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Politics and Power: Immigration, Latino Voters, and the Texas Primary

Released on Wed, Feb 20, 2008

Texas is one of the three delegate-rich states remaining to vote in the presidential primaries. On March 4, all eyes will be on Texas—in part, to see the impact of the large Latino electorate in this important primary. Record-breaking turnout of Latino primary voters in states as disparate as California, Connecticut and Missouri portend an important role for Latinos voting in the upcoming Texas primary where they constitute 22.4 percent of the registered voters in Texas. Read on to learn more about the influence of Latinos and immigrants in the Lone Star state.

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Many obstacles prevent employers from petitioning successfully for workers, in both nonimmigrant and immigrant classifications: overly restrictive interpretations of legal requirements, shifting adjudication standards, the proliferation of requests for evidence, and an overriding lack of transparency in agency decision-making. To date, few lawyers have opted to litigate these issues, due to time constraints, lack of litigation experience, fear of creating unfavorable precedent, and client resistance, among other factors.

The Council seeks to challenge the “culture of no” that has become the norm in agency decision making by: co-counseling individual cases that will be selected as part of a broader legal strategy to challenge the government’s misapplication of the law in the business contex; providing technical assistance to lawyers interested in litigating business immigration issues in federal court; exploring and, where appropriate, undertaking affirmative litigation; filing amicus briefs in strategically selected business immigration cases pending in federal courts and administrative agencies; and filing FOIA requests and, where necessary, litigating to obtain documents regarding agency policies and practices.Read more...

U.S. Border Enforcement Prioritizes Non-Violent Migrants Over Dangerous Criminals

Data on Federal Court Prosecutions Reveal Non-Violent Immigration Prosecutions Up, Organized Crime, Drugs and Weapons Charges Down

Released on Thu, May 20, 2010

Washington D.C. - The Mexican President's visit to the United States allowed both he and President Obama to address the important issues of immigration, border control and crime. Both Presidents made the important point that we address and not conflate these serious issues. This approach stands in stark contrast to the drafters of Arizona law SB1070 and those members of Congress, including Senators Kyl and McCain, who continue to equate dangerous criminals and migrant workers. These legislators share either a misguided understanding of who is really perpetrating violence at the border or a willingness to do anything to win an election.

The horrific violence which currently afflicts our southern neighbor is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution. This violence is driven by the flow of guns, drugs and money across the borders. Yesterday, the President reaffirmed his administration's commitment "to stem the southbound flow of American guns and money" and to develop "new approaches to reducing the demand for drugs in our country," pledging to keep up law-enforcement pressure on the criminal gangs that "traffic in drugs, guns, and people."  In practice, however, the Justice Department seems to have given in to the political rhetoric behind laws like SB1070.

Obama's pledge to focus on these serious criminal enterprises should mean that law enforcement resources are also focused there, rather than on rounding up non-criminal border crossers.  However, that's simply not the case according to recent reports that show Department of Justice prosecutions of drug and weapons violations are down while low level immigration violators are being prosecuted at record levels.Read more...

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Council Resources for AILA Illinois Chapter:

  Illinois Policy Resources   Education Resources

International Exchange Center Resource

The Council in the News      Practice Advisories       Immigration Impact Blog


Your Council Co-Ambassador: Lauren McClure

Board of Immigration Appeals Overturns Previous Ruling, Narrows Grounds for Deportation

Released on Fri, Feb 04, 2011

Washington, D.C. - On Thursday, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) modified its much-criticized interpretation of a law which wrongly expanded the number of immigrants subject to removal from the United States. The BIA's modification partially adopts the position of the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center, which argued in an amicus brief that a prior BIA decision ignored the intent of Congress when it interpreted the law to cover longtime U.S residents in addition to more recent arrivals.Read more...

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BIA Sets Favorable Precedent for Children of Fiancées (K-2 Visa Holders)

Released on Wed, Jun 29, 2011

Washington, D.C.—The Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council applauds the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) for advancing family unity in its June 23, 2011 decision, Matter of Le. The Board’s long-awaited ruling favorably resolves the issue of whether the child of a fiancée of a U.S. citizen (a K-2 visa holder), who legally entered the U.S. when under age 21, is eligible for adjustment of status even after turning age 21. The Board concluded that the age of the child is “fixed” at the time the child is admitted to the United States. In doing so, it rejected the Department of Homeland Security’s position that a K-2 visa holder is eligible only if he or she is under 21 at the time the adjustment of status application is adjudicated.

The Board’s decision is consistent with the position that the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association advocated in amicus briefs submitted to the Board in approximately a half dozen other cases where the child turned 21 after being admitted to the United States. The noncitizens in these and the many other cases before both Immigration Judges and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices throughout the country now will be able to become lawful permanent residents as Congress intended.

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Where Immigration Reform Stands Without Kennedy

Published on Wed, Aug 26, 2009

While Democrats in Congress are hoping to push health care reform forward in honor of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, the senator's death serves as a reminder that Congress and President Obama have substantial work to do to accomplish another of Kennedy's lifelong causes: immigration reform.

Published in the CBS News

Missouri State Legislature Pursing Budget Busting Solutions to Immigration

Anti-Immigrant Bill SB590 Will Cost the State Millions

Released on Tue, Jan 31, 2012

Washington D.C. – As Missouri faces a $704 million shortfall in fiscal year 2012, state legislators are currently pursuing a costly and short-sighted anti-immigrant law. Senate Bill 590 is similar to the immigration law passed in Alabama and is currently working its way through the state legislature. The costs associated with the bill are unknown because the fiscal note attached to it is woefully incomplete. According to the Missouri fiscal note, the law would cost taxpayers $156,000 the first year, and $43,000 in subsequent years, primarily for recording and reporting the immigration status of Missouri’s school children.  However, the fiscal note claims that the provisions to detain, arrest, jail, and prosecute suspected unauthorized immigrants will have no additional costs.   The note further claims the costs for enforcement activities will be “absorbed with existing resources,” meaning that resources will be diverted away from other important law enforcement activities.

Other states pursuing similar measures, such as Kentucky and Utah, have estimated the costs, which reach into the tens of millions of dollars. Aside from the costs of implementation there are whopping costs for defending these measures in court. Missouri legislators should consider the following evidence before final votes on SB 590.Read more...

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Jobs are safe for foreign-born workers with bottom-rung jobs, but they're stuck

Published on Fri, Aug 07, 2009

Sleep is a rare commodity for Juan Cortez. Between nights spent clearing tables at a Manhattan nightclub and days running food to customers in a Bronx restaurant, the 42-year-old Peruvian immigrant worries more about finding time for shuteye than job security.

Published in the LA Times