Democratic Congress Members Introduce Family Unity Act to Protect Immigrant Families

Yesterday, Congress members Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), and Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04) introduced the Family Unity Act to protect immigrant families by ensuring due process in certain immigration removal proceedings. According to a press release from Tlaib’s office, the bill would “make a technical fix to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to bring the law in line with the Supreme Court’s 8-1 ruling in Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in 2000.” This due to the fact that, “while a nearly unanimous bipartisan majority of the Court ruled in favor of ensuring due process for immigrants facing deportation, confusion in the lower courts and ICE’s pursuit of policies that ignore the ruling has made this legislation necessary.”

What makes this particular piece of legislation particularly unique is that it was crafted with input from our Head of Appeals, Maris Liss, whose extensive experience in the Federal Court system helped the language and scope of the bill. In describing the bill, Nora Ahmed who is ACLU of Louisiana Legal Director, stated that the statute in its present form, “has harmed countless immigrants in jurisdictions where the law has been deemed tantamount to absolute immunity for even the most abusive actions taken by ICE,”

Maris J. Liss Head of Appeals

“ICE declared our client, Mr. R., a fugitive for seeking sanctuary in a Church—when, in fact, he told ICE where he was and his reason for seeking sanctuary: to care for his severely disabled wife with advanced multiple sclerosis as he awaited the agency’s decision on his formal request to stay in the country. But the courts concluded that 1252(g) stripped them of the power to weigh in on Mr. R.’s plight. This bill has the capacity to ensure appropriate judicial review of ICE misconduct and to stop further violations of separation of powers principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.”

The bill would now need to make its way through the House before heading to the Senate.


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