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David K. Wenger & Associates, PC

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Prosecutorial Discretion Guidelines May Provide Temporary Relief to Gay and Lesbian Bi-National Couples

Released on Fri, Aug 19, 2011

Washington D.C. –Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they are taking concrete steps to implement existing guidance on prosecutorial discretion across the agency in an attempt to provide relief for low priority immigration cases. DHS also announced the creation of a committee which will review 300,000 immigration cases currently in removal proceedings to determine which cases are low priority and can be administratively closed. One of the factors in determining low priority cases is family relationships and community ties—factors the Administration said yesterday may apply to gay and lesbian families.

There are currently 36,000 same-sex bi-national couples in the United States, many of whom are routinely denied applications for lawful permanent residence and other relief from deportation due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Enacted in 1996, DOMA prevents the federal government—including DHS—from recognizing marriages or civil unions of same-sex couples for purposes of receiving federal benefits. Although the Administration determined that parts of DOMA were unconstitutional, DHS is still denying immigration benefits to same-sex spouses of bi-national couples.

DHS’s recent announcement, however, suggests that the guidelines on prosecutorial discretion may provide temporary relief to gay and lesbian bi-national couples. On a conference call hosted by the Immigration Policy center yesterday, a panel of experts discussed how the new policy may help gay and lesbian bi-national couples:

Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney with the Council’s Legal Action Center, said:Read more...

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Immigrants now make up more than 4 percent of S.C. population

Published on Fri, Sep 18, 2009

Immigrants make up more than 4 percent of South Carolina's population, according to census figures, and Latinos and Asians have a significant effect on the state’s economy.

Published in the Independent Mail

Legal Action Center Files Suit Against DHS for Failure to Disclose Records on "Voluntary" Returns

Released on Fri, Jun 08, 2012

Washington D.C. - Yesterday, the Legal Action Center (LAC) at the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Between January 2009 and April 2011, CBP managed 662,485 voluntary returns of Mexican nationals. Read more...

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New Cato Report Highlights Economic Benefits of Legalizing Immigrants

Published on Sun, Aug 16, 2009

In a new report released yesterday, Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform, the Cato Institute seeks to quantify the Benefits that would flow to the U.S. economy from comprehensive Immigration Reform which grants some form of legal status to unauthorized immigrants already living In the United States.

Published in the World Sentinel

Agreement Reached in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Released on Mon, Apr 15, 2013

Washington D.C. - The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. If approved by a federal judge, this agreement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases.  The settlement agreement represents the culmination of years of advocacy by the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) and other groups on behalf of deserving asylum seekers.

The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the LAC and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw.  The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.Read more...

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Immigration reform for an up or down economy

Published on Fri, Oct 09, 2009

Immigration is overwhelmingly about economics. If any doubts linger, they should be wiped away by the decline in the U.S. foreign-born population last year.

Published in the Long Island Business News

Court Approves Settlement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Released on Tue, Nov 05, 2013

Washington, DC – On Monday, November 4, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ordered the final approval of a nationwide class action settlement agreement. The settlement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases.  The changes will commence on December 3, 2013.

The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.  The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.

The case, filed on behalf of asylum seekers around the country, alleged that the current system unlawfully denies asylum applicants the opportunity to obtain employment authorization if their asylum applications have been pending for six months or more. Some end up waiting several months or years for the government to make a decision on their asylum applications.  Indeed, one plaintiff from China had been waiting nearly 10 years for his case to be resolved.Read more...

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Alaska immigrants' economic role grows

Published on Thu, Feb 18, 2010

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - An immigration policy reform group says Alaska's foreign-born and minority populations have a growing presence in Alaska and its economy.

In a new publication, the Immigration Policy Center based in Washington, D.C., says one in 10 Alaskans are Asian or Latino, and those communities have more than $2 billion in buying power. It says the information comes from Census data and economic information from other research.

 

Published in the Associated Press

New Report on the Benefits of Legalization Comes Up Short

Published on Sun, Apr 11, 2010

A new report released by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) this week attempts to assess the economic benefits of a legalization program on immigrants and native born workers. The report, Immigrant Legalization: Assessing the Labor Market Effects, however, falls short on research and methodology. While the report accurately concludes that legalization would not have a negative impact on native workers’ wages and employment, the report takes a myopic approach to legalization’s impact on wages and mobility of the newly legalized. A wide range of economic studies—studies which consider legalization’s impact in both the long term and in context to comprehensive immigration reform—conclude that legalization does in fact benefit both native-born and immigrants alike.

Published in the New American Media