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Court Finds Tax Crimes Are Aggravated Felonies

Kawashima v. Holder, 565 U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 1166 (2012).

In a 6-3 decision written by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court affirmed a Ninth Circuit decision holding that convictions for committing and aiding tax evasion in which the Government’s loss exceeds $10,000 qualify as aggravated felonies under INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i) and therefore, are deportable offenses. In so holding, the Court resolved a circuit split between the Third and Ninth Circuits in favor of the latter. Compare Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 368 F.3d 218 (3d Cir. 2004) with Kawashima v. Holder, 615 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir. 2010).

The Court began its analysis by stating that it will employ the categorical approach by looking to the statutory definition of the crime rather than the specific facts of the case. See Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183, 186 (2007). First, the Court found that the elements of the tax crimes at issue, 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) and (2), clearly establish that commission of the crimes involves fraud or deceit. Second, the Court addressed the Petitioners’ argument that INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i) must be read in conjunction with INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(ii), and because clause (ii) references a specific tax crime (not at issue here), Congress did not intend clause (i) to cover tax crimes as well. The Court rejected that argument, concluding that the two clauses are not mutually exclusive and thus tax crimes are not excluded from clause (i).

Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan, issued a dissent in which she challenged the Court’s “dubious” statutory interpretation.

Obama administration cracks open door to gay immigrant couples, DREAMers

Published on Thu, Aug 18, 2011

Gay and lesbian married bi-national couples like San Francisco’s Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk may get some relief from the threat of deportation under the Defense of Marriage Act, thanks to action by the Obama administration today.

In a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said a new working group will be established to identify low-priority cases for immigrant deportation. The administration will exercise prosecutorial discretion, widely practiced by all law enforcement officers, to identify which low-priority deportation cases to ignore. The policy is also posted on the White House website.

Napolitano cited a memorandum issued last June by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which contains a long list of mitigating factors to weigh in deciding whether to pursue deportation. These include whether the immigrant is married to a U.S. citizen, as Makk is, as well as whether the immigrant is the primary caregiver of a citizen, which Makk also is. Other factors include such things as length of lawful stay in the United States, criminal record and the like.

Sexual orientation is not specifically mentioned, but Mary Kenney, a senior staff attorney with the Legal Action Center arm of the Immigration Policy Center said the administration has indicated that same-sex marriages are included in the definition of family for the purposes of the enforcement memo. She called the move “very encouraging.”

Napolitano said President Obama asked her to respond on his behalf, having said that “it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases.” She said the June memo is now “being implemented.”

Wells and Makk have gotten huge media attention, including a spot on CNN, since the Chronicle’s second story on their case this month. You read about their case first in the Chronicle last June.Read more...

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle

Impact on J-1 Programs in the Event of a Federal Government Shutdown

October 1, 2013 - As the US Congress delays approving a budget for FY 2014, it is possible that tax funded “non-essential” services will be suspended.  “Non-essential” services are those that are not considered to be a health or security concern.

Read on to learn areas that may impact our exchange visitors in J status: Read more...

Giving the Facts a Fighting Chance: Addressing Common Questions on Immigration

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This report provides answers to many of the most common immigration questions.

Gov. Perry and Those DREAM Act Kids

Published on Tue, Oct 11, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been beaten up in recent GOP presidential primary debates over his signing of a bill in 2001 giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrant kids in Texas. Look for the issue to come up again at tonight’s debate in New Hampshire.

In a free society, so-called DREAM Act legislation would be unnecessary. Opportunities for legal immigration would be open wide enough that illegal immigration would decline dramatically. And higher education would be provided in a competitive market without state and federal subsidies. But that is not yet the world we live in.

On the federal level, the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would offer permanent legal status to illegal immigrant children who graduate from high school and then complete at least two years of college or serve in the U.S. military. Legal status would allow them to qualify for in-state tuition in the states where they reside, and would eventually lead to citizenship.

Those who respond that such a law would amount to “amnesty” for illegal immigrants should keep a couple of points in mind.

First, kids eligible under the DREAM Act came to the United States when they were still minors, many of them at a very young age. They were only obeying their parents, something we should generally encourage young children to do.

Second, these kids are a low-risk, high-return bet for legalization. Because they came of age in the United States, they are almost all fluent in English and identify with America as their home (for many the only one they have ever known). “Assimilation” will not be an issue.Read more...

Published in the The Cato Institute

Trustees Emeriti

The Council expresses its deep gratitude to the following individuals who have served with distinction as past members of the American Immigration Council Board of Trustees and/or Board of Directors. We salute their leadership and continued commitment to building our foundation.

Peter Ashman (2006-2013)
Kelly McCown (2006-2012)
Jeff Joseph (2006 -2012)
Amy Novick (2006-2012)
Kristen Schlenger** (2001-2012)
James David Acoba (2000-2001)
Jonathan Avirom (1993-2001)
Roxana C. Bacon*** (2000-2005)
Lenni Beth Benson (2000-2004)
Daryl R. Buffenstein (1994-1997)
Jeanne A. Butterfield (2001-2008)
C. Lynn Calder (1997-2004)
Maria Isabel Casablanca (2004-2010)
Margaret A. Catillaz (1999-2001)
Anne Chandler (2006-2013)
Gerard M. Chapman (2001-2008)
Joseph E. Ching (1993-1996)
Steven A. Clark (1998-2001)
Robert Cohen (2004-2011)
Jules E. Coven
Linda A. Cristello (2000-2001)
Goldie C. Domingue (2000-2002)
Jenifer Eisen (1997-1999)
Phyllis Eisen (2000-2001)
Stephen K. Fischel (2005-2008)
Sarah Fortino-Brown (2004-2010)
Charles Foster (1993-2004)
Hope M. Frye (1992-1996)
Harry Gee, Jr. (1993-1995)
Jodi Goodwin (2004-2007)
Silvia Romo Graves (2001-2011)
Karen Grisez (2004-2011)
Matthew L. Hirsch (2006-2013)
Paul Hribernik (2000-2001)
Veronica M. Jeffers (2001-2002)
H. Ronald Klasko (1989-1990)
Charles H. Kuck (2007-2010)
Steven M. Ladik* (2000-2005)
MaryEllen Lannon (2008-2009)
Michelle L. Lazerow (2001-2007)
Ellen Ma Lee (1993-2004)
Michael Maggio (1993-2001)
Margaret H. McCormick* (1997-2004)
Cyrus D. Mehta** (1998-2005)
Nancy-Jo Merritt (1993-1995, 2008-2010)
Charles Miller (1995-1998)
Kathleen A. Moccio** (1998-2008)
Sheela Murthy (2002-2009)

 Read more...

Letter to the editor: by Mary Giovagnoli

Published on Fri, Jan 06, 2012

The POLITICO article “Obama: We Can’t Wait on Immigration” (Jan. 6) suggests that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announcement of streamlined processing for certain immigration waivers is part of a “war on GOP members of Congress.”

This is an unfortunate characterization of a long-overdue regulatory change. It is designed to correct a decade-long problem that has unnecessarily separated families and caused undue hardship to thousands of U.S. citizens and their loved ones.

The proposed rule would permit “in-country processing” of family unity waivers. This changes regulations that now require applicants to leave the country before they can apply for a waiver.

The current system has become increasingly burdensome, because of processing backlogs, uncertainty of outcomes and violence in key U.S. consulates, such as the one in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It creates unnecessary hardship for applicants who are eligible to receive a legal status but must first obtain a family unity waiver.

This waiver can now only be obtained abroad. But leaving the U.S. may trigger a bar of three years to 10 years if the applicant has been unlawfully present.

Many applicants fear that they might be permanently separated from their families and so never apply to become lawful permanent residents. Though applicants would still have to depart the U.S., under the new proposal they would do so knowing that their waiver had been provisionally approved — reducing waiting time and hardship for all.

All members of Congress — Republican or Democrat — have likely seen the compelling cases raised by the three year-to-10 year bar problem. Resolving it is not a partisan issue. It is instead an example of immigration service acting responsibly to address a problem of its own regulatory making.

Mary GiovagnoliRead more...

Published in the Politico

2010 Annual Immigrant Acheivement Awards Washington, DC

Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director, American Immigration Council
Executive Director Ben Johnson introduces honorees
Cokie and Steven Roberts
Cokie Roberts and Steven Roberts kick off the evening
Creative Writing Contest Winner & Cokie Roberts
The national winner of "Celebrate America"  Creative Writing Contest receives her award from Cokie Roberts
Steven V. Roberts and Paul Zulkie
President of the Board of Trustees Paul Zulkie (R) and Steven V. Roberts
honorees


(L-R) Ben Johnson, Henry Cejudo, Julia Culbert, Cokie Roberts, Steveb Roberts

Immigration advocates march to support immigration reform

Published on Mon, Mar 12, 2012

Immigration advocates continue to march to oppose enforcement-only state laws, deportation proceeding and to support immigration reform measures.

The recent deportation proceedings against Miami student Daniela Pelaez and her sister have sparked outrage in South Florida, with thousands taking to the streets last week to protest.

Speaking on the Spanish-language news show Al Punto on Sunday, Pelaez told reporters that her lawyer had obtained a deferred action – a step that effectively halts deportation proceedings against her, and grants her two years to adjust her residency status in immigration court.

Congressman David Rivera, R-Florida, who met with Pelaez on the heels of the Miami protest, announced Friday that he would file the Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status Act, or S.T.A.R.S. Act, which would allow undocumented immigrant youth who meet certain criteria to adjust their residency status.

But according to DRM Capitol, an organization that supports the DREAM Act, Rivera’s S.T.A.R.S. Act “is far from the more comprehensive DREAM Act that many undocumented youth organizations are fighting for.”

“This proposal is an orchestrated attempt to appeal to the important Latino voting block that will be critical to the 2012 elections,” adds DRM Capitol.

In its March/April issue, Mother Jones published its Immigration Hardliner Family Tree, a chart showing the links between organizations that support self-deportation or attrition through enforcement immigration policies and several GOP politicians, including Florida congressman Allen West.

GOP presidential candidates have said they support controversial immigration enforcement laws that currently exist in Alabama, Arizona and Georgia. Those candidates have also voiced their opposition to the DREAM Act, which polls show the majority of Latino voter support.Read more...

Published in the The Florida Independent