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Senators Issue Promising, but Vague Immigration Reform Plans

Released on Thu, Mar 18, 2010

Washington D.C. - Today, in the Washington Post, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) laid out their blueprint for immigration reform legislation, noting that the American people want Congress to reform the badly broken immigration system. Their framework, welcomed by the President in a statement also released today, rests on four pillars: ending illegal employment through biometric Social Security cards, enhancing border and interior enforcement, managing the flow of future immigration to correspond to economic realities, and creating a tough but fair path toward legalization for the 11 million people currently in the U.S. without authorization. While there will undoubtedly be intense debate over the specifics of each component, the framework marks an important bipartisan step forward on an issue that has been mired in political controversy and held up by both parties for too long.

"Today's statements mark renewed commitment to providing immigration reform that will bolster the economy and provide for America's future," said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. "We encourage the President and Senators Schumer and Graham to go beyond words and produce legislation that will finally fix our broken immigration system once and for all." Read more...

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Georgia-Alabama

Council Resources for
AILA Georgia-Alabama Chapter:

Georgia Policy Resources   Alabama Policy Resources    Education Resources      

Internatonal Exchange Center Resource

The Council in the News      Practice Advisories       Immigration Impact Blog

 

Your Council Ambassador: Zainab Alwan
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Legal Action Center Argues for Greater Federal Court Oversight of Immigration Decisions

Released on Thu, Oct 07, 2010

Washington D.C. - In a continuing effort to promote greater federal court oversight of immigration decision-making, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) recently submitted amicus (friend of the court) briefs in two cases involving motions to reopen. For noncitizens facing removal from the United States, a motion to reopen (an opportunity to present new evidence in a case) may be the last and only way to pursue their claims for lawful residency in the United States. Failure to grant such a motion might prevent anyone - from an asylum seeker to a U.S. citizen's family member - from presenting new evidence that could prevent deportation.  Yet, although the federal courts are the last chance for redress, they frequently refuse to hear claims that immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals abuse their discretion when they deny motions to reopen.

The LAC argument is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Kucana v. Holder that the Board of Immigration Appeals cannot shield its decisions from judicial review by labeling these decisions "discretionary." Only Congress can limit court review of motions to reopen, and it has not done so.

Given the gravity of removal from the United States, the high volume of immigration court cases, and the reality that most noncitizens do not have lawyers (only 39% of noncitizens were represented in immigration court in 2009), federal court oversight is critical to ensure due process.  For an immigration system that is widely understood to be plagued with errors, judicial checks and balances are especially critical.Read more...

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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Update - August 28, 2014

Read our previous Entrepreneurship and Innovation Newsletters here.

Latest Research

Cities and regions can make the most of immigration through local dividends. A recent statement from the Migration Policy Institute’s Transatlantic Council on Migration notes that “well-managed immigration can be a windfall for local economies by creating jobs and fueling growth, fostering innovation, and bringing in new revenue.” But, as the report notes, these benefits are not automatic nor are they evenly accrued. The statement examines ways in which policymakers at all levels can work together and launches a new series of reports on the topic of “Cities and Regions: Reaping Migration’s Local Dividends.” The series will examine “place-based immigration and entrepreneurship policies, city attractiveness, social cohesion, and means to build inclusive cities.” One of the first reports in the series explores ways in which cities and regions can have a voice in immigration policy, which is often set at the national level.Read more...

Federal Court Decision Protects H-1B Employees from Wrongful Arrest

AIC Amicus Argues Employees Have Right to Remain While Extension Applications Pending

Released on Wed, Apr 13, 2011

Washington D.C. - A recent ruling from a federal judge in Connecticut confirmed that—as the American Immigration Council (AIC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) argued in an amicus brief—the government may not arrest H-1B employees for whom timely-filed extension applications remain pending. The decision in El Badrawi v. United States, by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall, correctly recognized that a federal regulation allows H-1B employees to continue working for 240 days pending the adjudication of their extension applications, and that “work authorization is part and parcel of their authorization to be in the country, not a separate matter.” Permitting the initiation of removal proceedings during this period would thus be unfair to employees and employers alike, according to the decision.

The plaintiff, a Lebanese national, was gainfully employed as a medical researcher when his employer requested an H-1B extension in early 2004, more than a month before his H-1B status expired. Though his employer paid a $1,000 fee for premium processing of the application, the government never adjudicated it and refused to respond to requests for information. Nearly seven months after the request was filed, immigration agents arrested the plaintiff for allegedly “overstaying” his initial period of admission. He was placed in removal proceedings and detained for nearly two months.Read more...

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Jonathan T. Hiskey, Ph.D.

Jonathan T. Hiskey, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. Professor Hiskey’s work has focused primarily on issues related to the political economy of local development in Latin America, as well as the development implications of political transitions taking place across the region. He is the author of numerous articles on these topics in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, and Latin American Research Review. Hiskey’s current work looks at the political implications of migration in sending communities across Latin America. Professor Hiskey received his Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of Pittsburgh.

 

DOJ Responds Forcefully to Civil Rights Disaster in Alabama, What Will DHS Do?

Released on Fri, Nov 04, 2011

Washington D.C. – This week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was filing suit in South Carolina to block Act No. 69 (formerly SB 20), South Carolina’s new anti-immigrant law—modeled on Arizona’s SB1070. DOJ argues—like it did in Utah and Alabama—that the law is unconstitutional and interferes with the federal government’s ability to set and enforce immigration policy and is likely to result in civil rights violations. Following the legal challenge, the DOJ Civil Rights Division also sent a letter to Alabama’s public schools reminding them of their duty to provide public education to all children in the state regardless of immigration status. 

The DOJ is challenging state legislatures that pass immigration enforcement laws that interfere with the federal government’s role in enforcing immigration laws and setting priorities. The DOJ’s effort on this case reflects their commitment to protecting constitutional principles and individual rights, a commitment that should extend to pursing vigorous challenges in other states that have passed similar laws, including Utah, Georgia, and Indiana.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also has a strong role to play and should respond to the civil rights crisis taking place in the states and make good on Secretary Napolitano’s assurance that her agency will not be complicit in enforcing Alabama’s new law through federal immigration enforcement actions. Read more...

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Laying groundwork on immigration

Published on Wed, Aug 19, 2009

While President Obama has put off sweeping changes in immigration policy until probably next year -- after health care and energy -- he also pledged to start laying the groundwork.

Published in the Boston Globe

How the Supreme Court Ruled on SB 1070 and What It Means for Other States

Released on Wed, Jul 25, 2012

Washington, D.C.—One month ago today, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Arizona v. United States, which invalidated three provisions of the immigration law known as “SB 1070” and left a fourth open to future challenges. More than any matter in recent history, the case settled a range of important questions regarding the role that states may play in the enforcement of federal immigration law. As a result, the ruling will affect not only SB 1070, but the fate of other state immigration laws being challenged in court and the odds of similar laws passing around the country.

Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases an updated version of its Q&A on Arizona v. United States, which discusses how the Supreme Court decided the case and what the ruling means for immigration laws in other states. As debates over the ruling continue, understanding the basis for the Court’s opinion will prove critically important in furthering a rational discussion on the implications of the decision. 

To view the Q&A Guide in its entirety, see: 

 For more information, contact Wendy Sefsaf at wsefsaf@immcouncil.org or 202- 812-2499.

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