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Court Holds Noncitizens Granted Voluntary Departure may Seek Reopening

Dada v. Mukasey, 554 U.S. 1 (2008)

A divided Supreme Court held that voluntary departure recipients must be permitted to unilaterally withdraw a voluntary departure request before the expiration of the voluntary departure period in order “to safeguard the right to pursue a motion to reopen.” The Court, however, rejected the argument that the voluntary departure period automatically tolls when a motion to reopen is filed. Read more...

Yves Thiers Takes On Texas

August, 2010

The International Exchange Center is proud to announce Yves Thiers as this month’s Exchange Visitor of the Month. Yves came to the United States from Belgium soon after graduating with a Master of Industrial Science degree. He hoped to be able to gain hands on knowledge of the engineering projects he studied at university. His host company, Dal-Tile Corporation, was just the place for this. Dal-Tile Corporation is a tile manufacturer and distributor based out of Dallas, TX. Read more...

HALTing the DREAM

Published on Mon, Aug 01, 2011

Every now and then a piece of legislation comes around with a terribly creative acronym. The USA PATRIOT Act back in 2001 was one example. But rarely do two bills on the same issue appear in Congress with such diametrically opposed names and policy goals as the DREAM and HALT Acts.

The DREAM and HALT Acts are both currently being considered in Congress. DREAM stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors and laudably aims to offer specific pathways to US citizenship for undocumented students, most of whom entered the United States when they were very young. Despite being called a “win-win” by the Boston Globe and numerous other editorial boards as well as gaining elusive bipartisan support, the legislation died in the Senate during the last Congress’ lame-duck December session. Introduced again, it faces even longer odds in the current Congress, particularly in the Republican-controlled House, which has its own immigration “reform” plans.

Now consider the HALT Act, or Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act, which was introduced this July. Sponsored by Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas and Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, the bill would strip President Obama’s immigration discretionary powers until January 2013, when the winner of the 2012 election is sworn in. Hypocritically (or forgetfully), Smith once called for an expansion of these powers. The executive branch can only intervene in deportations in extraordinary cases, primarily in keeping families together if a spouse, parent or child of a citizen is found to be undocumented.

“Current immigration law often disregards the human right to family unity,” Grace Meng of Human Rights Watch wrote in The Hill. “This power to provide discretionary relief not only helps undocumented immigrants, but provides unquestionable help to their US citizen families as well.”Read more...

Published in the The Nation

2010 American Heritage Awards

2010 American Heritage Awards to Honor Outstanding Immigrant Women

 Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center

National Harbor, MD

Friday, July 2, 2010

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Cut Back on Border Patrol – Save $2.6 Billion

Published on Wed, Nov 16, 2011

As the congressional Super Committee struggles to cut the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion by next Wednesday, pro-immigrant advocacy groups are amplifying their calls to dial back on border security as a way to reap savings.

The federal government stands to save $2.6 billion a year by deporting only violent criminals, capping yearly border patrol budget increases, and ending a government program to level minor criminal charges against people crossing portions of the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, according a National Immigration Forum report released Tuesday.

The latest iteration of the 2012 Department of Homeland Security budget calls for spending $5.5 billion on Immigration and Customs Enforcement and $11.8 billion on Customs and Border Protection. That’s nearly double the spending levels for both compared to fiscal 2000, and up from $5.1 billion and $9.3 billion in fiscal 2008. Declining numbers of arrests along the Southwest border are evidence that this ramped-up spending is an unnecessary use of taxpayer dollars, the report concluded. According to government data, border patrol arrests fell about 28 percent between October 2010 and August 2011 in California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.

“The number of people arrested for trying to cross the border illegally, used as a proxy for measuring the total number of people trying to cross illegally, is at its lowest point since 1972,” the report said. “We are spending more and more money so that we don’t have to apprehend fewer and fewer people.”Read more...

Published in the The Fiscal Times

International Exchange Center Staff

STAFF

Mr. Jai Misra, Program Specialist
jmisra@immcouncil.org

Jai Misra joined the American Immigration Council in April 2012 and works with the International Exchange Center's J-1 visa sponsorship program. Mr. Misra graduated from Gettysburg College with a degree in Globalization Studies, and he spent a year at the American University in Cairo (AUC) where he helped design cultural exchange programs for study abroad students at AUC's International Student Services Office.

Ms. Lois C. Magee, Director, International Exchange Center
lmagee@immcouncil.org

Lois C. Magee was named Director of the American Immigration Council's International Exchange Center in January 2006. Ms. Magee has been affiliated with a number of citizen exchange organizations including the International Christian Youth Exchange, AFS Intercultural Programs, and the YMCA International Branch. She has worked with and written on J-1 visa programs for over twenty years. Ms. Magee holds a Master's degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT.

Ms. Moksheda Thapa, Program Specialist - (currently on leave until 12/2014)
mthapa@immcouncil.orgRead more...

On Immigration, Rhetoric on Need to 'Secure the Border' Doesn't Match Reality

Published on Mon, Jan 16, 2012

When it comes to immigration policy, the candidates vying for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination agree: the first imperative is to halt the flow of illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Immigration has proved to be a contentious issue in the Republican primary. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was lambasted for signing a bill offering in-state tuition to some undocumented students, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich drew criticism from his right flank for suggesting that immigrants with deep roots and family ties should have a path to legalization. But throughout this discord, every candidate has invoked the need to "secure the border" before pursuing any other reforms.

Before suspending her candidacy, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., proposed building a "double fence" that spanned "every mile, every foot, every inch" of the border. Perry has vowed to police the border by fortifying the U.S. Border Patrol, which already deploys a record number of agents. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has embraced the border-first approach, and his focus on enforcement helped him win the endorsement of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of the harsh Arizona immigration law that became a model for other states. 

"What I support is focusing on securing the border, and when we secure the border and have convinced the American people that we do not have a flow of illegal aliens coming into the country, then we can address what we're going to do with the 11 or 15 million that are here," Romney told the Washington Examiner.

Cross-Border Migration Rate DecreasingRead more...

Published in the International Business Times

2009 Winner, Olivia Chiu

"The American Punch”

By Olivia Chiu

Monterey Hills Elementary School

South Pasadena, California

America arrived at the Annual Society of the United Nations and walked in, seeing other countries dancing and chatting. Instead of discussing important topics, their meetings were always just fun and games. America sat down and drank a cup of punch. Then she chatted with Indonesia until Canada asked her to dance, because they were neighbors. While they were dancing, Canada asked, "Why are you so prosperous?" America thought a little and answered, "Between 1880 and 1920, many people immigrated to me, arriving in the millions. In all, there were 25 million people that came."

 

"There is no way that there were 25 million immigrants passed through your borders! It is impossible!" cried China, who had been listening. "Impossible!"

 

"I am like this punch I am drinking, made up of various ingredients. Immigrants from all over the world brought different foods, clothing, and religions. I am proud of the diversity. The exchange of ideas makes everybody more open-minded and accepting. If you walk down one of my busy streets nowadays, you will see many different shops: Chinese, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, all side by side and getting along.

 Read more...