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HALTing the DREAM

Published on Mon, Aug 01, 2011

Every now and then a piece of legislation comes around with a terribly creative acronym. The USA PATRIOT Act back in 2001 was one example. But rarely do two bills on the same issue appear in Congress with such diametrically opposed names and policy goals as the DREAM and HALT Acts.

Published in the The Nation

Court Rejects Application of “Aggravated Felony” Label to Some State Law Marijuana Distribution Convictions

Moncrieffe v. Holder, 569 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 1678 (2013)

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court held that a state conviction for a marijuana distribution is not a drug trafficking aggravated felony where the state statute upon which it was based covers social sharing of a small amount of marijuana. Thus, noncitizens facing deportation based upon such convictions are not barred from pursuing discretionary relief.

In an opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, the Court unequivocally affirmed the applicability of the categorical approach.  The Court explained that the Georgia drug offense at issue would only qualify as an aggravated felony if it necessarily prescribes felony punishment under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA treats distribution of small amounts of marijuana for no remuneration as misdemeanors.  See 21 USC §§ 841(a), (b)(4). As a result, a conviction under a state statute that encompasses such distribution offenses is not necessarily punishable as a felony under the CSA and thus is not an aggravated felony.  The Court rejected the government’s arguments that immigration courts should re-litigate criminal cases to determine whether convictions involved only a small amount of marijuana for no remuneration. 

Justices Thomas and Alito issued dissents.

Practice AdvisoryMoncrieffe v. Holder:  Implications for Drug Changes and Other Issues Involving the Categorical Approach (May 2, 2013)

School districts told to monitor enrollment of Alabama immigrant students

Published on Mon, Oct 10, 2011

The impact of Alabama’s new immigration law, which requires K-12 schools to check the immigration status of their students, could be felt in several states, including Florida.

Sunshine State News reports today that “a number of school districts across Florida have been advised to monitor enrollment numbers for Hispanic migrant families relocating from Alabama after a federal judge upheld that state’s new immigration enforcement law.

The online news outlet adds that “Florida’s Education Estimating Conference said so far they haven’t seen any influx in the counties bordering Alabama or in counties such as Osceola, Hardee and Volusia where migrant families may seek agriculture employment,” and that the “Alabama Department of Education stated that on Oct 3, 5 percent of the state’s Hispanic students didn’t show up for school.”

Our sister site The American Independent recently reported that civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department sued to stop Alabama’s immigration enforcement law, “passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in May, from being enforced, as they did in the case of S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration law. But unlike in Arizona, a federal judge chose to allow most of the Alabama law to go into effect.”

The Immigration Policy Center reported last week that Alabama school administrators “worry that Alabama’s immigration law will impact the state’s already cash-strapped school system.”

The Policy Center added that, “according to Alabama’s Department of Education, 2,285 Hispanic students (of 34,000 Hispanic students state-wide) were absent from school on Monday.”Read more...

Published in the The Florida Independent

About the Immigration Policy Center

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC, formed in 2003 is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.

Read staff bios»

Contact Us

Immigration Policy Center
American Immigration Council
1331 G Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005-3141
Tel.: 202-507-7500
Fax: 202-742-5619
info@immigrationpolicy.org

Quick Fact: Foreign students contribute to the economy

The 690,923 foreign students who were in the country during the 2009-2010 academic year contributed $18.8 billion to the economy.

Conn. mayor seeks to let illegal immigrants vote

Published on Tue, Dec 20, 2011

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Already known as a refuge for people from other lands, New Haven is tightening its embrace of newcomers as its mayor seeks to extend voting rights to illegal immigrants and other noncitizens, a policy challenge that comes shortly after attacks on "sanctuary cities" by Republican presidential candidates.

The Democratic mayor, John DeStefano, helped illegal immigrants come out of the shadows four years ago when he launched a first-of-its-kind program to give them city resident cards. Despite crackdowns elsewhere, he has forged ahead with proposals that he says are designed to find common ground in a diverse city.

"We're a place of differences," he said. "We're a place that sees a strength and places a value on welcoming folks from all over."

Dozens of American cities including New York, San Francisco and Cambridge, Mass., take a hands-off approach to pursuing illegal immigrants. While advocates say they are rightly distancing themselves from a broken immigration system, critics accuse them of flouting federal law as "sanctuary cities" — a label not all of them accept.

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has vowed to cut off federal funding for such cities. One of his rivals, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, pushed a bill this year that would have prohibited cities from acting as "sanctuaries" for illegal immigrants and allowed local law enforcement to become more involved in immigration enforcement. Mitt Romney has said he opposed sanctuary cities as Massachusetts governor and, as president, he would "find the right approach" to ending them if legally possible.

President Barack Obama has resisted calls from some Republicans to crack down on sanctuary cities. As a Democratic candidate in 2007, he said the U.S. government should address the issue by providing a rational immigration system, not by withdrawing funds from cities that shelter noncitizens.Read more...

Published in the Associated Press

American Immigration Council Store

All proceeds from the purchase of books go to the American Immigration Council and its educational initiatives. Scroll down to check out our inventory of signed copies of immigration related books.

Price: $20

 

Davy Brown Discovers His Roots

By Keely Alexander and Velani Mynhardt

The American Immigration Council partnered with authors Velani Mynhardt Witthöft and Keely Alexander of Keely Velani LLC and created Davy Brown Discovers His Roots. The colorfully illustrated book tells the story of a young boy and his friends as they discover that everybody has an immigration story, whether their families arrived today or generations ago. The story, which is aimed toward 7-12 year olds, is a great way to introduce the concept of the many ways people come to the United States permanently and temporarily. It is a perfect conversation starter for a family discovering their roots or for a classroom teacher starting a unit on immigration.

Read more...

Kirk Says U.S. Visa Restrictions Hobbling Business Efforts

Published on Mon, Mar 05, 2012

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the nation’s policy for issuing visas is hurting the economy by limiting tourism and blocking overseas buyers of American products from coming to the U.S. for training.

“We will engage on the visa issue, which is frankly crippling us right now,” Kirk said today in Washington. “We hear from business after business, ‘We go, we make these sales, and my customers can’t get a visa to come here to learn how to use the product.’ We are past-due to have a common-sense immigration policy, and we need to have visa reform as part of that.”

In January, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the nation needs to ease restrictions on immigrants who plan to open U.S. businesses, and create a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs.

Efforts at overhauling immigration laws are stymied in Congress, including a proposal to let temporary foreign workers enter the U.S. and help illegal immigrants advance toward citizenship. The debate has overshadowed the need to change the U.S. visa program, according to the Chamber, the largest business group.

Current laws make it difficult for people to enter the U.S. and start a business, according to a Jan. 25 report from the Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based nonprofit. Expansion of the visa program would also aid companies’ access to foreign- born graduates of U.S. universities, helping economic growth, the authors of the report said.

Speeding Visas

President Barack Obama on Jan. 19 gave the departments of Homeland Security and State 60 days to write a plan for speeding visa applications from China and Brazil. Obama’s order recommends cutting the process to three weeks from four months.

Visa-processing capacity in China and Brazil must increase 40 percent in the next year, according to the order.Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg

Mission

About the Immigration Policy Center

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy in U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC, formed in 2003 is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.

What We Do

Contributing Research

The IPC researches important issues related to immigration (such as the impact of immigration on the economy, jobs and crime). Our work is geared toward providing a solid, fact-based foundation for the immigration debate.

Bridging the Gap

The IPC's work helps to bridge the gap between advocates and academics, policy experts and politicians. Through forums, briefings and special publications, we bring diverse groups together to help shape the immigration debate.

Getting the Facts

All too often, the debate about immigration is dominated by fear and misinformation. IPC works to make sure that fact is separated from fiction. To do this, we monitor and rapidly respond to statements made by anti-immigration groups, providing lawmakers, the media and the general public with accurate, up-to-date information.Read more...