The Golden Door: May 2019
Legal and Policy Issues
We are closely monitoring state and federal immigration law and policy. Please check our social media accounts for more frequent updates.
ILAP at the State House
ILAP has been busy with the 129th session of the Maine Legislature. This month, we testified:
In support of LD 1596, An Act To Enhance the Long-term Stability of Certain At-Risk Youth. This bill would align Maine's state law with federal immigration law which provides access to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for children under 21.
In support of LD 1475, An Act To Eliminate Profiling in Maine. This bill would mandate data collection from law enforcement agencies to track possible bias based stops as well as enshrine bias training in law.
In support of LD 1589, An Act To Protect the Liberty of Immigrants and Asylum Seekers in Maine. This bill would guarantee that state and local law enforcement could not be entangled with federal immigration enforcement programs.
In opposition to LD 1449, An Act To Facilitate Compliance with Federal Immigration Law. This bill essentially deputizes state and local officials to enforce federal immigration laws. It amounts to racial profiling and would erode trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement.
You can read and access all of ILAP's testimony.
Call to Action: Sign-On Letter Opposing Proposed Rule Defunding Systemic Advocacy in Maine
The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, Maine's highest court, has proposed a rule that would take away access to funding for work at the legislature and state agencies for Maine's legal aid organizations. Organizations have used systemic advocacy as a way to make an impact in the lives of thousands of Mainers. ILAP opposes this proposed rule. Please join us by following the link and signing your name here.
From the sign-on letter: "Systemic advocacy, which includes class action, legislative, and administrative advocacy, is an indispensable part of civil legal aid that balances the scales of justice and supports our most vulnerable populations in Maine. Although the proposed rule appears to allow use of IOLTA funds for class action litigation, it expressly prohibits use of those funds for legislative advocacy and its limitation on use of IOLTA for "direct legal services to individuals” appears to preclude use of those funds for rulemaking and administrative advocacy. Such restrictions would negate not only Maine’s longstanding objectives, but also those reflected in the American Bar Association’s Standard for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid."
Again, your voice matters! Join us in opposing the proposed rule by signing your name here.
Anti-Immigrant Proposed Housing Rule
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued an anti-immigrant proposed rule that would prohibit mixed-immigration status families from living in public housing. An analysis by HUD shows that a shocking 55,000 children could be displaced under this cruel plan.
Currently, mixed status families receive housing subsidies that are prorated so ineligible family members do not receive any housing assistance. Individuals can just declare themselves "ineligible" for subsidized housing rather than reveal their immigration status to government officials.
This proposed rule is just another attempt by this administration to separate families and attack our immigrant community. Keep checking our social media for updates on how you can fight back against this hateful proposed rule.
***IMPORTANT: THIS RULE IS PROPOSED AND NOT IN EFFECT***
Administration Mounts Yet Another Attack On Asylum Seekers
On April 29, the administration issued a memorandum ordering the Attorney General to propose regulations within 90 days that would create more restrictions for asylum seekers, including charging a fee for asylum applications and limiting eligibility for work authorization. You can read the full text of the memo here.
If enacted, these changes would create chaos in the already back-logged asylum system, and are just the latest attempt to erode due process and legal protections for individuals seeking asylum in the US. Please note that this memo has not yet gone into effect and is likely to face legal challenges, so check our social media pages for updates and action alerts.
H.R. 6 "American Dream and Promise Act of 2019"
The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, H.R. 6, establishes a path to citizenship for immigrant youth and current or potential holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). The National Immigration Law Center has created an excellent video explaining this bill.
Researchers estimate that this bill could help up to 1,200 immigrants in Maine pursue lawful permanent residence, and eventually citizenship. Moreover, eligible immigrants under H.R. 6 and their households contribute $4,700,000 in federal taxes and $2,800,000 in state and local taxes each year to Maine.
This bill would remedy Congress's failure to pass a solution for DACA recipients and TPS holders, which has caused stress and uncertainty for Maine residents who are simply trying to go about their daily lives. TPS holders and DACA recipients should not have to read the news each day to find out their future in this country. TPS holders and DACA recipients have lived in Maine for sometimes decades and many have US citizen children, work, and are an integral part of our communities.
Last week, the bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee, and should be up for a full vote sometime in June. Representative Pingree is a co-sponsor of this bill, so please call her office and thank her. Call Representative Golden and ask for his support. Call Senator Collins and Senator King and urge them to support a similar bill in the Senate.
Representative Jared Golden: 202-225-6306
Representative Chellie Pingree: 202-225-6116
Senator Susan Collins: 202-224-2523
Senator Angus King: 202-224-5344
Congratulations, Beth Stickney!
ILAP is proud to announce that our founding Executive Director Beth Stickney was honored with the 2019 Hon. Edmund S. Muskie Access to Justice Award for her leadership in the community and the impact it has had in furthering access to justice in Maine. Congratulations, Beth, and thank you for everything that you do for ILAP!