2020 Administrative Advocacy Priorities

Last Updated

March 10, 2020

CLINIC’s Administrative Advocacy Priorities serve as a guide for CLINIC’s work as a national leader on administrative advocacy. For 2020, these priorities 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; and (2) policies and procedures that promote access to care, counsel, and justice for hard-working and vulnerable immigrants.

CLINIC’s advocacy efforts are guided by our Catholic identity and informed by our network of approximately 380 network agencies. Our status as a leading trainer on immigration law and non-profit program management is enhanced by our ability to communicate regularly with representatives from government agencies. Our administrative advocacy efforts take many forms and occur in a variety of settings. We engage directly with government agencies and formally respond to regulatory proposals through the federal rulemaking process. We build, lead, and work through coalitions to accomplish our objectives. The strategies we develop and tactics we employ depend upon the issue area and theory of change.

We will defend immigrants and refugees by weighing in on proposed regulations, by voicing our recommendations for change, and shaping the way new regulations and policies are implemented through various advocacy methods. By doing so, we will also look for legal or procedural problems that may be ripe for oversight work or litigation.

In 2020, CLINIC will advocate for:

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

Family reunification and the sanctity of the family are dominant elements of immigration policy and Catholic social teaching. 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 humanitarian programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Enforced Departure, and Temporary Protected Status, while promoting a pathway to citizenship for all who wish to remain in the United States.
  • Work to advance an asylum system that honors U.S. legal and moral obligations. We will continue to advocate for an asylum system that protects the rights and dignity of individuals, as contemplated in the founding convention and protocols and 1980 Refugee Act.
  • Lead efforts to encourage eligible 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 for unjust and unfair application.
  • 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 free exercise of 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 perpetuate poverty. We will continue to combat changes to the definition of public charge and other administrative changes that disadvantage immigrants.

Policies and procedures that promote justice for hard-working and vulnerable immigrants and that improve 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:

  • Promoting justice in immigration proceedings by challenging practices that seek to eliminate access to due process and by bolstering affordable and accessible immigration legal services.
  • Leading efforts to seek access to justice through a generously administered and trustworthy recognition and accreditation credentialing program.
  • Reinforcing faith communities that engage foreign religious workers for ministry by advocating for fair, efficient, and consistent application processing while also working 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 conflicts with program intention or the law.
  • Empowering and supporting network agencies to zealously advocate for their clients at higher levels of government when processing problems and backlogs slow case progress, while helping CLINIC ferret out and shine a light on systemic flaws.
  • Collaborating with state and local partners to promote initiatives that improve and protect 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 on 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.