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E-Verify shouldn't be mandatory

Published on Tue, Oct 25, 2011

Fane, a native of Tonga, works as a dispatcher for a company in Los Angeles. When she was hired, her employer used E-Verify, an electronic federal database intended to identify only unauthorized immigrants, to verify her work authorization. Though she's been a U.S. citizen for 16 years, the E-Verify system flagged her. She had not notified the Social Security Administration that she had become a U.S. citizen - something that she did not realize that she was supposed to do.

Fane reported the mix-up to her employer, which eventually reinstated her. But she lost back pay for two weeks of work - a devastating loss of income for a working-class single mother of four.

Cases like Fane's, unfortunately, would become all the more common if Congress passes H.R. 2885, a bill sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to require all employers to implement E-Verify. Currently, the flawed E-Verify program is voluntary for most employers. This bill recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.

The government's own study shows that E-Verify's current error rate is 20 times higher for foreign-born workers than U.S.-born workers and 30 times higher for naturalized citizens, according to Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Making the system mandatory would adversely affect all immigrants, but especially the nation's Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, of whom more than two-thirds are foreign-born.

And those who are those authorized to work in this country, including U.S. citizens, could be deemed unauthorized simply due to an old database system that doesn't reflect current work authorization status. Because of errors in E-Verify, between 144,000 and 415,000 U.S. citizens and other legal workers in California alone could lose their jobs if they do not know to or are unable to correct their records, according to the Immigration Policy Center.Read more...

Published in the The Bellingham Herald

Annual Allotment Tip Sheet August 21, 2012 Update

August 24, 2012-- Special Allotment for J-1 Pilot Project

The Department of State has granted the American Immigration Council a special allotment of DS-2019 forms for the remainder of the 2012 calendar year in order to launch an exciting new J-1 pilot project.
Read more...

Understanding the Final Rule for J-1 Trainee and Intern Programs

New final rules became effective Sept. 9, 2010 for J trainee and intern programs 22 C.F.R.§ 62 (2010). With few exceptions, the final rule will produce little change to the way J trainee and intern programs have been administered since the interim-final rule of 2007.

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U.S. Seeks Rule Change to Let Some Illegal Immigrants Remain With Families

Published on Fri, Jan 06, 2012

The Obama administration proposed changing federal rules to let some undocumented immigrants stay in the U.S. while seeking legal status, a move that would help Hispanics, a key voting bloc in the 2012 election.

The proposal is aimed at spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are eligible for a visa. The proposed change would let them remain in the country while applying for a green card, according to a statement by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The law now calls for immigrants who have been in the country illegally for 180 days or more to leave the U.S. to apply for legal residence, a period that can last as long as 10 years. Because of the potentially long separation from their families, immigrants who are eligible don’t apply for legal status, according to the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based pro-immigration group.

Congressional Republicans have stymied President Barack Obama’s drive to overhaul immigration laws to let temporary foreign workers enter the U.S. and to help illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship. The proposed change doesn’t need congressional approval.

It would “provide a more predictable and transparent process and improved processing times,” according to the immigration agency’s statement.

Hispanics contributed to Obama’s margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election. Exit polls on election day showed 67 percent of Hispanic voters supported him compared with 31 percent for Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.

States With Hispanics

That support helped Obama carry states with large Hispanic populations, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The states are among the ones likely to be the most competitive in this year’s presidential race.

The illegal immigration issue has sparked disputes in the race among Republicans vying to be Obama’s opponent.Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg

Programs

Community Education CenterCommunity Education Center (CEC) »

The Community Education Center (CEC) strives to promote a better understanding of immigrants and immigration by providing educational resources that inspire thoughtful dialogue, creative teaching and critical thinking. Dedicated to the American values of fairness, social justice and respect for all people, the center is committed to making immigration an “everybody issue.” The CEC also highlights the positive contributions immigrants have made and continue to make to American society through its programmatic work.

International Exchange CenterInternational Exchange Center (IEC) »

The International Exchange Center (IEC) is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor trainees and interns on the J-1 visa. The IEC assumes a number of duties and responsibilities in the visa process and they are committed to the success of every intern and training program. Participating in international training is people-to-people diplomacy that creates positives ties with other parts of the world.Read more...

A Tale of Two Undocumented Graduates

Published on Tue, Mar 20, 2012

Raul Rodriguez and Alberto Ledesma live parallel lives. Both proudly claim UC Berkeley as their alma mater. Both have worked hard academically. And both have published personal essays about the stigma of being an undocumented student.

But that’s where their lives diverge. Ledesma was fortunate enough to gain amnesty via the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), federal legislation that granted amnesty to immigrants who entered the U.S. before 1986. Rodriguez, on the other hand, remains undocumented because legislation like IRCA no longer exists.

“Even now, years after amnesty, I get all tongue-tied when anyone asks me about my immigrant past. I become that undocumented immigrant Cantinflas, twisting words and phrases until nothing I say makes sense. The problem is, I don’t know where my Cantinflas and where the true me begins.”

Rodriguez says he shares that same feeling of being constantly distressed. If he were granted amnesty, he says he would take every opportunity that presented itself, the simplest of all being travel. Before discovering he was undocumented, Rodriguez had plans to move to New York City and Paris, but all of those plans disappeared upon hearing the truth about his legal status.

“Being undocumented means re-shifting your life and not doing what you love,” he notes.

Today, Rodriguez lives a life that he can only describe as “going through the motions.” He is not alone. A study conducted by the Immigration Policy Center in 2008 showed that 25 percent of all people in the U.S. are either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. The same study concluded that 40 percent of all immigrants currently in the U.S. came to this country before 1990, which suggests that they've since established deep roots in this country. Many are like Ledesma and Rodriguez, having grown up in the U.S. yet never fully embraced as Americans. Read more...

Published in the New American Media

April 2010 Countries of Origin

Ever wonder where in the world J-1 exchange visitors live before and after the time they spend as trainees or interns in the United States?


We're lucky to receive applications from all over the world, and the number and variety of countries and regions represented changes often. Below is a visual representation of the various countries our April, 2010 exchange visitors call home:



Can you identify all of them? If not, don't worry -- we've made a list for you:


Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Macau, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and finally, the United Kingdom.

Quick Fact: The cost of mass deportation

Mass deportation would cost $206 billion to $230 billion over five years.

Memorial Day provides chance to break down language barrier

Published on Mon, May 28, 2012

Statistics from an IPC report were used in an article about the value of immigrants in America: Read more...

Published in the Star Exponent