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Another Court Upholds Immigrants' Right to Pursue Case From Outside the U.S.

Released on Wed, Aug 03, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the growing list of courts to reject the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking reopening or reconsideration of their cases from outside the United States. The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, which filed a joint amicus brief in the case and argued before the court, applaud the court’s ruling. “The court’s decision is yet another step in protecting the important safeguards that Congress put in place to help ensure that noncitizens are not unlawfully separated from their families,” said Beth Werlin of the Legal Action Center.

The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to abandon its misguided regulation barring review of motions filed by noncitizens outside the United States.  To date, six courts of appeals have rejected the departure bar.  And just this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the only court with a decision at odds with the majority, granted rehearing en banc to address the validity of the departure bar.  “The writing is on the wall.  It’s past time for the government to stop cutting off access to the BIA and immigration courts by defending this clearly unlawful regulation,” said Trina Realmuto of the National Immigration Project.Read more...

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Struggling Over Words in Immigration Reform

Published on Sun, Aug 23, 2009

Detractors of immigration reform legislation managed to defeat an effort to get it through Congress in 2006 and 2007 partly through publicly deriding the proposals as "amnesty bills," defining the legislation as efforts to give illegal immigrants a penalty-free opportunity to remain in the United States.

Published in the Homeland Security Today

Groups Seek Information on CBP’s "Translation" Activities in Northern Border States

Released on Mon, Jun 04, 2012

Washington, D.C. - Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The FOIA requests seek information regarding CBP policies on providing translation assistance to other law enforcement agencies and on participating in 911 dispatch activities. The filing coincided with a federal agency decision finding the U.S. Forest Service’s policy of using Border Patrol agents as interpreters to be discriminatory. The alliance is seeking documents explaining the relevant legal authority, applicable procedural guidance, training materials, statistical data, and complaints filed with the government as a result of CBP's practices.

Over the past year, advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving as Spanish-English interpreters and participating in 911 dispatch activities. Capitalizing on their access to noncitizens, Border Patrol agents often use these opportunities to question individuals about their immigration status and, in many cases, initiate removal proceedings.

There is little public information about the scope and purpose of CBP's collaboration with other law enforcement agencies. The alliance hopes to promote greater transparency regarding these practices and includes the American Immigration Council, the Michigan Organizing Project/Alliance for Immigrants & Reform Michigan, Migrant Justice, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and OneAmerica.

To view the FOIA requests in their entirety see:

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American Immigration Law Foundation Announces Creative Writing Contest Winners

Published on Fri, May 09, 2008

The American Immigration Law Foundation announced the winners of the 11th annual "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest this week.


National Wave of Complaints Highlights Rampant Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Dire Need for Reform

Released on Wed, Mar 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states.   

This effort, which was coordinated by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, highlights CBP agents’ unlawful use of their enforcement authority. Border Patrol agents routinely exceed their statutory mandate by conducting enforcement activities outside border regions, making racially motivated arrests, employing derogatory and coercive interrogation tactics, and imprisoning arrestees under inhumane conditions. The cases include claims for unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.

Among the cases filed:

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ICE audit targeting 1,000 companies

Published on Thu, Nov 19, 2009

U.S. immigration officials put an unprecedented 1,000 businesses — including 42 in the Houston metro area — on notice Thursday that their paperwork would be inspected to make sure they don't employ illegal immigrants.

Published in the Houston Chronicle

First Circuit Holds That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States

Released on Tue, Oct 01, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that individuals who have been deported must have the opportunity to pursue motions to reopen their cases from outside the United States.  A motion to reopen is an important procedural safeguard that helps ensure noncitizens are afforded a fair immigration hearing.  The American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit and argued before the court, welcome the court’s ruling in Perez Santana v. Holder.

Despite having lost in nine other circuits, the government continued to vigorously defend a regulation – the so called “departure bar” – barring individuals from pursuing their cases from outside the United States.  This most recent decision means that all but one circuit court of appeals has rejected the government’s arguments and concluded that the regulation is unlawful.  Only the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the legality of the departure bar.  The American Immigration Council and NIPNLG renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.Read more...

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MA election's impact on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Published on Sun, Jan 24, 2010

Congress has a 41st Republican senator, but Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is challenging that notion. Yes, Graham does gain a new Republican colleague on Capitol Hill very soon (Senator-elect Scott Brown, of Massachusetts). In response to that, though, Graham announced on Friday his “willingness to tackle tough issues, including immigration” by breaking from partisan politics and finding a way to cooperate with the Democrats.

Of the Senator’s announcement, Immigration Impact’s Travis Packer quoted Graham as saying:

“Is the message that Democrats shouldn’t take on anything controversial and is the message that we should not work with them on anything controversial? … How much risk aversion does it create in the United States Senate to deal with tough issues like energy independence, climate change and immigration? … I hope that’s not the message. It’s not the message to me. The real reason we’re all here is to govern the country and do hard things.”

Published in the The E xaminer

Immigration Council Strongly Reaffirms Research on Reagan-Bush Family Fairness Policy

Released on Fri, Dec 05, 2014

Washington D.C. - This week, the Washington Post issued another editorial in its campaign against President Obama’s decision to authorize temporary deportation relief for several million undocumented parents of U.S citizen children. In particular, the Post argues that there is no historical precedent for President Obama’s action, discounting the parallel that the President and many others have drawn between past executive actions, such as the Family Fairness program instituted by Presidents Reagan and Bush, Sr. In fact, the Post called this analogy indefensible, essentially arguing that supporters of the Immigration Accountability Executive Action were attempting to recast history in an exaggerated attempt to justify the President’s overreach. The opposite is true. As the first organization to publicly lay out the case for the strong precedent for executive action in immigration, we believe it is important to set the Post, and the record, straight on the political significance of the Family Fairness program and why actions from almost a quarter of a century ago matter today.

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Internet tool helps employers check workers' immigration status

Published on Fri, Apr 02, 2010

You might not realize it when you get a new job, but soon your name may be checked against a government database to answer the question: Are you an illegal immigrant?

Thousands of employers in Florida and tens of thousands nationwide have enrolled in a voluntary government program known as E-Verify, which allows them to find out whether their new hires are entitled to work in the U.S.

Published in the Orlando Sentinel