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HALTing the DREAM

Published on Mon, Aug 01, 2011

Every now and then a piece of legislation comes around with a terribly creative acronym. The USA PATRIOT Act back in 2001 was one example. But rarely do two bills on the same issue appear in Congress with such diametrically opposed names and policy goals as the DREAM and HALT Acts.

Published in the The Nation

Court Broadly Defines “Misdemeanor Crime of Violence,” But Limits Applicability of Holding

United States v. Castleman, 572 U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 1405 (2014)

In a 9-0 judgment, the Court reversed the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court held that a conviction pursuant to a statute which criminalizes conduct including offensive touching and bodily injury through indirect force qualifies as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), which bars individuals with domestic violence convictions from possessing guns or ammunition. However, the Court expressly noted that its decision does not cast doubt on prior decisions of the courts of appeals and the BIA which have held that a “crime of violence” requires force beyond offensive touching, nor upon statutes, including the INA, which tie the definition of a “crime of domestic violence” to the definition of a more generic crime of violence.

Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justices Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Thomas.

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the Immigrant Defense Project issued a Practice Advisory addressing Castleman’s impact on immigration cases.

School districts told to monitor enrollment of Alabama immigrant students

Published on Mon, Oct 10, 2011

The impact of Alabama’s new immigration law, which requires K-12 schools to check the immigration status of their students, could be felt in several states, including Florida.

Sunshine State News reports today that “a number of school districts across Florida have been advised to monitor enrollment numbers for Hispanic migrant families relocating from Alabama after a federal judge upheld that state’s new immigration enforcement law.

The online news outlet adds that “Florida’s Education Estimating Conference said so far they haven’t seen any influx in the counties bordering Alabama or in counties such as Osceola, Hardee and Volusia where migrant families may seek agriculture employment,” and that the “Alabama Department of Education stated that on Oct 3, 5 percent of the state’s Hispanic students didn’t show up for school.”

Our sister site The American Independent recently reported that civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department sued to stop Alabama’s immigration enforcement law, “passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in May, from being enforced, as they did in the case of S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration law. But unlike in Arizona, a federal judge chose to allow most of the Alabama law to go into effect.”

The Immigration Policy Center reported last week that Alabama school administrators “worry that Alabama’s immigration law will impact the state’s already cash-strapped school system.”

The Policy Center added that, “according to Alabama’s Department of Education, 2,285 Hispanic students (of 34,000 Hispanic students state-wide) were absent from school on Monday.”Read more...

Published in the The Florida Independent

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Quick Fact: Americans want Reform

67% of voters said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally became legal taxpayers so they pay their fair share,” vs. 28% who said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally left the country because they are taking away jobs that Americans need.”

Conn. mayor seeks to let illegal immigrants vote

Published on Tue, Dec 20, 2011

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Already known as a refuge for people from other lands, New Haven is tightening its embrace of newcomers as its mayor seeks to extend voting rights to illegal immigrants and other noncitizens, a policy challenge that comes shortly after attacks on "sanctuary cities" by Republican presidential candidates.

The Democratic mayor, John DeStefano, helped illegal immigrants come out of the shadows four years ago when he launched a first-of-its-kind program to give them city resident cards. Despite crackdowns elsewhere, he has forged ahead with proposals that he says are designed to find common ground in a diverse city.

"We're a place of differences," he said. "We're a place that sees a strength and places a value on welcoming folks from all over."

Dozens of American cities including New York, San Francisco and Cambridge, Mass., take a hands-off approach to pursuing illegal immigrants. While advocates say they are rightly distancing themselves from a broken immigration system, critics accuse them of flouting federal law as "sanctuary cities" — a label not all of them accept.

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has vowed to cut off federal funding for such cities. One of his rivals, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, pushed a bill this year that would have prohibited cities from acting as "sanctuaries" for illegal immigrants and allowed local law enforcement to become more involved in immigration enforcement. Mitt Romney has said he opposed sanctuary cities as Massachusetts governor and, as president, he would "find the right approach" to ending them if legally possible.

President Barack Obama has resisted calls from some Republicans to crack down on sanctuary cities. As a Democratic candidate in 2007, he said the U.S. government should address the issue by providing a rational immigration system, not by withdrawing funds from cities that shelter noncitizens.Read more...

Published in the Associated Press

La Americana- A New Documentary Endorsed by The American Immigration Council




 


La Americana 


Powerful new documentary film recommended by the American Immigration Council


"La Americana puts a human face on today's debate over immigration.  It is a wonderful tool for educators, advocates, and policy experts who wish to create a humane discussion about this heated issue"
- Claire Tesh, American Immigration Council's Community Education Center
Read more...

Kirk Says U.S. Visa Restrictions Hobbling Business Efforts

Published on Mon, Mar 05, 2012

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the nation’s policy for issuing visas is hurting the economy by limiting tourism and blocking overseas buyers of American products from coming to the U.S. for training.

“We will engage on the visa issue, which is frankly crippling us right now,” Kirk said today in Washington. “We hear from business after business, ‘We go, we make these sales, and my customers can’t get a visa to come here to learn how to use the product.’ We are past-due to have a common-sense immigration policy, and we need to have visa reform as part of that.”

In January, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the nation needs to ease restrictions on immigrants who plan to open U.S. businesses, and create a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs.

Efforts at overhauling immigration laws are stymied in Congress, including a proposal to let temporary foreign workers enter the U.S. and help illegal immigrants advance toward citizenship. The debate has overshadowed the need to change the U.S. visa program, according to the Chamber, the largest business group.

Current laws make it difficult for people to enter the U.S. and start a business, according to a Jan. 25 report from the Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based nonprofit. Expansion of the visa program would also aid companies’ access to foreign- born graduates of U.S. universities, helping economic growth, the authors of the report said.

Speeding Visas

President Barack Obama on Jan. 19 gave the departments of Homeland Security and State 60 days to write a plan for speeding visa applications from China and Brazil. Obama’s order recommends cutting the process to three weeks from four months.

Visa-processing capacity in China and Brazil must increase 40 percent in the next year, according to the order.Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg

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