Office of Government Relations

Immigration Advocacy Newsletter June 2014

June 4, 2014
Office of Government Relations

Immigration Advocacy Network Newsletter- June 2014

President Obama delays the DHS review of immigration enforcement policies;

Congress heads home for June recess; National Refugee Advocacy week begins and the rise in unaccompanied immigrant children continues  


  1. Advocacy Calendar
  2. Legislative and Administrative Updates
  3. Immigration in the News
  4. Resources


  1. Advocacy Calendar

June 2-6 is National Refugee Advocacy week! Your Senators and Representative are home this week, June 2-6. Take this opportunity to meet with them to discuss important refugee policy and funding issues, introduce them to a refugee, or invite them to an event in advance of World Refugee Day on June 20. No time to set up a meeting? Give them a call and tell them why you support refugee resettlement.

Sample invitations and meeting requests, talking points on important refugee legislation, and funding advocacy can be found in the World Refugee Day Toolkit. Please let me know if you schedule a meeting or your member attends an event so that I can make sure their DC office also knows about the great work you’re doing!

  • World Refugee Toolkit
  • Find your Representative and Senators here

World Refugee Day is Friday, June 20. Each year, The Episcopal Church joins organizations and individuals across the world in celebrating World Refugee Day. Mark your calendar for this “annual opportunity to examine the dire global and regional conflicts and persecutions that create refugees, and to celebrate the resilience and success of the former refugees who bless communities in our midst with the riches of their earned wisdom, energy and spirit” – The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Looking to host an event? Host a screening of “Who is Dayani Cristal?” with these resources from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” tells the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the broken immigration system. Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition, this film is both moving and educational and can be a great resource for communities seeking to deepen their knowledge of and engagement with immigration reform advocacy.

  • Find your film resources, study guides, and screening events near you here
  1. Legislative and Administrative Updates

President Obama delays administrative review of deportation and enforcement policy until August, asking House leadership to take action this summer

On May 27, President Obama announced his plans to delay his administration’s review of their immigration enforcement actions until after the August recess. In announcing the delay, the President stated that he intended to give the Republican controlled House the summer to take action on comprehensive immigration reform before pursuing administrative fixes to the immigration system. In late March, the President asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to conduct a review of current deportation policies and what could be done to make the immigration enforcement system more humane, after months of increased pressure from advocates across the country and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The retreat on this review was announced shortly after several high profile immigration advocacy organizations sent a letter to the President asking him to delay administrative action and urging Congress to act this summer on immigration reform. Other immigration advocacy groups have denounced the delay, and House leadership has not indicated that it plans to take up any of the piecemeal immigration bills currently introduced.

Numbers of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the southern border continues to climb; President Obama directs FEMA to oversee the multiagency response to this “urgent humanitarian crisis”

Since 2011, the number of unaccompanied immigrant children making the dangerous passage from Central America to the southern border has increased more than seven-fold. Fleeing gang violence and forced recruitment, gender-based violence, and crushing poverty in nations like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, these children are making the perilous journey alone, often becoming victims of violence and extortion along the way. Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is mandated to care for these children when they arrive, but recent levels of arrivals have overwhelmed the program and pushed the refugee resettlement program’s budget to the breaking point.

The goal of the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program is to provide holistic, child-centered care for the unprecedented numbers of UAC arriving at U.S. borders. Before 2011, only a few thousand children arrived per year but since 2011, the numbers have increased sevenfold, with over 24,000 children arriving last year and a projected 66,000 expected to arrive in fiscal year 2014. Once children cross the border, they are placed in the custody of ORR where the needs and the best interests of the children are assessed.  On average, children remain in ORR custody for 30 days, before they are either reunited with family in the U.S., returned to their country of origin, or it is determined that they qualify for immigration status as an asylum seeker, victim of  human trafficking, or other serious crime or other humanitarian relief programs. Some children without family in the U.S. are placed in foster care programs.

The future of these children and the program remains unclear as violence and instability continue to force migration north. On Monday, June 2, President Obama issued a memorandum, calling for FEMA to oversee a multiagency response to this “urgent humanitarian crisis,” while the Office of Management and Budget requested additional funding for the program from appropriators in Congress in order to care for the newest UAC arrivals.

  • Flood of child migrants a neglected challenge, Politico
  • The Episcopal Church believes that all of the populations within the refugee resettlement program deserve equal protection and access to services.  As part of your advocacy in support of refugees this week, please call your members of Congress and ask them to support the vulnerable children and vulnerable refugees under ORR’s mandate by increasing funding for this lifesaving program. A sample script can be found on page 5 of the toolkit
  1. Immigration in the News (opinion pieces and editorials appear in red)

Immigrants Working While They Wait

By Lawrence Downes

The New York Times, 5/8/14


Impunity and the Border Patrol

The Editorial Board

The New York Times, 5/11/14


U.S. Border Patrol’s Response to Violence in Question

By John Burnett

NPR, 5/15/14


Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

By Ian Urbina

The New York Times, 5/24/14


Immigrant Detainees Deserve Fair Pay, Justice

By Raúl A. Reyes

Fox News Latino, 5/28/14


Hmong priest finds ‘different vision of Christ’ in Episcopal Church

By Joe Winter, 5/29/14

National Catholic Reporter


Sweep Coincides With Delay on Deportation Policy Changes

By Julia Preston

The New York Times, 5/29/14


Pentagon Plan to Enlist Young Immigrants Is Delayed at White House’s Request

By Julia Preston

The New York Times, 5/29/14


Customs and Border Protection Updates Rules on Use of Force

By Miriam Jordan

The Wall Street Journal, 5/30/14


4. Resources

  • What Happens to Migrants After They Are Deported? Find out in this article from the Washington Office on Latin America
  • Read the most recent report from UNHCR on the forced migration of children from Central America: Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection
  • A growing number of cities, counties and states are opting to limit their compliance with ICE detainer requests for immigrants that pose no threat to public safety. See if your community is listed and find out more about the work across the country
  • Migration Policy Institute report titled, The Deportation Dilemma: Reconciling Tough and Humane Enforcement. The report noted that the United States has deported a record number of unauthorized immigrants and other removable noncitizens in recent years. It showed how the Obama administration inherited — and expanded upon — unprecedented capacity to identify, apprehend, and deport unauthorized immigrants. Nearly as many people were formally deported during the first five years of the current administration (over 1.9 million) as during the entire eight years of the prior administration (2.0 million).



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