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NEW Talking Points on Separating Police from Immigration Enforcement

By Jen Riddle


In our March 2014 newsletter, we wrote about ways affiliates can make a difference in encouraging state and local law enforcement to limit compliance with civil immigration detainers issued by ICE. We have recently released talking points sharing reasons states should keep local law enforcement separate from federal immigration functions.  We encourage you to use these in advocating to limit the extent to which your local police and sheriffs are cooperating with ICE by detaining individuals for transfer to ICE custody.

An increasing number of states and localities are refusing to do the federal government’s job of enforcing immigration laws.  Many states, counties, and cities have passed laws or policies that officially restrict the extent to which law enforcement may continue to detain individuals to hand over to ICE.

Two states, California and Connecticut, have passed state-wide TRUST (Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools) Acts.  Twelve cities and fifty-five counties (in orange) have passed anti-detainer measures.   Some of the cities include: Los Angeles, San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New Orleans.  Counties include: Miami-Dade County in Florida and 31 of Oregon’s 36 counties.  A complete list of these jurisdictions is available on CLINIC’s website.  The policies adopted range from broad limitations prohibiting local law enforcement from honoring any ICE detainer requests to more narrow measures, such as complying only when the arrested individual has actually been charged with or convicted of a particular serious crime or violent felony, when there is a prior written agreement from ICE agreeing to reimburse them for all detainer-related expenses, and when ICE has obtained a judicial warrant backed by probable cause (like a warrant issued by a judge).

For more information, see the State and Local Immigration Project page on CLINIC’s website.

You may also be interested in other recent talking points CLINIC has developed on state initiatives, including offering driver’s licenses, municipal ID cards, and in-state tuition for all residents.

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 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.


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 or (301) 565-4807. 

[1] Unlicensed to Kill, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (Nov. 2011), available at:

[2] “Why Undocumented Immigrants Need Driver’s Licenses,” Jose Antonio Vargas, BuzzFeed (Oct 31, 2013), available at:



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Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (Sept 2013)

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




Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (PDF)

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