Take Action

Find out how you can stand for immigrants and asylum-seekers today. Download your Representative’s contact information Here: Texas State Officials Contact Sheet

June 2017


We need you all to take action today! Three HARMFUL bills are being decided on: ‘The Sanctuary Criminal Act’ H.R. 3003, Kate’s Law H.R. 3004 and H.R. 391, Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2017.

These bills will harm the vulnerable immigrant communities we are working so diligently to protect. Here’s how:

  1. H.R. 391 will raise the expedited removal screening standard to an unduly high level – asylum seekers would have to show a “significant possibility of establishing eligibility for asylum” but also prove it is more likely than not that his or her statements are true.
  2. H.R. 3003 would require that people be detained without probable cause, without judicial approval, and without basic due process protections in violation of the 4th Amendment. It would allow the federal government to run roughshod over cities and states and command them to do the federal government’s work in violation of the 10th amendment. If allowed to become law, these provisions would place cities and states at risk of massive litigation costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
  3. H.R. 3004 expands the government’s ability to prosecute illegal re-entry cases and heightens the penalties in these cases, although re-entries are already prosecuted at extreme rates. This law will not include adequate protections for people who reenter the U.S. for humanitarian reasons or who seek protection at the border, putting asylum seekers and families at risk, giving prosecutors more power to shove even more individuals into the prison pipeline (again benefiting private prisons) by making the re-entry law overly broad – already over half of all federal criminal prosecutions are for illegal entry and reentry.

I KNOW THIS IS A LOT OF INFORMATION! These bills are extremely harmful. Please join us in contacting your State Representatives and asking them to oppose H.R. 3003, 3004, and 391! Here are three steps you can take NOW to make your impact local:

  1. Call your State Representative (http://www.whoismyrepresentative.com/) and ask them to oppose these bills!
  1. Tweet at your State Reps and let them know these bills will harm the communities you care about.
  1. Share this with FIVE friends!

Ready. Set. Go.


May 2017


Texas State Affairs Committee is considering SB 260, a bill that will abolish the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs. The bill codifies into law Governor Abbott’s decision to pull the state out of the refugee resettlement program. The Governor’s decision to pull the state out of the refugee program and this bill go against the overwhelmingly welcoming spirit from faith and community partners across Texas and around the country. Every day we see Texans practicing their commitment to courage and hospitality by welcoming refugee families.

Take Action TODAY:
Tell Members of the House State Affairs Committee to Oppose SB 260!
*Please target the Chair and Vice Chair and then continue to call the other committee members.

Here’s an example of what to say: “I’m (name) from (city, county, community, or congregation) and I’m calling to urge the Senator to oppose SB 260 and our state’s decision to pull out of the refugee resettlement program. Texas has a proud legacy of welcoming refugees and we recognize the valuable contributions refugees bring to our communities. I am determined to continue supporting the refugee resettlement program in Texas and I urge the Representative to stand with me. Please reject SB 260.”

-Rep. Byron Cook, Chair*- (512) 463-0730 (Anderson, Freestone, Hill, Navarro)
-Rep. Helen Giddings, Vice Chair* – (512) 463-0953 (Dallas)
-Rep. Tom Craddick – (512) 463-0500 (Crane, Upton, Midland, Martin, Dawson)
-Rep. Jessica Farrar – (512) 463-0620 (Harris)
-Rep. Charlie Geren – (512) 463-0610 (Tarrant)
-Rep. Ryan Guillen – (512) 463-0416 (Atascosa, Brooks, Duval, Jim Hogg, Kenedy, La Salle, Live Oak, McMullen, Starr, Willacy)
-Rep. Ken King – (512) 463-0736 (Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Castro, Cochran, Donley, Gray, Hale, Hansford, Hemphill, Hockley, Lamb, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Roberts, Swisher, Yoakum)
-Rep. John Kuempel – (512) 463-0602 (Guadalupe, Wilson)
-Rep. Morgan Meyer – (512) 463-0367 (Dallas)
-Rep. René Oliveira – (512) 463-0640 (Cameron)
-Rep. Chris Paddie – (512) 463-0556 (Shelby, Sabine, Cass, Harrison, Marion, Panola)
-Rep. Rodriguez, Eddie – (512) 463-0674 (Travis)
-Rep. Smithee, John T. – (512) 463-0702 (Dallam, Hartley, Oldham, Deaf Smith, Randall, Parmer)

Your voice makes a difference! Take action today and tell the Texas State Affairs Committee to protect children & families and reject SB 260!

April 2017


Human Rights Initiative of North Texas is asking Texans to call their House Representative today and ask them to oppose SB4, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill. This bill undermines the independence of local law enforcement, damages the trust police need to work with immigrant communities and makes us all less safe.

SB4 would provide civil and criminal penalties for cities, counties, law enforcement agencies and university police departments in Texas who have or implement new policies that build trust with immigrant communities. SB4 would hurt local law enforcement’s ability to do their job by interfering with their ability to create trusting relationships with immigrant communities. At HRI we work with immigrant survivors of serious crimes — such as domestic violence, rape, robbery and murder — every day. Immigrant communities need to feel comfortable reporting crimes to police and testifying in court to put criminals in jail without having to worry that police will ask about their immigration status. This bill will undermine that relationship and make us all less safe by allowing criminals to roam free.

SB4 would also force local jurisdictions to dedicate scarce resources to do a job that should be done and funded by the federal government. Dallas already complies with most ICE detainers even though these are costly and can be of questionable legality. This bill is also a fiscally irresponsible unfunded mandate. It forces local communities to bear the cost of incarceration due to detainers and any cost related to litigation related to the bill. It takes resources away from catching serious criminals and should be opposed. This bill could also lead to increased racial profiling and the costly lawsuits that go with it.

Call your Representative today and ask them to vote NO on SB4!

March 2017

Trump is asking Congress for an additional $7.5 billion in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, over and above last year’s funding for immigration enforcement, at the expense of vital education, housing, and nutritional assistance programs that promote public safety and alleviate poverty. Congress has an opportunity to protect our tax dollars and ensure billions of dollars don’t go toward expanding immigration enforcement, separating families, or detaining children. Now is our chance to tell our Members of Congress to live up to our values and act with moral authority.

Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [City, State, Zip Code], and I urge you to NOT fund President Trump’s wall, deportation force and detention centers, and instead do everything in your power to rescind his immigration and refugee executive orders. Our tax dollars should be spent alleviating poverty and investing in our future — not rounding up our community members. My community welcomes refugees and immigrants.”



February 2017

January 2017

Human Rights Initiative                                                                                                         January 30, 2017

Press Release

Human Right Initiative of North Texas Opposes Last Week’s Executive Orders, Especially the Ways they Harm Those Seeking Asylum.

Last week President Trump signed three executive orders on immigration that contain a myriad of problems but are especially damaging to people fleeing persecution and seeking asylum in the United States. Friday’s executive order banned travelers and intending immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and caused chaos this weekend as U.S. airports detained both immigrants and U.S. Citizens. These orders will prevent some asylum-seekers from obtaining visas to come to the United States and will deny entry or detain other asylum-seekers who ask for protection at U.S. borders. Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI) strongly opposes these policies that not only violate international law but are also inhumane and unrepresentative of our nation.

Friday’s order suspends the entry of both immigrants and non-immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya for 90 days, and the State Department has already stopped issuing visas for people from those countries. HRI has clients from all these nations except Yemen and Libya, and many of them entered the United States on a visa and then applied for asylum here based on their fears of political, religious or ethnic persecution. This ban denies not just tourists, workers and students from coming to the United States, it also blocks those fleeing violence and torture from escaping these countries. Even a “temporary” ban can mean the difference between life and death.

Wednesday’s order will force asylum-seekers to face a number of additional challenges, including prolonged detention in private-owned prisons. Most detention facilities are far away from major urban areas which make access to legal representation and other services extremely difficult. Placing asylum-seekers in detention rushes the asylum process, making it more likely due process violations will occur. Detention is often re-traumatizing to asylum-seekers as many have been unjustly imprisoned in their home countries. In addition, detaining asylum-seekers is overly burdensome on taxpayers – detaining immigrants is expensive, costing upwards of $100 per day. Financial projections for President Trump’s immigrant detention policy exceed $50 billion, according to the Center for American Progress.

“The President’s executive orders are overbroad, do not accomplish their stated purposes and create immense hardship for those who have done nothing to deserve it. The order on detention mandates the expensive and unnecessary detention of people who are fleeing persecution. The order imposing a travel ban is discriminatory and unnecessary. In addition it presents additional hurdles to those who may wish to utilize a visa to visit our country and intend to apply for asylum. With both orders, we are seeking the illusion of being safer as we turn our backs on the most vulnerable people in the world, those fleeing persecution because of their religion, race, political opinion, nationality and membership in a social group” says Bill Holston, the Executive Director of HRI.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) stated, “President Trump has ignored the research and data, basing [his] policies on a combination of fear, debunked information, and xenophobic pressures.”

HRI’s Director of Advocacy, Christine Mansour stated, “We have represented hundreds of asylum-seekers who presented themselves at our southern border and asked for protection, as well as people who have arrived on visas. They include political activists escaping torture, survivors of gender- and ethnic-based violence and Christians fleeing persecution.  Now these same people are contributing members of our communities, working, paying taxes and helping others. HRI will not be able to help people stuck in a detention facility at the border or trapped in their home countries where they could be tortured or die. These policies make no one safer and waste resources. The executive orders are fiscally irresponsible and morally reprehensible.”

AILA has stated that the additional screening called for in Friday’s order “will result in significant backlogs at USCIS offices across the country, consular processing backlogs, and crowding of secondary inspection sites at U.S. Customs and Border Protection locations, stifling the business and economic contributions of those seeking to come to the U.S. This kind of screening will be time intensive and will require an enormous investment in government resources, and because it is based on the impossible task of trying to read what is in people’s hearts it will simply be used as way to screen people based on stereotypes and prejudices.” At a time where our new administration has frozen government hiring on most positions, we anticipate backlogs which will stifle the processing of asylum and other claims of immigrants who have been victims of violence, further impacting HRI clients, who are often not allowed to work while waiting for their applications to be processed.

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas opposes all policies that adversely impact its clients and other asylum seekers seeking protections from the United States.

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas is a nonprofit that provides free legal representation and social services to victims of human rights abuses living below the poverty line in the DFW area. Human Rights Initiative’s clients include victims of human rights abuses seeking asylum in the United States, victims of human trafficking, victims of spousal or child abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, men, women and children who are the victims of a violent crime.

Please contact Marisa Arancibia at MArancibia@hrionline.org or visit our website for media inquiries

On Tuesday, January 10th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin holding hearings to confirm Trump-appointee Jeff Sessions as the U.S. Attorney General. Human Rights Initiative of North Texas opposes the appointment of Jeff Sessions.  We ask that you join us today and call your Senators and let them know you oppose this appointment which will be dangerous for immigrants as well as many others.

Take action today to #StopSessions. Call your Senators and let them know you oppose this appointment.

Here is a sample script for when you call:

“Hello, I am a constituent and I urge the Senator to vote against Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General. I am concerned that he would not protect the rights of all people, particularly immigrants. I am troubled by his long record against civil and human rights, and worried his policies as Attorney General will harm my family, friends, and community. Please vote against his confirmation.”

Texas Senator’s Contact Information

John Cornyn
(202) 224-2934 –DC Office

Ted Cruz
(214) 599-8749
(202) 224-5922 –DC Office

Other states find your Senators here

HRI opposes the appointment of Sessions for several reasons. Here’s why:

  • He has a long and troubling history of anti-immigrant votes in the Senate. As Attorney General he will be in charge of our nation’s immigration courts as well as immigration regulations and how immigration laws are interpreted and implemented. He could change asylum laws, make it more difficult for immigrants to bond out of detention and eliminate programs that provide legal orientation to those in immigration court. Given his well-documented anti-immigrant views, this would be dangerous to our clients and all who are impacted by U.S. immigration law.
  • He has opposed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) a cornerstone of our country’s protections for survivors of domestic violence, including immigrant survivors.
  • Sessions is also specifically opposed helping women and children fleeing Central America.
We cannot allow a man who has consistently voted against immigration reform and has publically called for draconian restrictions on all immigration to the United States to head our nation’s immigration court system and to be responsible for defending the civil rights of the people of this country. Call your Senator, share this email and #StopSessions TODAY! Local impact starts with you.