The Migrant Center works in collaboration with other organizations to stand up for immigrants’ rights.
Pending Impact Litigation Cases
One of the Migrant Center’s clients is participating as a plaintiff, victim, and witness to this harmful and unlawful practice.
The Migrant Center has provided information to class counsel about the cases we see and clients we represent on the ground.
The Migrant Center joined with around 50 immigrant rights advocates and community organizations around the country filed a “People’s Amicus Brief” to condemn Jeff Sessions’ latest power grab in Matter of M-S- to further constrict the power of judges to make decisions on whether people looking for refuge in the US should remain in detention centers or be allowed to have a hearing to pay bond. Read our op-ed on why the right to a bond hearing is so crucial and how taking away the right to a bond hearing will lead to the prolonged, unnecessary detention of people fleeing persecution in violation of our Constitutional due process and liberty rights.
The Migrant Center has added its voice to the following calls for justice.
October 9 – The Migrant Center, along with St. Mary’s University, the University of Texas, American Gateways, and RAICES submitted a stakeholder’s letter to Field Office Director Correa to set up a meeting to resolve access to counsel issues presented by COVID-19, specifically the inability to have private phone calls and lack of access to video conferencing, at the South Texas Detention Complex.
The Migrant Center joined 147 organizations in a letter to Trump and DHS Acting Secretary Wolf calling for an 18-month designation of TPS (Temporary Protected Status) or DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) due to the recent Beirut explosions where approximately 200 people were killed, at least 6,000 injured, 2,500 homes were left “uninhabitable,” six hospitals, 20 health clinics, 120 schools, and 200,000 other homes were damaged, and at least 300,000 people are newly displaced. DHS may designate a country for TPS if conditions in the country meet requirements regarding ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters (including epidemics), or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the country that temporarily prevent safe return. DED is similar but designated by the President directly. Before the explosion COVID-19 cases were quickly rising and 3.2 million people, more than half of Lebanon’s population, were in need of humanitarian aid due to economic collapse that has accelerated since 2019 with the currency losing 60 percent of its value and at least 70,000 people losing their jobs, making it difficult to purchase essentials like food and medication.
On July 17 the Migrant Center joined organizations around the country in a letter to DHS calling for the immediate release of children from detention with their parents. The Administration had been forcing parents to waive their children’s rights to be with their parents by offering parents the binary choice of having their children either leave detention without them or stay together locked up with them. As of July 2 ICE had completed voluntary COVID testing at the family residential centers and had no positive case. Since testing began at Karnes, 14 individuals have tested positive. Relatedly, a group of doctors previously wrote Congress warning that “poor conditions” at U.S. children detention facilities are increasing the risk of spreading deadly infectious diseases.
On July 21 the Migrant Center joined the community in writing a letter to Congress calling for immigrants to be included in any COVID-19 protection legislation. Immigrant families, workers, taxpayers, and their U.S. children and spouses, were previously excluded from the CARES Act and other COVID-19 recovery packages. We cannot protect the nation from COVID-19 and its economic impacts if we deny health care and financial relief to a large segment of our communities. The letter also calls on Congress to clearly state that uninsured immigrants with low incomes in all states can receive COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines for COVID-19. We urge everyone to contact their members of Congress and explain how important it is for immigrants to be included.
Standing in solidarity with detained Pennsylvanians the Migrant Center joined 47 organizations and over 500 individuals on the Release Our Loved Ones petition to call for their release.
On April 21 the Migrant Center joined a letter calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure that everyone has access to health care, nutrition, and income support they need during COVID-19. We were deeply disappointed to see that the Families First and the CARES Acts left many low- and moderate- income immigrants out of its public health and stimulus policies. This exclusion threatens the well-being of immigrants, their families – which include millions of U.S. citizen children – and our communities as a whole.
The Migrant Center joined a petition to release immigrants from PIDC where they are on hunger strike due to the lack of safely measures, including the requirement that they buy their own soap.
On March 24 the Migrant Center signed onto a letter to Attorney General Barr to end arrests and criminal prosecution referrals for unauthorized entry (8 USC §1325) and unauthorized reentry (8 USC §1326), to drop all pending charges on these grounds, and to prioritize release and re-sentence people held in government custody on these grounds. While some federal courts in Arizona and New Mexico are suspending certain prosecutions others are continuing to prosecute and incarcerate migrants.We are calling on the Department of Justice, in conjunction with CBP, ICE, and the U.S. Marshals, to immediately enact changesto Operation Streamline to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
On March 23 the Migrant Center joined over 630 organizations in calling on Congress to include immigrants in the health and economic support measures being considered. Later that evening a House bill was introduced that reflected the language in our letter.
On October 17 the Migrant Center joined 100 advocacy organizations around the country in sending a letter to the Georgia Congressional Delegates urging them to investigate the human rights violations occurring at the Stewart Detention Center, including a severe lack of medical and mentalhealth care, the use of force on immigrants including gas bombs and rubberbullets, the misuse of solitary confinement, forced labor and more.
The Migrant Center joined 95 civil society organizations, and an additional 120 individuals with expertise in migration, refugee law and human rights, in submitting a request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asking that the Commission conduct a comprehensive visit to the US-Mexico border and to use all mechanisms available to protect the human rights of migrants. Read the letter in English here and in Spanish here.
The Migrant Center joined 153 organizations in sending a letter to Congress opposing Senator Graham’s S. 1494 bill, the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 in time for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s mark up. S. 1494 would eviscerate the United States’ current asylum system, enable the prolonged detention of children and families by eliminating the Flores Settlement Agreement, and does nothing to address the root causes of migration.
The Migrant Center joined organizations around the country in calling on nine major hotel chains to not sell their rooms to ICE for use as temporary detention of immigrants picked up in raids. Read the letters.
The Migrant Center joinedover 100 community organizations in demanding that DHS address our concern about surveillance and targeting of activists, journalists and lawyers that implicate First Amendment freedoms (speech, association, press), the Privacy Act of 1974, and access to legal counsel. There have been reports that CBP has created dossiersand targeted activists, journalists and lawyers working with individuals seeking asylum for heightened screening.ICE and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have hidden an undisclosed number of covert surveillance cameras inside streetlights, traffic barrels and road signs around the country, federal contracting documentsreveal. ICE Homeland Security Investigations monitored and disseminated a list of “anti-trump” protestsin New York City.Amazon has expressed interested in outfitting DHS with facial recognition, according to emails. First-hand accounts revealed a pattern of harassment including extended detentions and interrogations, electronic device searches at ports of entry, and denial of re-entry to Mexico. Subsequent to sending our letter, Senators Udall, Warren, Harris and Blumenthal sent a letter to DHS echoing the concerns raised in our letter.
The Migrant Center joined 400 organizations in signing onto an organizational letter in support of HR 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 which has 207 Congressional cosponsors. This bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 2.5 million Dreamers – including those who do not have DACA – and TPS and Liberian Deferred Enforced Departure recipients. The legislation would allow 10 year conditional permanent residencyfor those who arrived in the U.S. before turning 18, who have been in the U.S. for at least four years, who are in a high school / GED program or have graduated, and who have not committed a felony or three misdemeanors with jail time of 90 days. In most cases they could apply for a green card after working ¾ time and completing two years of college or serving in the military for two years. Read more here. 795,000 U.S.-born children have Dreamer parents who would be eligible for residency.These individuals and their families contribute $75.4 billion in spending power, and $27.1 billion in taxes each year. Households that include Dreamers specifically generate $15.5 billion in federal taxes and $8.5 billion in state and local taxes annually. They hold $66.4 billion in spending power. State-by-state estimates are here. HR 6 subsequently passed the House and is now up for consideration in the Senate.
The Migrant Center joined organizations across the country in calling on Congress to decrease funding to ICE and CBP as increasing funds is unnecessary to ensure border security and the smooth operation of our immigration system. There are many other common-sense, and more humane, methods of money management. The letter states: “We are deeply disappointed with the passing of the 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act because it increases funding to both ICE and CBP, including a 12% increase for immigration detention and $1.375 billion for more border wall, and fails to rein in the agencies’ ability to overspend and siphon money from other accounts.” Read the full letter here.
The Migrant Center signed on to support the humanitarian aid work that NGOs like No More Deaths provide along the southern border and condemn the prosecution of those who provide this aid to migrants. The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and NGO’s in Disaster Relief states that “the right to receive humanitarian assistance, and to offer it, is a fundamental humanitarian principle which should be enjoyed by all citizens of all countries.” Mid-February the government dropped criminal changes against four of the defendants but other cases are still pending and volunteers face up to 18 months in prison and fines of $15,000. Individuals can sign the petition here.
The Migrant Center joined onto a community public comment submitted as part of the federal Notice and Comment process opposing the Presidential Proclamation attempting to deny asylum to refugees who cross the border without documentation. As part of the comment we attached the Complaint in O.A. et al v. Trump, the case challenging this proclamation. The Administration asked for the court’s review of O.A. to be put on hold during the shutdown.
The Migrant Center joined organizations around the country in an NGO sign-on letter urging Democratic leadership in Congress to take steps to reduce funding for this administration’s harmful border militarization and immigration enforcement policies. Specifically, this letter calls for passing a clean (without border wall funds or extra enforcement funds for ICE and CBP), short-term continuing resolution for DHS when DHS’s current funding runs out on December 7th to allow for a more permanent resolution when the new Congress is sworn in in January.
The Migrant Center joined several organizations around the country in calling for the Administration to not redefine the meaning of the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility in such as way as to discriminate against low-income individuals. Under the proposed regulation, immigrants who rely on public assistance such as food stamps (SNAP), housing assistance, and Medicaid benefits will have a more difficult time achieving legal status. The administration estimates 382,000 low-income people per year will be affected.
The Migrant Center joined more than 175 other organizations in calling for Congress not to expand immigration detention any more. In fiscal year 2018 the budget for immigration detention already rose to 4.11 billion. In fiscal year 2018 the daily detained population has averaged 40,500 people, many of whom do not need to be in detention. Read the letter here.
In collaboration with over 200 other organizations the Migrant Center has asked Congress to decriminalize ‘illegal entry’ and ‘illegal reentry’. Under the Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy, criminal prosecution and incarceration of more than 200,000 people per year is possible. You can find a fact sheet on this decriminalization demand here. The letter calls on Congress to (1) repeal the laws that make migration a crime (8 U.S.C. 1325, 1326) and (2) oppose anti-immigrant legislation that expands these laws, that would make it easier to convict and incarcerate immigrants for longer periods of time.
We also signed on to a letter calling for greater transparency in detention centers by asking that Congress pass the Private Prison Information Act of 2017 (S.1728) which would strengthen accountability and oversight by requiring for-profit detention facilities under contract with federal agencies like ICE to comply with the same Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements as their government-operated counterparts. In 2017, ICE incarcerated a daily average of over 38,000 people, and the President is requesting that detention facilities be expanded to hold 52,000 people per day for fiscal year 2019. Therefore, we will likely see an increase in contracts with private prison companies. Read the letter here.
The Migrant Center joined 225 organizations calling for the defeat of the Goodlatte immigration bill Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 H.R. 4760. The bill was subsequently defeated 231 to 193.
We also signed on in opposition to Speaker Ryan’s repressive immigration bill, which under pressure never advanced. The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 slashes our family-based immigration system, guts our asylum laws, waives laws that protect communities within 100 miles of the borders, wastes $23 billion taxpayer dollars to build a wall and militarize border communities, and puts children in more danger by keeping them in jail for longer periods of time with fewer standards for their wellbeing. Read the complete letter here.
The Migrant Center joined other organizations around the country in calling for ICE to reverse its recent change in policy that eliminates the presumption that ICE should not detain pregnant individuals except in extraordinary circumstances and also removes critical reporting requirements regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals in detention. The organizational letter was sent to ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan.
The Migrant Center joins with 250 organizations around the country in calling on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act, to stop unnecessary expansion of the country’s deportation force and the border wall, and to protect family unity visas and the diversity visa lottery program. Read the letter here.
The community requests that the Georgia congressional delegation investigate the conditions at the Stewart and Irwin County immigration detention centers in Georgia. Among other things, detained immigrants are denied access to a lawyer, discriminated against, and are forced to work without just compensation. Read the letter here.
The Migrant Center added its voice to calls for renewal of Haitian TPS. Read the letter here.
The Migrant Center joined 173 community organizations in demanding the release of Rosa Maria, a 10-year old with cerebral palsy detained after receiving treatment at the Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. Rosa Maria was followed to the hospital by Customs and Border Patrol when they discovered she was undocumented while passing through a checkpoint. She was brought to the U.S. by her parents when she was three months old so that she would have access to good medical care. On Friday November 3, 2017 she was released and returned to her family. She had been separated for 11 days. The letter also asks for administrative closure of her removal case. The Migrant Center believes ICE should go further and terminate her removal case. Read the letter here.