June 2008 marks the two-year anniversary and the end of Operation Jump Start, a joint program by the Border Patrol and Department of Defense. Yet, the persistence of undocumented immigration indicates that Operation Jump Start is anything but a success. Instead, it has been a costly and ineffective approach to border control that was incorporated into a larger, self-defeating strategy of enforcement-without-reform.
Washington D.C. - In the State of the Union Address this evening President Obama made clear his ongoing commitment to immigration reform noting "we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system - to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation." Some may continue to argue that immigration reform is too politically risky to move on this year and that we should focus instead on rebuilding our economy. However, comprehensive immigration reform is compatible with economic reform as it would generate needed economic growth, create jobs and increase tax contributions by ensuring that everyone working in the United States is doing so legally. In fact, immigration reform would allow us to take full advantage of the opportunities for economic growth that immigrants bring.
Immigration Yields Tremendous Economic Benefits to AmericaRead more...
Earlier this week, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC), the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center filed an amicus brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) urging the government to protect the rights of immigrants whose mental disabilities prevent them from participating meaningfully in their own removal hearings. "This is particularly disturbing given that these immigrants are not granted court-appointed counsel in removal proceedings" said Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center.
AILA and AIC submitted a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concerns and offering assistance and perspective with respect to implementing a well-balanced policy on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
Washington D.C. - Today, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Principal Legal Advisor directed all ICE attorneys to begin a systematic review of immigration cases to determine whether pursuing deportation in each case is consistent with the Administration’s enforcement priorities. This directive follows last summer’s announcement that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to review 300,000 immigration cases to assess whether they fall within the enforcement priorities and suspend those cases which do not. ICE also provided more detailed guidance to ICE attorneys regarding criteria for determining when it is appropriate to exercise prosecutorial discretion to close or dismiss a case.
These directives are important steps toward reforming the culture of immigration enforcement within the agency and aligning its resources with its enforcement priorities. They empower ICE attorneys to take into account the individual circumstances of each case when deciding whether it is appropriate to pursue removal. Although DHS needs to refine its overly-broad definitions of criminality, this new guidance, if fully implemented, should mean that the government can focus its resources on deportations of those who pose a real threat to public safety. It should result in fewer deportations of low priority immigrants, such as DREAM Act students or individuals with strong family and community ties and more. Importantly, prosecutorial discretion does not mean that a person is granted legal status in the United States; rather, a person whose case is dismissed or closed will remain in the status they were in prior to the initiation of deportation proceedings.Read more...
Jose Loa's uncle opened the first Carniceria Loa 13 years ago in Dalton, Ga. Now the family owns seven stores, not only in the self-proclaimed carpet capital of the world, but also Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tenn.