Newsletter | Summer 2013
Vol. 17, Issue No. 3
Dear AI Justice Friends and Supporters,
As summer closes, the immigration reform community is gearing up for the House of Representatives to take up the Comprehensive Immigration Reform debate. On June 27, 2013, the U. S. Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744). AI Justice is pleased that the bill includes a path to citizenship for millions currently living in the shadows, better protects asylum seekers, provides government-paid counsel for unaccompanied immigrant children and the mentally ill, and provides monitoring of detention conditions. However, the bill also includes unprecedented and highly controversial border enforcement provisions. AI Justice will continue to focus its advocacy on the issues that touch our most vulnerable clients –trafficking and domestic violence survivors and detainees abused at the border.
Our campaign to end the inhumane treatment of immigrants by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in “hieleras” along the Texas border is gaining momentum. We are litigating to stop egregious human rights abuses being perpetrated by CBP and are pressing Congressional and executive officials to provide oversight to prevent serious violations being committed by our own government. The article below has more details on this campaign.
We were heartened by Miami-Dade County’s recent announcement that the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities program is a county option, not a mandate. As our April 2013 report, “False Promises: The Failure of Secure Communities in Miami-Dade County,” demonstrates, ICE’s enforcement program has resulted in racial profiling, decreased trust between law enforcement officials and minority communities, and made our community less safe.
Finally, we close with a remembrance of Holly Skolnick, steadfast supporter of human rights and of AI Justice. As a long-time board member and Board President, Holly was always there for us and for the clients we serve. She was a brilliant lawyer who gave her all to what is good and right, and her untimely death was a loss, not just to AI Justice, but to our entire community. Her dedication to the cause of legal services for the most vulnerable among us has provided a stellar example for those of us left to carry on her passion for justice.
Cheryl Little, Esq.