State & Local Advocacy Project

Search by a particular word or phrase.
Search by a particular blog tag.

State and Local Advocate Spotlight: Dana Davenport reflects on the 2016 legislative session and how she is driven by her faith

In just over a year, Dana Davenport has emerged as a standout immigration advocate in Maryland. Driven pointedly by her faith and her genuine desire to help others, Davenport reflects on the 2016 legislative session, specifically highlighting which strategies worked best and how support from CLINIC led to many successes.

How would you describe your state’s sentiment toward immigrants and why do you think it is this way?

Maryland is a mixed bag. Different regions across the state have their own sentiments towards immigrants largely based on the types of interactions people and businesses have with them.

What immigration-related measures did you address during the 2016 legislative session?

A significant success during the 2016 legislative session was the passage of a bill that clarifies the extortion statute to codify that it is illegal to use actual or threatened use of law enforcement regarding someone’s undocumented status in exchange for something of value. That legislation passed with bipartisan support, was signed by the governor in May, and will go into effect on October 1st. Another success was the passage of legislation that requires state government websites to become multilingual.

What are some advocacy strategies you believe were most persuasive?

  • I think that being led by faith is essential. Faith helps me represent the Maryland Bishops before the state legislature and pushes me forward in both the easiest and most challenging advocacy efforts. I focused on Catholic Social Teaching because it is rich in its relevance to immigrants – namely the “life and dignity of the human person” because all of the other pillars of CST rest on that.
  • Relationship-building is essential to my advocacy work – both with fellow advocates and legislators. By being a part of a network of advocates, we alert one another about bills that are introduced, organize panels of people to testify at hearings, and divide up the advocacy tasks based on our relationships with key legislators. Good relationships with legislators are essential because sometimes the relationship may speak greater volumes than the facts you’re bringing to the table, or the relationship with one legislator can help you gain the trust of other legislators
  • Educating constituents about immigration issues and encouraging them to take action to build grassroots support for immigrants.

Did you contact CLINIC for assistance in your advocacy efforts?

During session, I contacted CLINIC for assistance in developing talking points for my written testimony and advocacy efforts on a few pieces of legislation. The information was very useful because I didn’t have expertise on those specific issue areas, so it was helpful to have CLINIC as a resource in my advocacy. I’m glad I have a relationship with CLINIC so we can share information with one another as we need it.

Programs: 

State and Local Legislative Updates July 2016

With only 12 states in regular session, positive legislative trends related to education and professional licensing have emerged in recent months. North Carolina proposed the Tuition Fairness Act (HB 1081) that would offer in-state tuition rates to students that have either completed three years of high school or obtained high school diploma in the state. Connecticut proposed a bill (SB 147) to assist undocumented students pay for college by allowing them to apply for and receive institutional financial assistance at public universities and colleges. Nebraska recently passed a bill (LB 947) to allow legally present immigrants to obtain professional licenses.

The end of many states’ legislative sessions resulted in movement on immigration enforcement legislation. Proposed bills that would have prohibited cities from adopting sanctuary cities policies failed in Virginia (HB 481) and in Louisiana (HB1148).  Through a collaborative effort with Bishop Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson and local faith leaders, CLINIC also assisted in defeating Mississippi’s anti-sanctuary city bill (SB 2306). North Carolina’s immigration compliance bills (HB 100 and HB 868) which would have withheld state funds from cities for violating the state’s law on immigration also did not pass the state legislature.

Other legislation that would have a negative impact on immigrant populations are pending in states such as Pennsylvania, which has proposed anti-sanctuary city bill (HB 1885) that would ban sanctuary city policies and impose civil liability on cities for damages resulting from unlawful actions of undocumented immigrants.

Has your state recently proposed legislation that would affect immigrants in your area? Please tell us.

Programs: 

What is the Status of Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Legislation?

 
Back to the Alabama Resource Center

 

After a series of legal battles, federal courts have blocked many of the harshest provisions of Alabama’s H.B. 56 and H.B. 658. Unfortunately, some parts of these laws remain in effect, including the following provisions:

  • Undocumented immigrants cannot enroll in public universities and colleges and are  not eligible for financial aid in Alabama.
  • People are required to prove they are in the United States legally in order to obtain or renew a driver’s license, register a vehicle, or obtain a business license, commercial license, or professional license.
  • All employers must use the E-Verify system to determine whether new hires are eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Law enforcement officers are required to check the immigration status of people arrested and booked into jail.
  • Undocumented immigrants convicted of violating a state law must be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Alabama Department of Homeland Security.
  • Law enforcement officers are required to check the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect is in the country without authorization. However, they cannot detain or hold someone, nor prolong detention, solely to check immigration status. 

As a result of court decisions, the following provisions of H.B. 56 and H.B. 658 have been amended.  Currently:

  • Proof of lawful status is not necessary to pay state or local taxes, register a mobile home, apply for a marriage license, rent housing, enforce contracts in court, or enroll children in elementary or secondary school.
  • It is not illegal to provide a ride or rent housing to an undocumented immigrant.
  • Attorneys do not need to report their clients’ immigration status to state or federal officials.
  • People in Alabama can hire and work as day laborers.
  • Passengers in cars are not required to answer questions about immigration status. Drivers may only be asked about their immigration status if they fail to present a valid driver’s license.
  • Law enforcement officers cannot stop someone for the sole purpose of checking his or her immigration status or prolong an individual’s detention any longer than the stop otherwise requires in order to check immigration status.

Some areas of the law remain in dispute. H.B. 658 required Alabama to post publically on its website a list of all undocumented immigrants who were detained for a state law violation and appeared in court.  Alabama state officials have said they do not currently have any plans to start maintaining such a list. However, a lawsuit is underway in federal district court challenging the legality of this mandate. The suit alleges that the list would facilitate private discrimination and violate the Supremacy and Due Process clauses of the Constitution. A federal judge in May denied the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Finally, while it is not legal to deny children access to elementary or secondary education based on immigration status, there are reports that this may still be occurring in Alabama. The Southern Poverty Law Center notified Alabama’s state superintendent in May that school districts are still asking new students for birth certificates and social security numbers, without indicating that supplying such documentation is voluntary. The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have recently issued guidance clarifying what documentation schools may ask for from parents.

 

 

 

 

This document was prepared in July 2014 by CLINIC Advocacy Intern Kelly Kidwell Hughes. It is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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
Issues: 
Programs: 

Advocating for In-State Tuition for All Residents

By Jen Riddle

 

How many undocumented students could benefit from in-state tuition?

It is estimated that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in the United States every year. These graduates face various financial barriers to pursuing a college education, including the fact that a social security number is required to qualify for federal financial aid. Since the Obama administration announced its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, over 520,000 youth have been granted permission to work and, as a result, the right to obtain a social security number. While not all individuals believed to be eligible for DACA have been able to apply, the program has been instrumental in illuminating some of the difficulties undocumented young people face in their quest to pursue higher education and obtain legal employment. In particular, state educators, policy makers, and the public at large are beginning to appreciate the financial and educational barriers faced by undocumented youth and seek meaningful solutions.

 

What is the cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition?

Out-of-state students pay an average of $22,203 a year to attend a public, four-year college, while in-state residents pay an average of $8,893.  Recognizing this substantial difference in tuition, as well as the tremendous social and economic contributions of college graduates, a growing number of states are passing tuition equity laws – laws that extend eligibility for in-state tuition rates to all residents regardless of immigration status.

 

Which states already allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition rates?

More than 60 percent of our foreign-born population currently lives in a state with tuition equity.  Undocumented residents who meet certain criteria can access in-state tuition in 19 states.  Sixteen of these states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington) have state-wide tuition equity laws or policies while three states (Hawaii, Michigan, and Rhode Island) have tuition equity policies at major educational institutions.  While this is great progress, there remains work to be done in the remaining states in which legislators have not yet passed tuition equity laws. On the most restrictive end of the spectrum, Georgia explicitly prohibits undocumented students from accessing in-state tuition while Alabama and South Carolina bar undocumented students from even enrolling in public institutions of higher education.

 

What can I do?

CLINIC has prepared Talking Points on why offering in-state tuition rates to all residents, regardless of immigration status, is fundamentally fair, fiscally responsible, beneficial to the economy, and in line with Catholic social teaching.  We hope these will assist in your advocacy, whether it is convincing state legislators to sponsor or vote for a tuition equity bill; persuading decision-makers in university systems that tuition equity is sound public policy; writing an op-ed or speaking to the media; or converting the minds and hearts of members of your community. 

 

Questions?

For advocacy strategy assistance, customized legal analysis, or the development of resources specific to your state or campaign, please reach out to State and Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at (301) 565-4807 or jriddle@cliniclegal.org.

Resources by type: 

Talking Points: Why States Should Separate Local Policing From Immigration Enforcement

Separating local policing from immigration enforcement is legal.

  • ICE detainers are simply requests. It is not mandatory for local law enforcement to honor immigration detainers; when and whether to do so is discretionary.[1]
  • State legislatures, cities, counties, and local law enforcement departments are permitted to make their own decisions about when to hold someone under an ICE detainer.
  • Jurisdictions across the country are exercising their discretion in different ways. Some do not ever honor ICE detainers. Others only hold individuals when certain criteria are met, such as when individuals have already been convicted of a serious crime; when ICE has agreed to reimburse for all costs of detainer compliance; when the individual is over 18; or when a court order or criminal warrant has been issued.[2]

Separating local policing from immigration enforcement promotes public safety.

  • Holding people at the request of ICE erodes trust between the community and local law enforcement, undermining public safety efforts.
  • Compliance with detainers deters immigrants from interacting with the police, including reporting crimes, because they fear immigration consequences.[3]
  • Honoring detainers diverts scarce law enforcement personnel and other resources from preventing crime and protecting the public. 

Separating local policing from immigration enforcement is fiscally responsible.

  • Police often hold individuals longer than 48 hours - sometimes weeks or months longer - and judges frequently deny bail because of the existence of a detainer. When states hold immigrants at the federal government’s request, it costs local taxpayers millions of dollars.[4]
  • State and local law enforcement agencies are not reimbursed by the federal government for the full cost of tracking and responding to detainers.
  • Immigration law is a complex and technical area – requiring local law enforcement officers to act as immigration agents requires costly training.
  • Complying with ICE detainers raises serious constitutional concerns and may expose participating localities to costly litigation.

Separating local policing from immigration enforcement promotes family unity and human dignity.

  • Detainers are often issued for individuals with minor or no criminal convictions. As a result, hardworking members of our community are deported and thousands of children are separated from their parents.
  • When families are broken apart, communities are also destroyed.  In order to promote strong families and communities, local law enforcement must disentangle itself from ICE.
  • Our Catholic tradition teaches us to protect and respect human dignity, regardless of immigration status. It is unjust and an affront to human dignity to divide families by deporting longtime law abiding residents who work hard to earn a living and contribute to society.

[1] What ICE Isn’t Telling You About Detainers, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, available at: https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/issue_brief_-_what_ice_isnt_telling_you_about_detainers.pdf.

[2] A complete list of state and local laws and policies on detainer compliance is available at:  https://cliniclegal.org/resources/articles-clinic/states-and-localities-limit-compliance-ice-detainer-requests-jan-2014.

[3] A study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that, in jurisdictions where police enforce immigration laws, 44% of Latinos said they would be less likely to call the police if they became a crime victim.  http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/gci/documents/1213/Insecure_Communities_Report_FINAL.pdf

[4] For example, in Los Angeles County, taxpayers spend over $26 million per year to detain immigrants for ICE. Statewide, California taxpayers spend approximately $65 million annually responding to ICE detainers. http://www.justicestrategies.org/sites/default/files/publications/Justice%20Strategies%20LA%20CA%20Detainer%20Cost%20Report.pdf.

 

This summary was prepared in April 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.

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.

Issues: 
Programs: 

CLINIC's Comments in Response to Changes in Form I-821D

On February 14, 2014, CLINIC submitted comments to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about the agency’s proposed changes to Form I-821D, the form used to request Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  The proposed changes to the form establish procedures for individuals to demonstrate continued eligibility for deferred action – extending the two years of deferral originally granted to them. 

 

CLINIC is pleased that renewal applicants will not, for the most part, have to submit copious amounts of additional supporting evidence in support of their requests.  Nevertheless, we encourage USCIS to make several changes to the proposed form and instructions to help both initial and renewal applicants better understand the application process.  Among our chief concerns is that the proposed 120 day window for submitting renewal requests is unreasonably short and could result in renewal applicants losing work authorization and accumulating unlawful presence. 

 

Please see CLINIC’s other recommendations, below.

 

 


 

 February 14, 2014

 

Laura Dawkins

Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security

USCISFRComment@uscis.dhs.gov

 

Re: Agency Information Collection Activities: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-821D; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection

 

Dear Ms. Dawkins,

 

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) submits the following comments in response to USCIS’s December 18, 2013 notice regarding proposed changes to Form I-821D (Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the accompanying instructions. 

CLINIC supports a national network of community-based legal immigration service programs. The network includes over 240 immigration programs operating out of 397 offices in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. CLINIC’s network employs roughly 1,400 staff, including attorneys and accredited representatives who, in turn, serve over 300,000 low income immigrants each year. CLINIC and its member agencies provide free and low-cost representation to thousands of applicants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

 

Introduction

CLINIC commends USCIS for developing a renewal process that allows initial DACA recipients who meet the guidelines to continue to benefit from deferred action.  We are especially pleased with USCIS’s decision to limit the circumstances in which renewal applicants need to submit additional supporting evidence.  Nevertheless, we encourage USCIS to make several changes to the proposed form and instructions to help both initial and renewal applicants better understand the application process.  Among our chief concerns is that the proposed 120 day window for submitting renewal requests is unreasonably short and could result in renewal applicants losing work authorization and accumulating unlawful presence.  We urge USCIS to extend the renewal period to 180 days before expiration of status and to automatically extend deferred action and work authorization for renewal requestors whose applications are pending adjudication.    

 

Form I-821D

Overall Structure of Proposed Form I-821D

 

Form I-821D contains questions for both initial and renewal applicants that are intermingled with each other throughout the form.  Applicants are likely to have difficulty determining which questions are for initial applicants, renewal applicants, or both.  Certain questions are labeled as “For Initial Requests” or “For Renewal Requests,” but many questions do not have any kind of label.  For example, the “Removal Proceedings Information,” “Processing Information,” and “Criminal, National Security, and Public Safety Information” sections do not have any labels.   

Recommendation:  To make it easier for initial and renewal applicants to successfully complete the form, sets of questions for initial applicants only and renewal applicants only should be clustered together.  Specifically, the form should start with Part 1, Questions 1-4, which ask for the type of applicant (initial or renewal), the full name of the applicant, and U.S. mailing address.  The next set of questions should be for initial applicants only, followed by another set of questions for renewal applicants only.   The last set of questions would include those for both initial and renewal applicants.  This format would resemble USCIS Forms I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant) and I-131 (Application for Travel Document), which cluster questions for different types of applicants or immigration benefits together.  We also suggest that USCIS employ the one column format utilized in these forms, with shaded and captioned bands separating each section of the form, making it easier for the applicant to read and determine which sections to complete.

In the alternative, if USCIS adopts the current form structure, it should clearly and consistently identify which sections or questions are meant for initial applicants, renewal applicants, or both.  

 

Page 1, Part 1, Questions 1 and 2.a., Initial or Renewal Applicant

In questions 1 and 2.a., the form asks whether the applicant is an initial or renewal applicant.  Individuals who applied for DACA, received a denial, and seek to re-apply are likely to be confused about how best to answer this question.  

Recommendation:  Question 1 should be amended as follows (new language in bold italics):

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – Initial Request (includes applicants who are re-applying after an earlier application was denied)

 

Page 1, Instructions

Given the complexity of the DACA request process for both initial applicants and renewal applicants, we appreciate USCIS making a clear reference to read the accompanying instructions for information on completing the form.  Many current DACA recipients are anticipating the renewal request process and plan to submit requests as soon as possible.  While the instructions include a note specifying that USCIS may reject a renewal request filed more than 120 days prior to the expiration of a current period of deferred action, this information is absent from the form itself.  While we urge USCIS to extend this period to 180 days, the application form itself should reference the renewal application period ultimately determined by the agency.  Renewal applicants, especially those who are pro se, would benefit from a more prominent instruction. 

Recommendation:  The preliminary instruction on page 1 of Form I-821D should be amended as follows:

START HERE.  Type or print in black ink.  Read the instructions for information on how to complete this form.  Renewal requests may be submitted up to 180 days prior to the expiration of your current period of deferred action.

 

Page 2, Part 1, Question 20.c., Current Status and Pending Requests

Renewal applicants must explain whether they have any pending immigration-related requests or have received any immigration status.  Renewal applicants should not be asked to provide this information because it is unnecessary and confusing.  Many applicants, especially those proceeding pro se, are likely to lack an understanding of the terms “immigration status” or “immigration-related requests.”  Requiring this information may delay the timely completion of the application, particularly in group processing workshops, where individuals rarely have complete information on their entire immigration history.  Information regarding pending requests is irrelevant to determining a requestor’s eligibility for DACA, as the guidelines require only that an applicant was without lawful status as of June 15, 2012 and at the time of the DACA request.

Recommendation: USCIS should remove question 20.c. from the application form.  If this section is retained, USCIS should provide examples of immigration benefits commonly obtained by DACA recipients in parenthesis or in a drop down menu on the electronic version of the form.  

     

Page 3, Part 1, Education and Military Service Information (For Renewal Requests Only)

The complicated structure of this section is likely to cause confusion, particularly for pro-se applicants.  Applicants who indicate that they were “currently enrolled in school” at the time their initial DACA request was approved (Item 25.d.) are directed to read through Items 26 – 28, a series of multi-part statements and repetitive answer options regarding educational history and current educational status.  The answer options provided are highly specific, yet some terms within this section are not defined.  For example, Question 25.d. refers to being enrolled in “school,” broadly.  Since it does not clarify the term, applicants may be confused as to whether it refers to any school that is considered qualified education for DACA (elementary, middle school, high school; but also GED, literacy, and career training programs).  The instructions do not state where to proceed if the applicant does not mark 25.d.    

An applicant reviewing Items 26 – 28 must select one item that describes her specific educational status at the time she was initially approved for DACA and her current educational status.  We appreciate that USCIS has expanded the qualifying education options for renewals beyond those described in the Frequently Asked Questions (dated January 18. 2013), however, the limited options provided unfairly impose different standards on renewal requestors based on how they initially met the education requirement.  Renewal requestors who were previously enrolled in 1) elementary, middle school, or high school or 2) an education, literacy, or career training program must demonstrate that they have since graduated or made substantial, measurable progress toward graduating or completing that program.  In contrast, those who were enrolled in a program assisting students in obtaining a high school diploma or passing the GED exam (or other state equivalent) must pass the exam or receive a high school diploma.  No rationale has been provided for these distinctions.

Further, these different standards are likely to be confusing to applicants who may have difficulty interpreting the form and identifying which standard applies to them.  Item 29 instructs an applicant who does not find his circumstance described in the options available to indicate that he has not met the educational guideline, even if he is presently enrolled in a school or program that would otherwise meet the educational requirement.

Requestors who have completed an education, literacy, or career-training program must be employed in the field of their training, or be enrolled in post-secondary education, job training, or an employment program in order to renew deferred action.  This requirement presents a difficult challenge to DACA recipients who have made substantial progress in their qualifying education, literacy, or career training program, but who, like many individuals in this job market, struggle to find work or are forced to accept employment outside their field of training and cannot afford further education.  Applicants who make good faith attempts to find employment should not be penalized after completing qualifying education, literacy, or career training programs.

Recommendation:  Below is one suggested format for simplifying the structure and content of the current Education and Military Service Information section.  DACA recipients who, at the time of their renewal request, are enrolled in any school or program that would satisfy the initial educational requirement should be able to demonstrate continuing eligibility, regardless of the type of program they were enrolled in previously.    Proposed format:

If you selected Item Number 25 – 25.c., move on to Part 2. Processing Information.

If you selected Item Number 25.d., respond to Items 26 – 27.

26. At the time I was last approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, I was enrolled in:

1) U.S. elementary school, middle school, high school, or secondary school.

2) An education program assisting students in obtaining a high school diploma or passing a GED exam.

3) An education, literacy, or career training program designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training, or employment.

 
27. Indicate how you currently meet the educational guideline:

1) I have graduated from high school/obtained a high school diploma.

2) I have passed the GED or equivalent state exam.

3) I am currently enrolled in a U.S. elementary school, middle school, high school, or secondary school and have made substantial progress toward graduating.

4) I am currently enrolled in a new/different education program that assists students in either obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent under state law or in passing a GED exam or equivalent state exam.

5) I am currently enrolled in a new/different education, literacy, or career training program designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training, or employment.

6) I have completed an education, literacy, or career-training program. 

Item 29 should be revised to indicate that an applicant whose circumstance is not reflected in Items 26 or 27 should explain his continuing eligibility in Part 9. Additional Information.  Language suggesting that the applicant does not meet the educational guideline should be removed.  USCIS should consider the completion of an education, literacy, or career-training program as equivalent to a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate and sufficient for renewal. 

 

Page 3, Part 1,“At the time I filed my Form I-821D that USCIS approved for my initial period of Deferred Action as a Childhood Arrival:”

Some applicants may have met the education requirement in multiple ways; for example, they may have graduated from high school in the U.S., but marked “currently enrolled in college” on their initial request.  In other cases, applicants were approved after responding to a Request for Evidence (RFE).  During the period they responded to the RFE, their educational status changed.  For example, an applicant may have been enrolled in high school at the time she submitted her initial application and later issued an RFE for information unrelated to the education guideline.  In the meantime, she graduated from high school and so she included a copy of her diploma in her response to the RFE.  Both of these scenarios may cause confusion for renewal applicants and raise the concern that renewal requests may be denied due to inadvertent inconsistencies.

Recommendation:  Provide guidance to USCIS adjudicators clarifying that renewal requests should not be denied solely because of an inconsistent response to this question, where the initial DACA application, including any supplemental evidence submitted, indicates that the applicant satisfied the educational requirements for approval.  Additionally, rather than ask applicants how they satisfied the education guideline in their initial request, Question 26 could be amended to ask how applicants demonstrated their eligibility on their last approved application.

 

Page 4, Part 2, Questions 1-6, Processing Information

Form I-821D requests processing information, including ethnicity, race, height, weight, etc.  These questions may deter potential requestors who fear revealing their identity to the government and are worried about how their personal information might be used.  Similarly, Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) requests this type of information.  On page 5 of the N-400, USCIS clearly indicates that this information is required for background checks and the section is entitled “Information for Criminal Records Check.”  While the instructions to Form I-821D inform applicants that providing this information will reduce the time they spend at ASC appointments, Form I-821D itself does not clearly indicate why this information is being requested or how it is being used. 

Recommendation:  Form I-821D and/or instructions should contain an explanation of how information about applicants’ race, ethnicity, and physical characteristics will be used and the rationale for requesting such information.  The I-821D form and/or instructions should also indicate that USCIS will not make DACA determinations based on applicants’ gender, race, or physical characteristics.  Greater transparency will help applicants better understand the process.  

           

Page 5, Part 4, Questions 4 – 5, Travel Information

Questions related to whether a renewal requestor has a passport and/or a border crossing card are not relevant to determining whether the requestor is eligible for DACA renewal.  DACA recipients are not required to obtain a passport, and in some cases, it may be complicated and/or time consuming to obtain a passport.  Including questions about applicants’ passport numbers and expiration dates would be unnecessarily burdensome for certain applicants.

Recommendation:   Questions 4 – 5 of the Travel Information section should be removed.

 

Page 5, Part 5, Criminal, National Security, and Public Safety Information

In the Criminal, National Security, and Public Safety section, the form asks whether applicants have EVER engaged in various criminal activities.  Renewal applicants are not given instructions as to whether they must report on incidents occurring before or after receiving DACA.   It is burdensome for renewal applicants to provide information and records that they already provided at the time of the initial application.  It is also unnecessary for USCIS adjudicators to assess information that was already reviewed and evaluated during the initial application process.  

Recommendation:  The form should indicate that renewal applicants need only provide information and records related to charges or convictions that occurred since they were granted DACA.   Specifically, the form should include the following sentence:

For Renewal Applicants:  With regard to criminal/national security and public safety questions, you need only report on incidents and provide records related to incidents that occurred since your initial DACA application was approved.  You do not need to report on or re-submit records that you already reported on or provided to USCIS. 

 

Page 5, Part 5, Question 1, Juvenile Convictions      

An applicant is required to indicate whether he or she has EVER been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the United States, even if the incident was disposed of in juvenile court. The form further requires that a requester provide documents, including all arrest records, charging documents, dispositions, and sentencing records.  The form only allows a person to withhold the records if the disclosure is prohibited under state law.

Though juvenile records are public in some states, many states do not permit the disclosure of juvenile records to parties outside the juvenile justice system without first obtaining a court order.  To ensure uniform treatment of all DACA requests, USCIS should not require applicants to reveal whether they were charged with or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor if that incident was handled in juvenile court. Removing this requirement will prevent the unavoidably inconsistent and unfair treatment of applicants who are subject to divergent state laws.   

Recommendation:  The form should be amended to read (new language in bold italics): 

Have you EVER been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the United States?  Do not include minor traffic violations unless they were alcohol- or-drug-related. Do not include incidents handled in juvenile court.

 

Page 5, Part 5, Questions 1 and 2, Arrest Record

Applicants must provide an arrest record for any felonies or misdemeanors in the U.S. or any crimes elsewhere.  It is unclear whether documents such as police reports are covered by “arrest records.”  This uncertainty may deter some individuals from requesting DACA.  The form and instructions should limit evidence of criminal convictions required for DACA cases to the record of conviction.   This would afford more predictability and accuracy in determining DACA eligibility and assure that the adjudicator is only considering relevant evidence.

Recommendation:  The form should be amended to read (new language in bold italics):

If you answered “Yes,” you must include a certified court disposition, charging document, verdict or judgment of conviction, or sentencing record for each incident, unless the records involved incidents handled in juvenile court or disclosure is prohibited under state law.

 

Form I-821D Instructions

   

Page 1, When Should I Use Form I-821D?

Renewal applicants are instructed to file the Form I-765 Worksheet (I-765WS) along with their I-821D renewal applications.   In other words, renewal applicants are being asked to re-establish economic necessity.

Recommendation:  Given that these applicants have previously demonstrated economic necessity, they should not be required to demonstrate economic necessity at the time of renewal.  Any references to completing Form I-765WS in the instructions should be removed. 

 

Page 1, When Should I Use Form I-821D? 

Applicants who initially received DACA from ICE are instructed to complete the entire form and provide documentation showing that they satisfied the guidelines at the time of their initial filing.  This policy is objectionable because individuals who were approved for DACA by ICE were granted DACA under the same policies and guidelines as those approved by USCIS.   For this reason, it is neither reasonable nor justified to establish separate evidentiary requirements for a subset of DACA grantees.  All DACA renewal applicants should be evaluated using consistent standards. 

Moreover, imposing this requirement is particularly burdensome for ICE grantees, because they were detained during the application process and are less likely to have copies of their initial applications.  Such a policy places an undue burden on applicants to retrieve documents from ICE – a process that may be complicated and time consuming and may delay applicants’ ability to apply for renewal. 

Recommendation:  The renewal process should not distinguish between those granted DACA by ICE and those granted by USCIS. 

 

Page 2, Who May File Form I-821D?

The text in this section indicates that USCIS intends to limit the renewal application period to the 120 days preceding the expiration of the current period of deferred action. As detailed below, we are concerned that a 120 day time frame to adjudicate renewal applications is insufficient without providing additional protections for applicants.  The current average processing time for I-821Ds is 6 months, and many DACA requests have been pending for much longer than that.    

Employed DACA recipients whose work authorization expires while their renewal request is being adjudicated will face termination or suspension.  This will harm DACA recipients, their families, and employers and undermine the very objective of DACA to provide protection and stability to these young deferred action grantees. For these reasons, the proposed renewal adjudication procedure is inadequate to protect DACA grantees from the risk of accumulating unlawful presence and lacking a valid EAD. 

Recommendation:  The renewal application period should be extended to 180 days to provide a more realistic timeframe for USCIS to adjudicate submissions in a timely fashion.  Further, to protect DACA applicants who may experience renewal adjudication delays, or may not be able to file renewal applications several months in advance of their current status expiration, USCIS should automatically extend deferred action and employment authorization upon receipt of a renewal application. 

The Form I-797C Notice of Action receipt should serve as notice of a 6 month temporary extension.  This policy would be consistent with USCIS policies relating to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and Conditional Residents.  Specifically, when TPS re-registrants will not receive new EADs until after the expiration of their current EADs, USCIS has granted automatic 6 month extensions to prevent gaps in employment authorization.  In addition, conditional residents with Forms I-751 to remove conditions on residence pending have their status automatically extended for a year and may present their expired Form I-551 and Form I-707 as evidence of their status in the United States.     

Current USCIS guidelines provide that requestors who turn eighteen while their applications are pending will not accrue unlawful presence.  This policy should be extended to protect all renewal applicants from accruing unlawful presence while their requests are pending, regardless of the requestor’s age.  Further, DACA applicants face many challenges to completing requests within the filing window.  We urge USCIS to allow those unable to file within the 180 day period to also apply as renewal requestors.    

 

Page 9, What evidence should I submit to demonstrate my criminal history?  

Applicants are required to submit original official statements from arresting agencies or courts confirming that no charges were filed for any felony or misdemeanor arrests in the U.S. or a crime in any other country.   Applicants are also required to submit an original statement from the court indicating that no record exists of arrests or convictions that have been vacated, set aside, sealed, expunged, or otherwise removed from their criminal record.   These requirements are overly burdensome for applicants.  Many are likely to have difficulty obtaining statements of no record or no charges from courts or arresting agencies. 

Recommendation:  Applicants should not be required to submit statements from arresting agencies or courts confirming that no charges were filed or that no records exist.  However, if USCIS adopts this requirement, applicants should be given the opportunity to explain why the documents cannot be provided and their efforts to obtain the documents.  Most importantly, applicants’ inability to obtain these documents should not negatively impact the adjudication of their cases.  The instructions should be amended to read (new language in bold italics): 

12.c.  If you have ever had any arrest or conviction vacated, set aside, sealed, expunged, or otherwise removed from your record, submit: 

(1)   An original or court certified copy of the court order vacating, setting aside, sealing, expunging, or otherwise removing the arrest or conviction; or

(2)   An original statement from the court that no record exists of your arrest or conviction.

 If you are unable to provide such documentation or it is not available, you may provide an explanation, including a description of your efforts to obtain such evidence, in Part 9.  Additional Information.   

           

Page 10, Evidence for Renewal Requests  

Renewal applicants are given limited instructions on evidence needed for renewal requests.  USCIS should offer greater clarification on the evidence needed for renewal purposes. 

Recommendation:  The instructions should be amended as follows (new language in bold italics):

Evidence for Renewal Requests

1. If I have never been in removal proceedings and have not been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime since receiving DACA, what evidence do I need to submit with my renewal application?

If you have not been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the U.S. or any crime outside the U.S. since you received DACA and have never been in removal proceedings, then you are not required to provide any supporting evidence. 

2. If you were arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the U.S. or arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime in another country AFTER being granted DACA, what evidence should you provide?

 You must include a certified court disposition, charging document, verdict or judgment of conviction, sentencing record, etc., for each incident, unless the records involved incidents handled in juvenile court.  You do not need to re-submit evidence of any arrests, charges, or convictions for felonies or misdemeanors in the U.S. or crimes in other countries that you already submitted to USCIS prior to your DACA grant.  

3. What documents should you submit if you have been in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings since receiving DACA?

You must submit a copy of any document issued by the immigration judge or final decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), if available.  If you have not been in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings, this question does not apply to you.  You do not need to re-submit evidence related to exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings that you already submitted to USCIS prior to your DACA grant.   

 

Page 11, What is the filing fee?

A request for renewal of deferred action has the same filing fee as the initial request -- $465 for the Employment Authorization Document and the biometrics fee.  Since the renewal application requires much less documentation than an initial application, and adjudicators will spend less time reviewing each renewal application, the fee for the renewal request should be less than for the initial.

Recommendation:  We recommend only charging renewal applicants the $85 biometric services fee.  In other contexts, such as permanent residence, USCIS charges a lower fee for renewal than for an initial application.  The total cost of adjusting to lawful permanent resident status is $1070, while the total cost of renewing a green card is only $450.  In the alternative, we recommend that USCIS expand the criteria for fee exemption eligibility to include low-income individuals.  Applicants whose household income is below 150% of the federal poverty line should be eligible for a fee exemption.  Currently, approximately one third of DACA-eligible youth live in families with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL), and two-thirds live in families with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level.[1]

 

Page 13, Checklist

The checklists in the instructions include lists of questions for initial and renewal requests and for initial requests only.  These checklists are likely to be confusing for applicants.   It is difficult to decipher which checklist questions apply to initial or renewal applicants. 

Recommendation:  The instructions should include one checklist for initial applicants only and one checklist for renewal applicants only.  Specifically, the checklists should be amended as follows (new language in bold italics):

 

For Initial Requests Only

Did you submit Form I-765 along with the filing and biometric services fees ($465) required for the application for employment authorization and did you also submit a completed Form I-765WS? 

 

Did you answer all of the questions, except for those marked “For Renewal Requests Only”?

Did you provide an original, handwritten signature and date your request?

Did you submit evidence to show that you came to the United States while under 16 years of age and established residence at that time?

Did you submit evidence to prove identity, date of initial entry, and continuous residence from June 15, 2007 (or earlier) up to the present time?

Did you submit evidence that you are currently in school, have a GED certificate, have graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast Guard?

Did you provide evidence showing that you were in an unlawful status as of June 15, 2012, or if you were previously in lawful status, that your lawful status expired prior to June 15, 2012?

If you were issued a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, did you include a copy of that final order (if available)?

If your exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings were terminated by an immigration judge, did you include a copy of the immigration judge’s termination order (if available)?

If you have ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the United States or any crime in any country other than the United States, did you submit an original official or court certified document that shows your charges and final disposition for each incident?

 

For Renewal Requests Only

Did you submit Form I-765 along with the biometric services fee ($85) required for the application for renewal of the employment authorization?

Did you answer all of the questions, except for those marked “For Initial Requests Only”?

Did you provide an original, handwritten signature and date your request?            

If, since you were granted DACA, you were issued a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, did you include a copy of that final order (if available)?

If, since you were granted DACA, your exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings were terminated by an immigration judge, did you include a copy of the immigration judge’s termination order (if available)?

If, since you were granted DACA, you have ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the United States or any crime in any country other than the United States, did you submit an original official or court certified document that shows your charges and final disposition for each incident?

 

Conclusion

We thank you for your consideration of these comments and look forward to continuing to work with the agency regarding this important program.  Please do not hesitate to contact CLINIC’s Director of Advocacy, Allison Posner, at 301-565-4831 or aposner@cliniclegal.org for additional information.

 

Sincerely,

Jeanne M. Atkinson, ESQ.

Executive Director

 


[1] Batalova, Jeanne, Randy Capps and Sandy Hooker. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at the One-Year Mark. Migration Policy Institute. August 2013, available at http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/CIRbrief-DACAatOneYear.pdf.

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.

 

 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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. 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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.

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

States, Cities, and Counties across the U.S. Limit Cooperation with ICE

By Jen Riddle

 

One of the positive trends in state and local immigration policies this year has been an increasing number of states and localities that are refusing to do the federal government’s job of enforcing immigration laws.  Over the past several years, two states, the District of Columbia, at least eight cities, and twelve counties have passed anti-detainer measures. These laws and policies limit the extent to which local and state law enforcement officers may cooperate with ICE by honoring Form I-247 immigration detainers.  Sometimes called “ICE holds,” an immigration detainer is a request that a local law enforcement agency continue to hold an individual in criminal custody for up to 48 hours beyond when he or she should otherwise be released so that ICE can place the person into immigration custody – even if the individual was never convicted of any crime.  Many local law enforcement officers do not know that immigration detainers are discretionary, not mandatory, and more often than not comply with ICE’s requests.  The unfortunate result is the deportation of increasing numbers of often innocent immigrants.

Among the many concerns cited by policymakers who support anti-detainer measures are burdens on limited local police resources; the undermining of public safety; the destruction of trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities; the separation of families; and the questionable constitutionality of ICE detainers.  The chart below summarizes the states, cities, and counties that have passed measures limiting their compliance with immigration detainers.  These anti-detainer laws and policies range from very broad limitations prohibiting local law enforcement from honoring any ICE detainer requests to more narrow measures restricting compliance to cases in which the individual has been convicted of a certain felony or other serious crime.  Such policies reflect a growing trend of recognition that turning state and local law enforcement officers into immigration agents is harmful to public safety.  These policies are also an important first step in attempting to rebuild trust between immigrants and local police.

JURISDICTION

ANTI-DETAINER LAW OR POLICY

DATE PASSED

STATE LAWS 1

California

“Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools” (TRUST) Act

Oct 5, 2013

Connecticut

TRUST Act

Jul 19, 2013

CITY AND COUNTY POLICIES

California

 

 

City of Berkeley

City Council Policy

Oct 31, 2012

City of Los Angeles

LA Police Department Policy

Dec 11, 2012

City of San Francisco

Board of Supervisors Due Process for All Ordinance

Oct 8, 2013

San Francisco County

San Francisco Sheriff’s Policy

Jun 1, 2011

Santa Clara County

Board of Supervisors Policy

Oct 18, 2011

Sonoma County

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Policy

Jul 20, 2011

District of Columbia

D.C. Act 19-379

Jun 15, 2012

Florida

 

 

Miami-Dade County

Memorandum from County Attorney

Jul 15, 2013

Illinois

 

 

Champaign County

Sheriff’s Office Policy

Mar 8, 2012

City of Chicago

City Council Ordinance

Sep 12, 2012

Cook County

Cook County Ordinance 11-O-73

Sep 7, 2011

Louisiana

 

 

New Orleans Parish

Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Policy

Aug 14, 2013

Massachusetts

 

 

Town of Amherst

Town of Amherst Resolution

May 21, 2012

New Jersey

 

 

City of Newark

Police Department Policy

Jul 24, 2013

New York

 

 

New York City

Local Law No. 21

Mar 18, 2013

New Mexico

 

 

Town of Mesilla

Board of Trustees Resolution

Sep 9, 2013

San Miguel County

Detention Center Policies and Procedures

Dec 10, 2010

Taos County

Adult Detention Center Policies and Procedures

Jan 4, 2011

Oregon

 

 

Multnomah County

Board of County Commissioners Resolution

Apr 4, 2013

Washington

 

 

King County

King County Council Ordinance 2013-0285

Dec 2, 2013

Wisconsin

 

 

Milwaukee County

Board of Supervisors Resolution

Jun 4, 2012




[1] Similar legislation was introduced this year in Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington but has not yet passed.
 
 

For an overview of collaboration between ICE and local law enforcement agencies through the Criminal Alien Program, 287(g) partnerships, and Secure Communities, and the use of ICE detainers to identify potentially deportable individuals in state or local custody, please visit the recording of CLINIC’s November 8, 2013 Webinar: Recent Trends in State and Local Immigration Enforcement.  In addition, you can find strategies to advocate against the implementation and continuation of these programs in your community in CLINIC’s Toolkit for Communities to Advocate Against ICE Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Resources by type: 

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
Issues: 
Resources by type: 

Documenting Immigration Abuse

With the support of the Four Freedoms Fund, and in conjunction with other immigrant right organizations,[1] CLINIC is tracking trends in immigration enforcement abuse in order to form a litigation strategy.  To support this goal, CLINIC is asking affiliates to share information about cases that may be in need of litigation before state, local, and federal court systems. 

CLINIC will be tracking several different types of abuses against immigrants in the context of immigration enforcement by federal or local authorities.  The cases might include issues such as:

  • Depriving a person of the opportunity to contact a lawyer after an arrest
  • Racial or ethnic profiling during a traffic stop leading to an encounter with ICE
  • A traffic stop by police without any legal basis, in which the police turn over the driver or passengers to ICE
  • Physical or psychological abuse during an encounter with ICE or local authorities enforcing immigration laws
  • Failure to provide an interpreter to a person who speaks little English
  • ICE exceeding the scope of a warrant in searching a home or workplace (e.g., improper questioning or search of occupants or workers)

 

If your organization has a case involving immigration enforcement abuse, please fill out the form below.  CLINIC will compile the information about cases it receives.  If the case meets CLINIC’s litigation criteria, CLINIC may ask for more information and share information about the case with partnering organizations and law firms. Please note that CLINIC is compiling this data for informational purposes. Submission of this form does not guarantee that CLINIC will attempt to match or litigate your case.

If you would like to submit information for consideration by CLINIC, please complete this form.

Litigation Assessment Form

 

 

For more information, please contact Bradley Jenkins, Advocacy Attorney at bjenkins@cliniclegal.org or 301-556-4820.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] The following groups are involved in this Four Freedoms Fund initiative:  the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project, the American Immigration Council (AIC), the Detention Watch Network (DWN), the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).

 

Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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
Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

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)

Resources by type: 
Programs: 

Recent Developments in State & Local Immigration Enforcement (Aug 2013)

As members of Congress prepare to return to Washington, D.C. from the summer recess, the future of U.S. federal immigration policy remains uncertain.  Families and communities across America continue to advocate for comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration laws.  Despite the looming uncertainty on a federal level, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Many of the immigration enforcement actions undertaken by state and local actors attempting to make up for federal inaction are not workable solutions.  This message is coming both from court decisions in legal challenges to state and local immigration enforcement as well as from the states and localities themselves.  Some recent developments are highlighted below.    

 

4th Circuit Issues Two Decisions Limiting State and Local Role in Immigration Enforcement

 Three Provisions of South Carolina Anti-Immigrant Law Must Remain Blocked

On July 23, 2013 the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held  that three major sections of South Carolina’s 2011 anti-immigrant law, SB 20, must remain blocked.  Among other things, the law made it a felony for someone to harbor or transport an unauthorized immigrant and for unauthorized immigrants to allow themselves to be harbored or transported.  In addition, SB 20 made it a misdemeanor to fail to carry immigration paperwork.  Finally, it made it a state crime to carry false or fraudulent identification documents for the purpose of proving lawful presence in the U.S.  The 4th Circuit found that, because each provision was preempted by federal law, the lower court was correct to prevent them from being enforced.  According to the court, criminalizing individuals who are “attempting to do no more than go to school, go to work, and care for their families” is inconsistent with federal immigration policy and objectives.  Despite this legal victory, the provision of South Carolina’s law that requires local police to check the immigration status of detained individuals they suspect of being in the country without documents has been in force since the U.S. Supreme Court permitted implementation of a similar “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070) last June.  

 Maryland Sheriffs Cannot Detain or Arrest Solely on Suspicion of Immigration Status Violations

On August 7, 2013, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held  that local and state law enforcement officers may not detain or arrest an individual based solely on a known or suspected civil violation of federal immigration law. This lawsuit was brought by Roxana Santos who was seized and arrested by two Frederick County, Maryland sheriffs based on their discovery that ICE had issued a civil warrant against her.  Neither deputy was authorized to engage in federal immigration law enforcement under a 287(g) agreement  between the Sheriff’s Office and ICE. Citing to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States, the circuit court found that local law enforcement officers do not have the authority to arrest individuals solely based on civil immigration violations. The court reminded us that most immigration violations are civil infractions - not crimes - and that Congress entrusted the authority to make removability decisions to the federal government - not to state or local actors.  As a result, Santos’ unlawful detention by the sheriffs violated her 4th amendment right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure.  

 

New Orleans and Newark Join Growing List of Cities to Limit Compliance with ICE Detainer Requests

Localities across the country continue to adopt policies or ordinances restricting the extent to which local law enforcement may cooperate with ICE by honoring immigration detainers.  ICE detainers are requests that a local law enforcement agency continue to hold an individual in criminal custody for up to 48 hours beyond when he or she would otherwise be released so that ICE can assume custody.  The Sheriff of Orleans Parish announced  on August 14, 2013, that his office would only comply with such requests from ICE when they involved individuals charged with specific violent felonies.  The Sheriff’s Office also stated that it will no longer initiate investigations into the immigration status of individuals in its custody.  This policy is “one of the farthest-reaching of its kind in the country.”   The new guidance followed a unanimous New Orleans City Council resolution  urging the Sheriff to stop honoring ICE detainers entirely.  It is also part of a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit filed by two immigrant workers who were held unconstitutionally on the basis of ICE detainers for 90 and 160 days beyond the conclusion of their criminal sentences.  New Orleans is the first locality in the Southern U.S. to implement an anti-detainer policy.  Other jurisdictions with similar policies include San Miguel and Taos counties in New Mexico; San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in California; Cook and Champaign counties in Illinois; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; Multnomah County, Oregon; and the cities of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New York.  

Newark, New Jersey also recently announced  that it will cease complying with ICE requests to hold suspects accused of minor crimes such as shoplifting or vandalism.  Advocates for the new policy directive, signed by Newark’s Police Director on July 24, 2013, included the Newark Archdiocese Department of Social Concerns and several Newark churches.  Reverend Karl Esker of St. James Church acknowledged the role of local law enforcement in “funnel[ing] immigrants into the detention and deportation dragnet through problematic information-sharing initiatives that devastate the stability of communities.” He commended  the Newark Police Director for his leadership on this issue and called the policy “absolutely essential in a city…. [w]here trust between local law enforcement and the community is crucial to protecting public safety.”    

 

ICE Declines to Sign Immigration Enforcement Partnership Agreement with Knox County, Tennessee

In contrast to local law enforcement leaders in New Orleans and Newark, the Sheriff of Knox County, Tennessee would like to enhance his agency’s role in federal immigration enforcement.  The Sheriff had expressed interest in entering into a partnership with ICE under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The 287(g) program allows certain local law enforcement officers, following training from ICE, to be deputized to enforce federal immigration law in their local jurisdictions. ICE currently maintains 287(g) agreements  with 36 law enforcement agencies in 19 states, has trained more than 1,300 local law enforcement officers, and credits the program with identifying more than 309,283 potentially removable aliens since January 2006.  Following several weeks of negotiations, ICE ultimately declined to enter into a 287(g) partnership with Knox County.  The Sheriff posted the following response  on his agency’s website: “I will continue to enforce these federal immigration violations with or without the help of [ICE]. If need be, I will stack these violators like cordwood in the Knox County Jail until the appropriate federal agency responds.”  

This controversial statement by the Knox County Sheriff illustrates the diverse views on the precise role that local law enforcement can and should play in identifying unauthorized immigrants and effectuating their removal under federal immigration laws. For many, last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down

Arizona’s infamous immigration law made it clear that immigration enforcement is the purview of the federal government, not state legislatures or local police.  Yet, there are local law enforcement officers, state legislators, and members of Congress who clearly disagree.  

 

Federal Enforcement-Only Bill Would Compel States to Enforce Immigration Laws

This June, the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2237), an enforcement-only bill that would essentially overturn the Arizona v. United States decision by empowering - in instances even mandating - states and localities to act as immigration agents and criminalize immigration violations. Concerns include further exacerbating strained state and local resources, compromising community safety, and increasing the risks of discrimination and racial profiling.  A number of local and state law enforcement officials and departments have opposed further delegation of immigration enforcement to local police.  According to Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor in Tucson, Arizona, “Law enforcement officers have taken an oath to protect all those who live within our communities, regardless of race, culture, or nation of birth.  We don’t need short-sighted laws that tie our hands and prevent us from establishing the trust we need to protect the communities we serve.”  For a summary of the SAFE Act, click here .

 

This document was prepared in August 2013 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.

Resources by type: 
Programs: 

Overview of State Resolutions in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Overview of State Resolutions in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

     The climate in the states on immigration has changed noticeably over the past few years. After comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) failed to pass in 2007, states began enacting a patchwork of their own immigration measures. Arizona’s 2010 sweeping anti-immigrant law, for example, was followed by a series of copycat laws in other states as legislators focused on enforcement and making life for immigrants as difficult as possible. While state immigration enforcement bills continued to be introduced in 2012 and 2013, most lacked the traction to pass. 2013 has witnessed a marked shift towards pro-immigrant legislation as numerous states have passed laws to extend driving privileges and in-state tuition rates to the undocumented population. In addition, states have been sending the clear message to Congress that our broken immigration system needs comprehensive federal reform.

 

Click Here for the Full Overview (PDF)

Resources by type: 
Programs: 

Latest Developments in State and Local Immigration Enforcement (Jul 2013)

Connecticut

On May 31, Connecticut’s State Legislature unanimously passed the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act, the country’s first state anti-detainer law designed to limit participation in the federal/state immigration enforcement partnership known as Secure Communities. Under Secure Communities, fingerprints taken by local police when booking an individual charged with a state or local crime are checked against federal immigration databases to see whether that individual might be removable from the U.S. If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reason to believe that the arrested individual may be removable, it can issue an immigration detainer requesting thatthe local law enforcement agency continue to hold that individual for up to 48 hours to give ICE a chance to place the person into immigration custody.  Secure Communities has resulted in the deportation of more than 272,000 immigrants, including many with no criminal history or who have only been charged with minor traffic offenses.   Connecticut’s TRUST Act limits the circumstances under which state and local police will hold immigrants for possible deportation by ICE.  The act permits state and local law enforcement to honor immigration detainers only when the requested individual has a felony conviction, is on a terrorist watch list, is a known member of a violent gang, already has an outstanding order of removal or deportation, or presents an unacceptable risk to public safety.  The bill is awaiting signature by the Governor of Connecticut and would go into effect on January 1, 2014.     

 

California

On May 16, 2013, the California State Assembly passed a similar bill also called the TRUST Act (AB 4).  The bill would permit local or state law enforcement officials to continue to hold an individual under an ICE immigration detainer only if the individual has been convicted of a serious or violent felony and his or her continued detention would not violate any federal, state, or local law or policy. The bill has moved to the State Senate where it awaits further discussion by the Public Safety Committee which will hold its next hearing on July 2, 2013. A version of California’s TRUST Act was passed by both houses in 2012 but vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown. Over 96,800 Californians have been deported as a result of the Secure Communities program -- more deportations than from any other state.  Last December, California’s Attorney General instructed local law enforcement that participation in Secure Communities was optional given that the program increased distrust of police among immigrant communities and targeted non-criminal immigrants. California taxpayers spend an estimated $65 million each year detaining immigrants for ICE.  According to the TRUST Act’s sponsor and author, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, “Immigrants want to live in safe communities but when trivial issues such as selling tamales without a permit or having barking dogs…can turn into extended detention and deportation, confidence and trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities is eroded…It doesn’t make sense to deport an undocumented Californian today who could be on the road to citizenship tomorrow.”  

 

Colorado

 On April 26, 2013, Colorado’s governor signed into law the Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act (HB 1258) which repealed a 2006 law (SB 90) requiring police to report to ICE those individuals in police custody who were suspected of being in the U.S. without authorization.  SB 90 had been blamed for inspiring the passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 and other state immigration enforcement laws.  According to the Colorado legislature, this new law will promote public safety by allowing police to build trust with immigrant communities – trust that SB 90 substantially undermined by creating fear of deportation among immigrant witnesses and victims who would otherwise have reported crimes.  Colorado law enforcement and public safety officials assert that community trust is essential for effective local policing and that this law will ensure equal protection and safety for all Coloradans including witnesses and victims of crime.  According to various local law enforcement agencies in Colorado, their time and resources are better spent protecting the public, as opposed to enforcing federal immigration laws.  The enactment of the Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act makes Colorado the first state in the country to repeal a “show me your papers" provision similar to those that are still in effect in Arizona (SB 1070), Alabama (HB 56), Georgia (HB 87), and South Carolina (SB 20).

 

North Carolina

 On April 10, 2013, North Carolina legislators introduced HB 786, the Reasonable Enactment of Comprehensive Legislation Addressing Immigration Matters (RECLAIM) Act.  The bill contains a provision similar to the “show me your papers” section of Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB 1070. The RECLAIM Act permits local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of any individual they stop, detain, or arrest and who they have reasonable suspicion to believe is unlawfully present in the U.S.  This raises serious concerns about racial profiling by North Carolina law enforcement agents who lack immigration law training and might consider appearance or ethnicity in making such a determination.  The bill also requires undocumented drivers to obtain driving permits that would be marked to distinguish them from the driver’s licenses issued to other state residents. It also permits the police to immediately seize and sell the cars of individuals driving without a driver’s permit or car insurance, and requires the state to charge any undocumented immigrant in criminal custody for the costs of his or her incarceration.  The bill is currently under consideration by the House Finance Committee.  An estimated 325,000  undocumented immigrants reside in North Carolina and foreign-born workers comprise 9.9% of the state’s workforce.          

 

Arizona

 On May 24, 2013, a U.S. federal court found that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) engaged in a pattern of racial profiling against Hispanic drivers and passengers.  According to the decision, the MCSO 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 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.  The court is overseeing negotiations between the MCSO, the plaintiffs, and the Department of Justice (who filed a separate discrimination lawsuit  against the MSCO) to determine what

specific steps the MCSO needs to take to ensure compliance with the court’s order. The next hearing will be August 30, 2013. Hopefully, this ruling 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.  

Updated Resource for Community Advocates Concerned With ICE Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement 

 CLINIC has updated its tool kit that provides an overview of ICE partnerships with local law enforcement agencies including the Criminal Alien Program, the Secure Communities Program, and the 287(g) Program. The toolkit also recommends strategies for communities to advocate against the implementation and continuation of these programs.

 

This document was prepared in July 2013 by CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle. This document is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (202) 635-7410.

Resources by type: 
Programs: 

State and Local Immigration Project

Infographic Maps

This resource shows sanctuary cities and immigration enforcement bills proposed in 2016. It also shows U.S cities that are sanctuary cities.

Download a Copy

 

The map provides state legislative trends of pro-refugee and anti-refugee matters that were proposed in 2016 as well as Governors’ responses to the resettlement of  Syrian  refugees  in their respective jurisdictions. The map also provides information on refugee resettlement programs across the country.

Download a Copy

 

 

Download a Copy of the Driver's License Map