This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending October 17


Week Ending October 17

This week in immigration reform: NCLR continues the “Hanging in the Balance” blog series with a poll on Latino voter priorities; an anti-immigrant law in Alabama is dropped because of legal challenge; Senate Democrats call detention of women and children “unacceptable”; a recent Center for American Progress report outlines the economic benefit of executive action; register for Immigration Advocates Network annual e-conference.

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NCLR continues ‘Hanging in the Balance series with a post emphasizing the importance of immigration reform to Latino voters: In our latest blog post, NCLR discusses recent polling data by the NCLR Action Fund and Latino Decisions. The poll, conducted in Florida, Colorado and North Carolina, shows that most respondents were planning on voting in the November election and named immigration among the top issues concerning them this election cycle. In North Carolina, immigration was chosen as the top issue by 33 percent of respondents. That number was 22 percent in Florida and 23 percent in Colorado, understandably because immigration is personal for Latino voters and their communities. Initiatives, like DACA, that keep families together have strong support. The poll shows that almost half of respondents in Colorado and North Carolina said they were much less likely to support a Republican candidate who voted to end the program.

The blog notes, “The directive from Latino voters is clear: reform the immigration system and do it quickly. The president should use his executive authority to help provide temporary relief to the millions of aspiring Americans living in the shadows. But that in no way excuses House Republicans and the rest of Congress from doing their job by passing a permanent solution. Lives are hanging in the balance and Latino voters won’t forget who has helped our community.” Find more in the press release.

Amidst legal pressure from activists, Alabama drops anti-immigrant provision: Almost all components of Alabama HB 56, an anti-immigrant law inspired by Arizona’s SB 1070, have been struck down by courts or dropped by the state. The latest of these measures to fall is known as the “scarlet letter” rule, which would have required the state to publish the names and other personal information of immigrants unable to prove their legal status. An article written this week states that “HB 56 proved to be little more than a headache and an embarrassment to Alabama and even as the House of Representatives is pursuing similarly harsh anti-immigrant bills on the federal level (such as the SAFE act)… the decline of HB 56 (points) to a broader turn away from anti-immigrant legislation around the country on the state and local level.” House Republicans should listen to their constituents’ calls for fair and humane immigration enforcement and comprehensive immigration reform instead of continuing to support legislation that harms immigrants and their communities.

Senate Democrats send letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary decrying detention of womend and children at the border:The Hill published an article detailing contents of a letter sent to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson. The letter speaks of the unacceptable nature of the detention of women and children seeking asylum. “Mothers and their children who have fled violence in their home countries should not be treated like criminals,” the senators wrote in the letter. “They have come seeking refuge from three of the most dangerous countries in the world, countries where women and girls face shocking rates of domestic and sexual violence and murder.” The letter was signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Harry Reid (Nev.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Mark Udall (Colo.).

The senators also questioned the Secretary’s decision to build a new detention facility in Dilley, Texas, a sentiment espoused in an editorial by San Antonio Express News this week. The editorial emphasizes the common practice of releasing immigrants on bond while they await their court date, and notes “These families, by law, must be accorded due process to pursue claims to stay. The U.S. needs to make sure this is provided — and seek alternatives to detention in the interim.”

Making the case for administrative relief — a resource: Center for American Progress highlights economic benefit of executive action: A recent report from the Center for American Progress notes the fiscal benefits of deferred action, with many benefits realized immediately. The main findings include:

  • Temporary work permits would increase the earnings of undocumented immigrants by about 8.5 percent as they are able to work legally and find jobs that match their skills.
  • A deferred action program that allows undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years to apply for a temporary work permit would increase payroll tax revenues by $6.08 billion in the first year alone and increase revenues by $44.96 billion over five years.*
  • If President Obama instead extends deferred action to a smaller number of undocumented immigrants then the payroll tax revenue gains would not be as high.


 Affiliate opportunity — Immigration advocates network hosting annual e-conference: The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is excited to announce its third annual e-conference, “Cutting Edge Issues in Immigration Law,” from November 3 to November 7, 2014. Join them for a week-long series of interactive online trainings with national experts on immigration issues through the lens of current events and latest developments in the law. The cost of each two-hour training session is $25. Your support helps IAN offer free trainings and resources throughout the year. Click the link above to register. A schedule of sessions is as follows:

  • Monday, November 3: Screening for Other Relief
  • Tuesday, November 4: Unaccompanied Minors and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Wednesday, November 5: Grounds of Inadmissibility
  • Thursday, November 6: DACA and Administrative Relief: Strategies for Potential Criminal Complications
  • Friday, November 7: U Visas for Workplace Crimes