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CLINIC Newsletter - March 2015 - VOL. XIX No. 3

In this issue…         

In-Country Refugee Processing: What Can You Do?

Immigration Law Updates

News From the Catholic Network

Question Corner

Center for Immigrant Integration

Technical Assistance and Trainings

Visa Bulletin

Resources by type: 

CLINIC Newsletter - October 2014 - VOL. XVIII No. 10

In this issue…                        

Each of Us is a Masterpiece of God's Creation

Obama Announces In-Country Refugee Processing for Central American Children

News From the Catholic Network

Unaccompanied Children's Issues

Advocacy Update 

State and Local Issues

Law and Practice Feature

Immigration Law Updates

Question Corner

A lawful permanent resident files an I-130 for his spouse in 1994 with his daughter (DOB September 28, 1978) named as derivative.  The priority date is July 15, 1994.  The daughter ages out in 1999 before the F-2A category for Mexico becomes current.  The LPR dad files second I-130 for aged-out derivative daughter in the F-2B category and is able to retain the original priority date. The LPR father subsequently naturalizes in 2012 converting the F-2B petition to the F-1 category. The priority date was close enough to becoming current in 2012 that it triggered the NVC sending out a fee bill to the daughter.  The daughter didn’t receive the notice since she had changed her address.  In September 2014 the NVC sent a final notice indicating that it had terminated the case and destroyed the file.  Assuming you are not able to convince NVC to undo what they did, is there any relief for child?

Stumped?  Find Out Here!

Visa Bulletin

Technical Assistance and Trainings

Position Opening

Resources by type: 

CLINIC Newsletter - July 2014 - VOL. XVIII No. 7

In this issue…                        

Protecting the Vulnerable:  Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

U. S. Department of State Updates Foreign Affairs Manual Guidance

News From the Catholic Network

  • New Subscribers
  • Network Affiliate Agency Profile                                                                                                                                                                      

Advocacy Update


Immigration Law Update

                                                                                                                                                  
Technical Assistance and Trainings

 

Resources

Visa Bulletin

Resources by type: 

Webinar: Immigration Advocacy: From Capitol Hill to Your Neighborhood

This webinar is for current and aspiring immigrant advocates on a grassroots level. Immigration laws and policies come from the federal government but immigrants' lives are also impacted by state and local laws and policies. This webinar provides an overview of the role each level of government plays in regulating the lives and livelihoods of immigrants. You will learn about our broken federal immigration system and what you can do to help convince Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We also cover the limited role of the Executive Branch in setting immigration policies. Finally, we discuss the types of laws and policies that state and local governments around the country are passing on such important matters as higher education, driver's licenses, immigration fraud, and police involvement in immigration enforcement. In addition to learning about these issues, you will acquire tools and strategies for advocating to change policies and practices in your communities.

Held on: 5/22/14

Presenters:

  • Allison Posner, Director of Advocacy, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc (CLINIC)
  • Jen Riddle, State and Local Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC
  • Reverend Timothy Graff, Pastor, St. Joseph's Parish, Bogota, NJ and Director of Human Concerns, Archdiocese of Newark
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Talking Points on Tuition Equity: Why States Should Offer In-State Tuition to All Residents (March 2014)

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents benefits the state’s economy.

  • In-state tuition is not free tuition. Tuition equity laws will generate increased revenue from students who could not otherwise afford to attend college.  
  • Laws that invest in young people by promoting access to affordable higher education create a more educated workforce and make the state stronger and more competitive.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals with Bachelor’s degrees earn $1 million more over their lifetimes than those with high school diplomas.[1] College graduates have higher-earning potential, will pay higher taxes, and will likely spend more in state economies.
  • Individuals with increased earning potential rely less on state resources such as healthcare and social services.

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents is fundamentally fair.

  • Students brought to this country as young children should not be deprived of access to state colleges and universities because of their parents’ choices.
  • Access to in-state tuition makes the college experience possible for our state’s best and brightest who often cannot afford the cost of out-of-state or international student tuition.
  • Talented, hardworking students should not be excluded from the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Tuition equity provides them the tools to succeed fully as community members and continue contributing to the state. 

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents is fiscally responsible.

  • The state has already educated its students from kindergarten through high school.[2] Giving all students an equal opportunity to attend college maximizes the state’s return on its investment and ensures these skills and talents do not go to waste.
  • Tuition equity laws build the state’s workforce by opening the door for future doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and other professionals to give back to our state and our communities.
  • Young people who have been educated in this state consider it to be their home. It is wise to retain hard-working, economically-productive residents and their families.

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents furthers the message of Catholic social teaching.

  • Our Catholic tradition teaches us to protect and respect human dignity, regardless of immigration status. An affordable education allows all state residents the opportunity to live in dignity.
  • Higher education increases individuals’ opportunities to obtain employment – a fundamental right necessary to support their families.  
  • Enabling a student to afford college positively impacts both the financial and human potential of that student’s entire family.

This summary was prepared in March 2014 with assistance from Legal Fellow, Kassandra Haynes.  It is intended for informational purposes, not as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State and Local Advocacy Attorney, Jen Riddle, at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 




[2] A free public elementary and secondary education is a fundamental constitutional right of all children, regardless of immigration status. This was established in 1982 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Plyler v. Doe.

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CLINIC Newsletter - February 2014 - VOL. XVIII No. 2

In this issue…                        

  • Visa Bulletin                                                                                              
Resources by type: 

New CLINIC Resources on Driver’s Licenses for the Undocumented

By Jen Riddle

Did you know that CLINIC has recently created two new resources related to states permitting undocumented residents to apply for driver’s licenses?

States are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering driver’s licenses to all residents, without regard to immigration status. Currently, 11 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed laws granting some type of driving privilege to undocumented residents who can meet the other eligibility requirements. CLINIC has compiled a comprehensive resource with links to the relevant laws of each state, the type of license available, the eligibility requirements for obtaining the license, and other state-specific details. CLINIC will continue to update this tool as more states join the movement to pass legislation permitting immigrants to drive legally without the constant fear of being stopped by the police, fined, criminally charged, or even turned over to ICE for deportation. If you work in a state that already issues licenses to undocumented drivers and have heard about clients’ experiences in obtaining or utilizing the licenses – whether positive or negative – CLINIC would like to hear those stories. Please reach out to State and Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807.

As we continue to await federal comprehensive immigration reform with a path to legalization and citizenship for the undocumented, we will likely see more states pass laws allowing these residents to travel safely and legally to work and school, meet the basic needs of their families, and contribute to their communities. So far this year, legislators have introduced and begun debating driver’s license bills in Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Rhode Island, among other states. To support your advocacy on this important issue, please consult CLINIC’s talking points, which summarize the economic, public safety, and moral arguments for why granting driver’s licenses to undocumented residents is the right thing to do. As aptly articulated by renowned undocumented journalist Jose Antonio Vargas: “When you’re undocumented, a driver’s license is not only driver’s license, it’s proof that you exist.”

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Why States Should Provide Access to Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

Why States Should Provide Access to Driver’s Licenses to All Residents

 

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents improves public safety on our roads.

  • Extending driving privileges to undocumented immigrants will require individuals to take driver’s tests and properly register with the state’s motor vehicle agency.
  • Licensed drivers know the rules of the road and have a proper understanding of traffic regulations.
  • Licensed drivers will be more likely to obtain auto insurance, reducing the cost of accidents involving uninsured motorists and potentially lowering insurance rates for everyone.
  • Individuals with driver’s licenses will be less likely to flee the scene of an accident.
  • Law enforcement can better ensure public safety when they can identify motorists and access accurate traffic records.
  • Unlicensed drivers are 5 times more likely to be in a fatal car accident.[1]

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents makes our communities safer.

  • States can maintain accurate records including the names and addresses of all state residents.
  • First responders and health care providers will be better able to determine the identity of victims and patients.
  • State resources can be directed to more crucial priorities if courts and jails are less congested by issues arising from driving without a license or insurance, such as civil violations, criminal charges, and jail time.

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents benefits the economy.

  • Driver’s license application fees will generate revenue for states.
  • Enhanced mobility of immigrant workers will grow American businesses and stimulate state economies.
  • An increase in licensed drivers will boost the auto insurance and auto sales industries.
  • Unlicensed, uninsured drivers cause damage claims that cost other policy holders. More licensed and insured drivers will reduce the number of accidents and lower insurance rates for all.

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents strengthens families.

  • In this country, driving is often essential to holding a job to provide basic life necessities for one’s family, such as food, shelter, and medical care. Those who drive work more hours and earn higher wages.
  • With the permission to drive safely and legally to work, school, and elsewhere, undocumented families can participate more fully in society without the constant fear of being stopped by the police.
  • Driver’s licenses can serve as a form of identification that allows immigrant families to live more visibly in society with greater access to financial institutions, medical care, and other basic services.  For the undocumented, “a driver’s license is not only a driver’s license, it’s proof that you exist.”[2] 

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents is consistent with Catholic social teaching.

  • Individuals must work to provide for their families and contribute to society.  In this country, driving is often essential to hold a job that provides food, shelter, and medical care for families.
  • The Catholic faith calls for respecting every human being, regardless of immigration status, and acknowledging the dignity of their efforts to work in order to provide for themselves and their families.

This summary was prepared in February 2014 by Legal Fellow, Kassandra Haynes.  It is intended for informational purposes, not as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State and Local Advocacy Attorney, Jen Riddle, at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 




[1] Unlicensed to Kill, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (Nov. 2011), available at: www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011Unlicensed2Kill.pdf.

[2] “Why Undocumented Immigrants Need Driver’s Licenses,” Jose Antonio Vargas, BuzzFeed (Oct 31, 2013), available at: http://www.buzzfeed.com/joseiswriting/why-undocumented-immigrants-need-drivers-licenses.

 

 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Washington

Bill/Statute: Wash. Rev. Code § 46.20

Year Law Enacted: 2004

Effective Date: June 10, 2004

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Show proof of identity
  • Sign a declaration that you have no Social Security Number
  • Provide proof of Washington residence

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/18over.html

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 5 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

No

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Vermont

Bill/Statute: 23 V.S.A. § 603

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Operator's Privilege Card

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide proof of Vermont residence
  • Provide proof of your name, date of birth, and place of birth (with a valid foreign passport, valid consular identification document, or certified record of birth, marriage, adoption, or divorce)
  • Present a letter from the Social Security Administration indicating your ineligibility to receive a Social Security Number
  • Satisfy all other requirements for obtaining a license or permit                 

For more specifics, please visit: http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/drivers/requirements/identity/undocumented

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 2 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The card is labeled "Driver's Privilege Card" and includes the following language: "Not For Federal Identification."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Utah

Bill/Statute: UT ST § 53-3-207

Year Law Enacted: 2005

Effective Date: July 1, 2005

Name of Document Issued: Driving Privilege Card (DPC)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide proof of an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the IRS
  • Provide two documents verifying your Utah address and residence
  • Provide documents verifying your identity, such as a foreign birth certificate or unexpired foreign passport
  • Provide proof of driving experience, fingerprint card and, for first-time applicants, a photo

For more specifics, please visit: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/dld/

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 1 year.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The DPC has a distinguishable format and color, contains the title "Driving Privilege Card" instead of "Driver License" and includes the following language: “Not Valid For Identification, Driving Privilege Only.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No; since 2011, data on applicants with felony convictions is sent to ICE. Information about individuals with an outstanding warrant is forwarded to local police.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Puerto Rico

Bill/Statute: P C0900

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: August 7, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Licencia de conducir provisional (Provisional Driver's License)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Show residence in Puerto Rico for at least one year                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Prove identity by presenting a valid passport from your country of citizenship                                                                                                                                                          
  • Meet other license eligibility requirements                                                                                                        

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.dtop.gov.pr/servicios/det_content.asp?cn_id=71

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 3 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will be distinguished from other driver's licenses by a unique design or color and will contain language clarifying that it is not valid for purposes of federal identification or other official reporting purposes.

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

Yes, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Works will promulgate, within 180 days of August 7, 2013, implementing regulations to protect license holders against discrimination.

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Works will promulgate, within 180 days of August 7, 2013, implementing regulations to protect the confidentiality of license holders' information.

 

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Oregon

Bill/Statute: SB 833

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: December 4, 2014 (assuming that Oregon voters decide to uphold the law in the November 2014 ballot measure seeking to repeal the law)

Name of Document Issued: Driver Card

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide proof of identity and date of birth
  • Prove Oregon residency for more than one year as of the application date
  • Provide a valid Social Security Number or a written statement that you have not been assigned one 
  • Comply with all other eligibility requirements, other than legal presence                                                                            

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/faqs/sb833.aspx

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 4 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The card is labeled "Driver Card" rather than "Driver License" and will contain a distinguishing feature, to be determined by the Department of Transportation.

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - New Mexico

Bill/Statute: NM ST § 66-5-9

Year Law Enacted: 2003

Effective Date: 2003

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide one document from the "Proof of Identification Number - No SSN" list (valid foreign passport, Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) card, or Mexican Matricula Consular card)
  • Provide one document from the "Proof of Identity - No SSN" list (foreign birth certificate, valid foreign passport, or Mexican Matricula Consular card)
  • Provide two documents to prove New Mexico residency                                                                                                                              

For more specifics, please visit:

http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/Drivers/Licensing/Pages/How-to-get-a-New-Mexico-Driver-License.aspx                                     

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 4 to 8 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

No

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

 This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Nevada

Bill/Statute: SB 303

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver Authorization Card (DAC)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Prove your name and age with two of the following documents: U.S. driver's license, foreign passport, foreign birth certificate, or consular identification card
  • Prove Nevada residence with two of the above-listed documents          

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.dmvnv.com/dac.htm

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 1 year.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The card is labeled "Driver Authorization Card" rather than "Driver License" and includes the following language: "Not Valid for Identification."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, the Nevada DMV will not release any information relating to legal presence or immigration status to any person or to any federal, state or local government entity for any purpose relating to the enforcement of immigration laws.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Maryland

Bill/Statute: MD TRANS § 16–122

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide documentary evidence that, for the previous two years, you filed a Maryland income tax return or that you resided in the state and were claimed as a dependent of someone who filed a Maryland state tax return
  • Meet eligibility requirements for a driver's license (other than having lawful immigration status and a valid Social Security Number)                             

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/Driver-Services/Apply/md-drivers-license.htm

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 5 to 8 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will have a unique design or color and include the following language: “Not federally compliant” and “May not be used to purchase a firearm.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to ALL Residents (January 2014)

     Driver’s licenses play a critical role in American society and enable us to participate more fully and productively in our communities. Most of us rely on cars to get ourselves and our families to work, school, the hospital, the grocery store, and church.  In addition to facilitating transportation, driver’s licenses enhance public safety by ensuring that all drivers are trained, tested, and qualify for automobile insurance.

     A growing number of states are recognizing the importance of offering driver’s licenses to all residents regardless of immigration status.  In 2013, 8 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico passed laws granting driving privileges to the undocumented. Each state provides a type of license, valid for anywhere from 1 year to 8 years, to all residents who can meet the respective eligibility requirements. Only Washington and New Mexico do not distinguish between drivers who are U.S. citizens or lawful visitors and those who are not.  None of the driving permits currently available to the undocumented meet the federal REAL ID Act requirements[1], which means that they are not accepted for federal identification purposes, including boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

     While we continue to wait for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to legalization and citizenship for the undocumented, we will likely see more states pass driver’s license laws to allow their undocumented residents to travel safely and legally to work and school, meet the basic needs of their families, and continue contributing to society.  State lawmakers are realizing that by not offering licenses to all state residents, they are essentially forcing many undocumented individuals - especially in areas without viable public transportation – to drive without a license.  Driving without a license not only jeopardizes the safety of all drivers and passengers but also carries serious legal consequences for unlicensed drivers.  Only a handful of states consider driving without a license to be a civil violation.  It can result in a criminal misdemeanor conviction in 37 states including jail time in 41 states.  Almost every state also imposes a fine, ranging from $100 to $1,000, and some states can impound unlicensed drivers’ vehicles.   

     In addition to facing prosecution and other penalties, individuals stopped for driving without a license are at risk in some jurisdictions of being questioned by police about their immigration status.  They may then be targeted by ICE for deportation through the Secure Communities fingerprint sharing program or other partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement.  The risk that unlicensed driving will result in deportation is particularly acute in states like Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina where “show me your papers” laws require police to check the immigration status of lawfully stopped individuals whom they have reason to believe are in the country illegally, as well as in the 19 states where ICE maintains 287(g) agreements permitting state and local law enforcement officers to question individuals in their custody about their immigration status.  Even if undocumented drivers are not ultimately deported as a result of having to drive without a license, they may be placed into immigration detention, where they can no longer care for their children, are unable to work, and may lose their jobs, resulting in dire financial and social consequences for themselves and their families.  

     California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington are to be commended for passing laws permitting their undocumented residents to obtain legal permission to drive.  Such laws permit individuals to continue to pursue their livelihoods and care for their families without the constant fear of being stopped by the police, issued an expensive fine, charged with a misdemeanor, or possibly turned over to ICE and deported. Furthermore, driver’s licenses are often used to verify an individual’s identity for the purpose of cashing a check, renting an apartment, receiving medical care, and accessing other basic services.  The vital role licenses play in American society has been aptly described by undocumented journalist Jose Antonio Vargas as follows: “When you’re undocumented, a driver’s license is not only driver’s license, it’s proof that you exist.” 

Below is a map of the jurisdictions that have passed laws permitting undocumented residents to apply for driver’s licenses. Click on a particular state to review the relevant law, the eligibility requirements for obtaining a license, and other details.  

 

New Mexico

 

[1] This 2005 law, passed to prevent terrorists from obtaining state-issued identification documents, set minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards (including a requirement that recipients have a social security number or proof of lawful status) and prohibits federal agencies from accepting a state driver’s license for official purposes until the Department of Homeland Security has determined that the state meets the minimum standards.    

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.  Research was provided by Anabel Diaz, Brian Shyr, Ruhee Vagle, Nicole Weinstock, and Kasandra Haynes.  For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Illinois

Bill/Statute: SB 957

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: November 28, 2013

Name of Document Issued: Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Prove Illinois residency for longer than 1 year
  • Provide an unexpired foreign passport or consular identification document                                                                                                                                                                               
  • Show that you are ineligible to obtain a Social Security Number and unable to present USCIS documentation of authorized presence
  • Must maintain liability insurance for the duration of the license

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/TVDL/home.html

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 3 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license is labeled “TVDL” rather than the standard "Driver's License" and includes the following language: "Not valid for identification."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - District Of Columbia

Bill/Statute: B 20-275

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: May 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Prove that you have resided in the District of Columbia for longer than 6 months
  • Prove that you have not been assigned a social security number or that you are ineligible for one
  • Provide proof of identity, date of birth, and residency                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • Meet other licensure eligibility requirements 

For more specifics, please visit: http://dmv.dc.gov/service/driver-license

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 8 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will include (in the smallest font possible) the following language: "Not for federal official purposes."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

Yes, the license shall not be used to consider an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or as a basis for a criminal investigation, arrest, or detention.

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, information relating to legal presence shall not be disclosed to any person or any federal, state, or local governmental entity except as necessary to comply with a legally issued warrant or subpoena.         

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Connecticut

Bill/Statute: Public Act No. 13-89

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2015

Name of Document Issued: Motor Vehicle Operator's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Submit proof of Connecticut residency
  • Present proof of identity
  • Submit an affidavit attesting that you have filed an application to legalize your immigration status or will apply when you become eligible to do so
  • Meet other licensure requirements
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony in Connecticut

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.ct.gov/dmv/site/default.asp

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 3 to 6 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will indicate that it is not acceptable for federal identification purposes and include the following language: "for driving purposes only."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, any required certificate of an applicant’s health condition in relation to operating a motor vehicle will be kept confidential.

 

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Colorado

Bill/Statute: SB 13-251

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: August 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Meet all licensure requirements except for lawful presence
  • Sign an affidavit that you have applied or will apply for legal presence
  • Prove current Colorado residence and present previous year's resident income tax filing or show continuous residence in Colorado for the preceding 24 months
  • Provide an IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)
  • Present a passport, consular identification card, or military identification document from your country of origin

 

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue-MV/RMV/1177024843078

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for a period of three years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

License will contain a distinguishable design and include the following language: “Not valid for federal identification, voting, or public benefit purposes.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, your ITIN will be kept confidential unless requested by the state child support enforcement agency, the Department of Revenue, or a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - California

Bill/Statute: AB 60

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2015 (Possibly sooner if DMV is ready)

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Sign an affidavit that you are ineligible for a social security number and unable to prove authorized presence in the U.S.
  • Provide proof of identity
  • Provide proof of California residency
  • Meet all other requirements for a California license

 

For more specifics, please visit: http://dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl.htm

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for a period of five years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license is labeled “DP” rather than the standard “DL” and includes the following language: “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes. This license is issued only as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

Yes, the bill provides that business establishments cannot discriminate against holders of the license. The license shall not be used as evidence of the holder’s citizenship or immigration status or as the basis for criminal investigation, arrest, or detention.

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, the bill provides that information collected during the license application process is not a public record and shall not be disclosed, except as required by law.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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Southern Affiliates Share Wisdom and Strategies for State-Level Immigration Advocacy

By Jen Riddle

 

The second morning of last month’s Southeast Legalization Planning Conference was devoted to state and local level advocacy around various immigration issues.  The day opened with conference participants sharing updates about legislation and trends from each of the nine Southeastern states.  This was followed by two panel discussions: the first addressing advocacy tools and strategies for promoting positive measures for immigrants, and the second discussing the unauthorized practice of immigration law and strategies for combating this pervasive problem and protecting victims. Below are a few of the lessons learned from affiliates’ and advocates’ discussions that may be of interest to other parts of the country as well.

The Power of Unlikely Coalitions

Both conference participants and panelists stressed the important role that creative coalitions can play in the advancement of pro-immigrant measures. For example, an unlikely ally of a driver’s license bill mentioned by the Associate Director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky was hospital lobbyists who support all drivers having photo identification in the case of an accident.  A Louisiana affiliate spoke about local priests and nursery workers uniting to support driver’s licenses for undocumented agricultural workers. On a national level, Bibles, Badges and Business is an alliance of conservative faith, law enforcement, and business constituencies in the Southeast, Midwest, and Mountain West committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform. Reaching outside the usual immigrant advocacy community can be effective in changing legislators’ minds on issues important to immigrant communities.   

Advocacy Approaches on Enforcement Issues Will Vary from County to County

Affiliates seemed to agree that the extent to which local law enforcement agencies engaged in immigration enforcement varied drastically from county to county.  They mentioned aggressive police and sheriff collaboration with ICE in such jurisdictions asCobb County, Georgia; Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; and Mobile, Alabama, ranging from trailer park sweeps to restaurant raids to Sunday afternoon roadblocks.  One affiliate mentioned the possible deterrent effect of a racial profiling lawsuit brought by Latino drivers against the city of Alexander, Arkansas. Several affiliates reported difficulties obtaining U visa certification from law enforcement in certain jurisdictions including a protocol in Harrison County, Mississippi of refusing to sign certifications until the criminal case is completed.  In such hostile areas, affiliates may wish to consult CLINIC’s Toolkit for Communities to Advocate Against ICE Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement Agencies. On the flip side, advocates in Jackson, Mississippi are petitioning the mayor and police department to lead cultural competency trainings for local law enforcement and the Burlington Police Department in North Carolina is assisting low income individuals with income tax preparation through the VITA program.  In jurisdictions with sympathetic local leaders, immigrant advocates can focus on cultivatingpartnerships and alliances with mayors and police departments.

You Don’t Always Need to Pass a Law

Despite the unprecedented number of states that enacted pro-immigrant legislation in 2013, there are states in which such laws simply will not garner the necessary bipartisan support for passage.  In those regions, it may be futile to advocate for a state-wide driver’s license bill, TRUST act, or tuition equity law.  Instead, advocates recommended focusing on changing the practices of individual institutions or actors – for example, convincing specific community colleges to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students or pushing certain municipalities to limit compliance with ICE detainers.  Likewise, an advocate from Louisiana spoke about her efforts to discretely convince state agencies to enforce a 2003 law that had never been put into effect to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented agricultural workers, rather than introducing a new bill. When positive policies can be implemented on the ground, it may be wiser to let such practices continue quietly rather than endangering their continuation by pushing to institutionalize them on a legislative level. 

The Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law is More Nuanced Than We Think

When we hear the term “unauthorized practice” we tend to think about notario publicos preying upon innocent immigrants and misleading them about their options for relief.  Yet, many conference participants shared stories of clients whose immigration cases were inadvertently harmed by well-intentioned community members (teachers, priests, parishioners) attempting to assist them. Tax preparers were also mentioned as frequent scammers. In addition to pushing state laws regulating the provision of immigration services and protecting would-be victims of immigration fraud, significant education and outreach is needed to explain to immigrants and community members the many permutations of the unauthorized practice of immigration law and how to avoid not only becoming a victim but becoming an unsuspecting perpetrator.    

Bring Your Bishop On Board

An advocate from Arkansas highlighted the impact of presenting a letter from Little Rock Bishop Anthony Taylor to state legislators who were introducing an omnibus anti-immigrant bill in 2008.  The power of an active Bishop in state and local advocacy should not be underestimated. Affiliates agreed there were opportunities in many dioceses for improved collaboration with State Catholic Conferences to educate Bishops on immigration issues and encourage them to write letters or op-eds supporting pro-immigrant policies as well as help find funding for legalization and other initiatives.  CLINIC can help by sharing sample talking points and drafting op-eds.  CLINIC has also commissioned a demographic survey from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) on immigrants in the United States, and will be sharing diocesan-specific data with each Bishop.  As a CLINIC affiliate, you also have access to this information here:

Really Get To Know Your Elected Officials

According to Representative Pedro Marin of Georgia, a panelist at the conference, elected officials don’t always vote with their constituents but sometimes vote based on their own ethics. One key to swaying a state legislator is finding a personal hook. The Associate Director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke about a meeting with a state legislator considering sponsoring a 2011 omnibus anti-immigrant bill. This politician was a construction contractor by profession. After being reminded of the role the Latino population played in rebuilding homes after Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav and better understanding how the bill would restrict the hiring practices of contractors reliant on immigrant labor, the legislator reconsidered his support of the bill.

The Importance of Messaging and Putting a Human Face on the Issue

Related to the previous tip about getting to know your elected representative, affiliates stressed the importance of spinning an issue in a way that will resonate with individual lawmakers.  Often times, it makes sense to sell a legislative proposal not as an immigration issue but as a bill to improve education, strengthen families, protect public safety, or enhance economic development for the state and all its residents.  As Catholic organizations, we bring a unique perspective to immigration issues and can draw from themes of Catholic Social teaching.  For example, speaking recently about the need for immigration reform, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles reminded us that “we don’t get our dignity from having the proper documents or the right paperwork.  Our human dignity comes from God.”  Finally, affiliates emphasized the power of putting a human face on the issue.  For example, when advocating on behalf of in-state tuition for all students regardless of immigration status, we can submit letters from DREAMers about the meaning of education in their lives or bring them to meetings with legislators to share their personal stories.

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2D Barcode Technology and Third-Party Software Compatibility

By Allison Posner

 

On November 6, 2013, USCIS held a stakeholder engagement on its new 2D barcode technology.  The new technology is part of the agency’s Forms Improvement Initiative, intended to enhance the agency’s ability to conduct intake at the lockboxes quickly and accurately.

Barcodes will be added initially to the most high-volume forms: I-90, G-28, and I-131.  The agency plans to add the barcodes to additional forms as they come up for revision.  The next form to be barcoded will be the N-400, followed by the I-821, I-765, I-130, and I-485. 

Data typed into the forms will be readable in a barcode at the bottom of each page.  USCIS will scan the barcodes and upload the data directly to its system.

Applicants may change or delete information from a partially completed form; the barcode will change to reflect the changes.  Further, applicants may change information on one page of the form after it has been completed and printed out.  There is no need to re-do the entire form.  The barcodes are page-specific. 

USCIS is looking into technical issues that have arisen through use of the barcoded forms, including problems from damaging or attaching anything to the form; fields left blank causing data to shift; and handwritten information not able to be captured.  The system will automatically check the first three fields on each form; if the information there does not look accurate, the form data will be entered into the system manually.  The agency has put together a working group to address issues as they come up.

The agency confirmed that where a submitted Form G-28 is incomplete or otherwise contains errors, officers are instructed to place the form in the A-file, but not to honor it.  It is important to note that currently, USCIS does not contact the attorney or applicant to let them know that the form is incomplete and not being honored.  The agency is looking into options for letting the applicant know.

At this time, the agency is encouraging applicants to use the fillable forms on its website, though use of the barcoded forms is not yet required.  Applicants should not, however, provide both typed information and handwritten information on one application. 

USCIS will consider further stakeholder engagements on this issue, as well as additional information, such as FAQs on the website.

USCIS has posted the 2D barcode requirements and specifications for third-party vendors’ use to accurately reproduce the barcode.  That page will be updated as additional forms containing the 2D barcode are published.

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Webinar: Immigration Detention: Perspectives from D.C. and the Field

Click Here to Download the PPT Slides

This webinar will address immigration detention, including the federal mandate requiring the detention of certain immigrants, the recent rise of immigration detention, and alternatives to detention. Additionally, the panel will include local perspectives on the effects of detention facilities on communities and how local stakeholders can help combat this national phenomenon.

Held 11/15/13

Presenters:

  • Ashley Feasley, Migration Policy Advisor, USCCB
  • Christina Fialho, attorney, co-executive director of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)
  • Sister JoAnn Persch, Sister of Mercy, Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants
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Webinar: Recent Trends in State and Local Immigration Enforcement

Click here to download the PowerPoint Slides

This webinar provides an overview of collaboration between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement agencies through the Criminal Alien Program, 287(g) Partnerships, and Secure Communities as well as the use of ICE detainers to identify potentially deportable individuals in state or local custody.  Panelists will address how these programs harm American families and communities and suggest ways to advocate on a state and local level against their continuation.

Held on: 11/8/13

Presenters:

  • Allison Posner, Director of Advocacy, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
  • Jen Riddle, Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC
  • Mark Fleming, National Litigation Coordinator, National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Alissa Escarce, Policy Associate, Rights Working Group
  • Jill Malone, Volunteer Advocate, Justice for Immigrants Campaign of the Diocese of San Jose
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The Arizona SB 1070 Litigation (2012)

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Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (Sept 2013)

Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration discusses five state-level legislative initiatives that promote the integration of immigrants into our states and communities.  The integration measures discussed include legislation that creates tuition equity for all; strengthens human trafficking laws; invests in English language instruction; uses the budget process to integrate immigrants; and enhances access to financial aid and protection against immigration consultant fraud. The document includes model language and talking points that advocates can use to educate legislators about the benefits of integration measures.

 

 

 

Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (PDF)

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State Mandatory E-Verify Bill: An Analysis of Montana’s House Bill 297 (Feb 2013)

An Analysis of Montana’s House Bill 297 (2013)

Overview: This bill creates state-level penalties (suspending business licenses) for employers in Montana who knowingly hire undocumented workers; it also requires employers in the state to use E-Verify six months after the passage of the bill. 

 

Section 1:  Definitions

This bill applies to any “employer” – an individual or organization – that transacts business in, has been licensed by the state of Montana, and employs individuals that perform employment services in the state.  The term employer does not apply to an entity that hires an independent contractor.  It also does not apply to the occupant or owner of a private residence who hires casual, domestic labor to perform work customarily performed by a homeowner entirely within a private residence.  

Section 1 defines “knowingly employ an unauthorized alien” to be those actions that are described in the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) pertaining to the “Unlawful Employment of Aliens” (8 U.S.C. 1324a) and instructs that the phrase be interpreted consistently with that provision.1

Section 1 states that the definition of “unauthorized alien” has the meaning provided in 8 U.S.C. 1324(h)(3).  

Section 1 defines other terms in the bill as well.

 

Section 2:  Mandatory E-Verify

The bill mandates that all employers in the state use the federal E-Verify program after making an offer of employment that has been accepted by an employee. Verification by employers must comply with federal law, 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a(b).    

 

Section 3:  Prohibition and Complaint Process 

Section 3(1) prohibits an employer from knowingly employing an unauthorized worker.  

Section 3(2) prescribes a complaint process whereby any person with actual or constructive knowledge that an employer employs or has employed an unauthorized worker (within a prescribed period of time), can file a complaint with the Montana Department of Justice [hereinafter “Department”].  Sections 3(3), 3(4) and 3(5) dictate that certain consequences for employers and unauthorized workers attach merely upon receipt of a complaint that an employer has knowingly employed an unauthorized worker.  All of the following actions take place before there is any adjudication on whether an employee is in fact unauthorized and whether an employer has violated the act:

  • The Department must notify the employer of the complaint.
  • The Department must direct the employer to notify any employee listed in the complaint that a complaint has been filed.
  • The Department must investigate the complaint,even if the complaint ends up being false or frivolous.

 

Section 3(4) further states that in order to investigate, the Department must verify the alleged unauthorized worker’s work authorization with the federal government.  While Section 3(2) stipulates that a person who knowingly files a false or frivolous complaint is guilty of a misdemeanor, nothing in bill prevents even false or frivolous complaints from being investigated.

Pursuant to Section 3(5), if the Department determines that the complaint is not false or frivolous, the bill mandates that the Department must carry out the following tasks:   

  • The Department must notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the identity of the unauthorized worker. 
  • The Department must notify local law enforcement of the individual’s presence in the jurisdiction.
  • The Department must hold an administrative hearing where the employer can present evidence to address the allegations in the complaint.  

 

Section 3(6) states that an employer has not violated the act if the employer used the E-Verify program to determine if the employee has authorization to work.  Additionally, the bill gives employers the affirmative defense of  “good faith compliance” with federal immigration law to use in proceedings under this act.   

 

Section 4: Enforcement of the Bill 

This section sets forth the penalties for violating the act.  Among other things, the following must occur if an employer is found to have violated the act: (1) the Department must issue a cease and desist order, and (2) the employer must terminate the employment of all unauthorized workers and sign a sworn affidavit within 10 business days after the order has issued.    

If the employer will NOT file a sworn affidavit, the Department must order state agencies to suspend all licenses held by the employer.  The section further states that the licenses will be suspended until the required affidavit has been filed with the Department.  If an employer violates the act again within a 2-year period, the employer’s license must be suspended for 30 days or longer. 

Finally, this section requires the Department to maintain a database of the employers who have violated the act and the number and locations of the violations.

   

Section 5:  District Court Jurisdiction

This bill gives the district courts of Montana jurisdiction to decide challenges brought by employers or employees.  Montana district courts also have jurisdiction to enforce an order of the Department.  

 

Sections 6-12

These sections set forth other aspects of the bill.  Section 6 gives the Department the authority to establish procedures and guidelines to implement the act.  Sections 7, 8, 9, and 10 discuss construction, repeal of Montana Code Annotated 39-2-305, codification instructions, and severability.  According to Section 11, the act goes into effect 6 months after its passage and approval.  Section 12 provides that the Department cannot respond to a complaint against an employer for violations that occurred prior to the effective date of the act.   

 

Legal Analysis

Background on Federal Laws Regulating Employment of Unauthorized Workers

The federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) already prohibits most employers from knowingly hiring an individual who is not lawfully present or is not authorized to work in the United States.  IRCA sets up an extensive employment verification system, whereby it requires employers to review documents presented by new employees to establish their work eligibility and to report this information in the federal form I-9.2  IRCA further provides penalties and sanctions for employers who knowingly violate the law.3  Finally, IRCA expressly prevents states from passing any law “imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ . . . unauthorized aliens.”4 IRCA thus creates a comprehensive scheme for regulating the employment of unauthorized workers, with only one specific and narrow carve-out for limited state action.   

The paper-based I-9 system was the exclusive employment verification procedure under federal law until the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). Pursuant to IIRIRA, Congress directed the Attorney General to establish three pilot programs to verify new employees’ eligibility for employment.  Of the three pilot programs, only the Basic Pilot Program (now called “E-Verify”) exists.  E-Verify is an internet-based system of employment verification.  It is merely one of the ways – and a new one at that – for an employer to meet its IRCA responsibilities.

 

Both IIRIRA and IRCA contain strong nondiscrimination provisions, prohibiting employers from using E-Verify or the I-9 process in a way that discriminates against employees based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.5

 

Congress chose to make the E-Verify pilot program voluntary for most employers.  The one exception is federal contractors, who (pursuant to an Executive order and subsequent federal rule6) must use the E-Verify program in order to receive their contracts.  

         

Finally, IRCA creates a substantial “safe harbor” for employers who comply with the I-9 procedures.7  Unless an employer persists in violating IRCA after being put on notice of its noncompliance or engages in a pattern or practice of violations, employers who attempt to comply in good faith are protected from civil and criminal penalties under federal law.8

 

Application of the Bill 

The bill is likely constitutional.  The text of the bill is similar to a 2007 Arizona law called the “Legal Arizona Workers Act.”  Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of LAWA in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.9  Like this bill, LAWA suspends the state-issued business licenses of employers who are found to have knowingly hired unauthorized workers and creates a complaint procedure for challenging these employers.  Also like Montana’s bill, LAWA mandates that employers in the state use the E-Verify system.  

Those who challenged LAWA in court argued that the law unconstitutionally stepped into the exclusively federal power to regulate immigration.  They also argued that LAWA would obstruct federal execution of federal immigration policies.  

The majority of Justices on the Supreme Court disagreed.  LAWA’s business license penalty for employers is constitutional, they held, because it fits into a narrow and explicitly protected sphere for states to act to punish the employment of unauthorized workers.  Federal immigration law expressly prevents states from passing any law “imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ . . . unauthorized aliens.”10  Because LAWA revokes the business licenses of employers who hire unauthorized workers, the Court held that the law falls within this exception.  

Nor is it unconstitutional, the Supreme Court held, for LAWA to mandate that employers in the state use the E-Verify system.  Such a state law is not explicitly blocked by IIRIRA;11 nor would it conflict with the overall federal scheme regulating the employment of unauthorized workers.  Critical to the Supreme Court’s analysis of this last point was the fact that the consequences under LAWA for an employer of not

using E-Verify were the same as the consequences stated in IIRIRA: the employer can no longer avail himself of the rebuttable presumption that he complied with the law.    

Thus, this Supreme Court decision opens the door for states to pass similar laws that penalize employers for employing unauthorized workers by revoking their business licenses and that mandate use of E-Verify.

Policy Arguments

Notwithstanding the fact that the bill is probably constitutionally sound, there are strong arguments that the bill is not good policy.

1. The bill is an unfunded mandate requiring local resources to be used in carrying out federal immigration enforcement. 

 

This mandatory E-Verify bill requires Montana’s Department of Justice to expend considerable state resources on a myriad of immigration enforcement duties that fall within the purview of the federal government.  Pursuant to the bill, the Department must notify the employer of the complaint, must direct the employer to notify any employee listed in the complaint that a complaint has been filed, and must investigate the complaint,even if the complaint ends up being false or frivolous.  In addition, the Department must verify the alleged unauthorized worker’s work authorization with the federal government.  If the complaint is not false or frivolous, the Department must notify ICE of the identity of the unauthorized worker, must notify local law enforcement of the individual’s presence in the jurisdiction, must hold an administrative hearing where the employer can present evidence to address the allegations in the complaint, and must maintain a database of the employers who have violated the act.  Not only do these additional duties burden taxpayers, but they take away from other important work carried out by the Department such as prosecuting criminals, Medicare fraud, and consumer fraud.  Lastly, it is worth noting that these additional immigration duties are triggered by a complaint that can be made by anyone at any time.

2. Mandatory E-Verify in Montana would discourage economic activity in the state.     

Unauthorized workers and their family members (who may be lawfully present or even citizens) are important in Montana’s economy as taxpayers, consumers, and entrepreneurs.  The following are facts collected by the Immigration Policy Center: 

  • The 2010 purchasing power of Latinos in Montana totaled $650.3 million—an increase of 661 % since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $219.4 million—an increase of 451.5% since 1990.  Additionally, Latino and Asian entrepreneurs added millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Montana’s economy.
  • If unauthorized immigrants were removed from Montana, the state would lose 96.3 million in economic activity, 42.8 million in gross state product and approximately 720 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Arizona provides the clearest test case for state employer sanctions proposals.  LAWA has been costly for Arizona.  It has not stopped unauthorized work but has simply grown the size of the cash-based, underground economy.  In 2008, the first year LAWA was in effect, income tax collection dropped 13% from the year before.12

3. Mandatory E-Verify is costly, particularly for small businesses.  

To comply with the bill, individual employers will need to dedicate staff to understand the requirements of the proposed law and to implement E-Verify.  These employers may need to make upgrades in hardware or software in order to access E-Verify.  Additionally, program administrators and other users are required to complete training and periodic refresher training courses on the use of E-Verify.  

Small businesses, which create most of the nation’s new jobs, cannot afford to set up and use E-Verify, especially at this time when the economy is still fragile. Unlike large companies, they lack human resources departments to help their employees resolve E-Verify errors.13 According to the National Immigration Law Center, small businesses would face the biggest impact from mandatory E-Verify laws.  Nationally, data shows that if use of E-Verify had been mandatory in fiscal year 2010, it would have cost small businesses $2.6 billion.14 In 2011, the Main Street Alliance, a national network of small business owners, wrote to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith to oppose his mandatory E-Verify proposal.15    

4. Mandatory E-Verify without comprehensive federal immigration reform hits children and families hardest.  

In 2010, Montana was home to 20,031 immigrants.  Of this number, over 57%  or 11,506 people were naturalized U.S. citizens.  Unauthorized immigrants comprise less than 1% of the state’s workforce (or fewer than 10,000 workers), according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.   But 97.6% of the children of Montana’s immigrants were U.S. citizens in 2009.16  Hurting the ability of Montana’s relatively small population of undocumented workers to provide for themselves and their families can have huge collateral consequences for lawful residents and U.S. citizens, and these consequences hit children hardest.

If one of these parents is deported, the emotional and financial damage to the family members left behind can be devastating.  Economic insecurity and health insecurity are documented consequences of increased

enforcement of our currently broken federal immigration system.  Parents in immigration detention often face the loss of their parental rights while incarcerated, since they may not receive notice of court proceedings, may not have adequate legal counsel,17 cannot comply with the terms of family reunification plans mandated by the child welfare system, and are often not even told where their children are.18  The Urban Institute has shown that “Parent-child separations pose serious risks to children’s immediate safety, economic security, well-being, and longer term development.”19  The report continues:

Most families in our sample lost a working parent, because they were detained, deported, or released but not allowed to work. Following job loss, households experienced steep declines in income and hardships such as housing instability and food insufficiency. Many families experienced prolonged hardship in part due to extended efforts to contest deportation that took months and often more than a year to adjudicate.20

5. This bill will increase fear and distrust in immigrant communities.

This law turns neighbors into immigration agents.  This will significantly increase fear and distrust in immigrant communities in the state, and make it harder for police to do their job.  

 

Please see our E-Verify fact sheet for a discussion of the problems with E-Verify.  Please also see the fact sheet (attached to this analysis) complied by the National Immigration Law Center in July 2011, “E-Verify:  The Impact of Its Mandatory Use on Montana Workers and Business.”    

 

1 “(1) In general.— It is unlawful for a person or other entity…(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3)) with respect to such employment…” [emphasis added] 8. U.S.C. § 1234a(a)(1)(A).

2 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a(b); 8 C.F.R. Section 274a.2(b).

3 United States Government Accountability Office, “Employment Verification: Federal Agencies Have Taken Steps to Improve E-Verify, but Significant Challenges Remain,” [GAO Report] December 2010.

4 Immigration Reform and Control Act, 8 U. S. C. §1324a(h)(2).

5 GAO Report; see also Brief of Amicus Curiae Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, et. al., in Support of Petitioners, Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, p. 16-17

6 73 F.R. 67651-705 (Nov. 14, 2008).

7 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a(b)(6)(A).  

8 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a(b)(6).  

9 Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 563 U.S. ___ (2011) http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-115.pdf

10 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a(h)(2).

11 The Supreme Court noted that IIRIRA includes only one specific restriction regarding laws that would make E-Verify mandatory: the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security must receive Congressional authorization before making the E-Verify program mandatory for any entity outside of the federal government.

12 National Immigration Law Center, “Costly and Ineffective: What Arizona’s Experience with Mandatory E-Verify Teaches Us,” May 2011 http://www.nilc.org/costsev.html  (citing Daniel Gonzalez, “Illegal Workers Manage to Skirt Ariz. Employer-Sanctions Law,” The Arizona Republic, Nov. 30, 2008, www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/11/30/20081130underground1127.html  ).  

13 National Immigration Law Center, “E-Verify Creates Burdens for Small Businesses” (June 2011) http://www.immigrationworksusa.org/uploaded/file/E-Verify%20burdens%20small%20business.pdf  

14 Statement of Tyler Moran, Policy Director, National Immigration Law Center, House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, Hearing on: "E-Verify- Preserving Jobs for American Workers," February 10, 2011, pp. 3-4 http://www.nilc.org/testimony-eevs.html.

15 http://mainstreetalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/MSA-letter-to-House-Judiciary-Committee-on-HR-2885-Sept-14-2011.pdf 

16 All of the above data comes from: Immigration Policy Center, “New Americans in Montana” (January 2012) http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-montana   

17 National Immigrant Justice Center, Isolated in Detention: Limited Access to Legal Counsel in Immigration Detention Facilities Jeopardizes a Fair Day in Court (September 2010): 8-10.  The report found that several factors contributed to inadequate counsel for those in immigration detention including the geographic isolation of many detention facilities, inadequate phone access, and inadequate legal aid resources.

18 Women’s Refugee Commission, Torn Apart by Immigration Enforcement: Parental Rights and Immigration Detention [“WRC Report”] (December 2010): 1 http://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/programs/detention/parental-rights.

19 The Urban Institute, Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement (February 2010). http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412020_FacingOurFuture_final.pdf  

20 Ibid. at vii-viv.

 

 

 

 

This document was prepared for CLINIC in February 2013 by Karen A. Herrling.  This document is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.  For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4806.

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Federal Judge Delivers Tough Blow to “America’s Toughest Sheriff” (June 2013)

More than eight months after hearing testimony in the civil trial, a U.S. District Judge has found that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) engaged in racial profiling against Hispanic drivers and passengers.  According to the decision , the MCSO, led by Sheriff Arpaio, used traffic stops as an excuse to identify and report individuals who are in the country without authorization and considered an individual’s Latino identity as a factor in determining whether to investigate that person’s immigration status.  

The statistical analysis of the MCSO’s traffic stops showed higher stop rates and longer stop times for Latinos, which highlighted a pattern of racial discrimination. The federal district court determined that Arpaio’s immigration enforcement policies and practices violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable searches and seizures) and Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Arizona Constitution. Accordingly, the MCSO was ordered to stop using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in stopping vehicles or making law enforcement decisions related to whether an individual may be in the country without authorization. A hearing will be held on June 14, 2013 to determine the specific steps the MCSO needs to take to ensure compliance with the court’s order. An attorney for Sheriff Arpaio’s office has indicated that the MCSO will abide by the court’s ruling but plans to appeal the decision.  

This is not the only legal challenge to Arpaio’s enforcement policies. On May 10, 2012, the Department of Justice filed a separate lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio and Maricopa County for allegedly engaging in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination against Latinos. This case remains pending. Hopefully, these court actions will serve as a deterrent, not only for Sheriff Arpaio, but for other local and state law enforcement agencies who are overstepping the bounds of their authority in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

 

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Arizona's SB 1070 at the U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-3 ruling on Arizona's state immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.   What did the Court hold? What does it mean? What are the potential ramifications for "copycat" laws in other states? What's next for advocacy?    

Featured Panelists:

  • Andre Segura, Staff Attorney, Immigrants' Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Shuya Ohno, National Field Organizer, National Immigration Forum

Moderator:

  • Karen Siciliano Lucas, State & Local Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC

 

Held Friday, July 13, 2012.

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The Supreme Court Considers Arizona v. United States

On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case involving the legal challenge to Arizona's restrictive state immigration enforcement law "SB 1070."  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted a "friend of the court" brief in the case, supporting the United States in challenging the law.  What did the Bishops say in their brief?  What are the interests of the Catholic Church when states choose to enforce federal immigration law on their own terms?  What is wrong with a policy of "attrition through enforcement"?  
 
This webinar - held just two days after oral arguments - discusses all of these issues and more.  How did the Justices react to arguments by both sides?  What is really at stake?  The webinar places the legal arguments over SB 1070 in the context of new ways that states and localities are proposing to get more active on immigration.

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Facts for Documented and Undocumented Workers Helping to Clean-up and Rebuild the Gulf Coast Region

IMMIGRANT WORKERS’ RIGHTS

All workers, including documented and undocumented immigrant workers, are protected by many U.S. employment and labor laws. Rights that may apply to workers depending upon the circumstances include:

Right to be paid. In most instances, workers have the right to be paid minimum wage ($5.15 an hour) and to receive overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week. If workers do not receive all of the wages for the time they actually worked, they can take action to recover those wages.

Right to be free of discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against or harass workers based on race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin or sex.
Right to organize. In most workplaces, it is illegal for an employer to punish or threaten workers for organizing with others to improve their working conditions.

Right to be safe on the job. Workers are protected by workplace health and safety laws at their worksites.

Right to benefits if injured on the job. In most states, workers who are injured on the job are entitled to the protections of state workers’ compensation laws.

Right to unemployment payments. In most states workers who are fully or partially unemployed, looking for work, and have valid work documentation are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

 

Additional information for documented and undocumented workers helping to clean-up and rebuild the Gulf Coast region attached below.

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Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN): Practical Guidelines for Individuals

What is an ITIN?

ITIN stands for Individual Tax Identification Number. It is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who do not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN). The ITIN always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit. For example: 9XX-7X-XXXX.

An ITIN permits individuals without a valid Social Security Number (SSN) to:

  • Pay taxes (report their annual earnings to the IRS)
  • Open an interest-bearing bank account.


Can an ITIN be used for work purposes?
No. An ITIN cannot be used to show work authorization. The purpose of the ITIN is to assist individuals without a SSN to pay their taxes and/or open an interest-bearing bank account. Note: ITINs do not entitle the recipient to Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Who needs an ITIN?

  • Individuals that earn income in the U.S. and must file a U.S. tax return but do not have a SSN. (According to U.S. law, unless your income is exceedingly low, you are legally required to file an income tax return.)
  • Spouses and dependents that are listed on a U.S. tax return but do not have a SSN. (Spouses and dependents must fill-out separate Forms W-7 and submit them together with the principal taxpayer.)
  • Individuals that would like to open an interest-bearing bank account but do not have a SSN.


Does the use of an ITIN indicate that the applicant is undocumented?
No. The ITIN is available to a range of foreign-born persons that are not eligible for SSNs. The IRS has stated repeatedly that an ITIN does not create an inference about an individual’s immigration status.

How does an individual apply for an ITIN?
Individuals must complete IRS Form W-7, “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer
Identification Number.” This Form may be obtained from any IRS office, U.S. consular office aboard, or any Acceptance Agent. It also is available on-line at www.irs.gov, or by calling 1-800-TAX FORM. Form W-7 is available in both English and Spanish.

 

More information in the attachments below.

 

 

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