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Illinois Backs Out Of Federal Immigration Program

Published on Thu, May 05, 2011

In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, Gov. Pat Quinn said Illinois would stop participating in a federal program that requires authorities to run the fingerprints of anyone arrested through a federal immigration database.

The program, called Secure Communities, is in effect in more than 1,000 jurisdictions in 40 states. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to rollout the program nationwide by 2013.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Quinn withdrew the state from the program because he had concerns that it was veering from its stated mission to deport convicted criminals:

Nearly a third of all illegal immigrants deported out of Illinois under the program have never been convicted of any crime, the letter stated, citing federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement figures. Quinn's office suspended the state's role in the program in November amid concerns about its effectiveness.

"During the suspension, we voiced our concerns to ICE and asked them to prove that Secure Communities can and will be implemented as agreed to," the governor's office said in a statement. "After review, we were not satisfied and determined that ICE's ongoing implementation of Secure Communities is flawed."

One key thing to remember is that when a person comes into the country illegally, they are guilty of a civil infraction, not a criminal one. According to the Immigration Policy Center, one common objection to the program is that if local officers are seen as immigration officials, they'll lose the trust of their community and would make their jobs harder.

The program, however, has been popular among those who seek tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

The New York Times reported another interesting angle in March: Whether the federal government can force local jurisdictions to participate in the program is up for debate.Read more...

Published in the National Public Radio

The LAC Docket | Volume II Issue 4

The Newsletter of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center

October 25, 2012
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   Access to Courts


Post-departure Litigation: Victory in Fifth Circuit, AIC File Amicus Briefs in Asylum Cases

Lari v. Holder
, No. 11-60706 (5th Cir. Sept. 27, 2012)
Taylor v. AG
of the US, No. 12-2599 (3d Cir. amicus brief submitted Aug. 30, 2012)
Izquierdo v. AG
of the US, No. 12-2499 (3d Cir. amicus brief submitted Aug. 23, 2012)Read more...

America Through Sonja Haenzelmann’s Lense

November, 2010

The International Exchange Center is proud to announce Sonja Haenzelmann as this month’s Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American culture. Sonja is also the winner of last month’s photo contest on our Facebook page!

Read more...

Dear Mr. Smith, Our Broken Immigration System Requires Solutions That Embrace Discretion, Not Eliminate It

Published on Fri, Jul 15, 2011

Over the last six months, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), along with other members of the House Judiciary Committee, have engaged in an all-out effort to turn back the clock on our immigration laws through a series of bills that may tackle one issue at a time, but equal a comprehensive overhaul. This week, the restrictionists' Comprehensive Immigration Reform package (RCIR, as we call it) became complete with the introduction of the "Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation Act" (HALT Act), a bill that would suspend discretionary forms of immigration relief until January 21, 2013. Yes, until the day after the next inauguration.

Just yesterday, Congressman Smith inched a bit closer to RCIR when the full Judiciary Committee voted to advance the "Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011" (H.R. 1932) -- a bill that authorizes indefinite detention for immigrants. Apparently Smith is not content with the current mandatory detention laws because they include some provisions for release of immigrants, such as asylum seekers and others who have committed no crimes. His bill, however, would create a penal system for immigrants far more restrictive than the current detention system, which has generally been under fire from all sides.

And it doesn't stop there. Other bills in the RCIR package include mandatory E-verify with no provisions for current undocumented workers to become legal, elimination of the diversity visa, expanded authority for the Secretary of Homeland Security to revoke visas issued by the Department of State, the elimination of review for those visas, suspension of waivers for the 3 and 10 year bars, suspension of cancellation of removal, suspension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS), suspension of virtually all parole authority, deferral powers, and work authorization, and a revocation of any such benefits that are awarded between the date of introduction of the HALT Act and its enactment.Read more...

Published in the Huffington Post

Court Vacates Injunction Against Hazleton Ordinances, Remands for Further Consideration

Hazleton v. Lozano, 563 U.S. __, 131 S. Ct. 2958 (2011)

In early June, the Court granted the petition in Hazleton v. Lozano, vacated the judgment of the Third Circuit, and remanded the case for further consideration in light of the decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, No. 09-115, 563 U. S. __ (2011).  The Third Circuit had upheld an injunction against the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, prohibiting the implementation of a pair of controversial ordinances designed to prohibit employers and landlords from employing and renting to undocumented residents. 

Read more...

What Would Your Immigrant Ancestors Think of the I-Word?

Published on Sat, Sep 10, 2011

Ready to talk about immigration and the i-word?

In the days leading up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I walked around New York City with Nayana Sen and Leigh Thompson, asking people what they thought about immigration and the slurs too often used to describe immigrants today. We started out at Battery Park, where people take ferries out to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The site is part of the Immigration and Civil Rights Sites of Conscience Network, committed to use historical perspective in order to stimulate ongoing local and national conversations on immigration and its related issues, promote humanitarian and democratic values, and treat all audiences as stakeholders in the immigration dialogue.

Inspired by the Sites of Conscience’s work, we asked people what they knew about their families’ roots in the U.S., what they thought about how immigrants are treated now and whether or not they agree with use of the i-word to describe people.

In most of our pre-interviews, people wanted to be on camera—but as soon as we said “immigration,” we got confused looks, artful turn-downs and fast walkers. It was a reality check about how unprepared and uncomfortable a lot of people feel when faced with this urgent topic.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines

2012 Winter Holiday Closing Announcement: December 24th - January 1st

November 28, 2012-- The American Immigration Council's offices will be closed from 12/24/12 - 1/1/13

The International Exchange Center will be closed during the week from Christmas Eve through New Years Day.

All applications that we receive in our office after December 18th will not be reviewed until January 2nd at the earliest. Applications received on or before December 18th will be reviewed by December 21st, but our staff will not be conducting webcam interviews or issuing DS 2019 forms during the period of December 24th - January 1st. Read more...

Litigation Clearinghouse

The Litigation Clearinghouse serves as a national point of contact for lawyers conducting or contemplating immigration litigation. From 2005-2010, the Clearinghouse issued Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletters to discuss immigration-related litigation, share valuable resources, and look at litigation arguments being used by immigration lawyers accross the country. Between 2006 and 2012, the Clearinghouse also provided Supreme Court developments and Litigation Issue Pages, which focused on issue-specific topics being litigated in the federal courts. Although these pages are no longer updated, they are valuable resources in understanding federal court litigation as it relates to immigration law and procedure.

The LAC encourages immigration attorneys to contact the Clearinghouse to share information about your cases at clearinghouse@immcouncil.org.

Quick Fact: U.S. Citizen children are supported by unautorized immigrants

There are 4 million U.S. citizen children living in mixed status families with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant.