Immigrants with a criminal past may soon have a ‘New Way Forward’ to stay in the US

Source: Sacramento Bee

Cuong Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee who arrived in the U.S. at age 11, agreed to deliver drugs after finding out that his father owed a large sum of money when he was in his early 20s.

He was charged in 2006 and served a 24-month sentence. But Nguyen was suddenly detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement on and off for two years, separating him from his wife and young son, who lived in fear uncertain when he’d return home. …read more

Democrats Introduce Sweeping Plan To ‘End The Criminalization Of Immigration’

Source: Huffington Post Politics Column – Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

New legislation from Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García, Ayanna Pressley and more would decriminalize border crossings and limit the “prison-to-deportation” pipeline.

Democratic lawmakers announced broad legislation on Tuesday aiming to decriminalize migration and disrupt the “prison-to-deportation” pipeline.  

The ”New Way Forward Act” from Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) ― co-sponsored by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and dozens more ― aims to “correct racial and anti-immigrant injustices embedded in our immigration laws,” per a release from García’s team…read more

Speaking Out in Defense of Cities that Protect Immigrants

IJN has been working for years to convince localities to pass legislation protecting the human rights of immigrants, including ending collaboration with the federal government’s mass detention and deportation machine. Unfortunately, Donald Trump and others have used a senseless killing in San Francisco to demonize so-called “sanctuary cities” and roll back our hard-won gains. IDP Executive Director Alisa Wellek has reached national TV audiences with our message on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show and ABC’s Nightline, and has published op-eds on The Huffington Post and The Hill.

Watch Alisa’s appearance on Nightline, her comments begin at the 4:12 mark.

Mandatory Minimums: Unjust for Immigrants Too

Source:  Huffington Post Politics Blog – Angie Junck

The nation’s leading law enforcement agency has finally acknowledged that mandatory minimum sentences are not only unnecessary, but actually harm and undermine basic democratic principles of the American justice system. This signifies the beginning of a broad consensus that a “tough on crime” approach has failed. The proposed “Smart on Crime” reforms instead calls for modernizing the criminal justice system by rethinking the country’s reliance on mass imprisonment, which has led to the highest rate of incarceration in U.S. history and cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The reforms are meant to ensure …read more

House Republicans Need to Stop Playing Games With Immigrant Families’ Futures

Source: Huffington Post Politics Blog – Paromita Shah

Republican members of the House are playing games with immigrant families’ futures. Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing was meant to explore policies that would offer (some) DREAMers’ a path to citizenship. Their half-hearted, piece meal approach exemplifies House legislators’ aim to stall and thwart the passage of a comprehensive reform bill that would ensure a fair and inclusive path to citizenship. These very same leaders voted against the DREAM Act in 2010, but confronted with mounting political pressure, they are now scrambling to piece together legislation that on its face may appear to present a solution, but would ultimately …read more

Senate Immigration Bill Is Not a Clear Victory for Immigrant Communities

Source: Huffington Post Politics Blog – Alisa Wellek

The final Senate vote on the immigration bill has just been cast. This is a historic moment for the United States, but there remain serious problems with this flawed bill as it stands today. The Senate bill falls short of ensuring fundamental due process protections for all aspiring citizens, and disregards the safety and wellbeing of immigrant communities nationwide by including extreme and punitive measures that leave individuals vulnerable to racial profiling, automatic deportation and human and civil rights abuses along the borders. As the legislation moves on to the House, there are critical protections that must be guaranteed and expanded … Read more

Senate Immigration Amendment’s Gang Provisions Enforce Guilt by Association and Not Conviction

Source: Huffington Post Politics Blog – Angie Junck

This week the Senate will choose to either perpetuate the harsh and ineffective policies of current immigration law, or take important steps forward to ensure that the millions of undocumented individuals and green card holders have a fair chance to get on the pathway to citizenship. As it stands today, the bill and proposed amendments fall short of ensuring a fair and inclusive path forward. The current bill imposes extreme limitations, which will result in keeping thousands, if not millions from coming out of the shadows. The bill continues to criminalize immigrants by targeting specific groups for deportation; one such group includes alleged members of a gang. Targeting gang members sounds like a sensible enforcement focus, but the Senate bill’s provisions are crafted so broadly that they target even those who have never been gang members, have never been convicted of a crime, or left gangs years ago and have long since rehabilitated. Moreover, an amendment to the current reform bill, introduced by Sen. Grassley, makes this harsh provision far worse by making it very easy to be labeled a gang member …read more

Putting an End to Sledgehammer Justice: Lawmakers Must Heed the Call for a Fair and Inclusive Path to Citizenship

Source: Huffington Post Politics Blog – Alisa Wellek

The current immigration bill falls short of overhauling our broken immigration system. The heart of the bill is clearly the pathway to citizenship, but what’s missing from the conversation is the number of individuals who will actually be barred from this path. Provisions in the bill and several amendments that senators will vote on this week exacerbate the current denial of due process rights in the immigration system. They aim to further exclude immigrants, both undocumented individuals and green card holders, leaving them off the path and without a fair day in court before facing permanent separation from their families…read more

Expanding Domestic Violence Deportation Grounds Does No Favors to Survivors

Source: Huffington Post Politics Blog – Paromita Shah

What’s at stake in the immigration reform bill is whether or not we continue to perpetuate the harsh and short-sighted policies of our current immigration laws. As the bill and proposed amendments stand today, we are headed down a path that will continue to criminalize immigrants and mandate wholesale lock up and deportation. We cannot afford to squander this moment; the outcome must be a set of fair and humane policies that consider the individual circumstances of the millions of undocumented and green card holders who live on American soil …read more

Let Immigration Judges be Judges

Source: The Hill’s Congress Blog – Dana Leigh Marks

The upcoming congressional debate over comprehensive immigration reform presents a rare opportunity for immigrants living in this country to have a real chance at pursuing the American dream. As reform legislation is drafted and debated, we must consider the essential role immigration courts play in ensuring that everyone has a fair day in court when presenting their case to remain in the United States. Congress must revisit the courts’ current resources and structuring, and better equip and empower our benches to secure due process for all …read more

The Immigrant Justice Network is a leading advocacy voice against the criminalization of immigrants in the United States. Grounded in racial justice values, we build power to defend the dignity of all immigrants.