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ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED APRIL 2011)

This Litigation Issue Page provides information about developments in immigration-related mandamus actions, with particular emphasis on cases seeking to compel the adjudication of applications that are delayed because of security checks.

USCIS Revisions of FBI Name Check Policy and Practice|Anticipating the Government's Answer and Preparing to Respond|What Type of Relief Should I Expect from the Court?|Attorney's Fees|Decisions in Mandamus Cases|Additional Resources

USCIS Revisions of FBI Name Check Policy and Practice

In a June 22, 2009 press release, USCIS stated that, in partnership with the FBI, it had eliminated the FBI name check delays - officially described as the FBI National Name Check Program (NNCP) backlog. USCIS stated that it had met the goals set forth in a joint business plan between USCIS and the FBI announced on April 2, 2008: to achieve a sustainable performance level by the NNCP of completing 98 percent of name check requests submitted by USCIS within 30 days, and the remaining two percent within 90 days. USCIS stated in its press release that this performance level will become the new agency standard.Read more...

Chairy Saidjan Embraces American Culture

March, 2009
Chairy Saidjan

The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Chairy Saidjan as March's Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...

Mandatory E-Verify opponents say it must be part of comprehensive immigration reform

Published on Mon, Jul 11, 2011

Mandatory E-Verify opponents do not propose eliminating an employee verification program, but say businesses need one that works well for employers — especially small companies — and workers.

Analysts and business organizations have argued that E-Verify alone would hurt Florida and the U.S. economy, but those same organizations say that a program that allows employers to verify a workers immigration status must be part of federal immigration reform.

The Immigration Policy Center compares the “Legal Workforce Act of 2011″ of Rep. Lamar Smith’s R-Texas, which would make the E-Verify system mandatory for all employers within three years, and Sen. Robert Menendez’s “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011,” which also includes mandatory E-Verify. The bill filed by Menendez includes a program to require immigrants who were undocumented as of June 1 to register with the government, learn English and pay fines and taxes on their way to becoming Americans.

The Policy Center explains that:

Like all comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bills since 2005, the Menendez bill allows for a mandatory E-Verify system only in context to other elements of comprehensive immigration reform, like a generous legalization program, reforms to family- and employment-based systems, border and interior enforcement and integration programs. Under Menendez’s bill, current unauthorized workers would have a chance to legalize their status, and future workers could come through newly created legal channels.

The Policy Center adds that, although some groups will continue to oppose mandatory E-Verify even as part of comprehensive immigration reform, “others have realized that if E-Verify isn’t going anyway, it had better work well and provide strong protections for workers.”Read more...

Published in the Florida Independent

RICO Claim for Hiring Undocumented Workers

Mohawk Indus. v. Williams, 547 U.S. 516 (2006)Read more...

  • In a per curiam opinion dated June 5, 2006, the Supreme Court held that certiorari was improvidently granted and remanded the case to the Eleventh Circuit for reconsideration in light of Anza v. Ideal Steel Supply Corp., another RICO case the Court decided the same day.

Q&A with Marloes Schenk

February, 2012

Congratulations to Marloes Schenk, our Exchange Visitor of the Month. We recently caught up with Marloes to learn more about her J-1 training experience.

Read more...

The Uncertain Future of Pennsylvania's Dream Act Legislation

Published on Wed, Sep 14, 2011

On June 20, 2011, Pennsylvania State Rep. Tony Payton Jr. (D-Philadelphia) introduced the Pennsylvania Dream Act, HB 1695, which mirrors the failed national-level bill that would have granted undocumented youth in-tuition rates at public universities. If the bill is passed, Pennsylvania would become the 12th state, following the recent Illinois passage, to sign such legislation.

Presently, in Pennsylvania, in-state tuition costs for the 2011-2012 school year are $6,240, while out-of state tuition ranges from $9,360 to $15,600, according to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Undocumented students are not eligible for these in-state tuition rates, even though many of them have been residing in the state of Pennsylvania for significant periods of time.

The Pennsylvania legislation, like other state-level bills, builds a series of strict residency guidelines that undocumented students who request in-state tuition rates must demonstrate.

These guidelines, published by Dream Activist Pennsylvania, the main pro-immigration organization in Pennsylvania sponsoring the bill, include the requirement that students must have attended a public or nonpublic secondary school in the Commonwealth for at least three years. They must also have graduated from a public or nonpublic secondary school in the Commonwealth. And, in an often overlooked provision, students or their parents must have filed Pennsylvania income taxes annually for three years while attending school to qualify.

It's important to note that while the bill mirrors national-level legislation, states do not have the power to afford citizenship; only the federal government has that legal authority. Due to this fact, the Dream Act grants undocumented youth only the ability to attend college at in-state tuition rates, meaning that legally securing a job after receiving a degree is not possible.Read more...

Published in the Truth Out

LAC Wins Release of H-1B Fraud Documents for AILA

For Immediate Release

LAC Wins Release of H-1B Fraud Documents for AILA

November 9, 2012

Washington, D.C.—USCIS released in full the four remaining contested documents in a FOIA lawsuit brought by the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) and Steptoe & Johnson LLP on behalf of AILA. The documents plainly describe - in more detail than documents previously released in this lawsuit - “fraud indicators” that result in greater scrutiny of certain H-1B applications. These documents are troubling evidence of a near presumption of fraud in H-1B applications submitted by small and emerging businesses and for certain types of positions at these businesses.  The following documents were released:

Background of the LawsuitRead more...

American Heritage Dictionary Revises "Anchor Baby" Definition; Clarifies Offensive, Derogatory Nature

Published on Mon, Dec 05, 2011

Steven Kleinedler, executive director of the American Heritage Dictionary, took note when Immigration Policy Center criticized its definition of "anchor baby."

 Kleinedler says American heritage will tweak the definition of the phrase for the third printing of the dictionary's Fifth Edition by noting that it is an offensive and derogatory term. He acknowledges that it "should have been done in the first place."

 He wrote on New Times' initial blog post the other day that he'd been in contact with the executive director of the Immigration Policy Center "to discuss her very valid points" and that "a revision to the definition is in order, and the editorial staff and I are working on this."

"When I first read the blog post at Immigration Impact, I knew immediately that a revision would be order," Kleinedler says. "I didn't need anyone to convince me. It was an obvious error that needed to be rectified, and so that is what we did."

 The revised definition:

n. Offensive Used as a disparaging term for a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child's birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother's or other relatives' chances of securing eventual citizenship.

 The original definition:

n. A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.

 Immigration Policy Center director Mary Giovagnoli first blogged at immigrationimpact.com criticizing the definition of "anchor baby."Read more...

Published in the Phoenix New Times

LAC News Room

The Legal Action Center puts out press releases about ongoing developments in immigration law, posts on the Immigration Impact blog, the Immigration Slip Opinion blog, and we also compile links to news clips that feature Legal Action Center staff.

Immigrant Rights Advocates Sue to Reveal Policies and Procedures at Artesia Family Detention Facility

Immigrant rights groups today filed Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) litigation to compel the release of documents regarding the use of the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained at the family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico. To date, the government has not publicly released critical information about the policies and procedures governing its operations at the Artesia facility, despite the potentially life-threatening consequences for the women and children detained there. The release of these policies and procedures is particularly urgent given that the government has opened another family detention center in Karnes, Texas and has announced plans to open a massive 2,400-bed family detention facility in Dilley, Texas. Read more...Read more...