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In light of recent ICE memo, a primer on ‘prosecutorial discretion’

Published on Wed, Jul 20, 2011

Last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton issued a memo to the agency’s employees urging the use of prosecutorial discretion in the cases of certain immigrants, among them people who grew up in the United States after arriving here as children, and those who have served the military and their families.

It’s a directive that will be put to the test, as U.S.-raised young people continue to land in deportation proceedings. And just how it changes things remains a bit of a mystery.

For those who are unfamiliar with what prosecutorial discretion is and how it’s exercised, the Immigration Policy Center recently updated its guide to understanding how it works in immigration law. Among the basics that are covered:

What is Prosecutorial Discretion?

“Prosecutorial discretion” is the authority of an agency or officer charged with enforcing a law to decide whether to enforce the law in a particular case. A law-enforcement officer who declines to pursue a case against a person has favorably exercised prosecutorial discretion.

The authority to exercise discretion in deciding when to prosecute and when not to prosecute has long been recognized as a critical part of U.S. law. The concept of prosecutorial discretion applies in civil, administrative, and criminal contexts. The Supreme Court has made it clear that “an agency’s decision not to prosecute or enforce, whether through civil or criminal process, is a decision generally committed to an agency’s absolute discretion.” Heckler v. Chaney 470 U.S. 821, 831 (1985).

When is Prosecutorial Discretion Used in Immigration Enforcement?Read more...

Published in the Southern California Public Radio

LAC Wins Release of H-1B Fraud Documents for AILA

For Immediate Release

LAC Wins Release of H-1B Fraud Documents for AILA

November 9, 2012

Washington, D.C.—USCIS released in full the four remaining contested documents in a FOIA lawsuit brought by the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) and Steptoe & Johnson LLP on behalf of AILA. The documents plainly describe - in more detail than documents previously released in this lawsuit - “fraud indicators” that result in greater scrutiny of certain H-1B applications. These documents are troubling evidence of a near presumption of fraud in H-1B applications submitted by small and emerging businesses and for certain types of positions at these businesses.  The following documents were released:

Background of the LawsuitRead more...

Quick Fact: DREAMers would earn trillions of dollars

The total earnings of DREAM Act beneficiaries over the course of their working lives would be between $1.4 trillion and $3.6 trillion.

After 10 years, does hope exist?

Published on Mon, Sep 12, 2011

On 9-11, three sixth-graders along with their teachers were among the passengers killed on American Flight 77 when terrorists crashed the plane into the Pentagon.

I remember later that month dropping in on a class of sixth-graders at May Street Elementary School here in Worcester to get a sense of how they saw themselves and their lives.

That trek ended up being a heartening experience, because in those students, during what was a bleak moment in this country’s history, I found hope, optimism and a hunger to be neighborly.

“What I have learned from this is that we should help each other,” Suzanna, one of the students, told me.

I can only hope now, 10 years after, that Suzanna and her classmates of that year are hanging on to their hopeful and neighborly sixth-grade badges.

Yet, if some of them have lost faith, I wouldn’t be surprised because the billowing dark clouds of that horrific day are still chasing the good in us, still stirring in us a growing hardness, and a crassness in behavior that is threatening to be the norm.

Although many think it is a good and even a righteous battle, there is hardness in the never-ending and costly war we have launched on terror.

We know of the 3,000 innocent lives that perished in those 9-11 attacks, but how many of us have reflected on, according to some estimates, the almost 1 million U.S., Afghan, Iraqi and coalition troops and civilians who have been killed over the course of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?

We talked about ending these wars, but primarily the debate seems to be over the amount of money we will save, and not the number of lives.

Although many think it is necessary, there is hardness in how we engage one another.Read more...

Published in the Telegram: Worcester MA

Events and Awards

Revised Definition of 'Anchor Baby' Part of Leftist Agenda, Critics Say

Published on Thu, Dec 08, 2011

A decision by the American Heritage Dictionary to revise its definition of "anchor baby" -- labeling it an offensive and disparaging term -- is an attempt to manipulate the "linguistic landscape" and push a leftist agenda, some opponents of illegal immigration say.

"Anchor baby" was among roughly 10,000 words -- including "hoodie" and "babydaddy" -- added to the dictionary's fifth edition last month. The hot-button term, a noun, was initially defined as: "A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family."

That definition caught the attention of Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center, who heard American Heritage Dictionary executive editor Steve Kleinedler read it during a radio interview last month. Giovagnoli blasted the definition on the organization's blog last Friday, saying it masked the "poisonous and derogatory" nature of the term.

By Monday, the term had been changed. It is now defined as such: "Offensive  Used as a disparaging term for a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child's birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother's or other relatives' chances of securing eventual citizenship."

The revision is now a "well-crafted" definition of how the term is used, Giovagnoli said.

But not everyone agrees.

"That's a political statement and it's not even accurate," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. "[An anchor baby] is a child born to an illegal immigrant."

Krikorian said the revised definition makes a political statement and is much more than neutral, "just the facts" reference material.Read more...

Published in the Fox News

To halt cartels, block cash flow

Published on Thu, Feb 09, 2012

 

If you want to stop a monster, cut off its head. Simple logic.

If you want a secure the border, go after the crime syndicates that routinely penetrate our southern border for their own nefarious purposes. Go after the leaders of the Mexican cartels. Go after their money.

The minions of these sophisticated international criminal organizations smuggle in drugs and people at will. They take back tens of billions of dollars in dirty profits. We put manpower and technology on the border. They find ways around it.

They take their profits out in shrink-wrapped bundles of hundred-dollar bills. Electronic transfers. Money schemes. Prepaid value cards that can store and transport money.

Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, regularly appears on Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people.

"If U.S. forces can find Osama bin Laden, I am sure, with Mexican help, they can find and arrest Chapo," former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard wrote in an article for the Immigration Policy Center. "That arrest would do more to stop the flow of contraband into the U.S. and the slaughter in Mexico than all the billions spent so far."

Through the Merida Initiative, the U.S. has provided money and expertise to Mexico to fight the cartels, but time is not on our side if we hope to engage in a more vigorous assault on these criminal gangs that breach our borders. Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who runs an aggressive campaign against the cartels, will leave office in December. He cannot run in Mexico's July presidential election. His successor may take a more conciliatory approach to the cartels. Mexico is weary of a drug war that has cost more than 47,000 lives in the past five years.

Instead of discussing the cartel threat, the U.S. has been focusing on fences, immigration sweeps and deportations. These are politically popular responses that do not weaken criminal organizations in Mexico.Read more...

Published in the The Arizona Republic

The LAC Docket | Volume I, Issue 3

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

June 3, 2011
Our Work | Requests for Evidence | Quick Links | Donate

OUR WORK

Enforcement

Obama Administration urged to exercise prosecutorial discretion in compelling cases

Frustrated by Congress’ failure to enact comprehensive reform, immigration advocates have increasingly advocated for a robust prosecutorial discretion policy that encourages immigration officers to grant relief from deportation in compelling cases. In a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in early April, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) asked the Department of Homeland Security to offer written guidance setting forth detailed criteria on the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. A subsequent legal memorandum released by the Immigration Council and co-signed by two general counsels of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service outlined specific steps the Administration could take to forestall removals in sympathetic cases. Read more...

Most ‘illegals' are are here to stay

Published on Mon, Apr 30, 2012

We are not sure how it would help the United States to see the exodus of millions of taxpayers with homes, cars, children and jobs. Yet, the hope for a mass exodus of people who fit that description is part of what inspired new immigration-enforcement laws in Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

Best estimates say that roughly 11 million residents of the United States live here illegally. Some came here by getting away with misdemeanor border crossings. Others overstayed visas. Regardless, illegal residency is not a crime. It is a non-criminal, civil dispute with government.

Read more...

Published in the Colorado Springs Gazette