LJP Welcomes Effort to Craft an Immigration Bill


CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org, @LJPgarcia.

The introduction of a bipartisan immigration reform bill by the Senate Gang of Eight is an historic step towards creating real and humane comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate bill represents the first real meaningful bipartisan Congressional effort to reform our nation’s convoluted immigration laws and is a critical first step toward the passage of meaningful immigration reform legislation.

At the same time we are deeply concerned that the bill continues to invest billions of dollars in the same enforcement paradigm that overly criminalizes Latino immigrants and deports them in record numbers.

The decades-long dysfunction of our current immigration system has led to massive unjust deportations of many without any criminal record, and the destruction of Latino families with U.S. citizen children and members, which can only be remedied by expanding due process and civil rights protections. An immigration reform bill must include a speedy immigration court hearing once someone is detained, and access to counsel for anyone who is detained or in danger of being deported. It must also stop ensnaring worthy Latino immigrants for minor offenses and violations. In effect, it must stop the misguided over-criminalization of Latino families and workers.

“It is encouraging that the bill includes provisions to ensure due process, human and civil rights, and bans on racial profiling. Our community will continue to mobilize until a strong and comprehensive immigration reform bill is passed and signed into law” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “We are greatly concerned over the border trigger requirements as a condition for a path to citizenship and the billions of additional enforcement dollars when DHS immigration enforcement is already the largest federally funded law enforcement agency.”

“As we have learned from litigating the Aguilar v. ICE, the immigration home raids case over the past five and a half years, the immigration authorities must be held accountable and comply with basic constitutional protections applicable to all residents, and cannot be permitted to illegally target Latinos while sleeping and forcibly enter their homes without valid, voluntary and knowing consent of the resident to enter, which must be in the resident’s primary language.”

Associate General Counsel Jose Perez said:

“We will monitor the upcoming congressional hearings and the mark-up of the bill to ensure that the final legislation provides fair and sensible legalization provisions, and includes basic due process protections such as right to counsel for anyone who is detained or in danger of being deported, and the right to a speedy bond hearing. We will also continue to push for expansion of racial profiling from the border to interior immigration enforcement practices, as well as strong workplace protections. Finally we will assert that our broken criminal justice system cannot be the proxy for determining eligibility for eventual citizenship."

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, established in 1972, has won landmark civil rights cases in education, housing, voting, migrant, immigrant, employment and other civil rights.

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