The Week Ahead: Feb. 26-March 2

Communications Assistant

February 26, 2018

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I can’t read the Bible without seeing stories of immigrants on almost every page.”

    —   Mark Finney, Director, World Relief Spokane, Feb. 23

SUMMARY

Supreme Court Declines, For Now, to Hear DACA Challenge

The Supreme Court has declined at this time to hear the Trump administration’s challenge to a lower court’s ruling regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The decision means the initial injunction the government challenged will remain in place as the case plays out in the lower court.

While the ruling means that current DACA beneficiaries are able to reapply for protections past the March 5 deadline President Trump set, the Supreme Court’s decision concerned the particular process the Trump administration used to end the program, not his authority to end it.

The urgency of a permanent solution remains, as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers with DACA could still face termination of their status, and new DACA applications continue not to be processed.

Congress Returns from Recess with Dreamer Deadline Looming

The House and Senate are in session this week following a weeklong recess, with less than four weeks until a March 23 appropriations bill deadline and just five working days until the March 5 deadline President Trump set for a DACA solution when he rescinded the program last September.

The next few weeks are critical for potential Dreamer legislation, with proposed fixes including temporary DACA extensions tied to varying levels of border security funding. A solution could be folded into the must-pass spending bill or be introduced independently.

After the Senate rejected four proposed immigration bills, including two bipartisan proposals, Feb. 15, thousands of Dreamers each week could be at risk of losing their work authorization and protection from deportation if Congress does not reach and pass a bipartisan agreement before March 5.

National Immigration Forum Reception to Feature Mexican Ambassador

Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez will join More in Common Co-founder Tim Dixon and National Immigration Forum Executive Director Ali Noorani at the Forum’s spring reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Speakers will discuss the cultural, economic and security anxieties driving the migration debate in the U.S. and across the globe.

For more information or to RSVP, click here. The event will also be streamed via Facebook Live.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration: http://immigrationforum.org/blog/legislative-bulletin-friday-february-23-2018/

MUST READS:

WASHINGTON POST (Rodríguez Op-Ed): I ran USCIS. This is a nation of immigrants, no matter what mission statements say.
By León Rodríguez
Feb. 26, 2018

I had the privilege of serving as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2014 to 2017. One of my favorite activities was to travel to our offices throughout the United States, meeting staff members and speaking to them about their work. One day, I might be observing a naturalization interview; another day, I might be speaking to an officer in the Fraud Detection and National Security directorate about a marriage-fraud investigation. One day that stands out particularly in memory was when I attended a graduation ceremony for newly sworn in USCIS officers at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, S.C., in 2017. A senior supervisor, a veteran who was among the many proud “legacy INS” professionals in the agency, reminded the new adjudicators of a simple formula for their new jobs: “the right benefit for the right person at the right time.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/02/26/i-ran-uscis-this-is-a-nation-of-immigrants-no-matter-what-mission-statements-say/?utm_term=.4d2afc240dc1

HOUSTON CHRONICLE: As DACA deadline looms, churches open doors
By Monica Rhor
Feb. 25, 2018

Hilda Ramirez never steps foot outside St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. When her 11-year-old son leaves for school, she holds her breath, praying that he will return. When sirens wail on the streets outside, her heart stops.
For much of the past two years, the Austin church has provided sanctuary for Ramirez, a 30-year-old immigrant who came to the U.S. illegally after fleeing violence in Guatemala.
She and her son, Ivan, sleep on bunk beds in a room in the east wing of the house of worship, where church members have been trained to form a human barrier should immigration agents show up.
“What else could you do?” said Pastor Jim Rigby, who never hesitated to offer St. Andrew’s as refuge. “This is as foundational as anything there is. The core message of the Bible is not to mistreat immigrants and sojourners.”

Read more: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/As-DACA-deadline-looms-churches-open-doors-12707863.php

LINCOLN JOURNAL-STAR (Editorial): Inaction on Dreamers is inexcusable
By Journal-Star Editorial Board
Feb. 22, 2018

When President Donald Trump announced last September that he was terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he gave Congress six months to come up with a solution.
Now, that cushion of half a year has been whittled down to just 10 days, and our elected officials are perhaps even further from a suitable fix than they were last fall. Congress has had months to address this political third rail, yet too few have deemed it enough of a priority to solve it before that deadline.
Lawmakers had ample lead time. Unfortunately, the body continues to lack the political will to match the will of Americans, who overwhelmingly support a solution to offer the so-called Dreamers residency.

Read more: http://journalstar.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-inaction-on-dreamers-is-inexcusable/article_85cc746a-9385-587b-9e69-de999bd9c1f4.html

CNN: ICE arrested him. His church put his photo in a pew so no one would forget.
By Catherine E. Shoichet
Feb. 23, 2018

His red Nissan is in the church parking lot.
His picture is on the pew where he loved to sit.
But Gilles Bikindou wasn’t at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina, last Sunday.
Or the Sunday before that. Or the Sunday before that. Or any of the Sundays since immigration authorities arrested him last month.
This week, his pastor drove to Atlanta and stood outside the detention center where Bikindou was being held. She prayed that the officials who planned to deport him would have a change of heart.
Bikindou has HIV, chronic kidney failure and diabetes. He’d already suffered health setbacks while in custody, the Rev. Lauren Efird said, and deportation to the Republic of Congo would be a death sentence.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/22/us/church-fights-deportation-gilles-bikindou/index.html