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Marielena Hincapié
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Marielena Hincapié is executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. She is a public interest lawyer who specializes in protecting and advancing the rights of immigrant workers, particularly those who are undocumented. She has authored numerous publications and policy analyses, provided strategic assistance and training to thousands of legal and social service providers, and to labor unions and community-based organizations. Ms. Hincapié is also a frequent lecturer at national and international conferences addressing issues of migration. She has litigated law reform and impact litigation cases dealing with the intersection of immigration laws and employment/labor laws. Ms. Hincapié serves on the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration, and on the executive committee of the National Lawyers Guild's Labor and Employment Committee. She is the youngest of 10 children, and an immigrant from Medellín, Colombia.

Entries by Marielena Hincapié

LBJ's Use of Power Is Needed in Today's Fight for Moral Immigration Policies

(4) Comments | Posted July 3, 2014 | 12:18 PM

No American president during the last half century has matched President Lyndon Baines Johnson's skillful use of power.

In the White House, Johnson's hold on Congress remained firm, as he masterfully pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most significant civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. This law...

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Hope for Our Country

(2) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 1:59 PM

Former House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor's historic primary defeat has thrown the Republican Party into complete disarray at a time when Congress' approval ratings are at an all-time low. If we relied on Washington policymakers for hope and change, we would be feeling a lot of...

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Down the Deportation Rabbit Hole

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 9:18 PM

The Migration Policy Institute released today another report that attempted to dig into the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) numbers and explain who has been deported under the Obama administration. Their findings aren't surprising: The formidable immigration detention and deportation machine created under President Bush and expanded under...

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Many More Must Have Access to Obamacare Before Mission Accomplished

(11) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 5:46 PM

This week, President Obama chose the venerable White House Rose Garden to give himself a well-deserved pat on the back. After years of promising affordable health care, followed by more years of criticism from opponents -- rants that continue today -- and an abysmal program rollout marred by computer malfunctions,...

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The Fight for Dignity for All in Arizona

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 4:21 PM

Over the last several days, Arizona once again became the focal point in the struggle for civil and human rights. Fortunately, Governor Jan Brewer made the right decision to veto legislation that would allow owners and employees of businesses to deny services to members of the LGBTQ community if providing...

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State of the Union: Congress and the President Still Falling Short on Immigration

(33) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 10:35 PM

When President Obama ascended the dais in the House Chamber to deliver his annual State of the Union Address, senators and House members gathered before him shared with him a common reality: both the legislative and the administrative branches of our government have much more to do if economic equality...

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Playing Poor Children Against Jobless Is Ugly Game of Survival

(1) Comments | Posted January 14, 2014 | 12:31 PM

Sometimes when a member of Congress says or does something that insults a whole class of people one has to decide whether the member is being mean-spirited or is woefully uninformed.

But when a group of lawmakers gets behind a plan that plays one group of vulnerable people against...

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The True Cost of the Legal Workforce Act

(21) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 5:35 PM

Given that the recent forced partial shutdown of the federal government has plunged the approval rating for Congress to nearly an all-time low, it's hard to imagine that some representatives are orchestrating yet another political folly. But immigration reform opponents are poised to do just that.

Representatives determined...

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House's 'SAFE' Act Threatens Support for Immigration Reform

(34) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 2:45 PM

For decades, we have pushed Congress to create a road to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans living and laboring in our country. True immigration reform, however, cannot be achieved if creating this road comes at the cost of giving up or undermining our most cherished civil rights.

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Welcoming Obamacare for Some, Fighting for Care for All

(4) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 5:19 PM

Remember when opponents of President Obama's health care reform proposal derisively called it "Obamacare?" Since then, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has survived legal challenges and political attacks, so the president's confidence in the program caused him to embrace the term.

Obamacare is taking our nation into a new era...

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Profiles in Courage: Immigrant Women

(18) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 12:26 PM

Today, I took off my lawyer hat and my executive director hat. Today, I am simply a woman. A daughter, sister, aunt, partner, co-worker, and friend. Today, I am proud to have been part of 105 very courageous women, many noncitizens, who put a human face on this fight for...

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When a Job Is at Stake, Even One Mistake Is One Too Many

(15) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 1:28 PM

Think about it. Have you ever had to correct a serious mistake because of a computer error? Perhaps had to argue with a bank for wrongly charging a service fee? Try to convince someone that you really are who you say you are even though the computer screen disagrees because...

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I Was Arrested for Demanding a Vote

(171) Comments | Posted August 1, 2013 | 7:53 PM

Each day the House pushes immigration reform to the side, another 1,000 members of our community -- or more -- are deported. These immigrants who came here under a broken immigration system to work and make a better life for their families, are arrested, detained, and deported without knowing how...

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KIDS Act Alone Won't Fix Immigration System

(53) Comments | Posted July 26, 2013 | 1:12 PM

The House Immigration Subcommittee changed its tone this week. Once opposed to providing a road to citizenship as part of immigration reform, the panel finally is entertaining the idea of offering lawful status to DREAMers, young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children without documents.

Were the change in...

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House Loses Memo on How to Succeed on Immigration Reform

(112) Comments | Posted June 15, 2013 | 9:55 AM

A year ago on June 15, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which temporarily halted deportation proceedings for young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children without documents. Days later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government, not states, has supreme...

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Historic Immigration Debate Raises the Question: What Kind of America Do We Want?

(14) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 1:16 PM

As the Senate Judiciary Committee reached the finish line of its marathon voting session on a bipartisan immigration reform bill, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), asked a question that will go to the heart of the upcoming debate on the Senate floor and, eventually, in the House.

"What kind...

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What Shameful Postville, Iowa Immigration Raid Teaches Five Years Later

(29) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 10:39 AM

It seems like only yesterday that we heard of the horror coming out of Postville, Iowa.

Immigrants -- 389 to be exact -- were arrested at a local meat processing plant and literally treated like cattle by hundreds of federal agents. They were rounded up at their worksite, the...

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Restoring the American Dream for All Workers

(11) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 12:52 PM

Immigration reform is the latest hot topic in Washington, but in the debate, precious little has been said about protecting immigrant workers' right to organize. Earlier this month, my organization, along with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), went to the U.S. Court of Appeals...

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A Roadmap for Healthy Citizenship

(27) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 5:34 PM

Washington is finally serious about fixing our broken and outdated immigration system.

In the span of 48 hours, we saw not one, but two serious immigration reform proposals, one from a bi-partisan group of Senators, and the other from President Obama. Although long overdue, this moment is welcomed by...

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The True Cost of Deportation Policies

(33) Comments | Posted January 11, 2013 | 3:34 PM

Americans are learning about a reality that immigrant families and communities have known about for some time: there has been a monumental rise in policies to deport the men and women who are living, working, and raising families in this country. Earlier this week, the Migration Policy Institute...

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