The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition


Immigration policy affects all aspects of society. Regardless of status, immigrants have always played a central role in the life and growth of our nation. Immigrants contribute $10 billion a year to this country's economic growth. Unfortunately, our immigration system is badly broken and must be reformed to better reflect the needs of the economy and society, to promote immigrant integration, to provide a pathway to citizenship for long-time resident immigrants, and to recognize the tremendous contribution of all immigrants to the United States.

Join our campaign for comprehensive immigration reform.

Take action: Send a letter to your representative and urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Read our web posts on why we think Congress must pass immigration reform:

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Pledge to Support Immigration Reform!

Add your name to our growing list of individuals who support fair and comprehensive immigration reform. Then share it with friends and family!

Policy Letters

Oppose National Origin Discrimination in Visa Waiver Omnibus Rider - 12/11/15

Oppose H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015 - 12/08/15

Oppose the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” (S. 2146) - 10/19/15

Re: Training Scenarios on Discriminatory Profiling for TSA Guidance - 06/16/15

Letter to President Obama Re: Immigration Enforcement - 05/19/15

Letter to Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection - 04/28/15

Oppose Vitter Amendment to Restrict 14th Amendment - 03/11/15

Re: Concerns with the U.S. Department of Justice Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity 02/24/15

Oppose Anti-Immigrant Riders in Homeland Security Appropriations (H.R. 240) - 02/02/15

Oppose Immigration Riders on Homeland Security Appropriations (H.R. 240) - 01/13/15

After President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Reforms, Bipartisan Legislative Solutions Remain as Important as Ever - 11/24/14

Letter to President Obama Re: Immigration Enforcement - 11/12/14

Oppose TVPRA Rollback (H.R. 5230) and “No More Dreamers” Act (H.R. 5272) - 07/31/14

Letter to President Obama Re: Immigration Enforcement - 05/19/14

Oppose H.R.2278, the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act” (SAFE Act) - 08/20/13

Protecting Due Process and Civil & Human Rights in S.744 - 06/11/13

Preserve Fair Hearings: Oppose Grassley Amendments #21 & #22 - 05/21/13

Oppose Grassley Amendment #53 to S. 744 to Expand Unnecessary Detention - 05/20/13

Oppose Graham Amendment #3 to S. 744, Regarding Arbitrary “Additional Security Screening” for RPI Applicants - 05/20/13

Support Blumenthal Amendment #2 to Curtail Abuses in Immigration Solitary Confinement - 05/20/13

Oppose Sessions Amendment #31 to S. 744 To Put Unnecessary Restrictions on Earned Income Tax Credit - 05/17/13

Oppose Graham Amendment #1 to S. 744 To Bar Return to Country of Origin by Asylee - 05/17/13

Oppose Grassley Amendments #27 and #52 to S. 744 Maintain Improvements to the Asylum System - 05/15/13

Support Coons Amendment #2 to S. 744 to Ensure Safer, More Humane Deportation Practices - 05/09/13

Support and Priorities for Immigration Reform Legislation - 05/09/13

Support Blumenthal Amendment #10 to S. 744 - Protect Civil Rights in the SW Border Region Prosecution Initiative - 05/09/13

Press Releases

November 20, 2014 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Praises Announcement of Executive Action on Immigration

September 9, 2014 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Responds to White House Executive to Delay Executive Action on Immigration

July 1, 2014 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Responds to Announcement of Administrative Action on Immigration Reform

March 26, 2014 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges House Members to Sign Immigration Discharge Petition

January 31, 2014 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Responds to Republican Principles for Immigration Reform

June 27, 2013 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Senate Passage of Bipartisan Immigration Bill

May 22, 2013 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee for Advancing Bipartisan Immigration Bill

May 1, 2013 New Polling on African-American Attitudes on Immigration Reform

April 17, 2013 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Welcomes Immigration Bill, Urges Congress to “Strike the Right Balance”

April 10, 2013 Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Efforts for Immigration Reform


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Report Finds Use of Local Authorities for Immigration Enforcement Not Working

April 6, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

A controversial U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency program that deputizes local authorities to act as federal immigration officials is not working, according to a new Office of Inspector General (IG) report.


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Thousands Rally to Urge Congress, Obama Administration to Fix Broken Immigration System

March 22, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

On Sunday, thousands people from across the country attended a march and rally in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress and the White House to push ahead with legislation to fix the nation's broken immigration system.


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Deaths of Immigrants in U.S. Custody Expose Need for Reform

January 26, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The New York Times and the ACLU recently obtained documents proving that government officials systematically covered up malicious abuse that contributed to the deaths of 107 immigration detainees being held in federal custody since late 2003.


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U.S. Grants Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Immigrants

January 15, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Today, the Obama administration granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to undocumented Haitian immigrants living in the United States for the next 18 months.

TPS is a kind of temporary immigration status that is put in place when the homeland of immigrants are deemed unsafe or dangerous, often due to war or natural disasters like the earthquake that devastated Haiti.  It gives immigrants of that country greater ability to work in the United States and travel back and forth between the U.S. and their home country.

Link to this post

Study Finds Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Boost U.S. Economy and Wages

January 8, 2010 - Posted by Jeff Miller

Enactment of comprehensive immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy, generating an additional $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) over 10 years and raising wages for both immigrant and native-born workers, according to a new study by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Council.

The study, "Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform," examined the economic effects of three scenarios: 1) comprehensive immigration reform that creates a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and establishes flexible limits on permanent and temporary immigration to respond to U.S. labor demand, 2) a program for temporary workers that excludes a pathway to legal status and flexible immigration limits, and 3) mass deportation of all unauthorized immigrants.

The study found that comprehensive immigration reform would create the greatest benefits to the U.S. economy and to workers. Along with raising GDP and wages for immigrant and native-born workers, in the first three years comprehensive reform would also generate up to $5.4 billion in additional tax revenue and increase consumer spending to support nearly 900,000 new jobs.


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Far Reaching Immigration Bill Introduced in the House

December 21, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D. Ill., introduced a bill last week to reform the nation's broken immigration system. The legislation includes provisions that would provide undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and establish a commission to determine the future flow of workers into the United States.

"Our nation's immigration policies should be pro-family, pro-job and pro-security," Gutierrez said at a press conference. "This bill accomplishes all three."

Under the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP), immigrants would have to satisfy certain requirements before legalizing their status, including learning English, passing a criminal background check, paying a fine and any back taxes, and proving they were legally present in present in the United States continuously since the day the bill was introduced. On the security front, it provides additional funding to beef up port and border security infrastructure, and to assist states fighting drug smuggling and human trafficking.


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Reforming Immigration Enforcement to Better Protect Children and Families

November 20, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Each year, tens of thousands of people enter the United States seeking refuge from poverty, war, political or religious persecution, or human rights abuses. Among the most vulnerable of these immigrants are children who enter the country without a parent.  

In 2007, more than 8,000 unaccompanied children were held in U.S. custody, according to the Women's Refuge Commission.

The United States has long made it a priority of immigration policy to reunite families.  The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 ended earlier policies that prioritized immigrants from Europe and replaced them with a system that prioritized family immigration.

However, current immigration enforcement has had devastating effects on families.  Once detained, children are held in border patrol stations for weeks, often without blankets, showers or adequate nutrition. Furthermore, children are often forced to navigate through the immigration system alone, with about 50 percent appearing in court without an attorney.


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PASS ID Act Fails to Fix REAL ID

September 29, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

A broad coalition of civil rights organizations is opposing the PASS ID Act, which was introduced in Congress in June in an effort to soften the REAL ID Act, a law that has drawn fierce criticism since it was enacted in 2005.  

Under the REAL ID Act, all state-issued driver's licenses must include a set of standardized information, including digitized photographs and signatures. It also mandates the verification of an applicant's immigration status, background checks on documents used to prove identity, and the creation of a large interstate database of license records. 

The PASS ID Act was introduced in response to widespread criticism of REAL ID, but its requirements for driver's licenses are largely the same.  Civil rights groups argue that PASS ID would continue to violate basic laws of privacy, security, and to discriminate against religious minorities and immigrants. 

In addition, nearly half of the states have already refused to comply with REAL ID because of the high cost of implementing its requirements.  PASS ID doesn't address this concern, and could ultimately be rejected by states as well.

"This bill should repeal, not fix, the Real ID Act of 2005.  The only fix in the Pass ID Act is the name. Congress might hope that the states who voted against implementing the Real ID Act will give them a pass on Pass ID, but that would be ill-advised," Chris Calabrese, counsel to the ACLU Technology and Liberty program, said in a July statement.

Link to this post

ICE Program Continues to Cast Too Wide a Net

September 21, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

According to a recent report in the Des Moines Register, the federal Secure Communities program may not be achieving the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) original objective – to detain violent felons and fugitives.

Sixty-seven percent of those detained under the program in Iowa had no previous criminal offenses, while the number of non-fugitives arrested by the agency nearly doubled over the last three years. ICE announced the Secure Communities program in March of 2008.  The plan was designed to help pursue the deportation of immigrants convicted of high-level felonies. The program allows local law enforcement to communicate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and verify the immigration status of arrestees.

Civil rights and immigrants' rights groups are concerned that the program gives local and state authorities license to unfairly target innocent people along ethnic lines without adequately address local communities concerns about violent felons and fugitives.  The National Immigration Law Center expressed apprehension (PDF) due to the absence of any requirements for audits and oversight, the inaccuracy of DHS databases, and the lack of redress for those who have been wrongly identified.

Since the program's creation, ICE has not enacted regulations to curb racial profiling or the potential for law enforcement to make arrests solely as a pretext for checking an individual's immigration status. 

Link to this post

Immigration Detention System Violates Civil Rights

August 3, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

A Broken System report cover

Over the past two decades, the U.S. immigrant detention system has fractured, exposing people to unjustified detainment and frequent violations of their civil and human rights. 

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) currently holds more than 30,000 immigrant detainees—nearly five times the number held in 1992.  According to "A Broken System," a new report by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the ACLU of Southern California, immigration detention facilities routinely violate detainees' basic rights, including the right to adequate access to mail and telephone, sanitary living conditions, and legal and personal visitation.


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