Category Archives: Immigration

Listen: Interfaith Partners Oppose the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule

Listen: Interfaith Partners Oppose the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule

Lee Morrow
August 15, 2019

This week the Trump administration announced that their proposed changes to our nation’s public charge rule are scheduled go into effect in October. NETWORK and our fellow faith-based advocacy partners were compelled to respond. Representatives from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Church World Service, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Faith in Public Life joined Sister Simone Campbell to denounce this harmful change to our nation’s immigration policy.

“The Trump Administration is making history in all the wrong ways,” said Liza Lieberman, Director of Public Policy for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “For the first time, U.S. immigration officials will be instructed to consider non-cash basic needs benefits (including vital food assistance from the SNAP) in considering immigrants’ qualifications for admission or adjustment of status. This is completely unacceptable—nobody should be forced to choose between accepting government assistance and living in safety in the country they call home. This policy is an affront to our Jewish values of compassion and nondiscrimination, as well as our deeply-held belief that everyone deserves access to the resources they need to feed themselves and their families.”

Faith William, Senior Manager of Government Affairs at the National Council of Jewish Women added, “Jews are an immigrant and refugee people – it’s part of our cultural DNA. We recognize that the rule, reportedly Stephen Miller’s “singular obsession,” is part of a larger effort by this administration to criminalize and marginalize people of color, including immigrants of color. The National Council of Jewish Women will not cease in its fight against this and other harmful anti-immigrant, anti-asylee, and anti-refugee policies.”

Sister Simone Campbell stated “This public charge rule is a full scale assault on hard working low wage workers…  These essential programs that they are legally entitled to are really the keys to being able to support their families and thrive here in the United States. President Trump is literally taking food off the tables of our neighbors.”

Share on Social Media:

National faith-based organizations condemn Trump Administration’s draconian #publiccharge rule. This is not who we are. Listen here: https://networklobby.org/20190815publiccharge/ @NETWORKLobby @MAZONusa @global_cws @NCJW @FaithPublicLife

.@DHSgov issued a final rule to radically expand the criteria for who could be considered a #publiccharge under U.S. immigration law. This will separate families & impact millions of people including U.S. citizens. @NETWORKLobby @MAZONusa @CWS_global @NCJW @FaithPublicLife Our interfaith response: https://networklobby.org/20190815publiccharge/

Trump’s #publiccharge rule change is sinful. Learn more about how faith-based organizations are fighting back: https://networklobby.org/20190815publiccharge/. @NETWORKLobby @MAZONusa @CWS_global @NCJW @FaithPublicLife

We’re proud to stand with our interfaith partners in opposition to Trump’s vindictive #publiccharge policy. This is the latest in a string of attacks on immigrant families, and it goes against our most basic values. #ProtectImmigrantFamilies https://networklobby.org/20190815publiccharge/ @NETWORKLobby @MAZONusa @global_cws @NCJW @FaithPublicLife

Taking Action: Three Women, Three Stories

Taking Action against Child Detention: Three Women, Three Stories

Laura Peralta-Schulte
July 22, 2019

Last week, Catholics came together to call for an end of the inhumanity happening at the U.S. border and in detention camps around the country. Our day of action was an attempt to draw attention to the corrupt and deadly practices funded by our government. As a participant in civil disobedience, I was deeply inspired by the Catholic Sisters, Priests, and lay leaders participating, many of whom have spent their entire lives in the service of justice and peace. They are models of goodness, wisdom, and courage in the service of God.

There were, however, three women participating who engaged in civil disobedience for the first time.  They are not Catholic clergy, not part of a Catholic organization or a religious order. I spoke with each of them while we were processed for violating the law. I would like to share their stories, because they offer a new model of religious activism for us.

The first woman was the mother of two teenage girls. She is one of the few people in her close circle of friends who is documented. Each of her friends desperately wanted to join in civil disobedience but were rightly concerned about the threat of deportation. She reported the pain is very deep in her community over the treatment of migrants at the border and the raids in the U.S. Her daughters discouraged her to engage in civil disobedience out of fear for their mother. Her husband too was fearful. She insisted, however, she had to join because she could. Her witness and action was a bold example of courage led by the Spirit.

The second woman, also a mother, works for a big company and is not typically engaged in activism.  She decided to join in the action as she sat in church two weekends ago listening to the story of the Good Samaritan. Her priest posed the question, “Who is your neighbor?” and something just clicked.  While she confessed she normally is slow and methodical when making decisions, she instantly decided to participate. It was a moment of moral clarity. She followed the Spirit and took a leap of faith.

The third woman works for a local elected official. This work puts her in direct relationship with immigrant communities. She shared how her county is proactively engaging in know your rights training and trying to foster a safe community for immigrant families. She joined the action because she sees the pain and trauma in her community. She came because she wanted people to know she stands on the side of children and families in detention. She engaged in a prophetic act of witness.

As people of faith, we are all called to act for justice. The sacred call is not limited to our faith leaders, but extends to each of us. No matter who you are, you can participate in the creative process of the Spirit and work for change. Whatever road you take – through prayer, writing a letter to your Member of Congress, joining a vigil or civil disobedience – just do it. We must show courage, act out of faith, and bear witness to the pain of our world, if we are to use our collective energy to end the inhumanity of child detention in our nation.

President Trump Calls for Mass Raids This Weekend: What is Your Faithful Response?

President Trump Calls for Mass Raids This Weekend: What is Your Faithful Response?

Laura Peralta-Schulte
June 21, 2019

President Trump began his 2020 campaign this week with the same anti-immigrant platform he ran on in 2016. In his opening speech, he promised to begin a set of raids intended to “remove millions of illegal aliens beginning this weekend.”  Thus begins the likely ramping up increased domestic terror against our immigrant sisters and brothers.  Following the announcement, there have been leaks from ICE, the agency in charge of conducting raids, confirming they may begin actions as early as this weekend. While raids are not new – the Administration has already conducted massive raids in places like Ohio, Wisconsin, and Tennessee – this racketing up is intended to remind President Trump’s supporters that this is still his number one campaign objective.

Our best understanding is that individuals and family units with final orders of removal are anticipated to be targeted. Such targeting would likely result in collateral arrests, meaning: persons who are undocumented but do not have a final order of deportation will likely be detained also.

What does this mean for us, as people of faith?

For some of us, this means our families will sit in fear between now and the election waiting for a knock on the door. We will fill out the appropriate legal documents full of personal information so that if the worse happens, we know our kids will be safe in the custody of a family member or a friend. We will review what we learned at Know Your Rights trainings so that if and when the knock comes, we know what to do. We will live in a continued state of fear.

We learn more and more everyday about the impact of toxic stress on the bodies and health of people under duress. It takes a tremendous toll on a person’s physical, mental and emotional health. We are reminded by our partners at the Center for Law and Social Policy about what happens when children witness the arrest of a parent – particularly in their own home. The children are now ‘at greater risk of suffering mental health and behavioral problems with have long-term implications for their overall development and future success.’

What does it mean for those of us who are not directly impacted?  This is the key faithful question of our time. As people grounded in sacred texts that call for welcome and love, how do we respond? Do we look away because it all seems overwhelming? Do we chose to sit in our comfortable homes, go to our pools, enjoy a barbeque with family and friends completely detached from this terror? Or, do we engage in acts of resistance and love?

NETWORK is continuously engaging in discernment to discover how we as an organization can live a more authentic life, one grounded in the work of racial justice. This year, our Lenten reflections aimed to strengthen our commitment to be and work in solidarity with communities of color, so we can live out our call to justice for all people in the public square.

We must shake off the choice of inaction. To fail to speak out against injustice is to be complicit.  We can and we must live into our call to be a people of love and justice.

Congress Holds Hearing on Situation at the Border

Congress Holds Hearing on Situation at the Border

Laura Peralta-Schulte
June 11, 2019

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing to examine the refugee crisis at U.S. – Mexico border. The key witness will be Acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan. During the hearing, McAleenan is expected to call for: increasing border militarization; stripping away the rights of children from Central America to seek asylum; making it more difficult for families to assert a claim to asylum; and dramatically expanding family detention.

This Administration has already taken unpresented steps to dismantle our asylum system, going as far as separating children from their parents with full knowledge of the harm this inflicts on children and families. Tragically, at least six children have died in federal custody in the past year due to lack of access to healthcare. It was recently revealed that 37 children were locked in vans for up to 39 hours in a parking lot of a detention center outside Port Isabel, Texas.  Further, the private prisons this Administration desperately seeks to expand to house immigrant families have come under continued criticism for their dangerous conditions. Just last week the Inspector General Department of Homeland Security found “egregious” health and safety violations at four major ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facilities.

None of this is surprising given immigration was President Trump’s signature issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. His racist attack on immigrants, symbolized by the call to “build the wall”, set the stage for the policies his Administration is currently pursuing.  The scapegoating of immigrants and asylum seekers will only increase as we head into the 2020 campaign.

Sacred scripture instructs people of faith about how we should treat migrants.  We are called to “release those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke.” (Isaiah 58) We must “Bring good news to the poor…release to the captives…sight to the blind…let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:16-21) This is not a political issue for the faith community, it is a matter of justice.

Acting Secretary McAleenan, let us be clear:  NETWORK and our interfaith partners reject your false choice between chaos and compassion. It is wrong to use a humanitarian crisis to shred laws protecting vulnerable families seeking asylum. It is wrong to cage children and families in indefinite detention. It is wrong to strip protections for children that keep them safe and healthy.

These actions are cruel and unjust. We will continue to call for justice for our immigrant family.

House Dream and Promise Act Vote Approaches

House Dream and Promise Act Vote Approaches

Laura Peralta-Schulte
June 4, 2019

Today, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019. This legislation would provide permanent protections and offer a pathway to citizenship for more than two million immigrants who are Dreamers and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) or DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) holders.

We at NETWORK strongly support this legislation and encourage all members of the House to vote for the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6). You can still call your Representative’s office and ask them to vote YES on H.R. 6 before the vote today by dialing 888-738-3058.

Read the vote recommendation that NETWORK sent to all House offices below :

NETWORK Calls on Congress to Immediately Pass the American Dream Act and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) to Provide a Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers, TPS, and DED Recipients

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social justice. We have a 46-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support people at the margins of our society and prioritize the common good. Inspired by our founding Catholic Sisters and the leadership of the women who followed, we faithfully embody Gospel justice as we work for change. We are rooted in Catholic Social Justice and open to all who share our passion. NETWORK Lobby has over 100,000 members in every congressional district across the country.

Catholic Social Justice teaches that all people are made in the image and likeness of God and possess an equal and inalienable worth. Because of this essential dignity, each person has a right to what is necessary to reach their full potential as intended by God. NETWORK believes it is long past time for Congress to provide Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders with a pathway to citizenship. This has been a cornerstone goal of numerous legislative efforts to reform our broken, outdated immigration system. The American Dream Act and the Promise Act will create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders.

NETWORK strongly urges you to support and pass this legislation. Failing to create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS and DED holders would mean that we fail to recognize their contributions to our society and their inalienable worth.  We also request all Members to oppose any changes to the bill on the floor including a Motion to Recommit.  Adoption of any amendment would risk final passage of this important bill.

Every day that a real solution is delayed, countless members of our community have to live in anxiety and fear, unsure if they will be allowed to stay in the country they call home. For far too long, our immigrant sisters and brothers have waited for Congress to pass legislation that affirms their dignity by providing them access to citizenship. Congress must pass the American Dream Act and Promise Act immediately.

Rabbi Kimelman-Block: Mourning Children Who Died at U.S. Border

Mourning Children Who Died at U.S. Border

Rabbi Kimelman-Block
May 28, 2019

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, NETWORK joined faith partners in a prayer vigil for children who have died in the custody of Border Patrol. Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block shared the following remarks: 

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel recounted a story of when he was a little child in Europe, he was studying the book of Bereshit, Genesis with his teacher.  They began studying the story of Akedat Yitzhak, the binding of Isaac.  They read about God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his child. They read about the three day journey. They read about Abraham and Isaac carrying the wood to Mount Moriah, of Abramac tying Isaac to the altar, and grasping the knife in his hand.  Little Heschel, as a young boy, began to weep. The teacher reassured him – “No, child — please read the rest of the story — don’t you know? Isaac was spared! An angel comes and rescues him at the last moment!

Heschel responded.  “But the angel came at the very last second!”  What if the angel was delayed and had arrived too late?  That would have been the end of Isaac — and the story of the Jewish people would have ended there on that alter?!”

The teacher responded — “Young boy — don’t you know; an angel cannot be late!”

Heschel then instructed all of us “It may not be possible for an angel to be too late, but is all too possible for a human being, of flesh and blood, to be too late.”

We say this morning, with broken hearts and with tears in our eyes that we were too late.

We were too late for Carlos, 

We were too late for Wilmar, 

We were too late for Jakelin, 

We were too late for Felipe, 

We were too late for Juan.

And we were too late for Claudia Patricia Gómez González, who one year ago today was shot was shot in the head by a Border Patrol agent while seeking safety in the United States. 

May all of their memories be blessings — 

And may we be blessed to see this society finally declare “no more”  and act decisively to stop this cruelty.

Let us declare this morning that all of us, this entire society, must take responsibility for these children’s deaths.  In the words of the grown-up Rabbi Heschel “in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” 

Let us confess the fact, that despite our protests, despite our opposition, despite our support for immigrants, for these children — for Carlos, Wilmar, Jakelin, Felipe, Juan, Claudia — we failed and we were too late.

And let us also resolve that we will not be too late for the next children.

By demanding accountability to those in charge of detention facilities; 

By demanding accountability for ICE and CBP — and demanding that Congress rein them in – by demanding Congress defund hate;

By calling for the resignation of the government officials in charge of implementing immoral and cruel immigration policies.

Let us resolve, not in words or in tears, but in action that we will not be too late.


Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block is the Washington Director​of BEND THE ARC: Jewish Action.

New HUD Rule Aims to Harm Immigrant Families

New HUD Rule Aims to Harm Immigrant Families

Bridget Falzon
May 20, 2019

On May 10, 2019, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a proposed rule titled “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status.” The rule would significantly change HUD regulations by further restricting eligibility for federal housing assistance based on immigration status. If finalized, the proposed rule will effectively evict 25,000 immigrant families from their homes, affecting over 55,000 children (citizens or legal residents) who are fully eligible for housing assistance under federal law.1

NETWORK is deeply concerned about the impact of this proposed rule on families. Housing security supports the dignity and well-being of every person; all people deserve access to housing regardless of their socioeconomic standing or immigration status. It is wrong to forced families to choose between staying together and risking homelessness or splitting their family up.

The proposed rule prohibits “mixed-status” families from living in federally subsidized units subject to immigration status restrictions under Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 (“Section 214”). Mixed-status families are households comprised of members who have eligible and ineligible immigration statuses defined by Section 214. Currently, families with at least one U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant are permitted to live in a subsidized housing unit. Mixed-status families receive housing assistance on a prorated basis—where the amount of the housing subsidy for the household is decreased to account for family members with ineligible immigration status.

Under current HUD regulations, only family members that are applying for housing assistance need to have their immigration status verified. Family members who would not qualify for assistance based on their immigration status can elect not to contend eligibility for the housing assistance, allowing the family to receive assistance on a prorated basis. The proposed rule would eliminate an individual’s ability to elect not to contend their eligibility for the subsidy, and would require all household members under the age of 62 to submit verification of their immigration status through the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system.

Under the proposed rule, U.S. Citizens and Nationals, who currently must only provide a signed declaration of U.S. citizenship or U.S. nationality, would also need to submit documentation of their citizenship status. Furthermore, noncitizens who are 62 years old and older, who currently are only required to provide a signed declaration of eligible immigration status and a proof of age document, would also be required submit immigration documentation, although the documentation would not be verified through SAVE. If these individuals are not able to produce the documentation in the required timeframes, they risk losing their housing assistance.

NETWORK Lobby is gearing up to fight this proposal and will soon be inviting NETWORK members to submit comments about this rule to HUD by July 9.  We can work to stop the Trump administration’s attack on immigrant families if we raise our voices in opposition to this cruel proposed rule.


Submit a comment opposing this rule here.

Advocating for Congress to Pass H.R. 6: The Dream and Promise Act of 2019

Advocating for Congress to Pass H.R. 6: The Dream and Promise Act of 2019

Laura Peralta-Schulte
April 17, 2019

The Dream and Promise Act of 2019, H.R. 6, was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. This legislation establishes a roadmap to U.S. citizenship for (1) immigrant youth and (2) current or potential holders of (a) temporary protected status (TPS) or (b) deferred enforced departure (DED). The bill provides conditional permanent resident (CPR) status and a roadmap to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status and, eventually, U.S. citizenship for immigrant youth who entered the U.S. before age 18, have four or more years of residency, and graduated from high school (or the equivalent). In addition, it provides an opportunity for people who currently have or who may be eligible for TPS or DED who have three or more years of residency to apply for LPR status and, eventually, U.S. citizenship. This common sense legislation mends the gap in access to citizenship and allows our immigrant sisters and brothers to receive legal protections that will allow them to continue to thrive.

Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders have lived in the United States for years. They are an integral part of our society. For example, in 1990, Salvadorans were given TPS and many have lived in the United States since then.  Individuals from other countries were also given similar protection in response to emergency conditions in countries impacted by war, famine or natural disaster.  Likewise, Dreamers have lived the majority of their lives in the U.S. and some have been protected by DACA since 2012. DACA, TPS, and DED programs have allowed these immigrants to work in the U.S. and shielded from deportation.  In return, they have contributed billions to our economy, started American families, and integrated into American culture.

How does H.R. 6 help immigrant youth?

  1. Longer CPR status. Extends the length of CPR status from eight to ten years to give applicants more time to fulfill requirements.
  2. Expands stays of removal. Stays the removal of minors who are not yet eligible for relief but may become eligible in the future and who temporarily unenroll from school.
  3. Better hardship standard. Permits people with CPR to obtain LPR status without satisfying the employment, military, or educational tracks if their deportation would cause “hardship” to themselves or immediate family members (instead of “extreme hardship”).
  4. Apprenticeship eligibility. Includes apprenticeship programs as a qualifying education to obtain CPR status.
  5. No medical examination. Eliminates the costly medical examination for applicants.
  6. Caps fee. Establishes a fee ceiling of $495 for immigrant youth applying for CPR status.
  7. Professional licenses. Clarifies that people with CPR can access professional, commercial, and business licenses.
  8. Career and technical education. Permits people with CPR who obtain a certificate or credential from an area career and technical education school to obtain LPR status.
  9. Criminal and inadmissibility bars. Updates the criminal background bars and inadmissibility requirements.1

Additionally, H.R. 6 has the following provisions that are similar to the Dream Act of 2017:

  1. LPR status. Provides LPR status to CPR holders who: (1) serve in the uniformed services for two years, (2) complete two years at or obtain a degree from an institution of higher education, or (3) work 75 percent of the time in CPR status (with flexible evidentiary burdens such as affidavits).
  2. Removes barriers to in-state tuition. Makes it easier for states to provide in-state tuition to immigrant students.
  3. Federal financial aid. Establishes that CPR-holders are eligible for federal loans, work study, services, but not grants.

How does H.R. 6 help people with TPS or DED?

  1. LPR status. Provides LPR status for people with TPS or DED (and those who were eligible but did not apply) who apply within three years from the date of enactment if they (1) had at least three years of continuous residence (as well as residence since the date required the last time that the person’s nation of origin was designated) and (2) were eligible for or had (a) TPS on Sept. 25, 2016, or (b) DED on Sept. 28, 2016. This includes nationals of 13 countries: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
  2. Inspection and admission. Classifies people with TPS or DED as inspected and admitted for the purposes of Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) section 245(a), making it easier to obtain LPR status through existing channels (e.g., a family-based petition).
  3. Stay of removal. Stays the removal (deportation) of individuals while an application is pending.
  4. Caps fee. Establishes a fee ceiling of $1,140 for people with TPS or DED applying for LPR status.
  5. Transparency for TPS. Requires the secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide an explanation for and report within three days of publishing notice to terminate TPS designation for certain nationals.

How does H.R. 6 help both immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED?

  1. Deported immigrants eligible. Enables certain immigrant youth deported under the Trump administration and people who had TPS or DED who were deported as of September 2016 to apply for relief from abroad.
  2. Protections for detained and non-detained. Allows immigrants in deportation proceedings, including those in detention, to apply for relief under the INA and protects eligible applicants from deportation.
  3. Administrative review. Provides robust administrative and judicial review of denials.
  4. Grant program. Establishes a grant program for nonprofit organizations to assist applicants.
  5. Fee exemption. Provides a narrow fee exemption for applicants who meet certain requirements.
  6. Advance parole and employment authorization. Allows individuals with a pending application to apply for advance parole and employment authorization (a work permit).
  7. Adjustment through existing channels. Clarifies that individuals may apply for LPR status through existing legal pathways, such as through family- or employment-based sponsorship.
  8. Confidentiality provisions. Protects the information submitted by applicants (and all DACA requests) from disclosure.

NETWORK is working to get every Democratic member in the House to co-sponsor the bill and to find Republican co-sponsors as well.

Now is the time for all of us to ask our Members of Congress to support H.R. 6.

Young, Scrappy, and Hungry for Immigration Reform

Young, Scrappy, and Hungry for Immigration Reform

José Arnulfo Cabrera
March 22, 2019

When I first was introduced to Hamilton, it was during the 2016 election. Every morning I listen to NPR to stay up to date on current news, but as I listened then to Trump’s growing support and then saw him win the Republican nomination, I felt my hope for this country fade away. So I switched to listening to Hamilton every morning. Listening to the musical spreads the notion that America is this great unfinished symphony — where an orphan immigrant can make a name for himself.

I’m obsessed with Hamilton because it’s the most beautiful underdog story I ever heard: about a kid who, his whole life, had to fight against an everlasting hurricane wanting to wash him away. In “Alexander Hamilton,” the cast sings, “The ship is in the harbor now. See if you can spot him. Another immigrant comin’ up from the bottom.” Who would have thought that someone in that crowd would be one of the founding fathers, the architect of the modern U.S., the architect of the financial powerhouse we are – who would create more things that outlived him and anyone else before him? I bet that’s what history will say of Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa (undocumented farmworker to internationally renowned neuroscientist and neurosurgeon), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-5), and us.

Both Dreamers and TPS holders are Americans in every way. You never find a shortage of these amazing stories of people who are defying the odds, because that’s how we were raised and how America raised us to be; to defy the odds. We had the tenacity to defy those who said we would never go to college, contribute to our country, or say we couldn’t pass a background check.

The musical shares that Alexander Hamilton wanted to create a system that truly allowed people like him to make a name for themselves in this unfinished symphony. That’s what the U.S. inspires people to be: a country where immigrants who come from nothing and are nothing, can work tirelessly to create systems that outlive them.

That’s why there’s no shortage of successful Dreamers and TPS holders, though that’s not the reality for all of them. When I was an organizer in Cincinnati, many of the Dreamers who I organized with weren’t able to go to college because of the everlasting hurricanes that are trying to wash us away.

For the majority of us, we didn’t see DACA coming, just deportation. The realities of being an undocumented youth are knowing that no matter how hard you worked in school, how impressive your GPA was, or how many scholarships to college you could collect; the moment you graduate you’ll watch your classmate get their dream jobs while you struggle to find a job because of your status. There were so many students – including me – who didn’t see the value of furthering their education.

I saw a lot of DACA recipients who didn’t have the impressive GPA to get into the big schools and get the scholarships. And those were the Dreamers who had the money to pay for their DACA. This status gave us financial liberty that made our families depend on us. Many of us had the most secure job in our household.

The DREAM-Promise Act, H.R. 6, is a good first step in truly making America an unfinished symphony. When this bill passes, so many people will finally get their pathway to citizenship. Trust me, with citizenship and passion of community organizers, America will have an overflow of underdog stories from Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders.

So much of what I’ve learned from Hamilton is what it means to leave a legacy:

“It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see
I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me
America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me
You let me make a difference, a place where even orphan immigrants
Can leave their fingerprints and rise up”

H.R. 6 can be the 116th Congress’s legacy. This bill can be the legacy of all the organizations that are working for pro-immigration policy. Of all the immigration reform organizers. The legacy towards an immigration reform bill that will give a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrations. It’s our legacy.

Invitation to Congress: Marriage of TPS and DREAM

Invitation to Congress: Marriage of TPS and DREAM

José Arnulfo Cabrera
February 26, 2019

On February 12, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders took to the streets of Washington, D.C. demanding Congress to pass legislation that would give them a pathway to citizenship, after the Trump Administration pressured the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deny their document renewals. TPS holders who have been in the U.S. for years, some since 1990, all of sudden now face the potential reality of going back to their native countries or becoming undocumented.

Temporary Protected Status was first enacted by the Immigration Act of 1990, which reformed our immigration system. One of the many things the bill created was away for foreign nationals who couldn’t legally be defined as refugee or asylee (but without a doubt fleeing, reluctant to return, or unable to return to their home country due to violence) to attain legal status. TPS allowed individuals to be granted work authorization without being deported.  The first group to be granted TPS was Salvadoran nationals. As time went on more foreign nationals were granted status and now people from ten countries are eligible to receive TPS.

For almost 29 years, TPS holders have been living successfully in the U.S. They have started families and careers, and have contributed to American society, but now are fighting to stay in their new home with the families and lives they’ve created. TPS holders and recipients (also called DREAMers) both find themselves in danger of losing their status and having to leave the U.S., or become undocumented. Like TPS holders, DACA recipients have been living in the U.S. for years and only in the past seven years have they had some form of status that allowed them to work in the U.S. Last Congress, multiple bills were introduced that would have “fixed” the problem the Trump Administration created. Of all the bills introduced, only two bills would have given DACA recipients and TPS holders a pathway to citizenship: the American Promise Act would have given TPS holders a pathway to citizenship and the DREAM Act would have given DACA recipients, as well as some who didn’t fit the age requirement, a pathway to citizenship.

This congress is different. Not only do the faces of Congress look different, but so are the bills they’re introducing. Instead of having two separate bills that would give TPS holders and DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship, the house will introduce a single bill that will give both a pathway to citizenship! While the specifics of this bill are not public yet, the bill will pave the way for comprehensive immigration reform. Hopefully, the House Judiciary Committee will soon have a hearing that will allow Members of Congress to know more about the people facing the issue, so that they can then move the bill forward.

TPS holders and DACA recipients have always been here, and they’ve always been a part of American society. Sorry to those who just noticed us, but we’re not leaving — because this is home for us.