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Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 9

This issue covers the Supreme Court's decision Gonzales v. Thomas and Possible Legal Challenge over DOL "45-Day Letters."

Published On: Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Download File

President Obama has options on immgration, and should employ them

Published on Thu, May 05, 2011

Nobody should question the importance of the Navy SEAL assault that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, nor President Barack Obama's authority to order the raid.

Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. question something else: an authority Obama says he does not have. He says he cannot by executive order modify the implementation of the laws under which a record number of undocumented immigrants have been deported in his first two years in office.

Obama has held countless meetings with Latino leaders to bring Hispanic voters to his side. Yet he always says that it is not his fault; that he has to obey the law; that Republicans are to blame. Some of this is true, but according to a legal memo from an American Immigration Council study, there are many things the president could and should do.

"The President and his cabinet have a wide range of choices available that can ameliorate some of the worst excesses of current law," the memo's cover letter said.

The memo mentions several options the administration has if the president is really serious. It says the Department of Homeland Security already has memos saying its agents should differentiate between deporting known criminals and those with no felonious criminal records. It should make sure the agents understand and apply the instructions given.

It also mentions that Homeland Security has the authority to grant "deferred action" to an otherwise "deportable" immigrant when it sees the presence of "sympathetic or compelling factors.'' This is already in use to grant exemptions for those who fall under the Violence Against Women Act.

The memo talks about temporary protected status granted to those after a determination is made that it is unsafe for foreign nationals to return home due to armed conflict, natural disasters or extraordinary conditions.

There is also the option of the issuing "humanitarian parole."Read more...

Published in the Sun Sentinel

Employment Authorization Verification


This Litigation Issue Page highlights lawsuits challenging government initiatives related to employment verification, including the Internet based E-Verify system and "no-match" letters issued by the Social Security Administration.

Several states and local governments have enacted laws regulating employment verification. These laws have prompted litigation, typically challenging whether they are preempted by federal law. The following cases are on our State and Local Law Enforcement Issue Page

  • Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano, 526 F. Supp. 2d 968 (D. Ariz. 2007), aff'd sub nom. Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Napolitano, 558 F.3d 856 (9th Cir. 2009), petition for cert. filed sub nom. Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria, (July 24, 2009) (No. 09-115)
  • United States v. Illinois, No. 07-3261, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19533 (C.D. Ill. 2009)
  • Gray et al. v. City of Valley Park, No. 07-00881 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 31, 2008) appeal docketed, No. 08-1681 (8th Cir. argued Dec. 10, 2008)
  • Chamber of Commerce v. Henry, No. 08-109 (W.D. Okla. filed Feb. 1, 2008), appeal docketed, No. 08-6128 (10th Cir. argued May 4, 2009)

Latest Developments|Additional Resources

Latest Developments

E-Verify Litigation

Business Groups Challenge Rule Mandating Participation in E-Verify

Chamber of Commerce v. Chertoff, No. 08-03444 (D. Md. summary judgment granted Aug. 26, 2009) appeal docketed, No. 09-2006 (4th Cir. Sept. 3, 2009)Read more...

Are Immigrants Flooding the Military for U.S. Citizenship?

Published on Wed, Jul 06, 2011

Are immigrants joining the military to circumvent the U.S. immigration system’s notorious backlogs and win citizenship for themselves and visas for their family? A new article from AFP seems to suggest so. The piece tells the story of Darby Ortego, a 25-year-old Filipino-American who became a citizen this year after serving in the military. He’sbeen stationed in Afghanistan.

AFP reports:

Like thousands of fellow Filipinos, he sees the US military as a fast-track to American citizenship, securing his own future and also helping his family back home. “I joined up to get my mom to America,” said Private Ortego, who is deployed at Combat Outpost Sabari in Khost, where US troops clash with Taliban rebels based across the border in Pakistan. “I want to bring my mom from her village in the Philippines to Nevada, where I live. I want her to be with me.” Ortego is one of the roughly 9,000 legal immigrants who join the US armed forces each year from countries as far apart as Panama, Nigeria, Liberia and Turkey.

The piece goes on to suggest that joining the military is a straightforward route to citizenship that many are taking.

In the last 10 years, nearly 69,000 immigrant troops have become US citizens while serving. Naturalisation takes just months for serving military personnel compared to years for regular legal immigrants. Unemployment and poverty in their homeland have driven millions of Filipinos abroad to search for work, often on construction sites or as domestic staff. “It is better in the US because there are more opportunities. You can find a job and they will pay a decent amount,” said Ortego, who sends money back to his family in Northern Samar province.

All true as it is, except that in order to even qualify for military service, foreign nationals must first have a green card, which is nearly impossible to come by these days. Military service is not exactly the breezy fast track to citizenship it can appear to be.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

Adjustment of Status for Arriving Aliens in Removal Proceedings

Mouelle v. Gonzales, 548 U.S. 901 (2006)

  • In a summary order dated June 26, 2006, the Supreme Court vacated the Eighth Circuit’s judgment and remanded the case for further consideration in light of 71 Fed. Reg. 27,585, the interim rule regarding adjustment of status for arriving aliens.

A Conversation with Klaas Frese

April, 2011

Congratulations to Klaas Frese, our Exchange Visitor of the Month! Klaas came to Pennsylvania from Germany to train in the area of freight forwarding. We caught up with Klaas after a recent trip to Las Vegas to learn more about his experience in the United States.


Former Ariz. Attorney General proposes new approach to border

Published on Mon, Sep 12, 2011

In a paper published today by the Immigration Policy Center, former Arizona Attorney General and 2010 Democratic candidate for governor Terry Goddard strikes out at the state’s current border enforcement strategies and attempts to lay out what he sees as a superior binational approach to border security.

In criticizing Arizona’s current approach to border enforcement, Goddard writes, “Again and again, symbols trump reality, misinformation buries the truth.” Goddard is referring to recent efforts to build a massive wall, stretching the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border, an effort derided by many as simultaneously impractical and ineffective. Goddard is similarly critical of the federal Secure Communities program, in which local law enforcement is employed to enforce immigration law. He argues that these largely symbolic and rhetorical efforts at securing the border could in fact be making current problems worse.

Goddard’s solutions to solving current problems at the Arizona-Sonora border focus not on undocumented immigrants but rather on what he sees as the larger issue in this region: Mexican drug cartels. He argues that the U.S. and Mexican governments must approach the cartels as business enterprises. In order to disable them, Goddard writes that the countries must work together to stanch the flow of money into these criminals’ hands.

For Goddard, because the Tucson Sector is the primary locus through which people and resources are smuggled back and forth across the border, it is here where any successful effort to abolish border violence must begin. This means that Tucson must serve as a model to the rest of the border region of how effectively securing the border starts not with capturing and deporting undocumented migrants, but with capturing and arresting the criminals that facilitate these individuals’ cross-border movement and propagate the border region’s larger criminal environment.Read more...

Published in the Examiner: Tucson AZ

J-1 Alumni Impact Survey

Do the J-1 intern and trainee programs sponsored by the American Immigration Council produce a lasting and positive impacts on the lives of the J-1 visa holders? Do the J-1 visa holders leave with a lasting and positive impression of the United States? The responses from our alumni survey indicate an overwhelming “Yes.”

Survey results show that our alumni “Learned, Left and Leveraged” their experience in America. 

  • They learned from their host company sponsors and about American culture–20% arrived in the US with a very positive impression but 59% left with a very positive impression.
  • The vast majority left when their visas ended—89% reported that they left the United States after the conclusion of their J-1 program.
  • After returning home they leveraged their new skills into new jobs and expanded responsibilities—95% of the respondents reported that the J-1 training or internship has had an impact on their current career