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2006 Winner, Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

My Mom “Thuy”

By Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

International School of Indiana

 

My mother’s name is Thuy. She was born in Saigon, South Vietnam. Her father was a 3-star Lieutenant General for the South Vietnam military and her family had almost everything that you could possibly think of before the civil war of Vietnam. However, when they lost their country, they lost everything. After the war, all they had left was their hope and beliefs.

 

In 1975, North Vietnam won the war. When my mother was only twelve years old (8th Grade), she and her brother and sister were forced to go to Canada. The rest of her family was then scattered around the world in places like France, Australia, Canada and the U.S.A. They all had a very tough time there because they had no support and no money as new immigrants.

 

For seven years after the war, my mother went to school and worked during the evening to help out my grandfather. My mother attended college for only two years because she needed a full time job to support her family. She also went to beauty school, graduated, and worked for the family. Then, having lived in Canada for ten years, my mother realized there was a better future for her in the U.S.A. -- “The Land of Opportunity.” She decided to move to Pennsylvania in 1985.

 

My mother began hard work at a beauty shop near Philadelphia and she worked hard everyday. Her dreams were to “ONE DAY” create her own salon and reach her many dreams. Due to her talents, she developed many clients and made a lot of friends. She saved as much money as she could and even avoided eating out or going to the movies or doing anything fun that might cost money.

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Immigrants' Deportation Cases Stumble Over U.S. Policy Change

Published on Sun, Apr 15, 2012

When the Department of Homeland Security announced last summer that some lower-priority cases should be shelved in immigration court through a process called prosecutorial discretion, Alexandru Ghilan looked like the perfect candidate.

The 29-year-old from Moldova had come to the United States on a work visa six years ago. He had applied for political asylum because of incarcerations and beatings he said he had endured as an activist protesting the former Communist regime in his eastern European home country.

Ghilan, who earned a law degree in Moldova, did not enter the country illegally and has no criminal record in the United States. He has worked and paid taxes since he came to the country. He has a wife and a 1-year-old daughter who is a U.S. citizen.

His asylum request has been denied: Communists no longer hold power in Moldova. He is appealing the case. Now, it has been passed over for administrative closure through prosecutorial discretion even though an immigration judge recommended that Ghilan be considered. If Ghilan had been granted that closure, he would no longer be living under the constant threat of deportation.

Government prosecutors aren't saying why some seemingly good fits for prosecutorial discretion, such as Ghilan, are being denied. But immigration attorneys are saying this is happening too often.

"It looks like it's a national problem," said Denver immigration attorney Bryon Large, who heard input from other lawyers from around the country during a recent meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Figures collected by the American Immigration Council show that about 9 percent of 165,000 immigration cases reviewed since late last year have been suspended through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.Read more...

Published in the Denver Post

American Immigration Council’s Outbound Exchange to Brazil

What: The American Immigration Council’s International Exchange Center is sponsoring an outbound exchange program to São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to study migration environmental, and human right issues from a Brazilian point of view.

When: Sunday, November 6 – Saturday, November 12, 2011

Price:  $1,950/person includes hotel, breakfast, lunch, local transportation, and all meeting and entrance fees.

For more information see our "Save the Date."

 

States move cautiously on immigration after Supreme Court ruling

Published on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

IPC staff lawyer Ben Winograd was quoted in a CBS article about the effect of the Supreme Court case over SB 1070 on other states:

For the states that have the same provisions as Arizona, the Court's decision provides clarity.

"To the extent that they have identical provisions, it's open and shut," staff attorney Ben Winograd with the American Immigration Council said.

...

Winograd says that the additional court cases will provide much more clarity.

"Based on the Supreme Court decision alone, I would be surprised" if the states move forward with their laws in the short term, Winograd said.

Published in the CBS News

2012 Creative Writing Contest 2nd Place Winner: Nikita Ranjit Nair

America through a Kaleidoscope

By: Nikita Ranjit Nair

 Austin, TX

 

I closed my eyes and imagined all the people as Lennon asked.

I wondered what was in this America.

I thought of vast cornfields, smoky mountains, and wondrous golden bridges.

I recalled majestic towers scraping the skies, watched over by a lady with a torch.

I imagined the rivers, gulfs, lakes, dams and other great American waters.

This is what I saw….

I saw hard working people all over our America.

Some had jobs, some gave up looking, and some never lost hope.

I saw in my mind’s eye all these beauties but something was missing.

I closed my eyes tighter and asked John to help me Imagine better.

This is what I saw….

People from all over the world.

Coming to America with dreams,

They bring ideas, imagination, and creativity.

They bring culture, traditions and their values.

They bring hard work, perseverance, and strength.

Then I smiled when I saw them.

Diversity and its true meaning.

To bring different people together to keep America great.

In my land of the beautiful, the free, and the united.

Come on over those who want to work here.

Respect our country and you shall be Americans like us.

 

IPC's Mary Giovagnoli in Mother Jones

Published on Tue, Jan 15, 2013

The Director of the Immigration Policy Center, Mary Giovagnoli, was quoted in this recent Mother Jones article on Marco Rubio's immigration plan:

"Rising conservative star and tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is "riding to the immigration rescue," according to the Wall Street Journal editorial page. While a bipartisan group of senators is at work on a comprehensive immigration reform proposal, Rubio is touting ideas of his own, which Journal editorial writer Matthew Kaminski says will seek to "triangulate, if you will—the liberal fringe that seeks broad amnesty for illegal immigrants and the hard right's obsession with closing the door.""

Published in the Mother Jones

Ron Gordon

President and CEO ZGS Communications

Ron Gordon, a native of Lima, Peru, is the owner, CEO and President of ZGS Communications and ZGS Broadcasting. Mr. Gordon arrived in the U.S. almost 30 years ago as a teenager and his entrepreneurial spirit quickly emerged. He began a paper listing the local soccer scores because he missed his favorite sport and realized that many other immigrants like him longed to follow soccer as well.

Mr. Gordon continued with communications work to fill a gap in the Latino community. He considered what he missed from back home in Peru and thought of the Hispanic artists and television shows that he watched as a boy. Mr. Gordon ventured to work in the growing Hispanic news and entertainment industry and to create some of the first U.S. produced television shows for the Latino community.

In 1989, Mr. Gordon formed ZGS Broadcasting, Inc. which consists of three Spanish television stations located in Washington, D.C., Tampa and Orlando, Florida, as well as two Spanish radio stations in Tampa, Florida. The television and radio stations reach more than one million Hispanic people. In 1997, ZGS Communications, Inc. and ZGS Broadcasting, Inc. had combined revenues of approximately $8 million.

As a leading producer of programming with Hispanic content, ZGS Communications was nominated for four Emmys and won two. ZGS is currently one of the leading Hispanic communications firms that assists companies in developing advertising, marketing, and public relations strategies aimed at the Latino community.

AIC Executive Director Ben Johnson Published in Arizona Daily Star

Published on Sun, Jul 28, 2013

The American Immigration Council's Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson, was published as a guest columnist for the Arizona Daily Star this weekend, in an article titled, "Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants Makes Economic Sense."

"The mass deportation of immigrants would cause a steep reduction in labor supply. Because labor is a key factor of production, a drastic reduction in its supply would in turn lead to a contraction of the state economy and a decline in overall state fiscal revenue.

Pull people out of the economy and it shrinks. In fact, more than 60 percent of all undocumented immigrants have been living and working in the state for more than a decade, which makes it even more destructive to the economy. Thus, 'deportation only' is anything but good policy.

What would happen if nothing changes? If we fail to reform the immigration system, we may not necessarily lose a lot from an economic perspective, but we stand to gain very little.

Immigrants, even the unauthorized, are already contributing to the state's economy. For example, immigrants already account for 15 percent of total economic output in the Phoenix metropolitan area, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute."

Published in the Arizona Daily Star

Jenny Hwang

Jenny Hwang is the Director of Advocacy and Policy for the Refugee and Immigration Program at World Relief. Previous to World Relief, she worked at the largest political fundraising firm in Maryland managing fundraising and campaigning for local politicians. Jenny has researched refugee and asylum law in Madrid, Spain through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She is co‐author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate.

 

AIC Immigrant Youth Achievement Award Winner Featured in Las Vegas Sun

Published on Tue, Apr 08, 2014

Astrid Silva, the 2014 receipent of the American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award, was recently featured in a Las Vegas Sun article titled "Las Vegas immigration advocate Astrid Silva earns national honor".

"A prominent immigration reform advocate and community organizer from Las Vegas who has helped influence Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid garnered more national recognition this week.

The American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award winner is Astrid Silva, an organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

Silva has been on of the most visible faces of Las Vegas’ immigration reform movement, going public with her undocumented status before getting a work permit through the deferred action for childhood arrivals program."

Published in the Las Vegas Sun