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ICE issues memo on ‘prosecutorial discretion’

Published on Thu, Jun 23, 2011

John Morton, executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (aka ICE), issued a memo (.pdf) last Friday that provides ICE personnel “guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to ensure that the agency’s immigration enforcement resources are focused on the agency’s enforcement priorities.”

The memo is one among several issued over the past 30 years by federal immigration authorities on how to exercise prosecutorial discretion. This latest memo explains that “the term ‘prosecutorial discretion’ applies to a broad range of discretionary enforcement decisions” that can include deferred action but also the execution of a deportation order. It offers guidelines on how to use discretion on a case-by-case basis and states that “decisions should be based on the totality of the circumstances, with the goal of conforming to ICE’s enforcement priorities.”

According to the Immigration Policy Center, there are factors that lead to the use or exercise of prosecutorial discretion in an immigration case, “with respect to investigations, arrests, detention, parole, the initiation of removal proceedings, continued litigation of removal proceedings, and even the execution of final removal orders. Examples of the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the immigration context include a grant of deferred action; a decision to terminate removal proceedings; a stay of removal; or a decision not to issue a charging document in the first place.”

The Morton memo adds that “when weighing whether an exercise of prosecutorial discretion may be warranted for a given alien, ICE officers, agents, and attorneys should consider all relevant factors.”

The memo lists a series of factors that would allow ICE officials to use discretion:

• If the alien came to the United States as a young child.

• Whether someone has graduated from a U.S. high school or has successfully pursued or is pursuing a college or advanced degree.Read more...

Published in the Florida Independent

Remand Rule

Gonzales v. Tchoukhrova, 549 U.S. 801 (2006)

  • In a summary order dated April 17, 2006, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision and remanded the case “for further consideration in light of Gonzales v. Thomas, 547 U.S. ___ (2006).” In Thomas, the Court held that the Ninth Circuit should have applied the “ordinary remand rule,” and remanded the case to the BIA for further analysis.
  • The Court’s ruling in Tchoukhrova indicates that the Ninth Circuit erred by reaching issues that the BIA had not ruled on in the first instance.

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month: Latinos Are The Majority In Federal Prison

Published on Thu, Sep 15, 2011

This year, we’re kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with the disheartening news that Latinos, for the first time in American history, comprise the majority of inmates in federal prison. One reason for this, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, is the unprecedented amount of undocumented immigrants being arrested and charged rather than deported. The trend is a tactic on the part of the Obama administration, (and the Bush administration before them), says Walter Ewing, senior researcher at the Immigration Policy Center, to butter up conservative litigators for immigration reform.

“It’s a losing strategy because it’s never going to be enough for them,” Ewing told political watchdog site Colorlines, referring to members of Congress who demand “a secure border” before they can consider immigration reform.

Meanwhile, those sneaking into the United States to willingly perform labor for minuscule wages are finding themselves involved in a far more diabolic system than they bargained for. Namely, privatized prisons motivated by profit.

Corrections Corp. of America, (it sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit, but it’s sadly very real), runs more than 60 prisons and immigrant-detention centers across the country. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the effect of money on U.S. politics, CCA has spent more than any other corrections company–$17.6 million– lobbying politicians, contributing to their campaigns and hiring their former staff. They also lobby the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement division which just so happens to contract with CCA and other private companies for immigration-detention centers.

Though CCA says they only lobby to educate policy makers, one can’t help but notice that what they lobby for is tougher prison sentences. After all, it’s how they make their money.Read more...

Published in the Texas Observer

J-1 Alumni Impact Survey

Do the J-1 intern and trainee programs sponsored by the American Immigration Council produce a lasting and positive impacts on the lives of the J-1 visa holders? Do the J-1 visa holders leave with a lasting and positive impression of the United States? The responses from our alumni survey indicate an overwhelming “Yes.”

Survey results show that our alumni “Learned, Left and Leveraged” their experience in America. 

  • They learned from their host company sponsors and about American culture–20% arrived in the US with a very positive impression but 59% left with a very positive impression.
  • The vast majority left when their visas ended—89% reported that they left the United States after the conclusion of their J-1 program.
  • After returning home they leveraged their new skills into new jobs and expanded responsibilities—95% of the respondents reported that the J-1 training or internship has had an impact on their current career

Read more...

Gingrich: Cut ‘baloney’ costs and build fence

Published on Fri, Dec 02, 2011

Newt Gingrich continued his full-throttle emphasis on immigration on Thursday in Iowa, countering opponents who have accused him of embracing amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Gingrich signed a pledge to build a fence along the entire 2,000-mile stretch between Mexico and the United States by the end of 2013.

Building the fence could cost taxpayers billions of dollars, not including annual maintenance expenses. But Gingrich told The Des Moines Register in an interview that those costs could be trimmed as much as 95 percent by simply eliminating all federal regulations for the fence’s construction.

He did not explain how he arrived at that estimate and his staff was unable to pinpoint the information Thursday.

“Remember, we built the Pentagon for almost nothing because we didn’t go through all the modern baloney,” Gingrich said.

Such federal regulations are intended to protect water quality, prevent ground pollution and ensure worker safety — all items generally seen as critical to human health.

Several immigration reform advocates said Thursday that while they agree with Gingrich that action is needed, they doubt his cost-saving ideas and whether such a fence would be effective.

A better idea would be to invest the billions of dollars in increased security and screening at the nation’s ports of entry, where the majority of illegal immigration and drug smuggling occurs, said William Moore, a spokesman for the Texas Border Coalition. The nonpartisan group of mayors and local officials represents more than 6 million people living along the border.

Moore also contends that building the fence would be difficult if not impossible because of the region’s harsh landscape. Because of flood plains, some U.S. farmers and their homes would likely be on the Mexican side of the fence, creating numerous safety and property rights issues, he noted.Read more...

Published in the Des Moines Register

Institute & Meetings

Practical Training through the Litigation Institute

The Legal Action Center, in partnership with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), developed and organizes the innovative Litigation Institute. The Litigation Institute is a hands-on, practical training program for lawyers to develop their litigation skills. Institute participants work in small groups throughout the multi-day program where they participate in mock immigration court and federal court hearings. The LAC provides each participant with an Institute Manual and an extensive compilation of litigation resources. This workshop consistently sells out and is one of the top ranked immigration legal education programs available. Planning for the 2011 Litigation Institute will begin in the spring of 2011. Archived information about the 2010 Litigation Institute can be found here:
http://www.aila.org/li.

Meetings

The LAC periodically convenes other meetings (in addition to the Litigation Institute) for attorneys and advocates on issues relating to our work.

Quick Fact: Americans want Reform

67% of voters said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally became legal taxpayers so they pay their fair share,” vs. 28% who said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally left the country because they are taking away jobs that Americans need.”

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy

Published on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C— Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs and strengthen the economy, and the U.S. should tailor immigration laws and policies to encourage the best and the brightest to create businesses on U.S. soil, according to a new joint report issued today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Immigration Policy Center (IPC).

The report, Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy examines immigrant entrepreneurship in many different sectors, including neighborhood, growth, transnational, and science and technology firms, and demonstrates how these immigrant businesses create jobs for U.S. workers and contribute to America’s economic growth.

“Immigrant-owned growth businesses are hugely important to strengthening local economies, as well as providing jobs essential to economic recovery,” said report author Marcia Drew Hohn, director of the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. “The U.S. Small Business Association estimates that small businesses have generated 64% of the net new jobs over the past 15 years and credits immigrant businesses with a significant contribution to this job growth.”

“Regardless of one’s school of thought, there is very little disagreement among researchers and experts that immigrant entrepreneurship is a powerful and valuable asset to America’s economic future,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “There has been a lot of attention paid to the high tech, highly educated immigrant entrepreneur, this report reinforces that it is less about your degree or the product you produce, and far more about recognizing a need in your community and having the skills and commitment to bring a dream to life.”Read more...

Published in the Journal News Service