This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending June 16

Week Ending June 16

NCLR Celebrates Anniversaries of Historic Plyler v. Doe Decision and Announcement of DACA: This week NCLR marked the historic decision handed down 35 years ago in Plyler v. Doe, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ensured equal access to a free public education for all children in the United States, regardless of immigration status. The Supreme Court found that denying children a public education based on immigration status not only violates the U.S. Constitution, but also jeopardizes any future contributions these children may make in helping the nation advance. NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía recognized the historic decision as vital to opening doors of opportunity: “The Supreme Court decision 35 years ago confirms what we already know—education is an investment in a better America for all. Plyler v. Doe ensures that all children in America have a constitutional guarantee of an education. As the next generation of children enter America’s public schools, this critical pathway to success must be protected.”

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 This week also marked the 5-year anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). “The road to a better America begins with education and opportunity. That’s why we support Plyler v. Doe and DACA, and the future they offer to millions of children and youth across the nation,” stated Janet Murguía.

 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that receives and reviews DACA applications released the latest data on DACA applications recently.  In a blog post, NCLR looks at the data and concludes that in the first three months of the Trump administration, USCIS has continued to receive and process DACA requests at similar levels to those during the previous year. Between January and March 2017, USCIS approved 107,524 DACA renewals and 17,275 new applications. The numbers are comparable to the previous three-month period (October to December 2016). While this appears to be a welcome sign, applicants and practitioners should continue to remain vigilant. President Trump has demonstrated that he is able and willing to change his mind on key policy decisions with little warning.

In fact, while the Trump administration has revoked the previous administration’s memo on the policy that would have allowed an estimated 5 million parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders to apply for deferred action (DAPA policy that was blocked from implementation by the courts), it stated that “this rescission will not affect the terms of the original DACA program as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum.” However, shortly after news broke, the White House issued a statement that President Trump had not yet decided about the long-term fate of DACA.

NCLR Opposes Nomination of Lee Francis Cissna to USCIS: This week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance the nomination of Lee Francis Cissna to be the Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In advance of the committee vote and the upcoming Senate floor vote, NCLR expressed deep concern with the nomination of Cissna to lead USCIS. “Mr. Cissna’s role in shaping immigration policies that hurt millions of American families, and his lack of management and oversight experience, make him eminently unqualified to lead USCIS” said Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Deputy Vice President, NCLR. Mr. Cissna’s track record goes against the agency’s mission and, like other appointments made by this administration, including former FAIR Director Julie Kirchner to serve as USCIS ombudsman, is the exact opposite of what America needs.”

NCLR Affiliates Use Technology to Advance Citizenship and Immigrant Integration: In a new blog post, NCLR shared the ways that NCLR Affiliates are using Citizenshipworks, a free online platform to assist eligible permanent residents in completing their application for U.S. citizenship. Innovative tools like Citizenshipworks can raise existing capacity so that NCLR Affiliates like Erie House, CARECEN, and Carlos Rosario Public Charter School can serve many more eligible applicants. Check out the blog post to read about the ways that Affiliates are using cutting-edge technology to solve some of our most challenging citizenship and integration issues.

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