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Rep. Hansen Clarke and 3 Facts About Undocumented Immigration

Published on Wed, Jul 13, 2011

At a recent event in Detroit organized by the Alliance for Immigrants Rights to address local racial profiling of Latinos by ICE, U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke took a step that few people — let alone politicians — take: he admitted that his father was likely an undocumented immigrant.

Clarke told community members, “I’m the son of an undocumented immigrant — and I’m proud to say that.” Clarke spoke at the forum at Hope of Detroit Academy, a school targeted in March by ICE agents who are now being investigated after going after parents as they dropped their kids off at school.

Clarke is of African-American and Bangladeshi descent. His African-American mother raised him as a single parent after his father who emigrated from Bangladesh, passed away when Hansen was eight years old. Hansen, the first U.S. Congressman of Bangladeshi descent, told the Detroit Free Press his father was ” ‘more than likely undocumented’ when he came to the U.S. His father immigrated in the 1930’s from pre-Partition India, then under British rule, and died in 1965.” (We would have liked to link back to the Free Press article, but are tired of linking to articles with the i-word in the title, especially as this man did not call his father “illegal.”)

In this anti-immigrant climate, Rep. Clarke took some political risk in admitting something about his family’s past that many other public officials would also be correct in disclosing. One of the most popular comebacks from a range of people — including minutemen border militia, hardcore immigration restrictionists like Numbers USA and the like, and both Republicans and Democrats — is that people need to get papers the “legal” way and “get in line,” just like their parents or grandparents or some ancestor did.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

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.

View our Practice Advisory

Quick Fact: Immigrants support the economy by establishing Fortune 500 companies

Immigrant entrepreneurs established 18% of all Fortune 500 companies. Combined, these businesses have generated $1.7 trillion in annual revenue and currently employ 3.7 million workers worldwide.

History of Executive Branch Authority in Immigration

Published on Fri, Sep 02, 2011

Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases Using All the Tools in the Toolbox: How Past Administrations Have Used Executive Branch Authority in Immigration by Mary Giovagnoli, Esq. The paper examines the political battle over implementation of provisions of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) during the late 1990s.

It also looks at the role of executive branch authority during a key moment in the Bush Administration’s work on comprehensive immigration reform. Using the tools of executive branch authority, both the Clinton and Bush Administrations made the most of what the law had to offer, staying within the letter of the law, but opting for interpretations that reflected differing, but legally permissable, readings of the law. This lesson is worth recalling in the fight over prosecutorial discretion and administrative relief today.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) plan to review 300,000 immigration cases to assess whether they fall within the Administration’s enforcement priorities has already inflamed critics. Because the Administration may close some low priority cases in order to focus its limited resources on more serious cases, critics are immediately claiming this is an “amnesty.” But the DHS announcement is about using executive branch authority—in this case, prosecutorial discretion—to carry out its policy priorities.Read more...

Published in the Hispanically Speaking

Our Litigation & Advocacy

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.

New American Heritage Dictionary Defines ‘Anchor Baby’ as Neutral

Published on Mon, Dec 05, 2011

The Houghton Mifflin publishing company recently released the fifth edition of the New American Heritage Dictionary with 10,000 new words—including the term “anchor baby.” The dictionary offers a matter-of-fact definition for a term many consider to be a racist and deliberate effort to dehumanize immigrant children.

Here’s how the dictionary’s new edition defines “anchor baby:”

“Anchor Baby, n. A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.”

Steve Kleinedler, the executive editor, was well aware “anchor baby” is used as a pejorative term. “The trick is to define them objectively without taking sides and just presenting what it is,” Kleinedler said in an interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

“Anchor baby is definitely a very charged, politically charged word,” Kleinedler said before going on to say the term “falls into a gray area where we felt it was better just to state what it was, and then people can filter their own life experiences through the word and judgments on it as they see fit.”

The New American Heritage Dictionary’s “anchor baby” definition is 41 words long but the first sentence in Wikipedia’s definition at just 29 words manages to provide a similar definition with a disclaimer that the word is indeed offensive. Wikipedia.com definition with more context:

“Anchor baby” is a pejorative term for a child born in the United States to immigrant parents, who, as an American citizen, supposedly can later facilitate immigration for relatives.” [29 words]Read more...

Published in the Colorlines

Where are our participants?

Have you ever wondered if there are other exchange visitors in your area? If so, we've created a map showing the distribution of J-1 trainees and interns currently sponsored by the International Exchange Center throughout the United States.

Want to connect with them? Check out and "like" our Facebook page.

 

 

Kan. plan roils debate in immigration guru's state

Published on Wed, Feb 01, 2012

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An architect of state and local laws cracking down on illegal immigration is a leading Republican officeholder in Kansas, but business groups in his home state are asking legislators to move in the opposite direction by starting an unusual program designed to give illegal immigrants hard-to-fill jobs.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a former law professor who helped draft tough laws against illegal immigration in Alabama and Arizona, criticized the new Kansas proposal Tuesday 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 illegal immigrants- including California, Florida and Texas- don't have their own programs.

It would be "unprecedented" if Kansas implemented the program proposed by its business groups, said Wendy Sefsaf, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center. She said she is skeptical that the federal government would allow such a program, though she's sympathetic toward its goals.

"Maybe it's a good thing to have a counterbalance to Kris Kobach," she said.Read more...

Published in the Associated Press

My Grand Father Ben: 2011 National Grand Prize Winning Entry

From China sailed my Grandfather Ben.
He came to America when he was four plus ten.
His Guangzhou village was small and poor
And he helped his mother with farming chores.
Every morning he gathered bits of firewood
And drew water from the well as much as he could.
From morning to night he slaved like an ox.
But it was never enough to fill the rice box.
So his parents said, "You'd better leave home
And go to America where you can roam.
Until you find  a great place of your own.
America, Gold Mountain, is the place to go
Big and wide, and high and low.
Everything is yes, and there are never any nos."


But here in America life was hard
And it wasn't like a birthday card.
Golden Mountain didn't have jobs
For Chinese men, and that made them sob.
From San Francisco to Saint Louis
Chances for Chinese were least to fewest.
Still his heart never gave way
Cause he knew hard work always pays.
So Grandpa Ben worked hard again.
Slaving in a laundry from five to ten.
And he lived in important USA times
Starting from cool Jazz Age crime
Right on down to the Great Depression's
Brother can you spare a dime.
Until finally his big chance came
To show America Chinese are the same.
He joined the army in World War II
And fought in Europe for the red, white and blue.
All over he fought bringing supplies
To American soldiers on the lines.
Until one day he was shot in the back
And his jeep flipped over and he got smacked.
He didn't win any fame or medals
Just came back home to wed and settle.


Still to me he is The Greatest Hero.
Cause he never gave up and never said no.
He loved America both good and bad
And taught his 5 kids not to be sad.
Work hard, dream big, and never give up.
And one day Gold Mountain will live up
To what is written on the Statue of Liberty
Chances for all and the gift to be free.Read more...

Facts? Or Factors

Published on Wed, Apr 25, 2012

I have a dear friend who disagrees with me about the immigration issue -- she's a fence-sitter mostly, not sure that the state should or should not be passing legislation restricting access of undocumented immigrants to public services.

"I've got to think and pray about it more, and I'm not sure I know enough about the issue," she told me this morning.

I applaud her candor, and her willingness to suspend judgment until she has all the facts.

Unfortunately, facts have very little to do with the issue. Read more...

Published in the Huffington Post