Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center, cautions about overstating the decline. "I don't think it's really a significant drop," Giovagnoli says. "Certainly, 8 percent is something, but if you look at where we were in 1990, then at the numbers of illegal immigration in 2009, the number of people here illegally has tripled."
It’s not just enforcement that matters, but policies, too. Giovagnoli thinks some policies that focus on enforcement haven’t deterred people from coming, and maybe made them more likely to stay out of status if they’re already here.
Delays by USCIS in deciding naturalization applications have forced many applicants to seek judicial remedies. Section 336(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows a federal district court to review a naturalization application if USCIS has failed to decide it for more than 120 days after the date of the examination. The law allows the court to either decide the application itself or remand the application to USCIS for decision.
Often, USCIS will deny a naturalization application while the case is pending in federal district court. The agency’s lawyers will then move to dismiss the federal court case because the application has been denied. If the case is dismissed, the applicant will face even longer delays as an appeal to USCIS will be required before seeking judicial review of the denial. We have successfully challenged this practice, arguing in amicus briefs that once a case has been filed in federal court, USCIS loses its authority over the naturalization application and must wait for the federal court decision before taking further action.
Bustamante v. Napolitano, No. 08-0990-cv (2d Cir. amicus brief filed May 30, 2008). In a precedent decision, the court adopted the position urged by the Legal Action Center and held that USCIS does not have jurisdiction to decide a naturalization application after an applicant files an action in district court under INA § 336(b). Bustamante v. Napolitano, 582 F.3d 403 (2d Cir. 2009).Read more...
Dozens of Washington, D.C. area educators had a unique opportunity to work with experts on immigration law and African migration at the American Immigration Law Foundation's (AILF's) fifth annual Teachers' Symposium on Saturday, February 9. The event, which was funded in part by Wachovia, was organized for educators in an effort to help them teach the importance of America's immigration heritage more effectively.
According to the Immigration Policy Center, S.B. 1070 “requires state and local law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of individuals it encounters and makes it a state crime for noncitizens to fail to carry proper immigration documentation.”
The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is an expansive immigration enforcement program that leads to the initiation of removal proceedings in many cases. While CAP has existed in one form or another for decades, there is still much to be learned about the program, how it is organized, and how it works. What is known is that CAP extends to every area of the country and intersects with most state and local law enforcement agencies.
For years, the CAP program has operated with little public attention and many of its elements have only recently come to light following FOIA litigation against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The information obtained through the lawsuit regarding CAP’s current organization and staffing suggests CAP is not a single program, but a loose-knit group of several different programs operating within ICE. Other than a small number of staff responsible for the administration of CAP at ICE headquarters, there is no dedicated CAP staff. Rather, ICE pulls personnel and resources from across the agency to perform CAP-related functions.
The ICE declarations and deposition also explain how CAP functions within prisons and jails. There appears to be little consistency in, and little or no policy governing, how CAP cooperates with state and local law enforcement agencies in different regions and in how CAP interacts with detainees in different facilities. Instead, CAP appears to function as an ad hoc set of activities that operate differently across the country and across penal institutions, raising questions about the adequacy of oversight, training, and accountability of the personnel implementing CAP.
This information confirms that there is still much about CAP that remains unknown or unclear. Given the breadth of CAP, the centrality of its role in immigration enforcement, and its large impact on the immigrant community, it is critical that ICE clarify how CAP operates.Read more...
Teachers and students can read this beatifully illustrated storybook on Storybird and learn about current issues in immigration. Students of all ages can use the artwork on Storybird to create their own written works.
Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, a think tank arm for the American Immigration Council, said predicting whether the 112th Congress would see UAFA as part of comprehensive immigration reform at this stage in talks is difficult.
“It’s hard to know whether it would make it into the final formalized piece of legislation because there’s just so many intangibles, especially when you don’t know who all the sponsors might be, where they’ll draw their lines in the sand,” she said.
The American Immigration Council's Community Education Center is proud to announce the 16th Annual "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest.
Past winners have used the theme “Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants” to discuss their personal immigration experiences, learn about and share family histories or write about the broader questions of the challenges facing immigrants in a new land. Fifth grade students enter their work in local contests which are sponsored by chapters of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Each chapter forwards the local winning entry to the National Competition where entries are reviewed by a distinguished panel including U.S. senators, award-winning authors and noted journalists. Winning entries are to be printed in the Congressional Record. The winner and two guests receive an all expenses paid trip to The Council’s Annual Benefit Dinner where he/she is honored and reads his/her winningentry aloud. This year’s Annual Benefit will take place June 28, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The winner also receives a travel stipend, engravedplaque, his/her winning entry printed in the Congressional Record and a flagflown over the Capitol in his/her honor. Local and national judges are looking for student writing that is original, thoughtful and speaks to the Council’s mission to educate the public about the benefits of immigration to our society.
The deadline for local submissions varies so check with a local coordinator (local deadlines are usually in February or March). The national deadline where local contest winner's submissions are judged will be April 12, 2013.Read more...
A report released this month aims to help state legislators considering Arizona-style immigration-enforcement bills answer this question: If S.B. 1070-type laws accomplish the declared goal of driving out all undocumented immigrants, what effect would it have on state economies?
This report comes when Florida Republican legislators in both chambers are working to change the Sunshine State’s immigration laws through bills that copy Arizona’s law while making controversial federal enforcement programs Secure Communities and 287(g) state law.
Critics of the proposed Florida bills have pointed to the civil rights and legal violations, as well as the economic burden, these bills would have on the state’s residents.
The report issued by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center concludes that:
• Immigrant workers as a whole added $47.1 billion to Arizona’s gross state product — the total value added by workers of goods and services produced in the state — in 2008. The undocumented workforce by itself accounted for $23.5 billion of this gross state product.
• The pre-tax earnings of immigrant workers in Arizona totaled almost $30 billion for all immigrant workers and nearly $15 billion for undocumented workers.
• The output and spending of all immigrant workers generated 1.2 million jobs in Arizona in 2008, while the output and spending of undocumented workers generated 581,000 jobs.
• The analysis estimates that immigrants on the whole paid $6 billion in taxes in 2008, while undocumented immigrants paid approximately $2.8 billion.
The report adds that the effect of deportation in Arizona would:
Decrease total employment by 17.2 percent.
Eliminate 581,000 jobs for immigrant and native-born workers alike.
Shrink state economy by $48.8 billion.
Reduce state tax revenues by 10.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the effects of legalization in Arizona would:Read more...