The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center engages in impact litigation to protect and advance the rights of noncitizens. The LAC frequently submits briefs as amicus curiae (friend of the court) before administrative tribunals and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and files affirmative lawsuits in limited circumstances.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, architect of some of the most controversial anti-illegal immigrant state laws, now is fighting a proposal in his own state that would allow undocumented immigrants to work in hard-to-fill jobs.
The proposal, by business groups, calls for undocumented immigrants to be able to remain in Kansas if they work in jobs in agriculture and other industries that are struggling through labor shortages.
Kobach, a former law professor who helped draft tough laws against illegal immigration in Alabama and Arizona, is denouncing the new Kansas proposal as "amnesty" for people who've come to the U.S. illegally. A spokeswoman said Gov. Sam Brownback, a fellow Republican, isn't supporting the measure.
But Brownback's agriculture secretary has acknowledged having several conversations with federal homeland security officials about potential labor shortages. The coalition pushing the new program includes agriculture groups with memberships that traditionally lean toward the GOP, as well as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, another stalwart supporter of conservative Republicans.
Utah has a guest worker program, but it isn't set to start until January 2013, and its enactment was part of a legislative package that included initiatives in line with Kobach's thinking on immigration. States with large populations of undocumented immigrants -- including California, Florida and Texas -- don't have their own programs.
The Kansas proposal was described as "unprecedented" by Wendy Sefsaf, director of communications at the American Immigration Council.
State officials and supporters of the business groups' plan don't yet have hard numbers on how many jobs are in danger of going unfilled, but unemployment rates in the western half of the state were mostly less than 4 percent in December, well below the statewide figure of 5.9 percent.Read more...
A clash over immigration law will go before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday (April 25), pitting the state of Arizona against U.S. President Barack Obama in a case with election-year political ramifications for him and Republican rival Mitt Romney.
In its second-biggest case this term, the court -- fresh from hearing the Obama healthcare overhaul case -- will consider whether a tough Arizona immigration crackdown strayed too far into the federal government's powers.
A pro-Arizona decision would be a legal and political setback for Obama, who has criticized the state's law and vowed to push for immigration legislation if re-elected on November 6. Read more...
Federal appeals court rejects jurisdictional bar to post-departure motions to reopen Pruidze v. Holder, No. 09-3836 (6th Cir. 2011)
In early February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the government’s long-held position that immigration courts lack “jurisdiction” to consider motions to reopen filed by noncitizens who have already left the country. The unanimous decision agrees with the position of the Legal Action Center (LAC) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP), which contended in an amicus brief that the decades-old regulation underlying the government’s argument has been superseded by more recent changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). (See press release.) The Sixth Circuit thus became the fourth court to strike down or question the validity of the regulation, which only the Tenth Circuit has expressly found to be consistent with the motion to reopen statute.Read more...
The White House Blog cited IPC statistics about the purchasing power of Latinos and Asians to highlight how immigrants help strengthen our economy.
Immigrants boost demand for local consumer goods. The Immigration Policy Center estimates that the purchasing power of Latinos and Asians, many of whom are immigrants, alone will reach $1.5 trillion and $775 billion, respectively, by 2015. Read more...
Mary Giovagnoli, the IPC's Director, was quoted in this article from the Washington Post:
“The immigration issue in a lot of ways I think is maturing in a way that simply takes time,” says Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, who was a staffer for Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) during the 2006-07 debate. “There seems to be a much greater level of trust and cordiality. [The last time] the two sides were dragged kicking and screaming together.” A similar dynamic was at play with health-care reform—another major effort that had suffered from a spectacular defeat in Congress before finally passing. “Any major, major piece of social change is a long process,” Giovagnoli concludes.