Temporary Protected Status Extended for SalvadoransJune 17, 2013
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador for an additional 18 months, beginning Sept. 10, 2013, and ending March 9, 2015.Current Salvadoran beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from May 30, 2013, through July 29, 2013. The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD) with an expiration date of March 9, 2015.Read more...
To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821 and an Application for Temporary Protected Status. All TPS re-registrants must also submit Form I-765, and an Application for Employment Authorization. Additional information on TPS for El Salvador, including guidance on the application process and eligibility, is available online at www.uscis.gov/tps
Gov. Mark Dayton Signs the Prosperity Act!May 28, 2013
Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Higher Education Omnibus bill that included the MN Prosperity (DREAM) Act on May 20, 2013. This is a historic moment for Minnesota which became the 15th state to allow DREAMers that graduated from local high schools to qualify for in-state tuition and only the 4th one to provide state financial aid. All of this would not be possible without your active voices and ILCM thanks you for your calls and emails that made all of this possible. ILCM also extends our gratitude to bill sponsors Senator Sandy Pappas and Representative Carlos Mariani, Governor Mark Dayton, all Senators and Representatives who voted for it, everyone who spent time at the capitol, and all other public supporters.
The MN Dream Act will:
- Allow students to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements, regardless of their immigration status.
- Make state higher education aid available to all students who meet residency requirements, regardless of immigration status.
- Allow public institutions (MnSCU and the University of Minnesota) to use private funding as financial aid for all students, regardless of immigration status.
- Create a MN financial aid application specifically for these Minnesota students that delinks the Federal and state financial aids.
Senate Judiciary Committee Passes S. 744May 15, 2013
The Federal Senate Judiciary Committee has conducted the mark up process for the proposed immigration reform bill, S. 744. Both of Minnesota's Senators are on this committee, and their strong support of common sense immigration reform ensured that the bill passed without any major negative amendments. The bill now moves to the Senate floor for a full vote.
Read below for a comprehensive list of the substantial amendments that were submitted and their status in the bill that will reach the Senate Floor.
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. Amendment #10 failed after a vote of 7-10, and all other amendments were not considered.
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. Amendment #12 passed by voice vote. Amendment #14 was not considered, and Amendments #16 and #17 were withdrawn.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment was not considered.
Feinstein Amendment #10: Establishes a grant program to improve transportation and infrastructure at border crossings. This amendment passed.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. The substitute of this amendment (EAS13457) passed by voice vote.
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. This amendment passed by voice vote.
Blumenthal Amendments #3,4, and 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. Amendments #3, 4, and 5 passed by voice vote.
Blumenthal #2: Prohibits children and other vulnerable populations in immigration detention from being held in solitary confinement. This amendment passed by voice vote.
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. This amendment passed by voice vote.
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. This amendment passed after a vote of 18-0.
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. This amendment passed by voice vote.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment passed by voice vote.
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. This amendment failed after a vote of 9-9.
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. Lee #12 failed by voice vote.
Flake #4: Creates wasteful administrative burden by requiring Health and Human Services to conduct audits on benefits immigrants are not allowed to use. This amendment passed by voice vote.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment failed after a vote of 8-10.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment failed after a vote of 9-9.
Sessions Amendment #37: Strikes requirement for Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue use-of-force policy. This amendment was not considered.
Sessions Amendment #38: Strikes requirement for CBP to specify training requirements for its agents. This amendment was withdrawn.
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. Cornyn Amendment #1 failed after a vote of 6-12 and Cruz Amendment #1 failed after a vote of 5-13.
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. This amendment passed by voice vote.
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. This amendment failed by voice vote, but second degree-(MDM13638) passed.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment was not considered.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. This amendment was not considered.
Grassley #26: Strikes section 3405, removing protections for stateless children in the United States, putting an already a vulnerable population at greater risk. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment was not considered.
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. This amendment failed by voice vote.
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. This amendment failed after a vote of 8-10.
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. This amendment failed after a vote of 8-10.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...
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...
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...
Number of deportations drops in Minnesota regionDecember 26, 2012
MPR reports that in 2012, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska deported nearly 4,800 undocumented immigrants, about a thousand fewer than in 2011.
Despite the drop in deportations from last year, ILCM Executive Director John Keller stated to MPR that the decrease is not felt locally as the quantity of deported immigrants in 2012 was almost double the number from 2001. "Part of why it might be hard for us to see any perceived difference is simply because the volume of people going through the deportation system," Keller said.
Read the full report hereRead more...
Deferred Action recipient Irma Marquez featured in MPRDecember 26, 2012
Since President Obama announced the Deferred Action (DACA) program last June, more than 300,000 young people who were brought to the US under the age of 15 applied for the temporary status—one that would allow them to work and attend college legally. MPR choose to highlight one of the 53,000 approved DACA applicants, Irma Marquez, whose story of traveling from Mexico to St. James, MN, highlights the opportunities this new status will offer.Read more...