Awareness - May 23, 2024 - We Welcome

Awareness - May 23, 2024

Immigration legislation in several states is facing legal challenges

Oklahoma is the latest state to be sued by the federal government over a state law that would make it a state crime to be in the state illegally, giving state law enforcement officers the ability to arrest immigrants who arrived in the country between ports of entry. It would require that these individuals leave the state within 72 hours of conviction or release from custody. The Department of Justice is suing the state on the grounds that the law violates the U.S. constitution, which has placed immigration enforcement authority under the purview of the federal government.

Texas and Iowa have also passed similar legislation and both also face similar lawsuits filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Several other states have either passed similar laws or have similar legislation in various stages of consideration on their congressional docket. To find out if your state has enacted similar legislation, check out this state map on immigration enforcement and consider contacting your state legislators, encouraging them to allow the federal government to enforce immigration and to urge the U.S. Congress to work together to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration legislation that is secure, efficient, and humane. Check out our website for tips and sample scripts for contacting your elected officials.

A student from Pakistan graduates from college one year after being granted asylum

Nabeel Younis fled Pakistan with a group of friends after the group was persecuted for their Catholic beliefs by Muslim extremists. The group arrived in Panama for a youth conference attended by Pope Francis and then left Panama for the U.S. in 2021. They were detained by Border Patrol when they arrived in California, where Younis was separated from his friends. He requested asylum and stayed with a sponsor and wore an ankle monitor during that time. With the support of his sponsor, he was able to enroll in community college. He also worked two jobs once he received his work permit. In May 2023, after several court appearances, he was granted asylum. 

“It just seems like a dream, I still remember the day we were trying to enter the United States and all the difficulties that we had getting beaten up by cartels then getting detained, not only in Mexico, but also in the United States,” Younis said. “I just wanted to find a sanctuary where I could live a very peaceful life where I could practice my religion — let alone go to college and graduating.” He plans to continue his education at Cal State University.