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By Carolina Canizales, Senior Texas Campaign Strategist & Anita Gupta, Staff Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Sometimes advocates like ourselves working in the immigrant rights and criminal (in)justice space disagree over whether we think a policy or law benefits the communities we serve. That is good; it means we are thinking critically about what impactful policy is. That discussion is happening right now over cite and release policies in Texas.

Texas state law has allowed for law enforcement agencies to issue citations or tickets instead of making arrests for certain low-level offenses for more than 13 years! However, this practice has been severely underutilized throughout our state. So when San Marcos became the first Texas city to adopt a cite and release ordinance we were thrilled, and not just because the ILRC contributed so much to the campaign to pass the ordinance. We were thrilled because it is another step towards decriminalizing Black people, communities of color, and immigrants. The ordinance means that instead of being arrested for low-level crimes like possession of marijuana or misdemeanor theft, police would be required to cite or ticket you, and, most importantly, release you. …


By Nithya Nathan‑Pineau​, Policy Attorney & Strategist at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was created to adjudicate humanitarian, employment, and family-based immigration applications. According to recent reports, without a $1.2 billion infusion of cash from Congress, USCIS will face a budget shortfall and will need to furlough 70% of the employees starting August. …


By Nithya Nathan‑Pineau​, Policy Attorney & Strategist at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

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While the COVID-19 pandemic shut down daily life for many Americans sheltering at home, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents continued their daily work of incarcerating and deporting immigrants and shamefully furthered the spread of COVID-19 around the world. ICE has spread COVID-19 across detention centers in the United States by regularly transferring immigrants from the criminal legal system to the immigration system, and then continuing to transfer immigrants in their custody around their web of detention centers. …

About

ILRC

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center works nationally to shape immigration law/policy and advance the rights of immigrants. www.ilrc.org

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