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Media Coverage of President Trump ending DACA

The Trump administration announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by March 5, 2017. The program provides temporary protection from deportation and work permits for 800,000 immigrant youth. Ending the program is cruel and un-American, and leaves nearly a million people who call the U.S. home in legal limbo and at risk of deportation. NIJC is providing legal services to DACA recipients and information sessions to communities, and DACAmented NIJC clients and staff are speaking out about the devastating consequences the decision to terminate the program will have.

WBEZ: Chicago DACA Recipient Calls Trump's Decision 'More Than Disappointing' (9/5/2017)

The Economist (Democracy in America blog): President Trump winds down DACA (9/6/2017)

Crain's Chicago Business (Opinion): A dream deferred? For this young architect, the answer could be yes. (9/6/2017)

ABC57 South Bend, Indiana: Meeting to inform community on DACA (9/10/2017)

ABC7 / WLS-TV: Resources for DACA recipients in Chicago (9/12/2017)

Newsweek: Republican Bill Would Deport Immigrants on Suspicion of Being in a Gang—Even if They Haven’t Committed a Crime

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would give U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) free reign to detain and deport immigrants based on mere suspicion they are associated with a gang. NIJC advocated against this dangerous and sinister bill which only encourages racial profiling and puts victims of gang violence, including children, at risk of being sent back to the brutal violence they fled. Read the article. 

Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago scores legal victory in sanctuary city battle with Sessions

A federal judge sided with the city of Chicago in its lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions to defend its Welcoming City Ordinance. The freeze applies nationwide on the administration's unlawful attempt to restrict funding for cities that refuse to allow local police to act as immigration agents. NIJC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case to support the city and Welcoming City policies and NIJC's Mark Fleming spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times about the case. Read the article.

U Visa Workshop for law students and recent graduates

This workshop is an excellent volunteer opportunity for law students and recent graduates during which you will help immigrant survivors of crimes secure legal protection in the United States. The U visa provides protection against deportation and access to immigration benefits for victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence, if they demonstrate cooperation with law enforcement and meet other legal requirements.

‘Abuelita’ Genoveva Ramirez, Facing Imminent Deportation, Sues Federal Government Over Delay in Visa Processing

Genoveva Ramirez

Chicago grandmother and long-time immigration activist Genoveva Ramirez is suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to demand its immigration service review a long-pending visa application before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deports her in October.

Download the complaint here.

ICE told Ms. Ramirez during a check-in appointment in August that she must purchase plane tickets and leave the United States by October 31, even as she awaits a decision by another DHS agency – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - on whether to grant her U-visa protection.

“As a long-time immigrant activist, I’ve seen the ways that ICE justify breaking families and communities like mine apart. I’ve seen how they criminalize and dehumanize us, and I’ve fought against that. Today, I am suing DHS because I refuse to allow their own internal negligence and processing delays to become another excuse for breaking my family apart,” said Ms. Ramirez, who is also a leader with Organized Communities Against Deportations.

The 67-year-old grandmother of 10, originally from Mexico, has lived in the United States for nearly two decades. She filed a U-visa application in September 2016 after she and her grandson were physically assaulted during a home invasion and she subsequently assisted in the police investigation. The U-visa is a form of immigration protection available to victims and witnesses of certain crimes who then cooperate in the investigation or prosecution. Delays in the USCIS adjudication process have caused U-visa applicants to wait as much as three years for decisions on their applications, but, as the lawsuit states, “Ms. Ramirez does not have another two years to wait.”

“Despite the fact that USCIS and ICE are both sub-agencies of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE has not asked USCIS to expedite Ms. Ramirez’s application, nor postponed Ms. Ramirez’s deportation while USCIS makes a decision on her application,” said Kate Melloy Goettel, litigation attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center, who is representing Ms. Ramirez in her federal lawsuit. “The position she is in now shows the devastating consequences of an immigration system that is totally illogical and broken.”

In the lawsuit, Ms. Ramirez asks the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Court to order USCIS to either make a preliminary determination that she is eligible for a U-visa so that ICE may stay her removal, or adjudicate her application entirely so that she can stay in the United States.

“Chicago ICE Director Ricardo Wong abused his authority and discretion when he denied Ms. Ramirez’s request for a stay of removal, but USCIS can and should intervene immediately. USCIS cannot stand by as families like Ms. Ramirez’s are torn up because of contradictory protocols and processing delays," added Mony Ruiz-Velasco, executive director of PASO-West Suburban Action Project and Ms. Ramirez’s immigration attorney.

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Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is an undocumented-led group that organizes against the deportation and criminalization of Black, Brown and immigrant communities in Chicago and surrounding areas.

The West Suburban Action Project (PASO) is a grassroots, community-based social justice organization  that builds strong communities through intersectional organizing, leadership development, education and civic engagement so people can live and thrive, regardless of race, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic level.

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education.

 

Federal Ruling in Chicago Sanctuary City Case Protects Immigrants

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) welcomes today’s federal court ruling that the U.S. Attorney General’s threat to withhold law enforcement funding from sanctuary cities has no basis in law.

The decision from the Northern District Court of Illinois, written by Reagan appointee Judge Harry D. Leinenweber, is another significant federal ruling blocking the administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.

The City of Chicago sued the U.S. Department of Justice last month after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would cut federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program funding to cities and states that refuse to honor immigration detainers or have their local police act as immigration agents. The court found these conditions to be unlawful. At issue was Chicago’s 2012 Welcoming City Ordinance, which forbids the city’s police from inquiring about immigration status or detaining individuals for immigration purposes.

“Today’s ruling creates a critical roadblock to the administration’s persistent drive to enlist our local police in federal immigration enforcement,” said NIJC Associate Director of Litigation Mark Fleming. “As the City of Chicago has long recognized, and as our communities and elected officials acknowledged last month as Governor Rauner signed the TRUST Act into law, removing the fear that any interaction with the police could result in deportation is important to public safety and critical in building trust between communities and the police; that is what sanctuary city policies are all about.”

NIJC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case describing Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance and the increase in similar sanctuary ordinances nationwide as a response to the U.S. government’s aggressive expansion of its immigration detainer program, which is rife with constitutional problems and detrimental to community policing.

“We appreciate the city’s willingness to challenge the administration to ensure that Chicago can continue to strive to be a welcoming city,” said NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy.

 

 

 

Quick Guide on DACA and the DREAM Act

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On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration terminated DACA, which refers to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This action has raised many questions about immigrant rights, access to citizenship, and how people can support DACA recipients. Below is a quick guide to help answer questions about DACA and the DREAM Act, proposed legislation to provide permanent relief to DACA recipients.

DACA and Dreamers

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On April 24, in the case NAACP v. Trump, Judge Bates of the D.C. District Court found the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act.  His order may, if not appealed or mooted, reinstate the DACA program and make it possible for people to apply for DACA for the first time.

However, Judge Bates stayed his order for 90 days, and his order also permits DHS to issue a new rescission of DACA within 90 days. NIJC continues to recommend that those who had DACA in the past or currently have DACA seek immediate legal assistance and, if eligible, immediately renew their DACA status. See below for more guidance.

Sign up to attend a free DACA renewal clinic.

Community Advisory on DACA (4/25/2018)

On April 24, in the case NAACP v. Trump, Judge Bates of the D.C. District Court found the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act.  His order may, if not appealed or mooted, reinstate the DACA program and make it possible for people to apply for DACA for the first time. However, Judge Bates stayed his order for 90 days, and his order also permits DHS to issue a new rescission of DACA within 90 days. In light of these developments, NIJC advises the following:

1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is still accepting DACA renewal applications for individuals with current or expired DACA benefits.

2. USCIS is NOT accepting initial DACA applications at this time from individuals who have never been granted DACA.

3. It is unclear what impact this order might have on future DACA renewals. Therefore, the opportunity to file DACA renewals may be limited. Individuals who want to renew their protection are encouraged to seek a legal consultation as soon as possible.

  • If your DACA expired ON or AFTER September 5, 2016 you can submit a DACA renewal application. If your DACA expired BEFORE September 5, 2016 or was previously terminated, you can submit a new initial DACA application.

DACA recipients with current or expired DACA benefits may contact NIJC to schedule a DACA consultation by calling 312-660-1370 or emailing nijcild@heartlandalliance.org. DACA recipients eligible to renew their DACA may also sign up for NIJC's upcoming free DACA renewal clinics.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: DACA (English)

Preguntas Frequentes: DACA (Spanish)

Często Zadawane Pytania: DACA (Polish)


Know Your Rights

English | Spanish


Other Resources

Quick Guide on DACA and the DREAM Act, NIJC

About DACA and Employment, National Immigration Law Center

DACA Information & Resources (including renewal workshops in Chicago, DACA fee assistance, impact on social security numbers and driver’s licenses), Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Community Advisory: What Do I Need to Know about the End of DACA?, Immigrant Legal Resource Center


Take Action

Demand that members of congress take action to pass the bi-partisan DREAM Act that provides legal status for immigrant youth and does not jeopardize the safety and livelihood of other immigrants in the United States.  Act now.

Training: Representing Asylum Seekers

On November 16, 2017 from 1:00 - 4:00pm, NIJC will host a training for pro bono attorneys interested in representing asylum seekers – including immigrant children and detained immigrants – before the asylum office and the immigration court. New associates are particularly encouraged to attend. Illinois CLE credit will be available, but space is limited!  Please contact Anna Sears to RSVP or with any questions.

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