This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending March 20

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Week Ending March 20

This week in immigration reform: Republican Leadership holds a series of hearings starring known anti-immigrant witnesses and NCLR continues our blog series on deferred action recipients.

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NCLR kept the community informed on immigration with staff quoted in Latino Detroit and USA Today,

Republican leadership wastes time on non-starter mass deportation bills and creating childish press releases: This week, Republicans spent nearly every day focusing on ways to further punish American families and deny our country the benefits that we would reap from immigration reform. From a hearing on the Southwest border that was used to continue to call for even more resources than the billions that are already poured into border enforcement to a hearing on the fiscal impacts of administrative relief that fails to recognize the positive economic contributions to be gained, these hearings continue to be political theater allowing Republican witnesses like Kris Kobach, the architect of the Arizona racial profiling law, the spotlight.

The House Judiciary Committee held a mark-up of a comprehensive deportation bill that would do things like repeal the president’s actions on immigration and would make illegal presence a criminal offense rather than a civil one. During the mark-up, Congressman King (R-Iowa) offered several amendments, including an unconstitutional and untenable amendment to allow states themselves to carry out deportations. The committee noted “innovative solutions” are needed to fix our broken immigration system, yet they continue to debate and vote on unrealistic policies. Not only is the committee refusing to consider comprehensive immigration reform to fix the broken system, they are also wasting tax-payer resources to issue childish, offensive and shallow “press releases,” making light of the fear millions of undocumented immigrants and their families face every day.

An NCLR blog post voiced our disgust, noting, “These issues may be funny to the House Judiciary Committee, so much so that they wasted part of their day finding their favorite Bring It On gifs to illustrate their amusement. But to Latinos in this country, the committee’s combined inability to put forward viable solutions on immigration reform, and penchant for passing bills that deliberately target our community, is downright offensive. One in six people in this country are Latino. And one in 10 Latinos, including citizens and legal immigrants alike, report being stopped each year based on suspicion of immigration status. Are we a nation that tolerates laws that will legitimize and expand racial profiling and trample on all Americans’ civil liberties?”

NCLR features DACA recipient Maria Garcia: This week’s installment of our ‘Living the American DREAM’ series highlights the journey of Maria Garcia, who came from Mexico with her mother and siblings in 1995. Maria was a bright student and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2005. However, her undocumented status kept her from finding substantive work. That changed when President Obama announced the DACA program in 2012 and Maria was able to receive deferred action and work authorization in 2013. Our latest blog notes:

Maria still recalls the day she heard the news, which came from her cousin. “She was like, ‘Oh my god! You won’t believe it!’ I really didn’t. My whole family was calling and texting. It was very exciting news.” Upon receiving her permit, Maria immediately started job hunting in her field. She also started researching masters programs. By October, she found work as a domestic violence coordinator at the Latin American Community Center, an NCLR Affiliate.

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