FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2014
Kavita Khandekar Chopra, Marketing & Development Director
Bill Holston, Executive Director
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas welcomes President Obama’s changes to “Our Broken Immigration System”
Dallas, TX – Last night President Obama announced a 10-point plan “reforming our broken immigration system through executive action.” Human Rights Initiative of North Texas welcomes The White House’s changes that expand legal protections for qualified individuals. Human Rights Initiative has been representing immigrant victims of violence, survivors of torture and persecution, and children seeking refuge in the United States for nearly 15 years. Yesterday’s amendments to the immigration system could help many Human Rights Initiative clients keep their families together, specifically through the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The changes brought about by this executive order will help thousands of people, but fail to address the most pressing issues in need of reform. Human Rights Initiative is thrilled to see action on this issue, but we will continue to advocate for the following:
- Increased funding to Immigration courts that are backlogged and overloaded.
- Eliminate the one-year filing deadline for asylum-seekers. This deadline is arbitrary and does not take into account the effects of severe trauma on many asylum seekers.
- End the unconscionable practice of allowing immigrant children to remain unrepresented in court. HRI Executive Director, Bill Holston said, “”There are still children that are showing up in court without lawyers. You go down to the kids’ docket, and those courtrooms are full of kids.” The government should provide attorneys for every child in court.
- End the detention of families—including the detention of mothers from Central America and their children—which results in egregious human rights violations, traumatizes children and families, undermines the family structure, and impedes due process.
- Discontinue the use of expedited removal in border areas. Expedited removal shortchanges immigrants and impedes potential relief processes such as, application for asylum.
- End the policies of opposing release on bond for Central American families and requesting extremely high bonds that families cannot pay.
- Support the use of case management providers to help individuals and families understand and navigate the complex process of Immigration court. Case Management programs can enhance court appearances and offer support to individuals or families who need it most.
We hope to see a future where the rights and liberties we enjoy as Americans can be extended to those who are unable and unwilling to return to an environment filled with violence for fear of their life.
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas provides legal and social services to victims of violence from all over the world. Clients of Human Rights Initiative include asylum-seekers; men, women, and children fleeing domestically abusive relationships; victims of violent crime; and immigrant children who have been directly affected by violence. In 2014, Human Rights Initiative became the largest provider of legal representation to unaccompanied minors in North Texas. Please visit www.hrionline.org for more information or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/HRIOnline.