Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Latinas Condemn Provisions in Trafficking Bill

Proposals would ban abortion coverage, dismantle birthright citizenship

WASHINGTON, DC (PR) - As the United States Senate considers the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (S.178), the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) condemns provisions proposed to and included in the bill that would eliminate birthright citizenship and dramatically expand the scope of the Hyde Amendment, respectively.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, released the following statement:

"Once again, anti-woman, anti-immigrant politicians are hijacking important legislation to push an extreme conservative agenda. It’s no secret that some politicians want to ban all abortion in the United States. Even in a bill designed to support survivors of human trafficking, they press for coverage bans that make abortion unaffordable. It's inexcusable, even more so given the high rates of sexual abuse experienced by Latina survivors of trafficking. Women, not politicians, should make our own decisions when it comes to pregnancy. This expansion of the scope of the Hyde Amendment is unacceptable.

“We also saw despicable political grandstanding today by Senator David Vitter (R-La.), who exploited this bill to attack birthright citizenship. Senator Vitter has a long history of perpetuating harmful stereotypes about immigrant women and children to further his anti-immigrant agenda and today was no different.

“We urge the Senate to stop these mean-spirited attacks on women and families and get to the work of governing. The people of this nation deserve no less.”

Reproductive health care crisis in Texas

MCALLEN, Texas (PR) — Dozens of Latinas from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley will share their stories about the growing reproductive health care crisis in Texas with a group of global human rights experts today at a women’s human rights hearing sponsored by the Center for Reproductive Rights, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), U.S. Human Rights Network, and 10 Texas-based organizations.

The human rights hearing will highlight the many barriers Latinas in underserved areas of Texas face when seeking reproductive health care due to state and federal policies that have closed reproductive health clinics, eliminated family planning funding, barred immigrant women from affordable health coverage, and placed abortion care out of reach. Seven experts in the fields of women’s rights, health, and immigrant rights will receive oral and written testimony from over 20 women directly affected by the loss of services and legal and administrative barriers. Several reproductive health care providers in the Valley are also testifying about difficulties providing family planning and abortion services in the Valley in the wake of Texas’ attacks on women’s health care.  

“As an organization that has been building Latina power in Texas for nearly a decade, we have seen firsthand the devastating impact of state and federal policies that block Latinas from getting the care they need,” said Jessica González-Rojas, the executive director of NLIRH. “These barriers include the high cost of care, lack of transportation, and lack of accessible clinics or culturally competent care. Moreover, immigrant Latinas in Texas and nationwide are locked out of most affordable health insurance options because of discriminatory policies that bar immigrants from Medicaid and ACA benefits. In Texas, where 40 percent of the women are Latina—many of whom are immigrants—these barriers are unacceptable. That’s why we’ve brought women from across the Valley to tell their stories.” 

“Politicians across the state of Texas have denied millions of women, especially Latinas and immigrant women, their basic human rights through their relentless assaults on access to reproductive health services,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.  “Today’s hearing lifts the voices of the women and their families who have suffered the brunt of this health care crisis, and exposes these state policies as the human rights violations they are.”

Following the testimony, experts will comment on the crisis from a human rights perspective and discuss how policymakers might address the crisis and reverse policies that have exacerbated long-term barriers to necessary reproductive health care, including poverty and immigration enforcement policies. Later this summer, the Center and NLIRH will release an outcome document with the women’s testimony and expert analysis of the human rights crisis in the Valley.  

One of the women testifying, Dina Nuñez, said, "For me, the solution is that the funds return to my county and that clinics reopen. One of the universal rights we have is protection of health care services for all people."
The Center and NLIRH have been documenting the devastating impact of Texas family planning cuts and other threats to the health and human rights of Latinas and immigrant women in South Texas since late 2012. Last month, the Center and NLIRH released a policy blueprint called Nuestro Texas: A Reproductive Justice Agenda for Latinas that outlines proactive policies Texas politicians should enact to end the current health care crisis in the state and restore access to critical reproductive health services. 

In November 2013, the Center and NLIRH released Nuestra Voz, Nuestra Salud, Nuestro Texas: The Fight for Women’s Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley, a joint report showing how barriers to reproductive health—including high costs, lack of transportation, immigration status and lack of accessible clinics—systemically bar Texas Latinas from care they need to live with health and dignity.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently challenging two components of Texas’ omnibus bill HB2, legislation that has shuttered over half of the reproductive health care clinics offering abortion services. A ruling is imminent from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which will determine the fate of the remaining clinics, including the last abortion provider in the Rio Grande Valley. NLIRH community leaders provided expert testimony in the case.

WASHINGTON, DC (PR) – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) co-sponsored legislation to prevent millions of individuals benefitting from the President’s 2014 executive actions from collecting a tax credit based on work performed while in this country illegally.

President Obama action last year to grant “amnesty” to millions here illegally also opened the door for those individuals to be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps low- to moderate-income workers. The legislation co-sponsored by Isakson and Perdue would prohibit those here illegally from being eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

“To reward individuals who are in this country illegally, and to do so with hardworking taxpayers’ dollars, is incomprehensible and unacceptable,” said Senator Isakson, a member of the Senate Committee on Finance with jurisdiction over tax policy and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

“Yet millions of individuals benefiting from the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty could become eligible to claim a tax credit based on a questionable interpretation of tax rules by the IRS. I will continue to do all that I can to stop this executive immigration overreach and will fight to prevent the IRS from doling out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to those who broke our immigration laws.”

“President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty has many negative consequences, and this tax loophole is one of them,” said Senator Perdue. “I urge my Senate colleagues to stop the President’s unconstitutional actions, and preventing these benefits from going to those who broke our immigration laws and were granted amnesty is an important step."

This bill is intended to close a loophole created by an IRS interpretation that has the effect of allowing those receiving deferred immigration action to qualify for a credit they were previously denied or otherwise ineligible for at the time. It is consistent with policy put in place in 1996 intended to deny the credit to those not authorized to work in the United States, according to the legislators.

This legislation would prohibit individuals receiving deferred action from claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit unless they were eligible to claim the credit for the year in question and were authorized to be employed in the United States for the entire taxable year. This prohibition would apply to the year in which they are granted deferred action and to all their previous tax returns.

To help the IRS administer the requirement, the legislation requires the Department of Homeland Security to share necessary information with the Social Security Administration so that it will be able to establish Social Security number identifiers that would alert the IRS to those who have received deferred action.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and was co-sponsored by Isakson and Perdue along with Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim nhofe (R-OK), Tim Scott (R-SC), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Risch (R-ID), and John Boozman (R-AR).

The bill likely will be veto it by the President if ever passes both chambers of Congress dominated by conservatives. 

--> The last amnesty for immigrants was under the republican president Ronald Reagan. In 1986 Reagan signed into law the amnesty which granted legal status to 3.2 million immigrants for life. 

All other actions, such as DACA, DAPA or TPS for Central Americans or immigrants escaping from disasters are temporarily and must be renewed every 2 years or more. 

Not making those permits permanently offer the United States treasury permanent funds since the millions of beneficiaries must pay to apply and reapply for DACA, DAPA or TPS, usually over $400 every time.    

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