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Federal Budget: Who do we value in our society?

Washington D.C. – Budgets are a reflection of who and what we value in our community. This goes along with the thinking that if we truly believe in something or someone, we invest our resources into them to ensure a mutually beneficial success . What we are experiencing at the moment in Washington D.C., even with the ongoing theme of dysfunction looming in the background, is a strong push to pass a federal budget that puts hard working Americans and immigrants outside of the scope of investment, or value for that matter. Whether it is education, healthcare, immigration, housing, or basic human dignity, the federal budget falls short of ensuring our mutually beneficial success.

So what is on the chopping block in this budget and who reaps the benefits of tax dollar investment? It is safe to say that a huge portion of what sustains our democracy is about to be transplanted, like a mad scientist switching body parts, onto major tax cuts for the very wealthy. The investment transfer will translate into economic hardship and pain for the poorest among us. For immigrants, the switch from a movement towards reform has been transformed into an enforcement only policy approach with increased deportations in the near future. Below are just a few examples of what has been proposed by the President:

  • $300 million to recruit and hire additional U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and ICE officers in the interior;
  • $1.5 billion to detain and deport immigrants, including funding for an unprecedented 51,379 detention beds;
  • $1.6 billion for an unnecessary, offensive, and costly wall;
  • 70 new U.S. Attorneys at the Department of Justice to prosecute people for immigration-related offenses;
  • New requirements for tax filers to provide a Social Security Number to apply for the Child Tax Credit, which will drive millions of American children into poverty; and
  • A drastic 30 percent cut in refugee resettlement services.

The truth of the matter is that the Federal Budget is not a done deal. The general consensus appears to be that it will be very hard to pass a budget with so many severe cuts that puts some Republicans at odds with their constituents, but that outcome is not guaranteed. On the Democratic side, the growing progressive movement is watching carefully whether or not Democrats will side with Republicans, or just as worse, push for detrimental cuts and easily cave on immigration enforcement during negotiations. These next three months will determine the fate of millions for years to come and the time to get involved has never been more important than right now.

CHIRLA Action Fund Endorsements for 2016 Election

Los Angeles, CA – The CHIRLA Action Fund, the political arm of the largest immigrant rights organization in California, has issued its final round of political endorsements for the 2016 Presidential Election. This election will be one for the history books and the sheer magnitude of new American immigrant voters will be deciding the future of our country.

Over the past year, the dialogue regarding immigrants has been one filled with hate. To fight this hate back, we are proud to have champions that will stand up for our immigrant community. These strong voices will ensure that our values are upheld and that we continue to find positive solutions to the issue of immigration. The CHIRLA Action Fund endorsement are as follows:

  • California Senate: Kamala Harris
  • Congressional District 25: Bryan Caforio
  • Congressional District 44: Isadore Hall
  • Congressional District 46: Lou Correa
  • State Senate District 21: Johnathon Ervin
  • State Senate District 35: Warren Furutani
  • State Assembly District 36: Steve Fox
  • State Assembly District 65: Sharon Quirk-Silva
  • Mayor of Palmdale: Xavier Flores
  • Garden Grove School District: Walter Muneton

The CHIRLA Action Fund endorsement process includes a face to face meeting with candidates, a rigorous questionnaire, background research, and a recommendation by the Staff which must be approved by the Board of Directors.

Immigration Platforms: Two Visions for America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington D.C. – With the Supreme Court of the United States tied at a 4-4 on President Obama’s DAPA and DACA Extension Programs, there is a renewed call for Immigration Reform. As the Democratic and Republican National Conventions have wrapped up, there are two distinct visions for how to address the issue of immigration in our country. Below you will find a comparison between the two party’s platforms which stand to impact the lives of millions of immigrants across the U.S.

On a Path to Citizenship:

  • DNC: Supports path to citizenship.
  • RNC: Opposes any type of legalization.

On DACA and DAPA Programs:

  • DNC: Supports DACA/DAPA.
  • RNC: Opposes DACA/DAPA.

On Enforcement and Due Process:

  • DNC: Supports “humane” immigration enforcement. Supports prioritizing enforcement against “those who pose a threat to [public] safety, not hardworking families who are contributing to their communities.” Also, supports government-funded counsel for unaccompanied children in immigration courts.
  • RNC: Supports denying undocumented immigrants who pay taxes access to tax credits and benefits they are legally entitled to. Supports requiring all employers nationwide to use E-verify. Supports limiting due process for certain immigrants in removal proceedings. Supports the widely-discredited 287g program. Supports cutting off funding to localities that limit their participation in federal programs that use local law enforcement officials to engage in immigration enforcement.

Helping Central American Refugees:

  • DNC: Commits to ending raids against children and families and supports efforts to uphold due process for those fleeing violence in Central America and to work with regional partners to address the root causes of violence in Central America.  “Would consider all available means” of protecting Central American families, including strengthening in-country and third-country processing, expanding the use of humanitarian parole, and granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • RNC: N/A

On Immigrant Integration:

  • DNC: Supports investment in immigrant integration services. Supports expanding access to English language education. Supports helping immigrants become citizens.
  • RNC: Supports English as the national language.

On the 3 and 10 Year Bar:

  • DNC: Supports ending the 3 and 10-year bars.
  • RNC: N/A

On Immigrant Detention:

  • DNC: Supports ending federal, state, and municipal contracts with for profit private prisons and private detention centers. Supports ending family detention. Supports expanded use of “humane” alternatives to detention.
  • RNC: Supports indefinite detention.

On Guest Workers:

  • DNC: N/A
  • RNC: Supports a guest worker program.

On State DREAM Acts “In-State Tuition”:

  • DNC: N/A
  • RNC: Supports denying federal funding to universities who provide in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.

On the Border:

  • DNC: N/A
  • RNC: Supports expanding the wall along the Southern border.

Fight Back the Hate, Become a CHIRLA Action Fund Member

All across the country people are standing up against hate-speech. They are people like you and I who seek to create a better world that does not scapegoat, a world that provides an opportunity to reveal our own humanity to one another.

We are entering into very uncharted territory in this upcoming election. Who will win will depend on our turnout. We will either stand idly by and let hatred win, or we will arrive at the ballot box with our principles and ideals reflected in our vote. Our connection, our understanding of ourselves as one human being to another is what distinguishes us from those who stand upon a platform of hate.

Join the fight against bigotry and racism today. Become a CHIRLA Action Fund member and help us stand up against the hate. It’s time to do, or donate. Do your part today.

Turning Ignorance Around to Stop the Hate

Los Angeles, CA – The CHIRLA Action Fund and Walton Isaacson worked together to present a different take on the anti-immigrant hate speech being spewed in this Presidential Election cycle. The #turnignorancearound advertisement takes hate speech and gives it a twist. As this type of negative speech  continues to be given center stage, it is time to take a stand and stop the hate. For more information and background on this advertisement, read the story below and click on http://www.turnignorancearound.com to watch the full video.

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Latinos Admit to Being ‘Murderers,’ ‘Traffickers’ and ‘Thieves’ in Anti-Trump Ad

Spot Reframes Candidate’s Perjorative Characterizations

By Ann-Christine Diaz. Published on

Earlier this week, Republican group Our Principles PAC used presidential candidate Donald Trump’s own words against him in an ad featuring women reading his offensive quotes about the opposite sex. Now, the CHIRLA Action Fund has turned Mr. Trump’s statements about Latinos against him in another spot.

The ad features various Latinos “owning up” to thecharacterizations Mr. Trump had made of them as dealers, killers, murderers, attackers, traffickers and thieves, each wearing a t-shirt with those titles. “I am a dealer,” “I am a killer,” “I am a thief,” “I am an attacker,” they say.

But as each turns around, they reveal their true identities: the “trafficker” is actually a trafficker of stories — a film director; the “murderer” is a murderer of boredom, a comedian; and the dealers include a dealer of flavors (a chef), a dealer of care (a nanny) and a dealer of justice (an attorney) and so forth.

General and multicultural agency Walton Isaacson came up with the ad, whose production began at the end of last year. “We are very committed to minorities … and we believe that there’s an urgent need right now to speak the truth and confront negative racial stereotypes,” said GCD Martin Cerri. “So this idea came up organically, while we were discussing about different target audiences that we represent at the agency.”

The ad took about three months to pull together, from ideation through production. All those featured in the ad are real people — “It was a process kind of similar to what you do when you approach a focus group,” Mr. Cerri said. “It was not a normal casting, we didn’t look for the perfect delivery, we looked for a range of real people with a big range of different occupations in order to make our point.”

The ad directs viewers to an accompanying site,http://www.turnignorancearound.com/, where they can see the film and purchase their own t-shirts re-framing Trump’s pejorative characterizations.

SCOTUS To Hear Oral Arguments for DAPA/DACA+

Washington D.C. – The Supreme Court of the United States will move forward and prepare to hear oral arguments on the DAPA/DACA+ programs on April 18, 2016. This latest development comes as advocacy, community, and labor organizations have worked to collect signatures for Amicus Briefs from supporters of the DAPA/DACA+ program to be submitted to the Supreme Court next week. As the SCOTUS moves to hear these arguments, a groundswell of support for these legal and constitutional programs will continue. A ruling on the DAPA/DACA+ case is inching closer to a June 2016 decision.

The issue at hand for the SCOTUS to rule on is as follows:

Issue: (1) Whether a state that voluntarily provides a subsidy to all aliens with deferred action has Article III standing and a justiciable cause of action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to challenge the Secretary of Homeland Security’s guidance seeking to establish a process for considering deferred action for certain aliens because it will lead to more aliens having deferred action; (2) whether the guidance is arbitrary and capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law; (3) whether the guidance was subject to the APA’s notice-and-comment procedures; and (4) whether the guidance violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, Article II, section 3.

For more information visit: SCOTUS Blog

So What Happens to the DAPA/DACA+ Case Now?

Washington D.C. – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away this past President’s Day weekend leaving the future of key cases to be decided by the remaining eight justices. Among these decisions is the Deferred Action for Parents of Citizens (DAPA) and the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) case already on the court’s docket.

The question most people have is: How does this new reality impact a case that will decide the fate a 5 million immigrants? 

The short answer is that an empty seat at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) does not change the progress already made on the DAPA/DACA+ case. In other words, the case will move forward as planned with arguments beginning in April and a decision by June of 2016. There is, however, a very unlikely chance they would move the case until October for a ruling in December of 2016.

The second question that people ask is: What happens if the SCOTUS does not reach the minimum of a 5 to 3 ruling in favor of DAPA/DACA+ to win? What if there is a 4 to 4 tie?

The answer to this question is that the lower court ruling stands. In this case, the 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans ruled against DAPA/DACA+ prior to the Supreme Court, therefore, DAPA/DACA+ does not get implemented. In essence, the case could start all the way from scratch.

As the case develops, the future of 5 million immigrants will depend on eight justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. History is about to be written as the outcome of this critical case could either fundamentally change the lives of millions of aspiring new Americans or usher them back into the shadows. In the meantime, our immigrant communities will continue to organize and remind America that politics is what’s getting in the way of justice for our families.

CHIRLA Action Fund 2016 Endorsements for Congress, State Assembly

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Los Angeles – The CHIRLA Action Fund, the political arm of the largest immigrant rights organization in California, issued the first political endorsements of the 2016 election cycle. The three endorsements involve the Congressional race for the 44th District and two California Assembly seat races in Districts 48 and 65.

“The CHIRLA Action Fund Board is pleased to endorse California Senator Isadore Hall in the 44th Congressional District race. As a lawmaker for the people of California, Mr. Hall brings more than 15 years of experience and has demonstrated leadership, commitment to integrating aspiring citizens, and a sense of justice for all,” stated Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Action Fund’s Board Chair.

In the race for California’s Assembly District 65, the CHIRLA Action Fund endorses Sharon Quirk-Silva.

“Ms. Quirk-Silva is running against Young Kim, a candidate who has failed to acknowledge how much Orange County is changing. Based on our Scorecard, Ms. Kim’s pro-immigrant legislative voting score was 30% — a percentage far too low to address the immigrant issues of Assembly District 65,” stated Diana Colin, the Action Fund’s program director.

The Fund endorsed the son of immigrants, Bryan Urias, for California Assembly District 48.

“Mr. Urias reflect the changing demographics in California and we are inspired by his commitment to immigrant integration and a California where everyone is prosperous,” added. Ms. Salas.

“Our three endorsements represent our commitment to support leaders who understand California, regardless of race or party affiliation, and who take a stand when others take a back seat or remain quiet. These three leaders will help California achieve greatness and help immigrants move forward as integral part of our society,” added Ms. Salas.

The CHIRLA Action Fund endorsement process includes a meeting with the candidates, a rigorous questionnaire, background research, and a recommendation by the Staff which must be approved by the board.

CHIRLA Action Fund 2015 California Legislative Scorecard

CHIRLA Action Fund identified critical votes on issues important to aspiring citizens and immigrant communities. CHIRLA’s Action Fund’s Legislative Scorecard is designed to provide the public with information about how their state legislator voted on bills on these important issues. Click the link below to view the list of state legislators and their vote percentage:

CHIRLA Action Fund California Elected Score Card for 2015.

CHIRLA Action Fund analyzed the votes on twenty-three state proposals, affecting immigrants and their children in the areas of criminal and environmental justice, access to public benefits, as well as civil and labor rights.

Lawmakers have the opportunity to cast their votes in policy, fiscal committees, as well as on the Assembly or Senate Floor. Furthermore, a proposal can be subject to a concurrence vote, which means the approval by the House of origin to changes made to a bill while it was on the second House. For the purposes of CHIRLA’s Action Fund Legislative Scorecard the votes that were taken into account were floor votes only, not including concurrence votes. Unless, a proposal did not reach a floor vote, those lawmakers who had the opportunity to cast their votes were scored.

2015 State Proposals Summary

Assembly Bills

AB 60 (Gonzalez): Strengthens consumer protections for immigrant seeking legal assistance with private attorneys.

AB 206 (Stone): Establishes California Dream Work-Study Program to assist students who are non U.S citizens but authorize to work to participate in college work study programs.

AB 359 (Gonzalez): Provides labor protections for grocery workers when Grocery Stores Corporations merge together.

AB 622 (Hernandez): Prevents the misuse and abuse by unscrupulous employers of E-verify federal and flaw program.

AB 813 (Gonzalez): Creates a mechanism for people to challenge legally invalid convictions after criminal custody has ended and the time period for hebeas corpus relief has passed.

AB 829 (Nazarian): Expands opportunity for people to be notify if their names are in a shared gang data base and creates a process for them to request their names remove from these databases.

AB 899 (Levine): Protects confidential juvenile files from being shared with federal agencies, unless order by a court order.

AB 900 (Levine): Aligns state law with immigration law to allow for the maximum number of youth in California to be eligible to receive humanitarian relief through the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Visa.

AB 953 (Weber): Aims to curb the harmful and unjust practice of racial profiling and increase transparency and accountability with law enforcement agencies.

AB 1065 (Chiu): Protects immigrant workers who recently legalized their status from being discriminated when applying for a job.

AB 1343 (Thurmond): Requires defense counsel to provide accurate and affirmative information to a client who is not a U.S. citizen about potential immigration consequences of a proposed plea. Requires both prosecution and defense counsel to contemplate immigration consequences in the plea negotiation process.

AB 1351 (Eggman): Modifies current process of deferred entry of judgment programs, which are alternatives to court proceedings that allow offenders to participate in a drug rehabilitation treatments, to avoid negative unintended consequences to offenders who are non U.S. citizens.

AB 1352 (Eggman): Ends unintended immigration consequences for non U.S. citizens who successfully complete a deferred entry of judgment programs, which are alternatives to court proceedings that allow offenders to participate in a drug rehabilitation treatments.

AB 1366 (Lopez): Establishes Dream Resources Center at institutions of higher education to assist students who are AB 540.

Senate Bills

SB 4 (Lara): Expands healthcare coverage for all children in our state regardless of immigration status.

SB 200 (Lara): Updates state school residency laws to ensure live-in workers such as household workers, caregivers and gardeners whose children live with them could attend school on that district.

SB 350 (De Leon): Seeks to reduce pollution and increase clean energy sources.

SB 406 (Jackson): Expands job protection for workers who take family leave to businesses with 25 employees or more. Under the California Family Leave Act, jobs are only protected for those who work at businesses with at least 50 employees.

SB 443 (Mitchell): Requires additional due process protections in cases where the state seeks to forfeit assets in connection to specific criminal charges.

SB 588 (De Leon): Strengthens labor protections for low-income workers who are victims of wage theft by providing new enforcement tool to collect the wages of these workers.

SB 600 (Pan): Includes citizenship, language and immigration status among the list for which discrimination is prohibited under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

SB 623 (Lara): Clarifies that undocumented workers are eligible for certain workers’ compensation benefits.

SB 674 (De Leon/Atkins): Establishes uniform protocols to ensure immigrant who are victims of crime are able to be certified by local law enforcement to be eligible to request immigration relief.

SCOTUS Gives Texas 8 Days, Delay Strategy Failing

Washington D.C. – The Supreme Court of the United States dealt a blow to the delay strategy by Texas against the President’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program today. After seeking a 30 day extension–which would have ensured that the DAPA case would not be heard until June of 2017–the Supreme Court underscored that a resolution sooner is better than a resolution later.

So what does this mean for the 5 million undocumented immigrants waiting in the wings to become part of our American fabric? The news is a great development and one big step forward, but they will have to wait until one more major hurdle is overcome: the SCOTUS still needs to agree to hear the case. This is very likely to happen soon with a final decision delivered in June of 2016. As the court moves in this direction, there will be a continuation and build up of a massive movement across the country to underscore the importance of this case.

When the decision is delivered next Spring, community organizations are preparing for the massive number of applicants who will sign up as DAPA/DACA+ beneficiaries.  It will be up to the next President to decide whether to keep the DAPA, DACA+ and the original DACA programs and build upon their success, or end the programs leaving millions in limbo. For now, we will wait patiently for the final decision from the Supreme Court.