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

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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New Campaign Will Push for Immigration Reform This Year

June 8, 2009 - Posted by Cathy Montoya

People standing around a podium singing

Participants of the Reform Immigration for America Campaign Summit end their three-day conference with a motivational song.  June 5, 2009.  

Last week, more than 800 activists representing 200 labor, religious, and civil and human rights organizations gathered at Galludet University in Washington, D.C., for three days to launch a national campaign to push Congress to pass immigration reform this year, and commit themselves to building support in their home states.  If Congress doesn't pass immigration reform legislation, states and local governments will continue to struggle with immigration.

Activists at the summit focused on creating a cohesive message and grassroots strategy for the campaign.  They also met with more than 140 members of Congress and staff and sent 100,000 faxes to Capitol Hill showing support for immigration reform.

Keynote speakers included Cecilia Muñoz, White House director for intergovernmental affairs, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D. Ill., who spoke to attendees about "workable solutions that uphold out nation's values and move us forward together."

Link to this post

Department of Labor Suspends Harmful Bush Regulations to Agricultural Guestworker Program

June 5, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

The Department of Labor recently announced that it is suspending harmful Bush administration regulations to the H-2A guestworker program for nine months beginning June 29.

The H-2A program allows agricultural employers to hire foreign workers on temporary work permits to fill agricultural jobs that last 10 months or less. Prior to the Bush regulations, employers had to prove that they tried to hire U.S. workers but were unable to find qualified employees.

The department's decision comes after organizations representing farmworkers filed a lawsuit arguing that Bush's changes to the program, which went into effect on January 17, lowered immigrants' wages and violated federal laws protecting workers' rights.  LCCR and other civil rights organizations also urged the department to overturn the Bush regulations.

The department has temporarily reinstated the previous regulations while it develops new ones for the guestworker program.  Many labor, immigrant and civil rights organizations are pushing for Congress to pass the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act (AGJobs), which would strengthen the guestworker program by providing more worker protections to foreign-born and domestic workers.

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Julian Bond Testifies in Support of the Immigration Rights of Same-Sex Couples

June 4, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Julian Bond, NAACP chairman, testified yesterday in support of the Uniting American Families Act before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would give gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and permanent residents the right to sponsor their foreign-born permanent partners for legal residency in the U.S. The act does not provide any other benefits and all other immigration requirements must be met. 

"It is because the NAACP supports the civil rights protections of all people, and is opposed to discrimination based on any criteria, that we support inclusion of the principles inherent in Uniting American Families Act in any comprehensive immigration reform," said Bond.

Julian Bond's full testimony

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Memorial Day: Honoring the Service of Citizen and Immigrant Soldiers

May 25, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Today, LCCR honors the service of soldiers serving in the U.S. military – citizens and immigrants alike. 

Legal permanent residents have long served in the U.S. military – and gotten citizenship in return.  But loopholes in U.S. immigration policy often hinder legal permanent residents' ability to achieve citizenship even in this case.  Approximately 8,000 legal, permanent immigrants join the military each year, and nearly 29,000 foreign-born people currently serve but are not American citizens.

In this video, Rene of Atlanta shares his struggle of obtaining U.S. citizenship despite his years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps. While Rene fortunately became a permanent citizen after filming the video, his story represents the great struggle of so many immigrant servicemen and women who continue to experience difficulties with achieving citizenship within our broken immigration system.  

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New Poll Reveals Challenges and Successes of Immigrant Women in the U.S.

May 14, 2009 - Posted by Corrine Yu

A new poll surveying the views of immigrant women who were born in Latin American, Asian, African, and Arab countries highlights the barriers they face and the challenges they must overcome once settling in the United States.

The women who were surveyed said that the main reason they came to the U.S. was to join family members who were already here.  When asked to name the biggest challenge they faced as immigrant women in the U.S., "helping my children achieve success" and "being able to hold my family together" were the top answers – underscoring the importance of family to these women.


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One Year After Postville Raid, Immigration Reform Still Needed

May 12, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Hundreds of immigration reform advocates are meeting in Postville, Iowa, today to call attention to the one-year anniversary of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on a Agriprocessors meat packing plant that resulted in the arrest of 389 undocumented workers, mostly from Guatemala and Mexico. Immigrant rights advocates say the raid's anniversary serves as a grim reminder of the need to reform the nation's immigration system.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and other civil rights advocates in the region organized bus trips to Postville for marches, prayer vigils, and other events. Similar events are being held nationwide.

Prior to the raid, Agriprocessors paid their employees well below the minimum wage, illegally garnished their wages for required uniforms, and had a history of workers suffering broken bones, eye injuries and hearing loss. After the raid, state authorities ultimately levied millions in fines against the plant for various labor violations.

As a result of the raid, the local economy worsened as Agriprocessors filed for bankruptcy, and families were torn apart after many of the workers pled guilty to identity theft charges, facing prison sentences and deportation.

In a recent press statement, National Immigration Forum Executive Director Ali Noorani said, "Postville will one day be remembered as a dark chapter in U.S. history that served as a catalyst for reforming our nation's immigration system into something we can take pride in again, something that honors our history as a nation of immigrants, and something that helps to renew and strengthen America." 

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Congress Must Consider All Low-Wage Workers in Immigration Reform Legislation

May 6, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Civil rights and labor organizations told Congress last week that immigration reform could happen this year if it takes into account the concerns of all low-wage workers in the legislation.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of LCCR, said that Congress must fix our nation's immigration system now because "it fails to keep up with economic realities, it fails to provide an orderly way to keep track of who is here, it inhumanely splits and keeps families apart, it penalizes children for the actions of their parents, and it is so unfair and so burdensome that it fails to give people enough incentives to play by the rules."

He added that Congress' immigration reform legislation must take into account the needs of low-wage workers, those that are citizens and those that are immigrants, by:

  • providing more effective enforcement of antidiscrimination laws;
  • improving advertising and tools to alert workers of job vacancies;
  • increasing public education efforts to counter stereotypes about native and non-native born workers;
  • enhancing job skills and training programs for all low-wage earners; and
  • increasing enforcement of fair pay and overtime requirements and safety, health and labor laws.

In April, the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win federation, the two largest labor federations in the nation, annouced their own standards for immigration reform, which has a similar focus on low-wage workers  "The key to designing a sustainable workplace immigration system is that the flow of future workers must be rationally based on the always-evolving labor market needs of the United States," said Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Link to this post

NALEO Holds Naturalization Workshops for Citizenship Day

April 17, 2009 - Posted by Corrine Yu

Tomorrow is national Citizenship Day, and workshops are being held across the country to help immigrants learn how to become citizens. NALEO Educational Fund will hold 13 workshops in various cities as part of the ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía! (It's Time, Citizenship!) campaign, a nonpartisan Latino civic participation effort launched as a response to the pro-immigrant mobilizations of 2006. 

The workshops are designed to help legal immigrants learn about naturalization - the process of becoming an American citizen. Immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship if they are at least 18 years old, have been lawful permanent residents for five years (three if married to a citizen), and meet certain other basic requirements. A naturalized citizen receives the same rights and privileges as a native-born citizen, such as the right to vote.

The campaign is the largest and most comprehensive effort to incorporate Latinos as full participants in the American political process. Latinos comprised nearly half (44 percent) of the 1,046,539 citizens naturalized last year.

Link to this post

U.S. Immigration Policy Discriminates against Same-Sex Partners

March 23, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Under current law, U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can sponsor their spouses or fiancés for legal residency to the U.S.  However, gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents cannot.

There are nearly 40,000 binational, same-sex couples living in the U.S., according to census data.  However, the current policy often tears these couples apart once the visa of one expires or forces many couples who do not want to be separated to leave the country.

In addition, many same-sex couples live apart because one partner is not permitted to live in or even travel to the United States.

Since 1965, the priority of U.S. immigration policy has been to make it possible for families to be reunited here in the U.S.  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.

Since 1965, between 50 and 70 percent of the visas that have been given out have gone to family members of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

The Uniting American Families Act, introduced last month in Congress, would give gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and permanent residents the right to sponsor their foreign-born permanent partners for legal residency in the U.S. The act does not provide any other benefits and all other immigration requirements must be met.

Nineteen other countries have passed similar laws already.

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