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.
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:
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).
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.
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:
- RNC: Supports a guest worker program.
On State DREAM Acts “In-State Tuition”:
- RNC: Supports denying federal funding to universities who provide in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.
On the Border:
- RNC: Supports expanding the wall along the Southern border.
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
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.