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Texas Decision at Odds with Legal Precedent, History and Facts on Immigration Enforcement

Released on Tue, Feb 17, 2015

Washington D.C. - Late last night, a Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation of President Obama’s new deferred action initiatives. These initiatives, announced last November, came in response to more than 10 years of political stalemates and failure by Congress to address America’s broken immigration system and alleviate the pain endured by millions of families around the country. The President’s announced initiatives will provide temporary relief from deportation to approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. 

The new deferred action initiatives, which include Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are based on the well-established authority of Presidents and other executive branch officers to allocate and prioritize finite enforcement resources. This practice is used by prosecutors and other law enforcement personnel on daily basis. The judge’s order, issued just two days before the government was set to begin the DACA expansion, bars federal immigration officials from implementing “any and all aspects” of the new deferred action initiatives.

The following is a statement by Melissa Crow, Legal Director at the American Immigration Council:

“Today’s decision is only the first round in what will clearly be a much longer legal battle. Already, the White House has promised that the Justice Department will appeal the judge’s decision, and we urge them to do so in an expedited manner. We expect higher courts to overturn the judge’s decision based on well-established precedent.Read more...

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Legal Fellow Patrick Taurel Discusses Implementation of Immigration Action

Published on Mon, Feb 09, 2015

Patrick Taurel, Legal Fellow and the American Immigration Council, provides an in-depth look into the implementation of President Obama’s executive order on immigration and the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs.

Watch the C-Span segment below:

Published in the C-Span

Second Circuit Narrowly Interprets Aggravated Felony Bar Under INA § 212(h)

Released on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

Washington, D.C.—Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a precedent decision that will allow a greater number of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to avoid deportation if they can demonstrate to an immigration judge that their removal will result in extreme hardship to close family members in the United States. The Court held that the bar to a waiver under § 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) applies only to those persons with an aggravated felony conviction who became LPRs at the time that they lawfully entered the United States. The American Immigration Council (Immigration Council) filed an amicus brief in the case with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

The Immigration Council applauds the ruling and repeats its call for the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to overturn its contrary decision in Matter of Koljenovic, 25 I&N Dec. 219 (2010). With this decision, the Second Circuit joins the seven other Courts of Appeal—an overwhelming majority—to have rejected Matter of Koljenovic. To date, the Eighth Circuit stands alone in upholding the BIA’s decision. The First and the Tenth Circuits have not yet ruled on the issue, although the Council and AILA have filed amicus briefs in two pending cases in the Tenth Circuit. The Second Circuit case is Husic v. Holder. Michael P. DiRaimondo was lead counsel in the case; Thomas E. Moseley was co-counsel. 

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Immigration, Civil Rights and Labor Groups Join Legal Effort to Defend Immigration Action

Released on Mon, Dec 29, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, immigration, civil rights and labor groups joined the legal effort to defend President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration by filing an amicus “friend of the court” brief in the case, State of Texas vs. United States. In the days after the President’s November 20th announcement, two lawsuits were filed seeking to block implementation of the new deferred action initiatives. Both lawsuits seek a “preliminary injunction”—a temporary block of the programs during the life of a lawsuit. The amicus brief, which was written in support of the federal government, provides powerful economic, fiscal, and societal reasons to allow these programs to take effect later this year.

The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Define American, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Law Center, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, Service Employees International Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, and United We Dream filed a brief opposing the states’ request for a preliminary injunction against the administration’s new deferred action initiatives. 

In their brief, the groups provide powerful testimonials about potential beneficiaries of the new deferred action initiatives, many of whom are already entrepreneurs and community leaders. These individuals include a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, community leaders, and primary breadwinners for U.S. citizen children. The groups also explain how the deferred action initiatives will positively impact the U.S. economy, raising wages, increasing tax revenue, and creating new jobs.
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U.S. District Court in D.C. Hears First Arguments Against Executive Action on Immigration

Released on Mon, Dec 22, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in the case brought against executive action by notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is seeking to enjoin the DACA and DAPA programs based on the increased burden on his law enforcement office that would allegedly result from these programs. Specifically, Arpaio’s theory is that the President’s executive actions will cause a “flood” of “millions more illegal aliens,” and in turn a “crime wave”—because many “illegal aliens… are repeat offenders.”

Melissa Crow, the Legal Director at the American Immigration Council was in the courtroom today and issued the following statement:

“It was clear that attorney representing Arpaio, Larry Klayman, a well-known conservative lawyer who founded Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch, was struggling to demonstrate the type of “concrete and particularized” injury that is required to bring a challenge of this nature, or that the alleged harms would be a direct result of DACA or DAPA.  While disagreeing adamantly with the government’s argument that DACA and DAPA would promote public safety by enabling DHS to focus on high priority threats, he failed to provide any compelling explanation for his position.

“Judge Beryl Howell asked probing questions to determine whether Sheriff Arpaio had established that he had “standing” under the law. She listened attentively to Mr. Klayman’s responses, but seemed skeptical that he had met his burden of proof. Before concluding the hearing, Judge Howell indicated that she would issue her rulings very shortly on both Sheriff Arpaio’s motion for a preliminary injunction and the government’s motion to dismiss the case.Read more...

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Preventing the Removal of Individuals Eligible for DAPA or Expanded DACA

After President Obama’s announcement of a series of reforms modifying immigration policy, DHS Secretary Johnson issued agency-wide memoranda expanding deferred action and revising immigration enforcement priorities. These memos provide immediate protection from enforcement to individuals who meet the criteria of the newly created Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (“DAPA”) program and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“Expanded DACA”) program. This practice advisory, written in collaboration with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, offers strategies to facilitate the release from custody or prevent the removal of individuals who qualify for Expanded DACA or DAPA or are otherwise not enforcement priorities.

Published On: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 | Download File

Legal Fellow Patrick Taurel Quoted on Need for Permanent Immigration Solutions

Published on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

Patrick Taurel, Legal Fellow at the American Immigration Council, was recently quoted in the Washington Post article "Obama’s 2012 DACA move offers a window into pros and cons of executive action."

The article discusses the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrrivals (DACA) program, the lessons learned from it, and the need for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“We know it [DACA] has made a tremendous beneficial impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,’’ said Patrick Taurel, a legal fellow at the American Immigration Council, a pro-immigration group. “But it’s not enough. We ultimately need Congress to step in and create a permanent solution.’’

Published in the Washington Post

Department of Homeland Security Doubles Down on Family Detention

Released on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to close the detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, where it detains mothers and children. Unfortunately, the closure of this facility does not mark the end of a dark chapter in our country’s immigration history. Instead it signifies the government’s decision to double down on its commitment to extended detention of families seeking refuge in the United States. The closure of Artesia comes with the opening of a permanent, drastically larger family detention center in Dilley, Texas. There the government boasts its potential to detain up to 2,400 women and children, while it expedites their removals.

Since last June, DHS has locked up mothers and children at the isolated detention center in Artesia, hours from the nearest major metropolitan area and far from adequate legal services. There, the government has created a deportation mill, carrying out new, strong-arm policies designed to ensure the rapid removals of Central American families. Many of these families fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and came to the United States seeking protection. Yet, in Artesia, they are deprived of a fair opportunity to present their asylum claims. We have no reason to believe anything will be different in Dilley. Read more...

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The Sixth Circuit Joins Growing Majority, Rejects BIA’s Narrow Interpretation of Section 212(h)

Released on Thu, Sep 25, 2014

Washington, D.C.—Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a precedent decision that will allow a greater number of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to avoid deportation if they can demonstrate to an immigration judge that their removal will result in extreme hardship to close family members in the United States. The American Immigration Council, which filed an amicus brief in the case, applauds the ruling and repeats its call for the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to overturn its contrary decision in Matter of Koljenovic, 25 I&N Dec. 219 (2010). Read more...

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Groups Sue U.S. Government over Life-Threatening Deportation Process Against Mothers and Children

Released on Fri, Aug 22, 2014

Washington D.C. — The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and National Immigration Law Center today sued the federal government to challenge its policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety. Read more...

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