This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending July 11

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Week Ending July 11, 2014

This week in immigration reform: President Obama and Congress continue working to address the refugee crisis of children fleeing violence,NCLR’s Janet Murguía condemns the hate-filled demonstration at Murietta, CA; a federal court rules that Arizona must grant driver’s licenses to DACA recipients, while sheriffs and local police across the nation refuse to detain immigrants for ICE; and new surveys find, once again, strong support among voters for immigration reform.

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–Stand with Children! President Obama and Congress work to address refugee crisis of children fleeing violence; NCLR’s Janet Murguía condemns hateful display at Murietta.  This week the U.S. government continued to debate how best to handle the ongoing refugee crisis of thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America and being apprehended at the southern border. For a great two minute overview of the situation, check out this video.

 On Tuesday President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to address the refugee crisis and Congress has held hearings on the request for funds. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4) discusses the nonsensical response of Republicans and the need for Congress to provide funding without eliminating current protections that unaccompanied children have under current law in this video.

ImmReformUpdate_7_11_2014Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus call for administrative action on the border, saying: “We should treat children at our doorstep in a humane fashion.  We must make sure we do not short-circuit justice for the children” (photo: Rep. Joe Garcia).

Meanwhile, NCLR’s Janet Murguía condemned the hateful display put on by the protestors who blocked buses of detained children fleeing violence from entering the town of Murrieta, California. Murguía characterized the actions of these extremists as un-American and sharply critiqued the Mayor of Murrieta, Alan Long, for deliberately riding this wave of bigotry.

–Federal court rules that Arizona must grant driver’s licenses to DACA recipients, while sheriffs and local police across the nation refuse to detain immigrants for ICE.  This Monday, July 7, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona cannot deny driver’s licenses to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients.  The state had followed this counterproductive policy since August 2012, when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ordered state agencies to deny licenses and other public resources to DACA recipients.

Meanwhile, sheriffs and local police departments across the country are refusing to hold undocumented immigrants in detention past their scheduled release dates. Previously, local police frequently detained undocumented persons for an additional 48 hours until ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers could determine whether the detainee could be deported. Many law enforcement officials say that they are declining to hold non-citizen detainees for ICE after a federal judge in Oregon ruled that one sheriff who carried out this practice violated an immigrant woman’s civil rights.

–New polling finds, once again, strong support among voters for immigration reform.  The Partnership for a New American Economy, Business Roundtable, and the National Association of Manufacturers released 27 surveys this week that found overwhelmingly strong support for immigration reform among American voters. Among the surveys’ findings, 80 percent of voters responded that they want Congress to act on immigration reform in 2014 and two out of three voters favored reform that includes a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. As Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) acknowledges, it is “highly irresponsible not to deal with the issue.”