Closing the Floodgates and Reasserting the Constitution
Released on Tue, Jun 22, 2010
Washington D.C. - Today, the small town of Fremont, Nebraska is in the headlines after passing an ordinance that requires among other things that renters apply for an occupancy license - which also requires a legal immigration status check - before renting an apartment or home.
Although Fremont, Nebraska, and Arizona are the latest localities to propose measures designed to control and manage immigration, there have been many more attempts over the past seven years to pass similar bills. Like the other efforts before them, there will be rationalizations for their passage and legal challenges to their implementation. Millions of dollars will be spent as these laws are battled in state houses, city halls, and the courts. However, the larger question is whether the federal government will continue to sit idly by as a patchwork of legislation proliferates around the country or will it finally assert its role, as defined by the Constitution, and delineate local authority with respect to federal immigration law?Read more...
Washington D.C. - This week, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center, joined by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted an amicus brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Contreras-Bocanegra v. Holder, urging the court to strike down the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) regulation barring review of motions to reopen filed by noncitizens outside the United States. The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the BIA to abandon its misguided regulation.
Federal law gives noncitizens the right to file motions to submit new evidence after their removal orders become final. For many years, the BIA has wrongly determined that it cannot consider such a motion if a foreign national is outside the United States. This policy gives the government a perverse incentive to remove noncitizens from the country before they have an opportunity to submit evidence that could change the outcome of their cases. Moreover, the policy is at odds with provisions of a harsh 1996 immigration law that resulted in a dramatic reduction in due process rights and expansion of expedited removal but that made it clear that noncitizens had the opportunity to seek review of unfavorable decisions from outside the United States.
Integrating Immigration: How Massachusetts Has Turned Immigrant Integration Into a Community Concern
Massachusetts has long been a leader in state immigration initiatives including adopting a range of policies to further immigrant integration. From government task forces to hands on help for new immigrants, the state has made a commitment to building bridges between communities. Immigration lawyers and activists have been vital to this process and have solidified the importance of state based efforts to achieve lasting immigration solutions.
Join the American Immigration Council in a thought provoking discussion of the Massachusetts experience and what it means for your state, your practice and you.
Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council
Washington D.C. - Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement will hold a hearing on the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act” (HALT Act), a bill that would suspend discretionary forms of immigration relief until January 21, 2013—the day after the next Presidential inauguration.
Today, the Immigration Policy Center held a briefing to describe how the HALT Act systematically attacks many of the discretionary forms of relief available to immigrants. Immigration policy experts described the implications of limiting the Administration’s discretion in prosecuting immigration cases, as well as the impetus behind the bill.
Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, said:
“The HALT Act seeks to disable or suspend a number of immigration provisions that provide any discretionary relief to immigrants in order to chastise the Administration for a series of policy memos that contemplate using executive branch authority to improve current laws. Its authors seek to discourage the Administration from interpreting the law in ways that are more streamlined or benefit more individuals.”
Beth Werlin, Deputy Director of the Legal Action Center, further explained:
“By taking away the power to grant deferred action, the HALT Act is basically interfering with the Administration’s ability to prioritize its removal cases and focus its resources on serious criminals and those who pose a true security risk.”
Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, commented on the impetus behind the bill:Read more...
While Democrats in Congress are hoping to push health care reform forward in honor of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, the senator's death serves as a reminder that Congress and President Obama have substantial work to do to accomplish another of Kennedy's lifelong causes: immigration reform.
Washington, D.C.—Last week, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Vartelas v. Holder, holding that the Fleuti doctrine still applies to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with pre-IIRIRA convictions. This means that LPRs with convictions before April 1, 1997 who travel abroad do not, upon their return, face inadmissibility if their trip was brief, casual and innocent.
Today, the Legal Action Center, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild are issuing a Practice Advisory, Vartelas v. Holder: Implications for LPRs Who Take Brief Trips Abroad and Other Potential Favorable Impacts, which describes the Court’s decision and offers strategies for LPRs who are affected by it. Of particularly note, some LPRs with final orders may want to consider filing motions to reconsider within 30 days of the Court’s March 28 decision. The advisory also discusses some of the other potential favorable impacts of the decision, including support for challenging the retroactive application of other immigration provisions and support for a broad reading of the criminal defense lawyer’s duty under Padilla v. Kentucky.
Sleep is a rare commodity for Juan Cortez. Between nights spent clearing tables at a Manhattan nightclub and days running food to customers in a Bronx restaurant, the 42-year-old Peruvian immigrant worries more about finding time for shuteye than job security.