For Immediate Release
February 18, 2016
Questions for Tonight's Debate
As the Democratic candidates meet once again to debate in Nevada, they have only begun to clarify their positions on key immigration policies. Below, are some questions that should be raised tonight and answered by Senator Sanders and former Secretary of State Clinton. After nearly 3 million deportations under a Democratic administration, it's not clear that the party establishment even recognizes that its approach to immigrant and refugee rights is failing.
1) Deferred action for immigrant workers:
Legalization for 11 million people, with a path to citizenship, is one goal of the immigrant rights movement, and there is much that the executive branch could do to incrementally advance inclusion of this population. Republicans in the last debate spoke of a new guest worker program, but the AFL-CIO has made clear that past and prospective guest worker programs would be "akin to slavery." With federal legislation blocked in a dysfunctional Congress for the foreseeable future, what steps would you take to advance the inclusion of undocumented workers in the US? Would you support protections and an administrative deferred action program for all undocumented immigrant workers?
2) Truth about the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP-COMM):
On February 11, Senator Sanders and Rep. Grijalva sent a letter criticizing the Department of Homeland Security's new deportation program, the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). The letter suggested that the new program is a mere re-branding of the disgraced Secure Communities "S-COMM" jail-based deportation dragnet, which gave rise to Arizona's SB1070. While ICE is facing two federal lawsuits for refusing to come clean about PEP, DHS and ICE leadership continue a national offensive to place ICE in jails, entangling our unjust immigration laws in the morass of mass incarceration. What would you do untangle ICE's role in local law enforcement? Given the national consensus about the need for criminal justice reform, what would you do to address the conflation of civil immigration enforcement regime with local criminal law-enforcement?
3) Raids on refugees:
Over 140 members of Congress have rejected the recent raids again Central American refugee mothers and children. The raids, at the beginning of an election year, demonstrate that the deportation regime has not disappeared and can be accelerated at any time, for any political motivation. In this case, the White House has claimed that its raid strategy is necessary to deter families from fleeing the violence and Central America. Do you believe immigration enforcement should be used to as a deterrent, particularly toward refugees? Would you support giving Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to those fleeing violence from Central American countries?
4) Fight for 15:
Across the country, there is momentum to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour as part of a growing movement to confront income inequality. A problem though is that many existing labor protections, including the status quo minimum wage, often lie outside of the reach of immigrant workers. What is your plan to ensure that immigrant workers will have access to new minimum wage protections? What will be your plan to ensure that all workers, including immigrants, have access to existing labor protections?
For Immediate Release
February 11, 2016
REACTION: Sen. Sanders & Congressman Grijalva are Right about the Failure of President Obama's Deportation Policy
Washington, DC—In response to the White House's release of its final DHS budget, and news that Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Raul Grijalva sent a letter criticizing President Obama's signature deportation policy, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), released the following statement:
"Senator Sanders and Congressman Grijalva are right about the failure of President Obama's deportation policy. A mere name change is not enough to undo the damage caused, nor is it enough to bridge the trust deficit caused by the failed experiment of using local police to enforce federal civil immigration laws. During his last year in office, President Obama should be dismantling the very infrastructure that has also emboldened demagogues like Donald Trump to scapegoat immigrants. At a bare minimum, the Obama Administration should be transparent about its deportation programs which threaten to radically alter the relationship between local and federal police.
"Rational policymakers at the local level revolted against President Obama's crimmigration policy because it made communities less safe. Meanwhile, DHS and ICE will have to answer to federal lawsuits about their refusal to come clean about PEP-COMM and their own record on racial discrimination.
"Unfortunately, the recently-released White House budget affirms the worst of President Obama's deportation legacy. It consolidates and expands the jail deportation regime started with S-COMM, now glossed up with PEP, and it maintains funding for a disgraceful family detention policy that serves and explicitly seeks to deter refugees by terrorizing Central American migrants.
"Ultimately, it's cases like those of Angel Rosa, who was deported this week, that demonstrate the offensive meaning of the President's callous budget.."
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2016
50+ Organizations Call on White House to Come Clean About PEP
Washington, DC—On Thursday, a broad coalition of 55 immigrant, civil, and workers rights groups joined a letter to President Obama calling on his administration to "come clean" about his Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which replaced the controversial Secure Communities deportation dragnet known as S-COMM.
The letter reads in part:
Federal agencies under your watch have refused to disclose the requested records. Instead, DHS and ICE leadership have gone on a national crusade to quash the revolt against S-COMM policies, obfuscating the facts with Trump logic and pressuring localities to accept the new jail deportation program.
Leading the letter was the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), one of three groups that earlier this week filed a federal lawsuit against ICE and 9 additional federal agencies to compel them to disclose information about PEP.
As groups spoke favorably of the Supreme Court's granting of review over Texas v. US, they also cautioned that it was "failed logic" to justify increased deportations because of a partial grant of relief, such as with DAPA.
"PEP is not a valid justification for DAPA, and never has been. This lawsuit seeks to help the Obama administration clear up its misunderstanding by compelling it to be open and transparent about this program," said Salvador Sarmiento of NDLON. "It's important that the Obama administration untangle its DAPA rationale from its PEP rationale."
NDLON staff attorney Emi MacLean, counsel on the lawsuit, added, "Part of the failed logic of the past involved using S-COMM as a justification for DACA 1.0. That brought us the pernicious 'felons not families' idea that has been put publicly on trial during recent raids."
"It's not the case that some immigrants must suffer so that others can get relief. This logic is immoral and unnecessary for Obama to prevail in Texas v US." added MacLean.
The letter is available online here.
For Immediate Release
January 19, 2016
BREAKING: DHS, ICE, and DOJ Sued in Federal Court Over Controversial Deportation Program
Washington, DC—On Tuesday morning, immigrant rights groups filed a federal lawsuit against ICE and 9 other federal agencies to compel the disclosure of information about a controversial and secretive deportation program, known as the "Priority Enforcement Program" (PEP). As the White House persists in targeting Central American refugees and revving up the deportation machinery, advocates are taking aim at PEP, which is fueling ongoing deportations.
"ICE is, once again, operating in secrecy. It's time for the nation's largest police force to come clean," said Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). "PEP has failed to meet the bare minimum requirements for transparency and accountability."
The groups filed litigation pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) following ICE's refusal to provide a single document more than 10 months after the groups filed their request. Altogether the 10 agencies provided only 5 documents in response.
"While PEP-COMM is clouded in secrecy, DHS leadership is going on the offensive," says Angela Chan, Policy Director at Asian-Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC). "The White House is trying to compel state and local governments to participate in its new deportation program through misinformation and empty promises."
"PEP's predecessor, S-COMM, was mired in the same duplicity and double-speak that led to the largest-ever FOIA litigation in ICE history, and ultimately, the termination of the program," said Danelly Bello of the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo Law School.
"The public has the right to know whether PEP is different from S-COMM in reality or only in name," says Bello. "It is imperative that immigrant communities learn about the practical implementation of this massive immigration enforcement program in order to assert their rights and protect their families."
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York City by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC), and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at the Cardozo School of Law.
Federal complaint available HERE.
For Immediate Release
June 17, 2015
Civil Rights Organizations Slam DHS's Latest Deportation Program; Call on DHS to Discontinue Use of Unlawful Detention Requests
Replacement for Discredited "Secure Communities" Program Suffers From Serious Legal Flaws that Expose DHS and Cooperating Law Enforcement Agencies to Liability
Wednesday, June 16, 2015—In response to new details released on Friday about DHS's "Priority Enforcement Program" (PEP), prominent civil and immigrants' rights organizations today delivered a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calling for an end to detention ("detainer") and notification requests. The letter asserts that PEP—created as a replacement for the controversial Secure Communities program— suffers from many of the same legal problems that contributed to the agency's decision to end the Secure Communities. As a result, local law enforcement agencies that choose to participate may face liability.
In the letter, the organizations call on DHS to discontinue the use of "immigration detainers," which ask local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals in their custody after their authority to hold them expires. After a series of federal court decisions last year holding that immigration detainers fail to comply with the Fourth Amendment, hundreds of local law enforcement agencies across the country adopted policies prohibiting compliance with immigration detainers absent a judicial warrant or judicial determination of probable cause. DHS still does not provide a judicial determination of probable cause either before or after issuing an immigration detainer, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Jessica Karp Bansal, NDLON Litigation Director, said, "When DHS first announced PEP back in November, it acknowledged the need for reform in light of federal court decisions holding that immigration detainers do not provide a lawful basis to detain a person. So we were surprised to learn that DHS plans to continue issuing detainers through PEP that don't comport with constitutional requirements. PEP creates a trap for unwary local law enforcement agencies, which will be subject to legal liability should they choose to participate."
In addition to legal concerns, the letter also criticizes PEP as contravening the recent recommendation from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing to "decouple" federal immigration enforcement from local policing.
Said Salvador Sarmiento, NDLON Legislative Director, "PEP is completely out of step with the national conversation on the need for policing and criminal justice reform. We question why DHS is continuing to entangle local police in immigration enforcement when the President's own Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended against doing so. The result will be the same kind of deterioration of police-community trust that we saw with Secure Communities."
DHS responded to the widespread criticism of the Secure Communities program in November with plans to discontinue it; however, ICE's new PEP forms and informational material, released last Friday, suggest PEP is little more than a re-branding of the same flawed product.
For Immediate Release
May 18, 2015
President's Own Task Force Calls to "Decouple" Immigration Enforcement from Local Police
Los Angeles, CA—In response to the Final Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), made the following remarks:
"Today, the President's own task force has recognized what we've been saying for years: local police and sheriffs should not be involved in immigration enforcement. It's bad for community policing, it's bad for public safety, and it's bad for fundamental civil rights.
"The task force recommendations underscore that there are many things the White House and Department of Homeland Security can still do to address the crisis of trust that exists between immigrant communities and local law enforcement, including ending all efforts to harness local and state resources through notification, detention, and transfer requests. The White House should heed the call from its panel of experts and can begin by switching off failed immigration enforcement programs in places of heightened concern, including Arizona and Texas."
Final Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing (available here)
Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement (available here)
For Immediate Release
May 12, 2015
NDLON and ACLU Litigation Reveals Details about ICE Deportation Program
Advocates call for end to unconstitutional jail-based detention
Los Angeles, CA—The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the ACLU have released a copy of the Department of Homeland Security's new draft immigration detainer form, obtained through litigation challenging detention of individuals pursuant to immigration detainers as unconstitutional. The draft form is part of the Obama Administration's new "Priority Enforcement Program," which is set to replace the widely criticized Secure Communities Deportation program. Announced in November 2014, the program is expected to go into effect imminently.
The new detainer form continues to request that local law enforcement agencies detain individuals identified as deportable by ICE beyond their release date for transfer to immigration. Like the old detainer form, which was challenged in litigation around the country, the new form fails to provide a judicial determination of probable cause to support the requested detention.
"The draft form indicates that DHS has failed to correct the serious constitutional flaws with immigration detainers," said Jessica Bansal, NDLON Litigation Director. "PEP, like S-Comm, is setting itself up to be a liability trap for unwary local law enforcement agencies, which bear legal responsibility for detaining individuals on ICE holds."
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON, said, "At a time when criminal justice reform, biased policing, and epidemic rates of mass incarceration are at the forefront of the national agenda, the new PEP program sends a chilling message that immigrants are not entitled to equal justice under the law. Relief for some immigrants cannot and must not be used as a justification to condemn other immigrants. We call on the Obama Administration to end its disastrous deportation policy and immediately stop the felonizing of immigrant families."
"Six months ago, the Obama Administration promised that it would no longer ask localities to detain people on ICE detainers except in rare 'special circumstances,'" said Jennie Pasquarella, Staff Attorney with the ACLU-SC. "But these draft forms show that ICE has left that promise behind, and it actually intends to continue the routine, dragnet use of detainers that courts have repeatedly condemned."
"ICE detainers continue to violate basic civil liberties, as a single ICE agent can lock someone up without any oversight or judicial approval," said Kate Desormeau, Staff Attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. "ICE detainers have led to racial profiling and illegal detentions around the country. It is time for ICE to end this practice once and for all."
For Immediate Release // Please excuse cross-posting
March 20, 2015
Contact: SG Sarmiento, 202-746-2099
NDLON STATEMENT IN REACTION TO ICE DIRECTOR SALDAÑA's “AMEN” COMMENTS ABOUT UNCONSTITUTIONAL DEPORTATION POLICY
(Los Angeles, CA)—Today, ICE Director Sarah Saldaña issued a press release attempting to clarify her position on ICE’s unconstitutional practice that compelled police to detain immigrants. During yesterday’s House Oversight hearing, Rep. Mulvaney asked Saldaña if she would support legislation to mandate that “local communities cooperate” with ICE. Saldaña reponded, “Thank you. Yes. Amen.” The bizarre series of statements leaves uncertainty about the agency head’s position on DHS Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memo ending ICE's controversial and discredited Secure Communities deportation policy.
In response to Director Saldaña’s recent statements and to news of recent deportations in Iowa and Philadelphia, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), issued the following statement:
“Is ICE heading backward? There is an astonishing dissonance between the White House’s initiative to build community trust in law enforcement and it’s highly disingenuous deportation policy which felonizes immigrants and insists on transforming local police into frontline enforcers of unjust and outdated immigration laws. Director Saldaña’s recent remarks are exactly the kind of doublespeak that plagued the Secure Communities legacy for years. Indeed, we have yet to hear anyone clarify why SCOMM’s failed dragnet is still intact or operational, which is why we have demanded answers compelled by the Freedom of Information Act.
"The fact that the President has ostensibly offered relief to some immigrants does not excuse his policies which criminalize other immigrants. The president's pledge to target 'felons not families' is offensive to all those seeking to reform a criminal justice system that is plagued by a legacy of white supremacy. And Secretary Johnson’s recent invocation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory in defense of these new deportation policies is quite simply reprehensible. If the President wants to undo his legacy as “Deporter-in-Chief”, he must take steps immediately to advance equality for all immigrants, particularly as his limited DAPA initiative languishes in the courts.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // PLEASE EXCUSE CROSS-POSTINGS // PLEASE FORWARD
Date: March 16, 2015
Immigrant Rights Groups Call for Transparency as They Serve FOIA Request to Uncover the Truth about ICE's “Discontinuation” of Secure Communities
WHAT: ICE out of LA Coalition will deliver FOIA request to local ICE Field Office
WHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30AM
WHERE: ICE Field Office 300 North Los Angeles, CA 90012 (front of bldg)
WHO: Individuals and immigrant rights organizations from Los Angeles County including - Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA), Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education Los Angeles (ASPIRE-LA), California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Community Labor Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) Carwash Campaign, Dream Team Los Angeles (DTLA), Enlace, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Garment Worker Center, Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC), Los Angeles Immigrant Youth Coalition (LA-IYC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), San Gabriel Valley Immigrant Youth Coalition (SGV-IYC)
(Los Angeles, CA) — On Tuesday, immigrant rights groups will gather outside of the local Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Field Office to deliver a copy of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request served to the Department of Homeland Security in New York last week. The ICE out of LA Coalition will also include a set of information inquiries about the work of ICE in the Los Angeles County--such as the extent of collaboration with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Departments, the 287(g) program, etc. The ICE out of LA Coalition considers the information requested to be vital to the work that we are doing on the ground and as a means for building trust between the community and local law enforcement.
This request for basic information about the PEP-COMM deportation program and other ICE Access Programs comes at a uniquely important time. Administrative relief offering work authorization for millions of immigrants remains temporarily postponed by a federal district court judge, Congress has now fully funded DHS to enforce demonstrably outdated and unjust laws, and President Obama’s own Task Force on Policing has called for a firewall between police and immigration functions. Against this backdrop, immigrant workers will call for transparency and accountability over ICE’s continued efforts to force local police into the immigration enforcement business.
“DHS has itself acknowledged the failure of Secure Communities, but this new program continues to entangle ICE with local police, leaving us with more questions than answers," said Jessica Karp Bansal, Litigation Director at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “At a bare minimum, DHS is obligated by law to be transparent with the public about what PEP means for immigrants and their families.”
The FOIA reads in part:
…the [Nov. 20th] memorandum gives very little information on how PEP differs from S-Comm, if at all. There is no reason for the public to believe that PEP is an improvement based on what has been presented to date… the public may still face all of the same abuses it faced under S-Comm. These include: a blurred line between local and state law enforcement and immigration enforcement; racial profiling and the targeting of immigrants…
Speakers will be available for comment.