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Advocacy Letters



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“We began interviewing refugee doctors in late 2022, learning about their passion for medicine and some of the barriers they face in returning to medical practice,” said Brandi Kilmer, Co-Founder of the Refugee Physicians Advocacy (RPA) Coalition and Community Programs Coordinator - Washington D.C. at TSOS. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to be part of a growing coalition of partners working to remove those barriers. We thank chief-patron Delegate Kathy Tran and our partners at Lutheran Social Services National Capital Area, World Education Services, and NOVA Friends of Refugees for their leadership, and all those who endorsed helping to remove a significant barrier with this bill. It has restored hope to many doctors in our network.”

LSSNCA joined more than 250 faith-based organizations and faith leaders to call for immediate humanitarian actions for Haiti. We called on the administration to: redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Special Student Relief, pause all deportations, and expand key lawful migration pathways. We also urged the administration to halt any plans to detain Haitian migrants at Guantanamo Bay.

LSSNCA joined the Haitian Bridge Alliance, immigration, human rights, faith-based, and civil rights organizations in requesting an extension and redesignation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and a moratorium on deportations to Haiti.

The Stateless Protection Act, a bicameral legislation establishing a new protected status, permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for stateless individuals residing in the United States was reintroduced by Rep. Raskin (D-Md.-8), Sen. Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Padilla (D-Calif.), and Rep. Connolly (D-Va.-11).

LSSNCA joined 194 organizations-–which include medical, academic, human rights, immigration, civil
rights, and faith groups— in an urgent call to action: DHS must end the practice of solitary confinement in all immigration detention centers.

LSSNCA joined other state and national organizations in asking Congress to support H.R. 7010, the Increasing Access to Foster Care through 21 Act. Several states currently extend foster care beyond age 18, and this legislation would expand upon that to ensure that all young people in foster care have the option to remain in care through age 21, regardless of where they live. This extension has shown to produce improved outcomes across different benchmarks like higher rates of school graduation, employment, and better access to housing and health care.

House Bill995 creates a pathway for qualified doctors licensed overseas to fill workforce gaps in medically underserved communities. These gaps existed before and were exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Foreign trained doctors, also known as International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are a ready and untapped workforce with medical and language skills and cultural sensitivities needed to serve communities throughout the Commonwealth. Now is the time and HB995 is the legislation that will allow these talented professionals to provide high quality support to patients, especially in underserved communities, and improve access to needed medical care.

As 235 religious leaders and 143 national, state, and local faith-based organizations representing many faith traditions, we write to express deep concern over reports that the Biden Administration is considering agreeing to harsh and permanent asylym restrictions.

LSSNCA joined others in issuing public comments in response to the Unaccompanied Children Program Foundational Rule, posted by the Administration of Children and Families on Oct. 4, 2023.

Below is the opening of a letter signed by LSSNCA alongside 14 other organizations expressing our recommendations. We also signed onto additional comments, which can also be found in the public record (

Re: Unaccompanied Children Program Foundational Rule, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); 88 Fed. Reg. 68908; RIN 0970-AC93; ACF-2023-0009

The undersigned organizations respectfully submit these comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Unaccompanied Children Program Foundational Rule (“proposed rule”) by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), initially published on October 4, 2023. Drawing on our collective experience and expertise as care providers for unaccompanied children in Federal Government custody, we appreciate the opportunity to submit comments regarding the NPRM.

As a collective, we represent 15 organizations involved in the placement, care, and services provided to unaccompanied children in Federal custody. For years our various organizations have provided unaccompanied children with quality care and services that are in the best interest of the child. Given this experience, we felt it of great value to contribute comments on the NPRM from the perspective of care providers who understand how children will be directly impacted by the proposed policies and regulations. Important to note, our comment provides input on specific sections of the proposed rule but does not represent an exhaustive review nor an endorsement of other segments of the proposed rule, though many have joined or written separate individualized comments on various sections.

The letter expressed concern over proposals to dramatically and permanently change the U.S. immigration system. These changes would devastate America’s asylum process and harm asylum-seekers and other vulnerable immigrants.

We raised concerns to the DHS and the DOJ about U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)’s recent change to its language access policies and practices, which now require individuals to bring their own interpreters to their affirmative asylum interview, which abandons its practice of providing government-paid interpreters.

LSSNCA, along with more than 130 local, state, and national faith-based organizations, called on the Biden Administration to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the United Nations’ recent report that more than 6.9 million Congolese people are currently displaced as a result of armed conflict, intense violence, and humanitarian crises.

LSSNCA joined 40 organizations, including: World Relief, National Immigration Forum, Women's Refugee Commission, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the American Bar Association, in support of Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and U.S. Representatives Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) and Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) introduction of legislation to combat the immigration court backlog and strengthen due process rights for unaccompanied migrant children. U.S. Representatives Hillary Scholten (D-Mich.), and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.) also joined as original cosponsors of this legislation.

Senator Hirono (D-HI) reintroduced legislation to provide unaccompanied children with access to legal representation when they appear in proceedings before an immigration judge - the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act. ... Nearly half of all unaccompanied children represent themselves during legal proceedings and it is extremely difficult for children to successfully navigate the U.S. immigration system without an attorney—unrepresented children appear alone in immigration court to face a judge and an adversarial government attorney seeking their removal from the United States. Many of these children, some as young as 3-years old, are unable to speak English and unable to understand our complicated legal system. Immigration judges are nearly 100 times less likely to grant relief to unaccompanied children without counsel compared to those with counsel.

LSSNCA joined other organizations urging the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to take immediate action to expand the automatic extension of work authorization for immigrants with pending work permit renewal applications. We welcome the recent announcement that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will issue certain work permits with a 5-year validity period.1 However, this policy change does not prevent immigrants who have already received work permits that are only valid for two years from experiencing a gap in their work authorization due to crisis-level work permit renewal delays. If DHS does not act swiftly, hundreds of thousands of immigrants will be at risk of losing their jobs when their work authorization expires. Failing to act will have a severe and enduring impact on the economy and devastate labor markets across the country.

Since November 2022, when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called on all governments to “suspend the forced return of Haitians to their country,” the U.S. government has sent nine deportation flights to Haiti. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to schedule deportation flights to Haiti despite the serious risks to life, liberty, and physical and mental integrity of the people being deported. LSSNCA and the undersigned organizations call on you to suspend the scheduled September deportation flight to Haiti and all future U.S. deportation flights to Haiti until the United States, in consultation with UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is assured that generalized conditions of violence and insecurity in Haiti no longer represent a credible risk of serious harm to anyone forcibly returned to that country. We further call on you to investigate possible harms that people deported from the United States to Haiti since November 2022 may have experienced since their deportation, and to rectify, to the extent possible, those harms, including by facilitating humanitarian parole applications for those having experienced harm.

LSSNCA joined 202 civil, human rights, and immigrant rights organizations in the wake of the U.S. District Court’s decision in the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant case, pertaining to your administration’s “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” rule (“asylum ban”), to urge your administration to withdraw your recently filed appeal and stay motion and accept the court’s decision as final.

LSSNCA along with more than 50 nonprofit organizations endorsed the Stateless Protection Act of 2023 for the benefits it will offer stateless people, their families, and their communities in the United States. We thank Sen. Cardin and Rep. Raskin for their leadership on this Act and urge Congress to take action to pass this legislation.

According to United Nations (UN) estimates, over 1.5 million people have been forcibly displaced since the conflict erupted, both within Sudan and outside its borders. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees advised governments to not return civilians fleeing Sudan due to the conflict, calling it a “refugee movement.” It is imperative that the administration grant an 18-month extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected
Status for Sudan due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that threaten the lives of Sudanese nationals in the United States if returned.

This letter was signed by 30 Members of Congress, and endorsed by 40+ organizations, including LSSNCA, the Human Rights Campaign, Immigration Equality, the Latin America Working Group, Refugees International, the Transgender Law Center, the Council on Global Equality, the LGBTQ Freedom Fund, the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Women's Refugee Commission, the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the African Human Rights Coalition, Alianza Americas, the Bridges Faith Initiative, the Church World Service, the Haitian Bridge Alliance, the Coalition on Human Needs, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), InReach, the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Refugee Congress, ASISTA, Oxfam America, the Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration, Human Rights First, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Oasis, ORAM, Win Without War, Lambda Legal, Hispanic Federation, International Rescue Committee, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, African Communities Together, The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Equality California, We Are All America, Rainbow Railroad, the New York Immigration Coalition and Lawyers for Good Government.

Two years into its operation, the Dedicated Docket continues to amplify the lack of due process and basic fairness that families experience in our immigration court system. Thousands of families remain without legal representation and immigration judges continue to order children and their families removed in absentia, including when families have faithfully attended DHS check-ins and waited in hours-long lines to enter the courtroom only to arrive too late to their hearings.

This testimony regarding Ensuring the Safety and Well-being of Unaccompanied Children on June 14, 2023, will highlight LSSNCA’s recommendations for how the United States can strengthen its response to ensure the safety and well-being of unaccompanied children. Underlying our recommendations is our fundamental belief that all children should be treated as we would want our own children to be treated. Many of these recommendations are not new ... Many organizations that serve and advocate on behalf of unaccompanied children and asylum-seekers have also called for increased protections for unaccompanied children for more than a decade, and so I am demanding a sense of real urgency be paid to these recommendations which are of immediate and critical consequence.

Along with 142 non-Indigenous allies LSSNCA signed a letter in in solidarity to support Indigenous Peoples’ concerns about the exclusion of Indigenous Peoples from “lawful pathways” to seek asylum under recent changes to U.S. asylum processes. As allies, we uplift the needs, barriers, and recommendations already identified by Indigenous Peoples at the frontlines in the advancement of their human rights. Please read the letter delivered to the Administration on June 1, 2023.

LSSNCA along with 53 other national, state, and local organizations signed this letter to the Office of Refugee Resettlement urging the government to strengthen the U.S. capacity to welcome and serve Afghan arrivals who were paroled into the United States since July 31, 2021. This includes a guarantee of continuity of service provisions and extended eligibility for legal services.

LSSNCA along with more than 160 organizations called on the Administration to immediately redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan.

Click the heading to read the full letter.