Washington D.C. - In a continuing effort to promote greater federal court oversight of immigration decision-making, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) recently submitted amicus (friend of the court) briefs in two cases involving motions to reopen. For noncitizens facing removal from the United States, a motion to reopen (an opportunity to present new evidence in a case) may be the last and only way to pursue their claims for lawful residency in the United States. Failure to grant such a motion might prevent anyone - from an asylum seeker to a U.S. citizen's family member - from presenting new evidence that could prevent deportation. Yet, although the federal courts are the last chance for redress, they frequently refuse to hear claims that immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals abuse their discretion when they deny motions to reopen.
The LAC argument is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Kucana v. Holder that the Board of Immigration Appeals cannot shield its decisions from judicial review by labeling these decisions "discretionary." Only Congress can limit court review of motions to reopen, and it has not done so.
Given the gravity of removal from the United States, the high volume of immigration court cases, and the reality that most noncitizens do not have lawyers (only 39% of noncitizens were represented in immigration court in 2009), federal court oversight is critical to ensure due process. For an immigration system that is widely understood to be plagued with errors, judicial checks and balances are especially critical.Read more...
Washington, D.C. - Today, Senators Richard Durbin, Harry Reid, and Robert Menendez re-introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Last fall, the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives, and garnered the support of a majority in the Senate, but was ultimately defeated when the Senate failed to invoke cloture and proceed to debate. The sponsors of the DREAM Act hope to build on last year’s momentum and continue to highlight the importance of fully utilizing the talent and potential of thousands of young people who are Americans in every way but their birth certificates. Read more...
Federal J-1 program regulations require that host organizations with fewer than 25 employees or less than $3 million in gross annual revenue be visited by an American Immigration Council representative prior to the first application approval. In addition, the American Immigration Council requires that the site where the exchange visitor will receive training have a minimum of six full-time permanent employees.
The Host Site visit usually takes about 30 minutes. By meeting a new host face-to-face, it helps ensure that the J-1 trainee/intern and the host organization will have a positive exchange experience.
Host Site Visit Policies:
• The Host Site Verification fee is $500 and should be submitted with the application packet (see the Fees page) • The International Exchange Center has up to 30 days to conduct the visit
Day of the Visit:
• Schedule the visit on a day the J-1 trainee/intern’s supervisor and other employees are present in the office • The company representative should be prepared to show the American Immigration Council representative the facility and J-1 trainee/intern’s workspace • The company representative should be able to explain the training plan stated on the DS-7002 form
Washington D.C. – This week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was filing suit in South Carolina to block Act No. 69 (formerly SB 20), South Carolina’s new anti-immigrant law—modeled on Arizona’s SB1070. DOJ argues—like it did in Utah and Alabama—that the law is unconstitutional and interferes with the federal government’s ability to set and enforce immigration policy and is likely to result in civil rights violations. Following the legal challenge, the DOJ Civil Rights Division also sent a letter to Alabama’s public schools reminding them of their duty to provide public education to all children in the state regardless of immigration status.
The DOJ is challenging state legislatures that pass immigration enforcement laws that interfere with the federal government’s role in enforcing immigration laws and setting priorities. The DOJ’s effort on this case reflects their commitment to protecting constitutional principles and individual rights, a commitment that should extend to pursing vigorous challenges in other states that have passed similar laws, including Utah, Georgia, and Indiana.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also has a strong role to play and should respond to the civil rights crisis taking place in the states and make good on Secretary Napolitano’s assurance that her agency will not be complicit in enforcing Alabama’s new law through federal immigration enforcement actions. Read more...
Washington, D.C.—One month ago today, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Arizona v. United States, which invalidated three provisions of the immigration law known as “SB 1070” and left a fourth open to future challenges. More than any matter in recent history, the case settled a range of important questions regarding the role that states may play in the enforcement of federal immigration law. As a result, the ruling will affect not only SB 1070, but the fate of other state immigration laws being challenged in court and the odds of similar laws passing around the country.
Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases an updated version of its Q&A on Arizona v. United States, which discusses how the Supreme Court decided the case and what the ruling means for immigration laws in other states. As debates over the ruling continue, understanding the basis for the Court’s opinion will prove critically important in furthering a rational discussion on the implications of the decision.
Keely Alexander, from Superior, has co-authored a children’s book on immigration. "Davy Brown Discovers His Roots" will debut June 3 in Las Vegas at the American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference.
Washington, D.C.—Last week, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Moncrieffe v. Holder, holding that a state drug conviction is not an aggravated felony when the statute of conviction extends to the social sharing of a small amount of marijuana. The case has important implications not only for noncitizens charged with drug trafficking, but also for the application of the categorical approach in immigration proceedings.
Yesterday, the Legal Action Center, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild issued a Practice Advisory, “Moncrieffe v. Holder: Implications for Drug Charges and Other Issues Involving the Categorical Approach.” The advisory discusses the holding of the case, the decision’s potentially broader implications, strategies for representing noncitizen criminal defendants, and steps that lawyers should take immediately in pending or already concluded removal proceedings affected by Moncrieffe.