Advocacy | Page 2 | CLINIC

Advocacy

The Advocacy section tackles problems faced by low-income immigrants and CLINIC member agencies that can only be resolved through advocacy, education, pro bono representation, litigation, and media. The section identifies legal trends and issues affecting immigrants and pursues responsive solutions. The section prioritizes its advocacy agenda in concert with its member agencies. It also collaborates with Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). At the national level, the Advocacysection focuses on administrative advocacy with officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). At the local level, the section supports the efforts of advocates working to combat state and local anti-immigrant measures. To increase representation to detained immigrants, the Center coordinates the Board of Immigration Appeals Pro Bono Project. Because documentation and media coverage of the human impact of U.S. immigration polices are crucial to advocacy efforts that seek to create a more just immigration system, the section documents and facilitates media coverage of the challenges facing immigrants served by its network. It also provides support to its member and colleague agencies engaged in media outreach.

Ready America

Nearly 200 immigration reform advocates from 27 states gathered outside of Washington Feb. 3-5 for the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI)’s second Ready America Conference. The advocates came from 27 states, representing immigration legal service providers, labor unions, community organizers, consulates, philanthropy and social service providers. CLINIC co-chaired the five-track conference, which included a plenary session with USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez and six open forum sessions organized by CIRI’s Advocacy Working Group.

Family Detention

March marked the one year anniversary of the CARA Pro Bono Representation Family Detention Project, which focuses on ending family detention and ensuring representation for immigrant families who are processed through the family detention facilities. Nearly 8,000 families had a CARA volunteer attorney help them start the process of seeking asylum. More than 700 volunteers from all over the country -- lawyers, paralegals, translators, social workers, medical professionals, teachers and more -- put their lives on hold for a week or more and traveled to Texas to help protect families. Combined, they contributed more than $6.75 million in volunteer hours.

President’s enforcement actions against immigrant families and children

In early January, the Department of Homeland Security began targeting for removal Central American families and unaccompanied children who had turned 18. CLINIC engaged in extensive national and local advocacy, with staff from the Advocacy and TLS offices participating in national webinars about the actions. The CLINIC advocacy team conducted webinars for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, and provided advocacy support for communities in Arkansas, California, Ohio and Virginia. DHS continues to target immigrant families and unaccompanied children who have turned 18 while in the United States.

United States of America v. State of Texas, et al.

Leading up to the Supreme Court’s April 18 oral argument in U.S. v. Texas, CLINIC was one of more than 325 immigrant-serving agencies joining an amicus (friend of the court) brief. Selected stories highlighting the benefits of permitting implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA were featured in the brief filed March 8 by CLINIC and civil rights, labor and social service organizations. The brief urged the court to uphold the Obama administration’s executive actions.

Family Detention

CLINIC continues to fight against the government’s practice of detaining immigrant mothers and their children. CLINIC, through its work in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project has been especially active in the national fight to eliminate large scale family detention centers. CLINIC and CARA have been leading advocacy efforts to challenge unlawful asylum, detention, and deportation policies of DHS. Such advocacy activities have included submitting a complaint to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) regarding inadequate language access for indigenous language speakers and filing a letter to high-level DHS officials about glaring due process violations that have occurred since the court order of October 23rd.

Texas v. U.S. and the President’s Executive Action on Immigration Action

The Obama Administration appealed the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruling from Texas v. U.S. to the Supreme Court on November 20, 2015. The Supreme Court announced on January 19th, that it will take up the case which will likely be argued in April and decided by the last week in June. While the outcome of the case is pending, CLINIC recommends that qualified legal immigration practitioners continue client screenings to assist those eligible for other immigration benefits. Please see CLINIC’s useful timeline on the President’s Executive Action on Immigration

Discussion of Enforcement Actions

From January 2- 4, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted enforcement actions targeting immigrants who arrived to the United States after January 1, 2014, and had final orders of removal. DHS picked up 121 individuals in local communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. CLINIC responded to these action by writing a a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, condemning the targeting of Central American women and children and urging an end to the practice, putting together a a backgrounder explaining the recent actions and what to do in your community, and, through its partnership with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, help receive stays of deportation from the Board of Immigration Appeals in twelve cases, affecting thirty-three women and children. CLINIC continues to monitor this issue and will appreciate hearing what is occurring in your community.

Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program Extended Until December 11, 2015

On September 30th, 2015, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR), a stop-gap measure which continues funding the government at current levels and keeps the government open until December 11, 2015. The CR reauthorized the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program as well as three other immigration-related programs, the Conrad 30 Program, the EB-5 Program, and the E-Verify Program until December 11, 2015. Finding a more permanent extension for the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program remains an ongoing issue for CLINIC Advocacy.

Administrative Advocacy

In connection with the State of Texas v. U.S. litigation, USCIS began recalling over 2,600 grants of Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) and work authorization in May 2015. USCIS increased its recall efforts dramatically following a Court Order issued on July 7. CLINIC officially registered its opposition to the recall and any resulting terminations. CLINIC worked closely with affiliates to support, advise, and assist them and their clients to understand and take necessary actions as well as to responsibly spread the word in the community. CLINIC and its affiliate efforts helped result in 99.2 percent compliance with the recall. Of the 22 terminations of status issued, 12 were reinstated.

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