC Immigration Updates
August 24, 2016

Pressure builds to completely end use of private prisons in U.S.

The Department of Justice made a groundbreaking announcement that it would end the use of private prisons because they are less safe and less effective. NIJC demands that the Department of Homeland Security, which contracts with for-profit prison corporations to run 62% of the immigration detention system, follows suit. Read more.


Billion dollar contract to detain women and children exposed

A private prison corporation has a billion dollar contract with the U.S. government to detain asylum-seeking mothers and children in Dilley, Texas. Corrections Corporation of America got the contract in a no-bid process and is guaranteed full payment regardless of how many individuals are held in the facility. NIJC worked with The Washington Post on the investigation.Read The Washington Post article.

The Real News Network interviewed NIJC’s Mark Fleming about the government’s arrangement to shell out $1 billion to a private corporation that is locking up families seeking protection in the United States. Watch the interview.


Court rules asylum seeker cannot be denied protection based on initial screening

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that a Dominican woman who fled gender violence cannot be denied protection based on the immigration officer’s notes during the woman’s initial asylum screening interview. This is a big victory for asylum seekers who struggle to share their stories and overcome trauma in their credible fear interviews. Read more.
Victories for immigrants

In the past month, thanks to the hard work of our pro bono partners from the firms and companies below, eight asylum seekers and seven immigrant youth received immigration relief, and two individuals became U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Baker & McKenzie LLP
Caterpillar
Dykema Gossett PLLC
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Foley & Lardner LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Grippo & Elden LLC
Mayer Brown LLP
McAndrews Held & Malloy Ltd.
Ropes & Gray LLP
Schiff Hardin LLP
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Sopko, Nussbaum, Inabnit & Kaczmarek
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
Winston & Strawn LLP

Immigration updates / Actualizacion de inmigracion

Hi everybody,

Please see below for recent updates on immigration policy and initiatives. If there are any upcoming workshops or trainings in your area, please feel free to let me know or send to the Acuerdo. Thank you!

There are possibly three days left in June when the Supreme Court may decide on DACA+ and DAPA – June 23, 27 or 30. Whenever the decision is announced, our colleagues at ICIRR will hold an e-townhall that evening to answer questions and provide legal guidance on next steps. 6pm in Spanish and 7pm in English @www.facebook.com/icirr

Immigration updates

National

·         On the Four-Year Anniversary of DACA, It’s Clearly Working – Overview of DACA successes after the fourth anniversary last week

·         How the Supreme Court May Change the Future of Undocumented Immigration in the U.S. v Texas – Immediate and future implications of the immigration executive action Supreme Court case for the U.S. and in relation to Mexico/Latin America

·         The Economic Potential of Executive Action on Immigration – American Immigration Council report of research demonstrating the expected positive economic impact of DACA+/DAPA

·         Obama immigration win at Supreme Court could benefit Trump – Article on potential unintended consequences of a pro-DACA+/DAPA ruling by the Supreme Court and the effect it could have on the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign

·         Immigration questions for 2020 census could hinder population countSenator David Vitter (R-LA)’s proposed amendment #4687 to the Fiscal Year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill (S. 2837), that would forbid funding for the Census Bureau to conduct the 2020 decennial headcount “unless the questionnaires used for such census include questions to ascertain United States citizenship and immigration status.”

Local

·         Immigrant groups reject referendum on city ID card – The city has proposed to put a referendum on the November ballot to gauge support for the Municipal ID program in Chicago; immigrant rights groups do not support this (including the Latino Policy Forum)

Hola Compañeras/os,

Por favor revisen la información abajo con actualizaciones de iniciativas y políticas migratorias. Si hay talleres o entrenamientos en su área, por favor no dude en hacérmelo saber o enviar la información al Acuerdo. ¡Gracias!

Queda posiblemente tres días en junio en cual la Corte Suprema anunciará su decisión acerca DACA+/DAPA – jueves 23, lunes 27 o jueves 30 de junio. Cuando se anuncia la decisión, nuestros colegas de la Coalición de Derechos Pro Inmigrantes y Refugiados de Illinois (ICIRR) tendrá un seminario virtual esa misma noche para contextualizar la decisión y proveer orientación legal sobre próximos pasos. 6pm en español, 7pm en inglés @ www.facebook.com/icirr.

Actualización de inmigración

Nacional

·         Corte Suprema prorroga hasta el 23 o 27 de junio fallo sobre la Acción Ejecutiva migratoria de Obama – La Corte Suprema prorrogó hasta este jueves 23, el próximo lunes 27 (o posiblemente jueves 30) la entrega del veredicto final sobre DACA expandido y DAPA

·         “DACA nos quitó el miedo”, aseguran dreamers en el cuarto aniversario de la Acción Diferida – “DACA nos cambió la vida y dejamos de sentir miedo”, dijo uno de los miles de jóvenes indocumentados protegidos por la Acción Diferida anunciada el 15 de junio de 2012

·         La Corte Suprema revisa disputa sobre si migrantes pueden permanecer detenidos más de seis meses – La Corte Suprema acordó el lunes revisar una disputa legal sobre si los inmigrantes pueden permanecer detenidos durante más de seis meses por el gobierno

·         Programa “Dreamers Sin Fronteras” planea llevar a México 100 soñadores este año – Iniciativa encabezada por organizaciones tanto en México como en EE.UU. que llevará a un centenar de soñadores para que visiten sus lugares de origen y celebren las fiestas de Navidad con familiares

Fighting on three fronts for DAPA

Friends,

I write with information about the current battle we are waging on three fronts to protect DAPA and DACA.

First, as you know, the U.S. Supreme Court heard MALDEF’s oral argument on April 18, 2016 on behalf of three undocumented mothers who are defending DAPA.  The Supreme Court’s decision could come down on any Monday this month, and sometimes the Supreme Court adds decision days during the week.  For example, the Supreme Court has added this Thursday, June 9, as a decision day.  We expect the Supreme Court to issue an opinion by June 30.

Tomorrow morning we will be in federal court in Brownsville fighting the order of Judge Hanen that will force USCIS to turn over to him the names, addresses and other personal information of approximately 50,000 DREAMers who received 3-yr. DACA between November 2014 and February 2015.  The judge has claimed he wants this information so he can consider giving it to the states that have sued the Obama Administration over DAPA.  The 50,000 DREAMers are innocent parties in this case and we have asked the judge to hold off on his order while we appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Today we filed papers in New Orleans, asking the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the order of Judge Hanen if he won’t block the order himself.  If we cannot stop the order regarding the 50,000 DREAMers in the trial court or in the Fifth Circuit, we will press forward to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition to the three powerful mothers who have bravely stepped forward to be the face of DAPA in this litigation, we are helped in this latest effort by Javier H.G. and Cristina R., two Texas DREAMers who have provided statements for the courts explaining the devastating impact of a possible court order disclosing their names and other personal information to Judge Hanen. We are grateful for their courage and leadership in this case.

We will send you an update as soon as possible tomorrow.

As for the upcoming decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on DAPA and expanded DACA, MALDEF has put together a series of activities for “decision day” with the goal of sharing the opinion quickly, sharing messaging guidance and corresponding social media tools, and providing a briefing opportunity for allies. Here is the sequence of activities you can expect from us on decision day:

10:30 a.m. ET: MESSAGING DISTRIBUTED
Messaging and social media guidance distributed via email.

11:00 a.m. ET: PRESS CALL
The call will feature:
– MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz, who presented oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court
– MALDEF client “Jane Doe No. 1,” a mother from South Texas who was granted intervention in the case as a party and who intends to apply for DAPA once it is permitted to be implemented.

11:45 a.m. ET: TELEPHONIC BRIEFING FOR ALLIES
The call will provide a briefing on the decision and address implications to immigrant families, offer messaging guidance, and provide an opportunity for a Q&A.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you would like to share this information with others.

Thank you,

Nina President
MALDEF Vice President of Litigation

Voices of DACA recipients were front and center in today’s Texas v. U.S. hearing

Friends,
I am still in Brownsville after presenting oral argument to Judge Hanen and write to share good news regarding Texas v. U.S. Following our argument, which focused on the harms to DACA recipients of forcing the Government to send their personal information to the court, Judge Hanen agreed to “stay” his order, which means it will not go into effect. He also set another status conference for August 22, 2016, in order to discuss next steps (if any) in the case. I am happy to report that the federal government is not required at this point to turn over to the court the personal information of approximately 50,000 immigrant youth who received three-year grants of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) between November 2014 and February 2015. 
Today we argued, successfully, that no legitimate basis exists for punishing innocent immigrant youth in order to address what the court considers to be misconduct by attorneys for the United States. 
MALDEF ensured that the voices of those youth were front and center at today’s hearing. We shared the stories of Javier H.G. and Cristina R., two Texas DREAMers who would suffer a devastating impact should their names and other personal information be released. Judge Hanen had claimed he wanted the personal information so he could consider giving it to the states who have sued the Obama Administration over Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expansion of DACA. Although Judge Hanen said his order was intended to sanction the United States for alleged attorney misconduct earlier in the case, it is those brave youth who would have suffered the most and we focused our argument today on that issue. 
As for the upcoming decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on DAPA and expanded DACA, in which MALDEF represents the only parties granted intervention in the case, we expect an opinion no later than June 30. Stay tuned for more MALDEF updates.
 
Thank you,                                                  
 
Nina Perales
MALDEF Vice President of Litigation

Immigration Updates May 2016

Immigration updates
National
·         Obama Immigration Plan Seems to Divide Supreme Court – Perspective from NYT on the oral arguments on April 18th on Pres. Obama’s 2014 immigration executive actions
·         What You Need to Know About the Temporary Worker Bill Introduced by Senator Flake – Last week, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced the Willing Workers and Willing Employers Act of 2016, which would establish a 10-year guest worker pilot program.  
·         Immigration Politics at the Court – NYT Editorial on political nature of the case against the immigration executive actions
·         The disastrous, forgotten 1996 law that created today’s immigration problem – The “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act”, signed by then-President Clinton, overhauled immigration enforcement in the US and laid the groundwork for the massive deportations that exists today   
·         What Are the Next Steps at the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Texas? – Analysis of the process taken by Supreme Court justices once a case has been heard; and what the coming weeks may look like before the decision is announced publicly
 
Local
·         Bolingbrook man facing deportation seeks church sanctuary – The story of Jose Juan Federico Moreno, receiving sanctuary at University Church in Hyde Park
·         Aurora family man fights to stay in America –  Cecelio Gutierrez’s fight to stay in the United States
 
 
Hola Compañeras/os,
Por favor revisen la información abajo con actualizaciones de iniciativas y políticas migratorias. Si hay talleres o entrenamientos en su área, por favor no dude en hacérmelo saber o enviar la información al Acuerdo. ¡Gracias! 
 
Actualización de inmigración
Nacional
·         Anuncian alza de las tarifas de inmigracion entre el 7% y el 258% – A partir del 1 de octubre 2016, el costo del trámite para la ciudadanía incrementará de $595 a $640, pero quienes vivan cerca o por debajo del nivel de pobreza pagarán la mitad. Los permisos de viaje sufrirán un alza del 60%, de $360 a $575.
o   Periódo de comentario público está abrierto hasta miércoles, 5 de julio – si gusta someter comentario a USCIS, haga clic aquí, luego haga clic en el botón “Comment Now!” en la parte superior derecha de la pantalla
·         Qué viene ahora con la acción ejecutiva migratoria de Obama – Análisis de próximos pasos de la Corte Suprema 
·         Fallo de la Corte Suprema sería último recurso de inmigrantes indocumentados – Por el momento, las acciones ejecutivas son último recurso para inmigrantes indocumentados mientras no hay reforma comprensiva migratoria

·         La enorme resistencia de los indocumentados – Artículo de opinión, expresando que una persona resiliente tiene fortaleza, resistencia y la capacidad de enfrentar lo que venga, como lo hace la comunidad indocumentada en EEUU.

Local
·         Familias de escasos recursos podrían pagar menos para hacerse ciudadanos (VIDEO) – A través de una propuesta hecha por USCIS, los residentes permanentes de escasos recursos podrían pagar hasta un 50% menos para naturalizarse comenzando en octubre.
·         Familias en Chicago siguen a la espera del fallo sobre los alivios migratorios – Mientras no se defina el destino de los programas DACA y DAPA en la Corte Suprema, organizadores pro inmigrantes aseveran que seguirán luchando contra las redadas y deportaciones
·         Indocumentado mexicano recibe santuario en una iglesia de Chicago – Jose Juan Federico Moreno entro en satuario en la iglesia University Church en Chicago después de que ICE nego dos peticiones para detener su “auto-deportación”

Immigration Updates March 2016

Immigration Updates

National

·         U.S. House to Oppose Immigration Executive Action in Supreme Court – U.S. House Republicans voted to formally oppose President Obama’s immigration executive actions from November 2014. In a rare move, the House voted 234-186 to allow the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, to file anamicus brief against the executive actions.

o   Seven Immigration Acuerdo members, including the Latino Policy Forum, signed the amicus brief in support of the immigration executive actions

o   326 organizations/institutions across the country signed the amicus brief

·         DACA Matters to U.S. Citizen Family Members in States Across the Country – Report Lizet Ocampo from the Center for American Progress; more than 6.1 million U.S. citizens in states across the nation live with a family member who will remain in fear of deportation if the Supreme Court rules against DAPA in United States v. Texas.

·         Immigration Reform and the Healthcare Sector – Report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs about the need for reforms in the Midwest healthcare sector to, among other issues, better serve undocumented immigrants in need of healthcare

·         USCIS Announces Citizenship and Integration Grant Opportunities (Applications Due April 22) – USCIS is now accepting applications for two funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program. These are competitive grant opportunities for organizations that prepare permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics. The two opportunities are:

o   Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services: This opportunity will fund up to 36 organizations which offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to permanent residents.

o   Citizenship Instruction only: This newly created grant opportunity will assist nonprofit organizations in establishing new citizenship instruction programs or expanding the quality and reach of existing citizenship instruction programs. USCIS seeks to encourage the expansion of the existing field of citizenship instruction programs, particularly those offered by small, community-based organizations that have not previously received a grant from USCIS. 

 

Local

·         Black and Brown Power Unite to Stop Deportation Raids – Immigration rights and Black Lives Matter activists are working together on issues of deportation and mass incarceration

·         Chicago and It’s Mexican Immigrants – A Need Like No Other – More than any other large American city, Chicago has depended on immigrants, particularly Mexican immigrants, to offset sluggish growth of its population. Chicago will need to look at new ways to boost its population in the future.

·         New American Democracy Campaign – Immigration Acuerdo members and ally organizations are organizing workshops across the region to help eligible people apply for their US citizenship in time to vote in the 2016 presidential elections!

 

 

Hola Compañeras/os,

Por favor revisen la información abajo con actualizaciones de iniciativas y políticas migratorias. Si hay talleres o entrenamientos en su área, por favor no dude en hacérmelo saber o enviar la información al Acuerdo. ¡Gracias!

 

Actualizaciones de inmigración

Nacional

·         Principal sindicato de EEUU pide a la Corte Suprema que libere Acción Ejecutiva – El AFL-CIO, principal sindicato de EEUU, se sumó el miércoles a la lista de 326 organizaciones, grupos, personalidades y entidades que han presentado escritos de “amicus curiae” ante la Corte Suprema de Justicia para que libere la Acción Ejecutiva migratoria del presidente Obama.

o   Siete miembros del Acuerdo de Inmigración firmaron, incluyendo el Latino Policy Forum, el “amicus curiae

·         Republicanos de la Cámara aprueban resolución contra la Acción Ejecutiva migratoria – La Cámara de Representantes, controlada por los republicanos, aprobó con 234 votos a favor y 186 en contra, una resolución (639) que rechaza la Acción Ejecutiva migratoria que el presidente Barack Obama anunció el 20 de noviembre de 2014.

·         DACA es importante para familias estadounidenses a través del país – Más de 6.1 millones de ciudadanos estadounidenses a través de nuestro país viven con un familiar con peligro de ser deportado si el Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos dicta contra DAPA en el caso United States v. Texas.

·         Posibles beneficiarios de DAPA y DACA plus están muy integrados en la sociedad estadounidense – Nuevo análisis de inmigrantes que podrían calificar para DACA expandido y DAPA representan una comunidad bastante integrada en los Estados Unidos, con una altísima participación en el mercado laboral, lazos familiares con ciudadanos y residentes legales y que han vivido mucho tiempo en este país.

·         USCIS Anuncia Subsidios de Ciudadanía e Integración – USCIS está aceptando solicitudes para dos oportunidades de obtención de fondos bajo el Programa de Subsidios de Ciudadanía e Integración.  Estas son oportunidades de subsidios competitivos para organizaciones que preparan a los residentes permanentes para la naturalización y promover la integración cívica a través del aumento del conocimiento del idioma inglés, y la historia y civismo estadounidense. Estas dos oportunidades son:

o   Educación en Ciudadanía y Servicios en Solicitudes de Naturalización: Esta oportunidad  proveerá fondos a hasta un máximo de 36 organizaciones que ofrecen tanto instrucción en ciudadanía como servicios en solicitudes de naturalización a residentes permanentes.

o   Educación en Ciudadanía Únicamente: Esta nueva oportunidad de fondos ayudará a las organizaciones sin fines de lucro a establecer nuevos programas de educación en ciudadanía o ampliar la cualidad y alcance de los programas educativos existentes.

 

Local

·         ‘Me hice ciudadana para votar’ dice una Latina de Chicago

·         Campaña New American Democracy Campaign – Miembros y aliados del Acuerdo de Inmigración estan organizando talleres por la región para ayudar a personas elegibles para hacerse ciudadanos antes de la elección presidencial en noviembre.

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MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Friday, March 4, 2016
For More Information, Contact: Glenn Magpantay, 917-439-3158, glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org

LGBT Groups File Amicus Brief at U.S. Supreme Court for Immigrants’ Rights
“Immigrants’ Rights are LGBT Rights”

Washington, DC. Today, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), with the pro bono assistance of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case U.S. v Texas. The case challenged President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.
The programs could help up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including 400,000 Asians, to be free from deportation and again work authorization. Lower courts suspended the programs. The programs would specifically benefit undocumented immigrants over 30-years-old who entered the United States as minors (expanded DACA) and undocumented parents of citizen and legal permanent resident children (DAPA).

 

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Standing in front of the New York Supreme Court,
DACA recepient Tony Choi speaks out against US v TX

NQAPIA’s brief informs the U.S. Supreme Court of the special concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders (API). An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share are API.
According to Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, “The Supreme Court is extremely supportive of LGBT people, and we aim to show how immigration laws and policies have a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people.” He continued, “We also lift up the voices of Asian Pacific Islanders to demonstrate the ethnic diversity of undocumented immigrants.”
The brief draws up the Court’s reasoning in Obergefell v. Hodges, where Justice Kennedy ruled that the Constitution protects same-sex couples to legally marry. The brief discusses the human dignity of LGBT people and the protection of children of LGBT parents. Where the Court holds that same-sex marriage protects LGBT families, NQAPIA argues that the expanded DACA and DAPA programs also protect LGBT families. Family is especially strong among Asian Pacific Islanders.
NQAPIA’s brief highlights the stories of LGBT Asian immigrants:

  • Sandra Meetran is a 16-year-old student in Rhode Island. She is a citizen, but when her father was deported to Laos when she was young, it made her coming out much more challenging. Her family would have benefitted from DAPA.
  • Jose Antonio Vargas is a 34-year-old, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, filmmaker, and media producer. Jose is undocumented and entered the U.S. when he was 12 from the Philippines. Because he is now over 30, he is ineligible to apply for deferred action from deportation, but he could apply for the expanded DACA.
  • Tony Choi is a 24-year-old, gay, Korean undocumented beneficiary of the original DACA program (for those under 30) from New Jersey. In 2010, his options were to live a closeted life taking care of this mother with cancer or return to Korea where his LGBT identity would subject him to harsh hazing for two years in the mandatory military service. He successfully applied for DACA and has helped dozens of other undocumented youth apply for DACA and continued fighting against deportations.

These stories demonstrate how the expanded DACA and DAPA programs protects LGBT APIs from harassment, discrimination and hardship.
The brief shows how the lower court’s suspension of the programs place LGBT families in extremely difficult circumstances. Undocumented LGBT parents and children must (a) return to their home countries where LGBT people are persecuted, jailed, and even sentenced to death, or (b) parents must leave the United States and abandon their children without any or minimal family support. The expanded DACA and DAPA programs allow undocumented LGBT individuals and LGBT individuals with undocumented family members to stay in the U.S. and keep families together.
Joining NQAPIA as co-signers to the brief are variety of LGBT organizations from various regions of the county, various ethnicities, allies, youth, and transgender groups:

Local LGBT Asian/South Asian Organizations
Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Portland
Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York
Gay Asian Pacific Alliance – San Francisco hotpot! Philadelphia
Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA) Boston
SALGA-NYC
United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) Seattle

Local Organizations
API Chaya – Seattle
Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement – Los Angeles
New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) – New Orleans

National LGBT Organizations
Immigration Equality
National Center for Transgender Equality
National LGBTQ Task Force
PFLAG National
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
The Trevor Project
Transgender Law Center

The filing of the amicus brief follows up on NQAPIA’s National Week of Action on Immigrants’ Rights in April 2015 in a dozen cities and local protests against the US v. Texas lawsuit in New Orleans and New York City.

LGBTQ Organizations Call on President Obama to Stop the Raids, Provide Immediate Relief to Immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2016

Contact: Adam Luna | adam@unitedwedream.org | 202.486.3020

36 LGBTQ Organizations Call on President Obama to Stop the Raids,

Provide Immediate Relief to Immigrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 36 national and local organizations representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people sent a letter to Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security calling for an immediate end to the Administration’s heavy-handed and immoral immigration raids , which have sparked a new wave of terror in immigrant communities across the country. The groups also called on the Administration to provide immediate relief to those fleeing violence and decried the Administration’s giving short shrift to due process protections.

The letter decries the immoral tactic of raids and lays out the particular damage that they have on the LGBTQ community. From the letter:

These negative impacts are even more harrowing for LGBTQ immigrants that already report higher levels of violence and discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. These raids will only serve to push our LGBTQ immigrant community further into the shadows.

The call from LGBTQ organizations adds to the growing chorus of voices ranging from over 60 Asian Pacific Islander organizations to more than 150 House Democrats and other political leaders calling on the Administration to end their reprehensible tactics.

Zenen Jaimes Perez, Advocacy & Policy Analyst for United We Dream said, “LGBTQ advocates refuse to sit idly by while the government inflicts a new wave of terror upon the immigrant community. The raids are just the latest in a series of gross injustices being carried out by the Obama administration on LGBTQ immigrants who are too familiar with the government’s use of intimidation, disrespect for due process and abuses in the immigrant detention and deportation process.”

The full text of the letter can be seen here and below. Signers of the letter include: Aquí Estamos, Association of Latino/as Motivating Action (ALMA), CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Collectively Free, Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), Equality New Mexico, GALAEI, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, GLAD Alliance, GSA Network, Human Rights Campaign, Immigration Equality, La Clinica del Pueblo, Lambda Legal, League of United Latin American Citizens, Manantial de Gracia, Marriage Equality USA, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Law Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, Our Family Coalition, Pride at Work, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, RAD Remedy, Social Workers for Reproductive Justice, The DC Center for the LGBT Community, The LGBT Center Orange County, The Los Angeles LGBT Center, Trans Pride Initiative, Trans Student Educational Resources and United We Dream.

 

LETTER TO SEC. JEH JOHNSON FROM LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS CALLING FOR AN END TO RAIDS:

(for citations, see pdf of letter here)

January 14, 2014

The Honorable Jeh Johnson

Secretary of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Nebraska Avenue Complex

3801 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Johnson:

The undersigned lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organizations and individuals write to express our deep opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) tactics of conducting raids in communities nationwide to round up and deport Central American children and their families.

We are committed to ensuring the safety, health, and welfare of all LGBTQ immigrants in the United States and we are disappointed that DHS has decided to use tactics that instill fear into immigrant communities. These raids plainly contravene President Obama’s directive to “more humanely” enforce our nation’s immigration laws.  Instead of raids, DHS should take measurable steps to protect people that are fleeing tremendous levels of violence.

As an LGBTQ community, we know the vital importance of safe places to live. In the summer of 2014, we saw a wave of parents and children arrive to the U.S. to escape extreme violence in Central America. These parents fled because of gangs murdering their spouses, attempting to recruit their sons, and threatening sexual violence against their children. The majority of these cases lacked access to legal advice and assistance, often because of financial, logistical, or governmental obstacles. Without adequate legal counsel, many do not understand the intricacies of court proceedings and struggle to get their cases heard adequately and fairly.

Additionally, we believe a substantial portion of those who are currently in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) people with a disability, as that term is defined in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. See 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1). A very high proportion of the Central American mothers and children now targeted for ICE raids have survived sexual assault or other forms of extreme violence, have mourned the loss of close family members to particularized violence, and today suffer the inevitable consequences of exposure to this trauma. This means that a substantial proportion of the Central American parents and children who have sought refuge in the U.S. are suffering from severe symptoms of—and in many cases likely meet diagnostic criteria for—posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, and depression.

Consequently, we request that you call for an immediate review of the underlying removal orders on which DHS raids are purportedly based in order to confirm that the orders were not obtained in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. Raids are not the answer, especially for the broader LGBTQ immigrant community. Countless studies show the negative impact that raids have for immigrant communities. Children are pulled from school, immigrant owned businesses suffer, and immigrants fear reaching out to for basic services- even if they themselves are not the targets of the raids. These negative impacts are even more harrowing for LGBTQ immigrants that already report higher levels of violence and discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. These raids will only serve to push our LGBTQ immigrant community further into the shadows.

Consistent with our welcoming immigrant tradition to harbor those fleeing violence and persecution, DHS must end the use of raids that drive fear into immigrant communities. Additionally, you should exercise your statutory authority to extend relief and due process to all families fleeing violence.

This country has proven to be a beacon of hope for thousands of LGBTQ immigrants that face violence. We ask you send that same level of respect to these families and champion their protection.

We look forward to speaking with you about this matter. Please contact Zenen Jaimes Perez with the United We Dream Network at (512) 914-5905 or zenen@unitedwedream.org for more information or to discuss.

Sincerely,

Aquí Estamos

Association of Latino/as Motivating Action (ALMA)

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Collectively Free

Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)

Equality New Mexico

GALAEI

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

GLAD Alliance

GSA Network

Human Rights Campaign

Immigration Equality

La Clinica del Pueblo

Lambda Legal

League of United Latin American Citizens

Manantial de Gracia

Marriage Equality USA

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Law Center

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

Our Family Coalition

Pride at Work

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

RAD Remedy

Social Workers for Reproductive Justice

The DC Center for the LGBT Community

The LGBT Center Orange County

The Los Angeles LGBT Center

Trans Pride Initiative

Trans Student Educational Resources

United We Dream

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants.

You can find more about UWD online at www.unitedwedream.org.