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Obama raises false hope on immigration

Published on Wed, Aug 24, 2011

If there was ever any doubt that the only thing President Obama is truly gifted at is getting people to hope for change, we need look no further than his recent announcement to review the cases of up to 300,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation.

Too bad it's false hope.

Despite initial excitement of the immigrant advocacy organizations who are fighting for nothing less than a full 1980s-style amnesty -- and the correlated anger from conservatives who believe that last week's decision to re-evaluate the existing enforcement priorities is just that -- this is not a big step in immigration policy.

This latest Obama re-election campaign stunt won't affect 97 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in our country. It is causing a lot of confusion within the very communities it is supposed to assuage, and it is further alienating those who must come to the negotiating table to hammer out a compromise for our immigration quagmire.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer chimed in quickly after the news broke, denouncing this plan as a "backdoor amnesty." She and others can be forgiven for initially thinking that. At first blush it sounded as though, at the very least, 300,000 lucky souls who were close to being deported had gotten a reprieve.

Many immigration experts and advocacy organizations are urging caution. They're scrambling to tell the immigrant community to not turn themselves in to authorities or try to get themselves detained for the purposes of becoming "legal." The possibility -- and it is just a possibility -- of getting a slate cleaned is open only to the 300,000 already in the pipeline for deportation. Each case will be reviewed by a panel and, if the case is closed, legal resident status will not be granted.Read more...

Published in the Herald Extra Utah Valley News

J-1 Information Sessions to be held at AILA Annual Conference 2010

The American Immigration Council’s International Exchange Center will be conducting three special information sessions during the 2010 AILA Annual Conference. The sessions will be held at the AILALink Booth in the Exhibit Hall. Exquisite, tasty, and fun prizes will be awarded!


Lois Magee, Director of the International Exchange Center; along with Kim Lindsay, International Exchange Center Program Specialist; Doug Hauer, of Douglas Hauer LLC, and others will lead these informative trainings. Sessions are scheduled as follows:


The J-1 Visa: Have a Foreign Affair


Thursday, July 1, 1:30 pm-2:30 pm
AILALink Booth in the Exhibit Hall

 

Including J Visa Clients in Your Practice


Friday, July 2, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm
AILALink Booth in the Exhibit Hall


J-1 Visa II: The Advanced Class


Saturday, July 3, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm
AILALink Booth in the Exhibit Hall


 

E-Verify shouldn't be mandatory

Published on Tue, Oct 25, 2011

Fane, a native of Tonga, works as a dispatcher for a company in Los Angeles. When she was hired, her employer used E-Verify, an electronic federal database intended to identify only unauthorized immigrants, to verify her work authorization. Though she's been a U.S. citizen for 16 years, the E-Verify system flagged her. She had not notified the Social Security Administration that she had become a U.S. citizen - something that she did not realize that she was supposed to do.

Fane reported the mix-up to her employer, which eventually reinstated her. But she lost back pay for two weeks of work - a devastating loss of income for a working-class single mother of four.

Cases like Fane's, unfortunately, would become all the more common if Congress passes H.R. 2885, a bill sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to require all employers to implement E-Verify. Currently, the flawed E-Verify program is voluntary for most employers. This bill recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.

The government's own study shows that E-Verify's current error rate is 20 times higher for foreign-born workers than U.S.-born workers and 30 times higher for naturalized citizens, according to Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Making the system mandatory would adversely affect all immigrants, but especially the nation's Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, of whom more than two-thirds are foreign-born.

And those who are those authorized to work in this country, including U.S. citizens, could be deemed unauthorized simply due to an old database system that doesn't reflect current work authorization status. Because of errors in E-Verify, between 144,000 and 415,000 U.S. citizens and other legal workers in California alone could lose their jobs if they do not know to or are unable to correct their records, according to the Immigration Policy Center.Read more...

Published in the The Bellingham Herald

International Exchange Center Staff

STAFF

Mr. Jai Misra, Program Specialist
jmisra@immcouncil.org

Jai Misra joined the American Immigration Council in April 2012 and works with the International Exchange Center's J-1 visa sponsorship program. Mr. Misra graduated from Gettysburg College with a degree in Globalization Studies, and he spent a year at the American University in Cairo (AUC) where he helped design cultural exchange programs for study abroad students at AUC's International Student Services Office.

Ms. Lois C. Magee, Director, International Exchange Center
lmagee@immcouncil.org

Lois C. Magee was named Director of the American Immigration Council's International Exchange Center in January 2006. Ms. Magee has been affiliated with a number of citizen exchange organizations including the International Christian Youth Exchange, AFS Intercultural Programs, and the YMCA International Branch. She has worked with and written on J-1 visa programs for over twenty years. Ms. Magee holds a Master's degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT.

Ms. Moksheda Thapa, Program Specialist - (currently on leave until 12/2014)
mthapa@immcouncil.orgRead more...

Impact of Deportations

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View our resources on the economic and humanitarian impact of deportations.

U.S. Seeks Rule Change to Let Some Illegal Immigrants Remain With Families

Published on Fri, Jan 06, 2012

The Obama administration proposed changing federal rules to let some undocumented immigrants stay in the U.S. while seeking legal status, a move that would help Hispanics, a key voting bloc in the 2012 election.

The proposal is aimed at spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are eligible for a visa. The proposed change would let them remain in the country while applying for a green card, according to a statement by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The law now calls for immigrants who have been in the country illegally for 180 days or more to leave the U.S. to apply for legal residence, a period that can last as long as 10 years. Because of the potentially long separation from their families, immigrants who are eligible don’t apply for legal status, according to the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based pro-immigration group.

Congressional Republicans have stymied President Barack Obama’s drive to overhaul immigration laws to let temporary foreign workers enter the U.S. and to help illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship. The proposed change doesn’t need congressional approval.

It would “provide a more predictable and transparent process and improved processing times,” according to the immigration agency’s statement.

Hispanics contributed to Obama’s margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election. Exit polls on election day showed 67 percent of Hispanic voters supported him compared with 31 percent for Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.

States With Hispanics

That support helped Obama carry states with large Hispanic populations, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The states are among the ones likely to be the most competitive in this year’s presidential race.

The illegal immigration issue has sparked disputes in the race among Republicans vying to be Obama’s opponent.Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg

2008 Winner, Cameron Busby

 

“America is a Refuge”

By Cameron Busby

Tuscon, Arizona

 

 A small child holds out a hoping hand,

a crumb of bread,

or even a penny just to be fed

Hoping America is a refuge.

 

A child weeps over her mother's lifeless body,

the tears streaming down her face

Praying America is a refuge.

 

A child's torn sock blows in the wind,

as a bomb explodes the tiny sock catches a flame and begins to

burn to ash

Can America be a refuge?

 

A thirsty father and son seeking shade from the blazing sun,

all they want is a job

and for America to be a refuge.

 

America can be a refuge for you.

It can be a refuge for me.

I am glad that America is a refuge for all.

 

A Tale of Two Undocumented Graduates

Published on Tue, Mar 20, 2012

Raul Rodriguez and Alberto Ledesma live parallel lives. Both proudly claim UC Berkeley as their alma mater. Both have worked hard academically. And both have published personal essays about the stigma of being an undocumented student.

But that’s where their lives diverge. Ledesma was fortunate enough to gain amnesty via the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), federal legislation that granted amnesty to immigrants who entered the U.S. before 1986. Rodriguez, on the other hand, remains undocumented because legislation like IRCA no longer exists.

“Even now, years after amnesty, I get all tongue-tied when anyone asks me about my immigrant past. I become that undocumented immigrant Cantinflas, twisting words and phrases until nothing I say makes sense. The problem is, I don’t know where my Cantinflas and where the true me begins.”

Rodriguez says he shares that same feeling of being constantly distressed. If he were granted amnesty, he says he would take every opportunity that presented itself, the simplest of all being travel. Before discovering he was undocumented, Rodriguez had plans to move to New York City and Paris, but all of those plans disappeared upon hearing the truth about his legal status.

“Being undocumented means re-shifting your life and not doing what you love,” he notes.

Today, Rodriguez lives a life that he can only describe as “going through the motions.” He is not alone. A study conducted by the Immigration Policy Center in 2008 showed that 25 percent of all people in the U.S. are either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. The same study concluded that 40 percent of all immigrants currently in the U.S. came to this country before 1990, which suggests that they've since established deep roots in this country. Many are like Ledesma and Rodriguez, having grown up in the U.S. yet never fully embraced as Americans. Read more...

Published in the New American Media

Practice Advisories by Topic

LAC Practice Advisories provide in depth discussion and analysis of select substantive and procedural issues in immigration law. The Practice Advisories are intended to assist lawyers and do not substitute for individual legal advice supplied by a lawyer familiar with a client's case. View advisories by date.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) | BIA & Immigration Court Procedures | Business Immigration |
Detention | EnforcementFederal Court Review | FOIA | Immigration Benefits |
Motions to Reopen | Relief from Removal | Voluntary Departure

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)

Failure to Appeal to the AAO: Does it Bar all Federal Court Review of the Case? (July 22, 2004). This Practice Advisory discusses whether and how a person can get review of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decision in federal court if he or she did not appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The advisory addresses the Supreme Court case Darby v. Cisneros, holding that a plaintiff is not required to exhaust non-mandatory administrative remedies in certain situations, and how it may apply to cases involving appeals to the AAO.Read more...