Indeed, there is conclusive evidence that granting amnesty to illegal immigrants enables them to boost their income, reducing socio-economic disparities. As part of the last attempt at immigration reform 25 years ago, the United States granted amnesty to nearly 3 million immigrants. A study carried out last November by the American Immigration Council found that whereas their homeownership rates and skills levels lagged those of equivalent ages who had been born in the United States, this gap had almost completely disappeared by 2006. Indeed, many of those who came to the United States in their late 20s and early 30s without the equivalent of a secondary education had improved their levels of qualifications, suggesting that they had invested time and money in remedial education.
Delays by USCIS in deciding naturalization applications have forced many applicants to seek judicial remedies. Section 336(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows a federal district court to review a naturalization application if USCIS has failed to decide it for more than 120 days after the date of the examination. The law allows the court to either decide the application itself or remand the application to USCIS for decision.
Often, USCIS will deny a naturalization application while the case is pending in federal district court. The agency’s lawyers will then move to dismiss the federal court case because the application has been denied. If the case is dismissed, the applicant will face even longer delays as an appeal to USCIS will be required before seeking judicial review of the denial. We have successfully challenged this practice, arguing in amicus briefs that once a case has been filed in federal court, USCIS loses its authority over the naturalization application and must wait for the federal court decision before taking further action.
Bustamante v. Napolitano, No. 08-0990-cv (2d Cir. amicus brief filed May 30, 2008). In a precedent decision, the court adopted the position urged by the Legal Action Center and held that USCIS does not have jurisdiction to decide a naturalization application after an applicant files an action in district court under INA § 336(b). Bustamante v. Napolitano, 582 F.3d 403 (2d Cir. 2009).Read more...
Private bills are not routinely introduced for undocumented individuals, according to Wendy Sefsaf, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center. During the 111th session of Congress, 104 bills were introduced for those who may suffer hardships if they were returned to native countries or became undocumented due to administrative delays.
That's low, Sefsaf said, compared to deportations: A record-breaking 392,000 illegal aliens were removed in 2010, a 70 percent increase from the previous administration, officials from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced in October.
Exactly how many private bills pass is unclear. Last week, for the first time in five years, Congress approved private bills for two Japanese citizens fighting to live in the United States — Shigeru Yamada, son of a woman who was killed in a car crash when he was a teenager and was never adopted, andHotaru "Hota" Ferschke, who found out she was pregnant and got married over the phone with a Marine who was killed in Iraq.
But Sefsaf said those cases are exceptions.
"Congress just needs to focus on a broader plan that would provide relief for the millions in this country that deserve to stay and figure out a way to weed out the ones that might not."
The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is an expansive immigration enforcement program that leads to the initiation of removal proceedings in many cases. While CAP has existed in one form or another for decades, there is still much to be learned about the program, how it is organized, and how it works. What is known is that CAP extends to every area of the country and intersects with most state and local law enforcement agencies.
For years, the CAP program has operated with little public attention and many of its elements have only recently come to light following FOIA litigation against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The information obtained through the lawsuit regarding CAP’s current organization and staffing suggests CAP is not a single program, but a loose-knit group of several different programs operating within ICE. Other than a small number of staff responsible for the administration of CAP at ICE headquarters, there is no dedicated CAP staff. Rather, ICE pulls personnel and resources from across the agency to perform CAP-related functions.
The ICE declarations and deposition also explain how CAP functions within prisons and jails. There appears to be little consistency in, and little or no policy governing, how CAP cooperates with state and local law enforcement agencies in different regions and in how CAP interacts with detainees in different facilities. Instead, CAP appears to function as an ad hoc set of activities that operate differently across the country and across penal institutions, raising questions about the adequacy of oversight, training, and accountability of the personnel implementing CAP.
This information confirms that there is still much about CAP that remains unknown or unclear. Given the breadth of CAP, the centrality of its role in immigration enforcement, and its large impact on the immigrant community, it is critical that ICE clarify how CAP operates.Read more...
Santa Clara Valley 2011 Creative Writing Contest Winner
Published on Fri, May 20, 2011
During the Santa Clara Valley American Immigration Lawyers Association meeting the winner of the local American Immigration Council's 14th Annual "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest was honored and read his winning entry.
Washington, D.C. - The failure of Congress and the White House to act on immigration reform last year combined with the fiery election campaigns has opened the door for political attacks on immigration and immigrants. Lost in the rhetoric is a sober analysis of the trends and facts crucial to a constructive debate. What is the real story about the importance of immigration for America's future? Two different stories are being told, and they can be compared with real data. In a soon-to-be-released report for the IPC, Myers examines trends in U.S. immigration. Among his findings: (1) rates of immigration to the U.S. are slowing down, not speeding up; (2) reliable indicators show immigrants are learning English and advancing socially and economically; and (3) the immigrant population provides important economic benefits to a U.S. society with a large, aging generation of Baby Boomers. Myers's research covers several key states including: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and North Carolina. Read more...
Illegal immigrants in Maryland will pay $275 million in state and local taxes this year, according to a study released Monday by a Washington group that advocates for immigrants. The report ranks Maryland as the 11th-highest state in the nation in collecting tax receipts from unauthorized immigrants.
Maryland comes in after California, Florida and New York but ahead of Nevada and New Mexico. The state will collect $76 million in state income taxes, $22 million in property taxes and $177 million in sales taxes in the 2010 tax year, according to the Immigration Policy Center study.
The report’s authors acknowledge that “it is difficult to know precisely how much these families pay in taxes, because the spending and income behavior of these families is not as well documented as is the case for U.S. citizens.” The study’s release was timed to coincide with Monday’s deadline to file state and federal income taxes.
“Tax Day is an appropriate time to underscore the often-overlooked fact that unauthorized immigrants pay taxes,” according to an Immigration Policy Center release sent Monday. “Add this all up and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments.”
In all, the group estimates that households headed by illegal immigrants will pay $11.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.
The Immigration Policy Center supported a proposal in Congress known as the DREAM Act that would have created a path to citizenship for some immigrants if they spent two years in the military or in college. The proposal failed. The group's estimates are based on a model developed by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, whose board includes four academics as well as the co-editor of the liberal American Prospect and a union official.Read more...