Policy Advocacy

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Policy Advocacy
These are two archived lists of policy wins the ILRC has been involved with: at a statewide level (particularly in California), and also at a national level through advocacy with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 
This advisory describes the various ways that persons with disabilities can navigate the naturalization process, including requesting accommodations, seeking an N-648 disability waiver of the English/civics requirement, and applying for an oath waiver. The advisory describes recent changes to the USCIS’s policy manual and upcoming changes to the N-648.
On June 6, 2022, the ILRC submitted a comment on USCIS Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.  The comment encourages USCIS to amend the form to be shorter, to eliminate unnecessary questions, and to provide clarification where needed. The comment also asks USCIS to withdraw the discretionary factors used to adjudicate the form.
The ILRC submitted these recommended priorities to USCIS for improvements to the USCIS Policy Manual. This letter follows our list of USCIS Policy Manual recommendations provided to USCIS on September 2, 2021 (available here: https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/ilrc_uscis_pm_suggestions.pdf). While every change we suggested is important, a few have become more urgent as they are needed immediately to prevent further erroneous denials of benefits to immigrants and unnecessary chilling effects. The following priorities were gathered after conversations with partners across the country, and in direct response to requests from immigration practitioners and community members who are seeing benefits denied in the meantime. Furthermore, these changes will help rectify the Trump administration’s policies, increase access to immigration benefits, and reduce backlogs.
On January 25, 2022, the ILRC submitted comments in response to the DHS Notice Requesting Comments on “Identifying Recommendations To Support the Work of the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families.” Our comments urge the U.S. government to stop criminal prosecutions for migration, admit wrongdoing and compensate the victims of family separation under the Trump Administration, curb enforcement and detention in the absence of meaningful opportunities for people to gain immigration status, rescind harmful border policies and practices, and expand the interpretation of family unity to ensure that children are not separated from both parental and non-parental caregivers.
Black people and other communities of color, including immigrants, have faced decades of overpolicing, criminalization, and incarceration in Texas, often for alleged conduct that does not mandate an arrest or even carry jail time in the state. One way to effectively reduce arrests is to pass a local cite and release policy. This advocacy toolkit gives local organizers and advocates in Texas the tools they need to lead a successful cite and release campaign. We have included many helpful resources, samples, and insights for every step in a cite & release campaign – from initial education, research, and data collection through policy implementation.
On September 28, 2021, DHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The proposed rule seeks to codify DACA and while this presents real opportunities, there are serious problems with the rule in regard to the criminal bars to DACA, in particular the elimination of expungements for DACA purposes. See proposed rule here. 
On November 5, 2021, the ILRC participated in comments to USCIS with the Naturalization Working Group concerning proposed revisions to the N-648 form for Medical Certification for Disability Exception for naturalization applicants. The form revisions overall represent an improvement over prior versions by shortening the form and eliminating irrelevant questions. The comment also  urges USCIS to withdraw 2018 – 2020  changes to volume 12 of the USCIS policy manual that continue to unnecessarily limit eligibility for disability waiver  applicants.