Mary Giovagnoli is the Director of the Immigration Policy Center. Prior to IPC, Mary served as Senior Director of Policy for the National Immigration Forum and practiced law as an attorney with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security—serving first as a trial attorney and associate general counsel with the INS, and, following the creation of DHS, as an associate chief counsel for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Mary specialized in asylum and refugee law, focusing on the impact of general immigration laws on asylees. In 2005, Mary became the senior advisor to the Director of Congressional Relations at USCIS. She was also awarded a Congressional Fellowship from USCIS to serve for a year in Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s office where she worked on comprehensive immigration reform and refugee issues. Mary attended Drake University, graduating summa cum laude with a major in speech communication. She received a master’s degree in rhetoric and completed additional graduate coursework in rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin, before receiving a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She spent more than ten years teaching public speaking, argumentation and debate, and parliamentary procedure while pursuing her education.
Wendy Feliz, Communications Director 202-507-7524 firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more...
From 2006-2012, the Legal Action Center maintained several issue-specific webpages focused on topics being litigated in courts nationwide. These issue pages are no longer updated. Please see our litigation and advocacy for current information on the Legal Action Center's ongoing work.
WASHINGTON - Congress may have finally found an immigration issue it can agree on in an election year: letting in more Irish people.
At a time when the volatile issue of comprehensive immigration reform is hopelessly stalled in a divided Congress, senators of both parties are rallying behind legislation that would allow 10,500 Irish nationals to come to the U.S. to work each year.
The legislation by Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., has been attacked by critics as a cynical ploy to win Irish-American votes as Brown battles for re-election in a state where one in four residents is of Irish descent. It also has been decried by both pro-immigration and anti-immigration groups as an example of favoritism toward European immigrants over Hispanics and Asians.
But supporters of the bill, including Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, say they are trying to help reverse discrimination against Irish nationals that was inadvertently created by a 1965 overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.
That overhaul, designed to end a bias against immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa, made it difficult for Irish immigrants to obtain visas despite their strong cultural ties to the U.S., say supporters of Brown's bill. Hispanics and Asians have been the dominant immigrant groups to the U.S. since 1965 and, as they become citizens, their close family members have been given priority for U.S. visas as part of the U.S. government's emphasis on family reunification.
About 40 million Americans identify themselves as being of Irish descent, or about 13 percent of the U.S. population of more than 313 million. Hispanics make up about 16 percent of U.S. residents. The number of Irish immigrants granted permanent legal status in the U.S. has plunged from nearly 38,000 in the 1960s to about 16,000 in the 10 years from 2000 through 2009.Read more...
The LAC uses litigation and advocacy as tools to protect the rights of noncitizens. We litigate in the federal courts, focusing our work on cases that have a wide impact. We also advocate before the immigration agencies to help ensure that the immigration laws are implemented properly. The following are our litigation and advocacy priorities: Read more...
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Dr. Mohammad Akhter is the President and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. InterAction's 160 members provide humanitarian and development assistance in every developing country, working to overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all.
Dr. Akhter's journey to this position appears to be the epitome of the American dream. He was born into a family of farmers in India shortly before the partition that established India and Pakistan as two separate nations. His mother had an eighth-grade education. His father had completed high school on a sports scholarship. This helped them to establish a toehold in the new nation.
Dr. Akhter's grandfather couldn't write his name, but his parents made sure that all six of their children had master's degrees and the cycle of poverty was broken. He believes that health and education are the twin lights leading one away from poverty.
Dr. Akhter earned his medical degree from King Edwards Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan (1967), and his master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University (1973). His public health residency was completed at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. In 1976, he was certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Akhter serves as clinical professor in the department of family and community medicine at Georgetown University Medical School, and as an adjunct professor of international public health at George Washington University School of Public Health. He also served as Dean of the College of Community Medicine, as well as professor and chair of the department of public and hospital administration in Lahore, Pakistan.Read more...