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Another Court Upholds Immigrants' Right to Pursue Case From Outside the U.S.

Released on Wed, Aug 03, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the growing list of courts to reject the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking reopening or reconsideration of their cases from outside the United States. The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, which filed a joint amicus brief in the case and argued before the court, applaud the court’s ruling. “The court’s decision is yet another step in protecting the important safeguards that Congress put in place to help ensure that noncitizens are not unlawfully separated from their families,” said Beth Werlin of the Legal Action Center.

The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to abandon its misguided regulation barring review of motions filed by noncitizens outside the United States.  To date, six courts of appeals have rejected the departure bar.  And just this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the only court with a decision at odds with the majority, granted rehearing en banc to address the validity of the departure bar.  “The writing is on the wall.  It’s past time for the government to stop cutting off access to the BIA and immigration courts by defending this clearly unlawful regulation,” said Trina Realmuto of the National Immigration Project.Read more...

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Immigration reshaping the political landscape

Published on Sun, Aug 23, 2009

New U.S. citizens like Ignacia J

Published in the The Santa Fe New Mexican

Groups Seek Information on CBP’s "Translation" Activities in Northern Border States

Released on Mon, Jun 04, 2012

Washington, D.C. - Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The FOIA requests seek information regarding CBP policies on providing translation assistance to other law enforcement agencies and on participating in 911 dispatch activities. The filing coincided with a federal agency decision finding the U.S. Forest Service’s policy of using Border Patrol agents as interpreters to be discriminatory. The alliance is seeking documents explaining the relevant legal authority, applicable procedural guidance, training materials, statistical data, and complaints filed with the government as a result of CBP's practices.

Over the past year, advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving as Spanish-English interpreters and participating in 911 dispatch activities. Capitalizing on their access to noncitizens, Border Patrol agents often use these opportunities to question individuals about their immigration status and, in many cases, initiate removal proceedings.

There is little public information about the scope and purpose of CBP's collaboration with other law enforcement agencies. The alliance hopes to promote greater transparency regarding these practices and includes the American Immigration Council, the Michigan Organizing Project/Alliance for Immigrants & Reform Michigan, Migrant Justice, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and OneAmerica.


To view the FOIA requests in their entirety see:Read more...

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Sunday Pops

Published on Sat, Aug 01, 2009

Those much ballyhooed public state House-Senate conference committee hearings designed to end the long budget impasse were quickly suspended last week. And, as predicted here, a whining Gov. Rendell took the talks back behind closed doors. It's another exercise in screw-the-public politics.

Published in the Pittsburgh Tribune

National Wave of Complaints Highlights Rampant Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Dire Need for Reform

Released on Wed, Mar 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states.   

This effort, which was coordinated by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, highlights CBP agents’ unlawful use of their enforcement authority. Border Patrol agents routinely exceed their statutory mandate by conducting enforcement activities outside border regions, making racially motivated arrests, employing derogatory and coercive interrogation tactics, and imprisoning arrestees under inhumane conditions. The cases include claims for unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.

Among the cases filed: Read more...

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Napolitano sees hope for immigration reform

Published on Fri, Nov 13, 2009

The government has beefed up border security and workplace immigration enforcement, and now should begin the work of overhauling immigration laws, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday.

Published in the L.A. Times

First Circuit Holds That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States

Released on Tue, Oct 01, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that individuals who have been deported must have the opportunity to pursue motions to reopen their cases from outside the United States.  A motion to reopen is an important procedural safeguard that helps ensure noncitizens are afforded a fair immigration hearing.  The American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit and argued before the court, welcome the court’s ruling in Perez Santana v. Holder.

Despite having lost in nine other circuits, the government continued to vigorously defend a regulation – the so called “departure bar” – barring individuals from pursuing their cases from outside the United States.  This most recent decision means that all but one circuit court of appeals has rejected the government’s arguments and concluded that the regulation is unlawful.  Only the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the legality of the departure bar.  The American Immigration Council and NIPNLG renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.Read more...

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Will Obama Address Immigration Tonight?

Published on Wed, Jan 27, 2010

In his White House press briefing yesterday, Robert Gibbs seemed to suggest that President Obama would address the subject of immigration reform in his speech tonight. Why he would introduce such a polarizing topic into the already toxic atmosphere in Washington is unclear to me, but if, in fact, he does, I think it's safe to assume he won't be dwelling on it very long. The chances of getting an immigration-reform bill passed this year, which were iffy to begin with, faded to near black in the wake of the Massachusetts Special Election That Changed Everything. If the message from the Bay State was that the administration needs to focus on repairing an economy that has shed millions of jobs, it's hard to imagine selling the country on the need to legalize millions more workers. But that's not to say the administration won't try.

Published in the Newsweek

President Provides Immediate Relief, Creates Architecture for Reform

Released on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

Washington D.C. - After decades of congressional neglect, tonight President Obama took a crucial and courageous step toward reforming our immigration system. He announced that he will provide immediate relief for many of those impacted by of our broken system, and he is offering Congress an architecture for the permanent reforms that our country desperately needs.

Under the new policies announced, the Obama Administration will build on the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by providing temporary relief for the parents of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents. The new program, to be called Deferred Action for Parents (DAP), will ensure that millions of U.S. Citizen and lawful permanent resident children will remain unified with their parents. The President also announced new enforcement policies and steps to improve the adjudication of business and family visas.  

Mindful that the full impact of the President’s announcement will reveal itself in the months ahead, the American Immigration Council will keep a close watch over how the agencies administer these new policies. We will work to ensure that they are implemented in a way that respects fundamental principles of fairness and due process. Read more...

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National report offers ‘damning critique’ of 287(g)

Published on Mon, Apr 05, 2010

The Immigration Policy Center in Washington, D.C., released on Friday what it called a “damning critique” of the federal 287(g) program.

The report on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program issued by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General highlights what the IPC calls “numerous shortcomings that lead to abuse and mismanagement and raises serious questions about the wisdom of state and local immigration enforcement partnerships with ICE.”

Published in the Nashville City Paper