TOP’s Tremillo Risks Arrest at Action in DC for Immigrant Families

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Michelle Tremillo, executive director of the Texas Organizing Project, was cited and released today in Washington D.C. while protesting Congress’ lack of progress in passing a clean DREAM Act and the Trump’s administration repeal of TPS. Tremillo made the following statement on why she risked arrest today:

“Today, I was proud to join thousands of other community members from across this country who stood up for immigrant families, and the heart and soul of America. We put our bodies on the line because our families’ future is on the line. We stood together with immigrant youth and families and faced arrest to demand that Congress address the moral and human crisis that the Trump administration has caused by terminating DACA.

“More than 800,000 Dreamers and more than 300,000 immigrants with TPS and their families are at risk because of Trump’s radical acts of white supremacy. We demand Congress pass a clean DREAM Act to safeguard their futures by the end of this year and that they take action to protect the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries.

“Nearly everyday, we witness acts of unbelievable cruelty and hate from Republicans in Congress and President Trump — from the repeated attempts to repeal healthcare to the assaults on public education to funding cuts to public housing. But forcing more than one million Americans into the shadows, leaving them vulnerable to deportation and family separation, might be their most inhumane act yet. We will continue to stand up and fight to keep families together and ensure that Congress act before the end of the year.”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Bexar, Dallas and Harris counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

White House efforts to cut off funding for sanctuary cities slapped with permanent block

A federal judge has permanently blocked President Trump’s efforts to bar cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration forces from receiving funding, the most decisive blow yet to the White House’s efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities.

In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ruled Trump’s January executive order seeking to cut off sanctuary cities from federal funding unconstitutional. The same judge put a hold on the executive order in April.

“The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Executive Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick wrote in the latest decision. “Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that they not be unduly coercive. Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.”

Orrick called Trump’s move “unconstitutional on its face.”

The White House quickly slammed the ruling, which responded to suits brought by San Francisco and nearby Santa Clara county.

“The District Court exceeded its authority today when it barred the President from instructing his cabinet members to enforce existing law,” a Justice Department spokesperson wrote in a statement. “The Justice Department will vindicate the President’s lawful authority to direct the executive branch.”

But supporters of sanctuary cities hailed the ruling. “No one is above the law, including the president. President Trump might be able to tweet whatever comes to mind, but he can’t grant himself new authority because he feels like it,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement.

The Trump administration has repeatedly sought to target and undermine sanctuary cities, part of a larger effort to crack down on immigration more broadly. Trump has pledged to cut immigration in half nationally — something that is already impacting documented immigration. In September, the White House also announced an end (with a six-month delay) to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ending a crucial lifeline for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that cities failing to unilaterally comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would lose out on Office of Justice Programs grants. A number of cities promptly sued, including Seattle and Chicago, the latter of which argued that complying with ICE would violate its “Welcoming City ordinance” and endanger communities.

Chicago, which received $2.3 million in law enforcement grants last year, attracted the Justice Department’s ire. Sessions accused the city of sabotaging its residents and demonstrating “an open hostility to enforcing laws designed to protect law enforcement.” Nonetheless, Chicago scored a big victory in September when a federal judge ruled that sanctuary cities could not be denied public safety grants — a ruling that was nationwide in scope.

Trump has historically reacted to these policy setbacks poorly, lashing out on Twitter and attacking judges personally. In April, the president slammed a ruling against both his sanctuary cities proposals and a version of his travel ban, which targets refugees and citizens from a number of predominately majority-Muslim countries, calling it “ridiculous.”

“First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings,” Trump wrote. “See you in the Supreme Court!”

While the president has yet to directly comment on Monday’s decision, his words could be used against the government in the future if he does. According to Orrick’s ruling on Tuesday, comments from both Trump and Sessions certainly did them no favors this time around.

“…If there was doubt about the scope of the Executive Order, the President and Attorney General erased it with their public comments,” the judge wrote. “The President has called it ‘a weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary reiterated that the President intends to ensure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don’t get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order.’ ”

The Justice Department has not indicated whether it plans to appeal Monday’s ruling.

This story originally appeared 11/21/2017 on ThinkProgress.

Protesters Outside of Rep. Hurd’s Office Call for Dream Act

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SAN ANTONIO – As DACA’s deadlines nears, several people gathered in front of Congressman Will Hurd’s office this on Thursday afternoon.

The demonstrators who gathered admit there’s fear and uncertainty on both sides, and they’re hoping for a clean Dream Act bill.

About two-dozen concerned citizens with signs and loud voices showed up to make sure the Texas representative and others in Congress do not include enforcement add-ons to the Dream Act. They say it will hurt other immigrants.

Some of the demonstrators we spoke to worry about mass deportations, and the possibility of a border wall being included as part of the Dream Act legislation.

With DACA phasing out, many feel they are being left in limbo.

“The DACA recipients are waiting their whole lives, are on hold because – am I a citizen, am I not?” said Rosey Abuabara .

“Every day is like a countdown for us because we still don’t know what’s going to happen to us,” said Jessica Azua of Texas Organizing Project San Antonio

The groups says they’ve been trying to reach Will Hurd by phone, email and even in person for weeks, but they haven’t heard back from him.

Hurd’s office released a statement saying the American immigration system is broken, and “this is why I have been working with my colleagues as a member of a DACA Working Group to provide a permanent, legislative solution for children brought here through no fault of their own. As I’ve said before, we should create immigration policies that strengthen our economy and keep Americans safe, which is why I am currently working to ensure that people who have only known America as their home can stay and continue contributing to our Nation’s culture, economy and history. I am currently evaluating any and all potential legislative solutions in order to develop a plan that will ultimately get passed in both the House and Senate, and be signed into law by the President.”

This story originally appeared 10/5/2017 on Spectrum News San Antonio.