NHLA Latino Appointments Program

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, sent a letter to the United States Senate urging members to vote against the confirmation of Lee Francis Cissna as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. NHLA calls for policies that reduce criminalization of Latino immigrants and respect fundamental human rights. Mr. Cissna’s work is a strong indicator that such policies and respect will be fully lacking under his leadership.

According to his own testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Cissna helped the Trump administration draft executive orders that expand deportation priorities to cover 8 million immigrants and ban refugees and nationals from seven majority-Muslim nations. Furthermore, he has been involved in developing and advancing policies that harm the Latino community, such as restricting travel of DACA recipients and questioning the legitimacy of Latin American refugees’ asylum claims. Mr. Cissna’s confirmation threatens the existence of protections that are essential to the advancement of the Latino community and all Americans. By confirming Mr. Cissna, the Senate is placing vulnerable immigrant communities at further risk of human rights violations.

“President Trump’s nomination of Lee Francis Cissna furthers the implementation of anti-immigrant policies that place our community’s most vulnerable members at greater risk of exploitation and abuse. We reaffirm our condemnation of actions against the Latino community. Moving forward, we will keep fighting for the advancement of our community and policies that reflect the diversity of our nation,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, NHLA Chair and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

“Entrusting the USCIS to someone who has limited management experience and a track record of creating draconian immigration policies will only work to seriously undermine the agency’s mission to ‘secure America’s promise as a nation of immigration.’ For this reason, we strongly condemn Mr. Cissna’s nomination and urge the Senate to vote ‘no’ to protect our vulnerable immigrant communities from further threat,” said Jose Calderon, Co-Chair of NHLA’s Immigration Committee and President of Hispanic Federation.

“With each nominee this administration puts forward, President Trump finds the person most suited to undermine the very mission and spirit of the office he is being nominated to run, and Lee Francis Cissna is no different,” said Andrea Senteno, Staff Attorney with MALDEF, which co-chairs NHLA’s Immigration Committee.  “For those who falsely believe that Cissna will lead USCIS with fairness and competency, this is no different than almost everything involving Trump—the reality is far worse than the façade.” 

“NLIRH firmly opposes the confirmation of Lee Francis Cissna as Directors of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Cissna’s disastrous record speaks for itself: he does not stand for immigrants, their families or communities. During his time at the Senate Judiciary Committee he advanced policy positions that criminalize immigrant communities, and place women and families in imminent danger. We cannot allow someone that fails to see the humanity of our nation’s immigrant community lead USCIS. We urge the Senate to block Cissna’s confirmation to USCIS,” said Ann Marie Benitez, Co-Chair of the Latina Task Force and Senior Director of Government Relations at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health



| Michael Torra | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (202) 425-0582 |

| Brenda Arredondo | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (915) 373-1483 |



The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the leading national and regional Latino civil rights and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.



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