Keep Up on All the Amendments to the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill with ILCMMay 15, 2013
Right now, the Federal Senate Judiciary Committee is conducting the mark up process for the Gang of Eight's proposed immigration bill. This process is vital to shaping what sweeping changes will be enacted by this historic legislation and you can watch a live stream of it by clicking here. Both of Minnesota's Senators are on this committee, meaning your calls and emails will address key players in this debate.
Help us work to protect and improve the bipartisan Senate bill. During the Judiciary Committee mark-up, ILCM will be reporting on which Senators are trying to derail the bill. We need to play both offense and defense during mark-up to ensure that our priorities are protected and bad amendments cannot undermine the legislation.
Read below for a comprehensive list of the amendments that need your action:
Please ask your Senators to support the below amendments:
Pathway to Citizenship
Hirono #5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13: Allows U.S. citizens to continue sponsoring their siblings and married children over 31, raises the cut-off date for married kids to 39 instead of 31, and improves the likelihood for these family members to be reunited, especially when their U.S. citizen family member has not used the family visa system before or would experience hardship.
Hirono #12, 14, 16, 17: Allows individuals to pay fines in installments, allows individuals with registered provisional immigrant (RPI) status to sponsor their spouse and children outside of the U.S., provides access to health care for individuals with RPI status, children and pregnant women, and allows states to provide health care to DREAMers, agricultural workers, and some individuals with RPI status.
Blumenthal #14: Makes much-needed changes to current immigration laws to reflect common sense and proportionality. The amendment ensures that only dispositions that are intended to be convictions in the criminal law context are treated as such in immigration proceedings. Sentences that criminal court judges have deliberately suspended, after evaluating the facts, witnesses, and all of the individual circumstances, should not cause deportation. Many long-term legal residents with extensive ties to the U.S. face lifetime separation from their families and communities due to these laws.
Hirono’s Racial Profiling Amendment (EAS3375) to Section 3305: The language of the current bill attempts to protect against racial profiling but omits religion and national origin as illegal profiling categories. This means that the bill, as it is currently constructed, provides zero protection for Latino Americans suspected of immigration violations at or near the border, Sikh American travelers encountering TSA screeners, and American Muslims returning from overseas travel and subjected to questioning about their religious practices and political views. Hirono’s amendment would prohibit profiling on the basis of religion or national origin
Feinstein Amendment #10: Establishes a grant program to improve transportation and infrastructure at border crossings.
Feinstein Amendment #11: Reduces the definition of the Southwest Border Region from the area within 100 miles of the Southern border to 25 miles, significantly reducing the area in which border agents can operate drone and video surveillance that threatens our privacy.
Leahy Amendment #4: Places limitations on construction of new border fencing by requiring DHS to consult with relevant agencies and border communities, requiring DHS to identify what environmental and other laws they seek to waive and why, and expanding the allowable use of funds to include port-of-entry infrastructure.
Hirono Amendment #15: Restores Medicaid for citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau—collectively known as Compact of Free Association migrants or “COFA migrants.” The U.S. has a unique relationship with COFA migrants as many resettled in the U.S. due to radiation fallout as a result of dozens of U.S. nuclear tests conducted on the islands after WWII and were given a special migration status. They have given up their homelands and livelihoods to live in healthier, nuclear-free environments and should be included Medicaid.
Blumenthal Amendments #3,4,&5: These three amendments strengthen regulations against employers who commit recruiting abuse or human trafficking offenses by ensuring clear job descriptions and salary requirements be provided to workers and Department of Labor consultation in human trafficking cases.
Blumenthal #2: Prohibits children and other vulnerable populations in immigration detention from being held in solitary confinement.
Feinstein #5: Creates a pilot program under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) to deter, detect, and prevent child trafficking by utilizing the services of independent child welfare professionals to assist CBP in the screening of children.
Franken #7: “HELP Separated Children Act” improves immigration enforcement policies to protect child well-being and promote family unity by ensuring that parents’ are able to make decisions regarding their child’s care at the time of apprehension, while in detention, and prior and following removal.
Coons #10: Allows DREAMers and other work-authorized immigrants to take advantage of their education and skills by ensuring that they have access to the professional, commercial, and business licenses that they need to participate fully in the workforce.
Coons #13: Puts additional protections in place for immigration enforcement activities at sensitive locations, including schools, hospitals, churches, community centers to help mitigate the adverse impact of immigration enforcement on children and families
Hirono #22: “Child Trafficking Victims Protection Act” provides additional services and protections for unaccompanied minors in CBP custody, including providing adequate medical care and conducting screening upon apprehension
Please ask your Senators to oppose the below amendments:
Pathway to Citizenship
Cornyn Amendment #5: Completely guts important confidentiality language in the Senate bill leaving millions of aspiring citizens vulnerable if they come forward to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status.
Grassley Amendment #13/Lee #12: Limits the evidence RPIs can use to prove past employment to satisfy the work requirement. This would make it harder for RPIs to adjust status to lawful permanent residents.
Flake #4: Creates wasteful administrative burden by requiring Health and Human Services to conduct audits on benefits immigrants are not to allowed to use.
Sessions #35: Attempts to overrule the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States (invalidating parts of Arizona’s SB 1070), allowing states and localities to engage in immigration enforcement that leads to racial profiling and deportation.
Grassley Amendment #41: eliminates programs which screen and inform detained migrants who need appointed counsel. Approximately 84% of detained immigrants appear before the courts without an attorney and immigration judges are regularly presiding over cases presented by respondents who are ill-informed and unprepared to make educated decisions about their cases. This amendment perpetuates sub-standard access to justice based solely on a person's immigration status.
Grassley Amendment #43: Deports any immigrant suspected of gang membership without giving the accused a chance to challenge these charges. This amendment will lead to racial profiling, the increased targeting of youth, and the further separation of families.
Grassley Amendment #51: Eliminates the requirement that the Department of Homeland Security expand secure alternatives to detention. Mandatory detention is excessive and expensive. Alternatives to mandatory detention are the humane way to deal with immigrants who are only guilty of minor immigration violations such as unauthorized entry.
Grassley Amendment #53: Perpetuates the indefinite detention—or potentially lifelong—detention of immigrants who cannot be deported. This amendment violates our fundamental commitments to due process and human rights.
Sessions Amendment #12: Raises bond minimums to $5,000 for non-Mexicans and non-Canadians, including arriving asylum seekers, who are apprehended 100 miles of the border or who are considered to be a flight risk. Mandatory bond amounts, as provided in this amendment, neither make our communities safer nor are they the most effective tool to ensure court appearances. Bond determinations should be based on individual assessments of risk of flight or to public safety rather than one’s country of origin.
Sessions Amendment #37: Strikes requirement for Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue use-of-force policy.
Sessions Amendment #38: Strikes requirement for CBP to specify training requirements for its agents.
Cruz Amendment #1 and Cornyn Amendment #1: Calls for a dramatic increase in Border Patrol agents (Cruz calls for 40,000 more and Cornyn calls for 5,000 more, on top of the 20,000 that are already at the southern border); adds more border enforcement triggers that must be met before immigrants can get on the pathway to citizenship; calls for increased prosecutions in all border sectors; and calls for more border fencing.
Graham #3: Creates additional immigration screening for immigrants from specific countries and encourages racial profiling based on national origin. It parallels the discredited NSEERS program, and would likely target people from predominantly Muslim countries. Read the Rights Working Group summary of Graham 3 by clicking here.
Sessions #32: Allows state and local police to always be able to investigate, question, and arrest noncitizens for immigration violations. Universalizes 287(g) agreements and removes federal oversight. This amendment would punish states or localities with strong detainer policies. Read the Rights Working Group summary of Sessions 32 by clicking here.
Sessions #34: This is an attempt to overrule Supreme Court’s decision on SB 1070 as it allows states and local jurisdictions to create their own anti-immigrant laws, like Arizona and Alabama. Read the Rights Working Group summary of Sessions 34 by clicking here.
Sessions #35: Mandates that all immigration status information stored in national criminal database. Read the Rights Working Group summary of Sessions 35 by clicking here.Read more...
Grassley Amendment #73: Requires all W visa applicants to have health insurance not subsidized by the U.S. The W visa is a new visa category created for this bill that allows “low-skill” immigrant workers to have a status that does not tie them to a single employer and lessens the chance of workplace abuse. By requiring a low income labor force to already be paying for private health insurance to qualify for low paying jobs, Senator Grassley undermines the intent of the W visa and prevents employers from being able to hire the workers they need.
Grassley #26: Strikes section 3405, removing protections for stateless children in the United States, putting an already a vulnerable population at greater risk.
Grassley #40: Weakens provisions that grant legal representation to unaccompanied minors, and only requires counsel to represent an unaccompanied alien child with a serious mental disability.
Sessions #10: Alters the public charge test to require the consideration of health and nutrition assistance benefits and prevents individuals, including children, from adjusting to LPR status if they have used Medicaid or SNAP.
Sessions #31: Denies the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to families with children during the entire RPI period, restricting it until families become LPRs or U.S. citizens, meaning children could be denied access to the EITC, a proven anti-poverty tool, for a minimum of 10 years.
Sessions #30: Restricts access to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) by excluding those that file with an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) number, directly harming children in immigrant families, many of whom are U.S. citizen children.Categories Immigration in the United States
TC Daily Planet Covers ILCM’s Work Connecting DREAMers with Pro Bono AttorneysMay 06, 2013
The TC Daily Planet examined ILCM’s Pro Bono DREAMer Project, speaking to Pro Bono attorneys and the DREAMers they have represented in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) cases.
Attorneys cited the opportunity to help DREAMers receive a status that would allow them to work and attend college legally in the US as a primary motivation behind their involvement. Ed Wegerson, a volunteer attorney who has assisted two DREAMers apply for DACA, said he enjoyed the opportunity to “help someone in a way that’s personal and important to them.” DREAMers also spoke to the benefits of the new status. ILCM client Daniel Perez explained the importance of DACA in utilizing his Masters Degree in social work to find a job. “Without DACA this wouldn’t have been possible,” he said, “it was the first step in allowing me to pursue the American Dream — being able to work in the field I chose to go into.” Currently, ILCM placed over 185 pro bono DACA cases with volunteer attorneys for full representation and approximately 70 have already been approved.Read more...
MN Prosperity (Dream) Act Passes the State Senate as Hundreds Rally for Immigration Reform!April 29, 2013
May 1st was a great day for immigration reform advocates as hundreds gathered in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul to rally for reform. At the same time the MN Prosperity (Dream) Act, which would qualify DREAMers that graduated from Minnesota high schools, passed the State Senate! Senator Pappas, who sponsored the MN Prosperity (Dream) Act, spoke in support of immigration reform to a crowd of close to 1,000 alongside a host local legislators and Governor Mark Dayton. Please click the links below to read press coverage of both events:
Worthington Daily Globe: Minnesota senators pass immigrant education billRead more...
Thanks to All Who Showed Support for Immigration ReformApril 11, 2013
Wednesday, April 10 was a fantastic day nation-wide for allies of comprehensive immigration reform! With crowds of thousands in Washington DC (including ILCM’s John Keller) rallying to support a pathway to citizenship, ILCM and leaders of Minnesota’s faith, business, and labor communities joined together at the Hennepin County Government Plaza yesterday to push for immigration reform.
Check out more pictures of the event hereRead more...
Join ILCM Executive Director John Keller for a discussion on proposed changes to US immigration lawsMarch 19, 2013
Join ILCM Executive Director John Keller this Saturday, March 23rd, from 1PM to 3PM for an update and discussion on the latest developments in the new immigration laws being proposed by President Obama and Congress. The event takes place at Sacred Heart Church, 840 6th St E, St Paul, MN 55106.Read more...
ILCM congratulates AILA Award winners Irma Márquez Trapero and Juventino Meza RodriguezMarch 08, 2013
The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota is proud to congratulate this year’s outstanding winners of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (ALIA) Immigrant of Distinction Award, Irma Márquez Trapero and Juventino Meza Rodriguez. ILCM is honored to have worked closely with both recipients whose courage and community impact are truly inspirational. Ms. Márquez shared her story alongside undocumented activist Jose Antonio Vargas at an ILCM fundraiser last December and Mr. Meza, the former Executive Director of NAVIGATE MN, continues to advocate for the DREAM act and comprehensive immigration reform. For more information on the award and it’s recipients, please click hereRead more...
Thanks to All Who Attended Our 2013 GalaMarch 08, 2013
ILCM thanks the over 450 attendees who showed their support last Friday at our sixth annual Gala! The night was a success with great music from Salsa del Soul and a special appearance from Senator Amy Klobuchar. Please click here for photos from the event.
A guest reported that they lost an XL Burberry coat that night. If you accidentally went home with the wrong coat or have any idea of its whereabouts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can return it to its rightful owner.Read more...
Inclusive version Violence Against Women Act passed!March 01, 2013
On Thursday, February 28th, the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed the House, ensuring protections for immigrant and other victims of sexual abuse. The House Republican leadership had attempted to strip the bill of its protections for immigrant, LGBT, Native American and other victims but their measure was rebutted, reauthorizing VAWA and assisting victims of domestic violence regardless of ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Before the vote, Rep. Keith Ellison relayed the powerful story of an ILCM client who was able to escape domestic abuse through VAWA. You can watch the video below by clicking here.Read more...
ILCM and DeLeón & Nestor challenge USCIS practice of denying immigration petitions filed by incarcerated U.S. citizensFebruary 15, 2013
In Torres, et al. v. Napolitano, et al., ILCM and DeLeón & Nestor are representing an incarcerated U.S. citizen as well as his wife and step-children who are citizens of the United Kingdom. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Bloomington, Minnesota denied as abandoned the husband’s visa petitions on behalf of his family when he could not attend an in-person interview with his wife, even though USCIS can and routinely does waive this interview in many other contexts. Our law suit in U.S. District Court challenges the local USCIS policy under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fifth Amendment, the Mandamus Act, and the Declaratory Judgment Act.Read more...Categories Litigation Highlights
Immigration reform could change the lives of up to 95,000 in MinnesotaFebruary 01, 2013
ILCM Executive Director was called upon by MinnPost to speak about the local and national momentum behind comprehensive immigration reform. Citing how both Obama’s and the Senate’s immigration reform proposals include a pathway to citizenship Keller said, “the planets are aligning,” for Minnesota’s estimated 95,000 undocumented immigrants. Grassroots movements, like the one on display at the capitol earlier this week, are changing minds across state, earning praise from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition. For the full story click here.Read more...