2019 Administrative Advocacy Priorities

CLINIC’s Administrative Advocacy Priorities serve as a guide for CLINIC’s work as a leading advocacy agency. Administrative Advocacy Priorities for 2019 focus on two broad areas that align with CLINIC’s mission of promoting the dignity and protecting the rights of immigrants by advocating for: (1) policies and practices that preserve family unity among immigrants and mixed immigration status families; and (2) policies and procedures that promote justice for hard-working and vulnerable immigrants and advance access to care and counsel.

CLINIC’s advocacy efforts are informed by our approximately 330 network agencies and the more than 2,000 legal representatives they employ and seek to honor the experiences of their clients. Our status as a lead trainer on immigration law and non-profit program management is enhanced by our ability to effectively and productively communicate with representatives from government agencies. Above all, our work is guided by our Catholic identity and the values of Catholic social teaching, as it relates to the treatment of immigrants. Our administrative advocacy efforts take many forms and occur in a variety of settings. We may choose to engage directly with the government. We may build, lead, or join coalitions to accomplish our work. The strategies we develop and tactics we employ depend upon the issue area and theory of change.

In 2018, the administration introduced dozens of proposals for new agency regulations and policies that would harm immigrants. We have responded in opposition and have built campaigns to amplify our voice. Based upon our analysis of the administration’s immigration framework and the Executive Orders on immigration, we anticipate 2019 will present additional opportunities to weigh-in on proposed regulations, to voice our recommendations for change, and shape the way new regulations and policies are implemented through various advocacy methods. By doing so, we also look for legal or procedural issues that may be ripe for oversight work or litigation.  

In 2019, CLINIC will advocate for:

Policies and practices that preserve family unity among immigrants and mixed immigration status families

U.S. immigration policy reflects the importance of family reunification. Similarly, the sanctity of the family is a dominant element of Catholic social teaching and a high priority of the Catholic Church. Accordingly, CLINIC supports immigration policies and procedures that promote and facilitate family unity. In furtherance of these principals, CLINIC will:

  • Fight for the restoration of temporary humanitarian immigration programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Enforced Departure, and Temporary Protected Status while supporting efforts to ensure a pathway to residency and citizenship is provided to all who wish to remain in the U.S.
  • Work to advance an asylum system that honors U.S. legal and moral obligations while addressing the root causes that drive migration. Advocating for an asylum system that provides protection for migrants and protects the rights and dignity of individuals, as contemplated in the founding convention and protocols and 1980 Refugee Act.
  • Lead efforts to encourage long-time residents to apply for naturalization, identify and address barriers to naturalization, defend U.S. citizenship as a Constitutionally-protected birthright, and monitor the use of denaturalization to ensure that it is used in a way that is just and fair.
  • Protect and defend the family-based immigration system, which is facing unprecedented rhetorical, administrative and legislative threats.
  • Continue to advocate for policies and practices that protect the basic human rights of family unity and challenge government interference with the ability of individuals to freely exercise such rights. CLINIC will push back against government implementation of far-reaching, dehumanizing immigrant enforcement and removal policies that weaken the strongest foundation of our society – the family.
  • Fight for fair and just immigration policies that acknowledge the inherent dignity and value of all people by opposing policies that would unnecessarily perpetuate poverty by continuing to combat changes to the definition of public charge and other administrative changes that disadvantage hard-working immigrants.

Policies and procedures that promote justice to hard-working and vulnerable immigrants and that advance access to care and counsel

Rapid and unprecedented changes in immigration laws and procedures have vastly increased the demand for legal and other services, particularly representation in immigration court. CLINIC is committed to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities by:

  • Building capacity by providing advocacy, training, and technical support to assist agencies within and beyond our network to ensure they are better equipped to meet higher demands for services.
  • Leading efforts that promote access to justice through a generously administered, trustworthy, and transparent recognition and accreditation (R&A) credentialing program.
  • Reinforcing the mission of faith communities that engage foreign religious workers to enhance their ministries by advocating for fair, efficient and consistent application processing, while also advocating for a permanent extension of the Special Immigrant Religious Worker program. 
  • Holding the government accountable for the proper implementation of immigration-related programs by tracking, analyzing and recording action or inaction that would conflict with program intention or the law. Maintain and utilize relationships with key officials to recommend and effectuate change.
  • Empowering and supporting network agencies to zealously advocate for their clients at higher levels of government when processing issues and backlogs retard case progress in an effort to achieve individual case results, while helping CLINIC ferret out and address systemic issues. 
  • Collaborating with state and local partners to promote initiatives that improve the lives of immigrants and refugees and oppose anti-immigrant policies by providing legal analysis, technical support, and educational materials.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of high quality, immigration legal services, educating newcomers of their legal rights, alerting all to the dangers of immigration services fraud, and strengthening protections for immigrants through public education and partnerships with key government and community stakeholders.
  • Contributing to efforts to end the inhumane practices of family separation and family detention by working to recruit allies in key roles, including health care, education, and government, who may help highlight the negative effects these practices have on individuals and public health and safety. 
  • Promoting justice and due process in immigration proceedings by challenging practices that erode judicial independence and promoting immigration legal defense funds to expand access to affordable immigration legal services.