You are an attorney advisor to Young Immigrants United (YIU), a group of immigrant youth of mixed nationalities (including Latin American, Asian, and African members), ages 16 – 22, some undocumented and some with temporary status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
The group’s primary campaign has been to try to pass legislation on the state level in Nevada to allow undocumented youth and youth with DACA to access in-state tuition benefits. Currently, undocumented youth and youth with DACA qualify as international students and must pay out-of-state tuition for public university education. Nevada has a program where the top ten percent of every high school class (as measured by grade point average) gets automatic admission to the state’s university (without financial assistance). YIU students are primarily high achievers who qualify for admission to Nevada University because of the “top ten percent” program. However, many of them end up passing up the opportunity to attend university because they cannot afford the out-of-state tuition they would be required to pay. YIU hopes that this will finally be the year that the in-state tuition bill passes, and they have been organizing relentlessly for this result. You have helped the members of YIU draft language for the bill and are advising them on their legislative strategy.
Legislators in Nevada recently introduced two bills targeting immigrants who are convicted of crimes:
Currently, the Nevada Department of Corrections is allowed to release incarcerated people with deportation orders to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the federal immigration enforcement agency) after they have served 50% of their sentences. Once released to ICE, people with deportation orders are detained and deported. House Bill 23 would repeal the statute that allows the Nevada Department of Corrections to release incarcerated people with deportation orders after serving 50% of their sentence. HB 23 would instead require this group of immigrants to serve at least 85% of their sentence before being released to ICE for detention and deportation. US citizens are currently ineligible for release until they have served 85% of their sentences.
Senate Bill 47 would require undocumented immigrants to serve the maximum possible sentence in prison for any criminal conviction. Undocumented immigrants would not be allowed to enter into plea deals, and would have no possibility of bail or parole.
Members of FIN (Formerly Incarcerated Nevadans) have reached out to YIU to ask the group to join an emerging coalition opposing HB 23 and SB 47. Specifically, they have asked YIU to contact legislators who have supported the in-state tuition bill to ask them to oppose HB 23 and SB 47. The YIU membership is split on whether to join the coalition.
YIU members who are completely opposed to joining the coalition and reaching out to their legislative allies worry about expending political capital on the unpopular category of immigrants that HB 23 and SB 47 targets: incarcerated undocumented Latino men, ages 22 – 30. They are concerned that particularly in this moment of anti-immigrant sentiment fomented by the Trump administration, they should not spend their limited time and energy on opposing bills that have broad popular support among the residents of Nevada. They also worry about diluting their primary message (expanding educational opportunity for immigrant youth) by associating themselves with immigrants with criminal convictions.
Some members of YIU oppose SB 47 (maximum sentences for undocumented immigrants, with no possibility of plea deal, bail, or parole), because it seems to target immigrants. However, they don’t necessarily oppose HB 23. They argue HB 23 would simply guarantee equal treatment for every person, regardless of immigration status (equal treatment in this case would mean equally long sentences, as US citizens are ineligible for release prior to serving 85% of their sentences).
A third group of YIU members is inclined to join the coalition FIN is putting together.
YIU is at an impasse, and the members have asked you for a memo laying out arguments for how to respond to FIN’s request to join the coalition and lobby legislators. They have heard you talk about the critical race theory class you took in law school, and have asked you to use your knowledge of critical race theory to advise them on how to proceed.
Citing at least three authors from attachments (including at least two authors), please provide YIU with advise on how to respond to FIN’s request.
No cover page, 5-7 pages, double-spaced, 12-inch Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Citations to sources should be in blue book format.