Today the American Immigration Law Foundation announced a name change to accompany a more ambitious mission for the organization. The new name, American Immigration Council, reflects the expansion of the organization to assume a larger role and greater involvement in the immigration policy, education, and exchange communities. It is also recognition that the organization has grown both in size and stature over the last five years as our program work has expanded beyond the courtroom and into the halls of Congress and the public square. The American Immigration Council will continue to serve existing constituencies, but will expand its reach to new partners and programs.
Washington, D.C. - Tomorrow, Thursday, July 1st, President Obama will make what is being described by the New York Times as “a major speech on immigration” at American University in Washington, D.C. The President is expected to step forward to reassert the leadership of the Federal Government on the issue of immigration.
While a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s SB1070 now seems imminent, the President must address the underlying issues that led to passage of the Arizona law. We hope the President will squarely address the public’s frustration with a lack of workable solutions on immigration. He must place this frustration in context—lack of federal action leads to growing impetus in the states to pass laws, no matter what their cost, simply to try to resolve the impasse. The President should address this frustration, but should also address the undisputed polling that shows that Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. This can be his moment to bring people together by laying out a framework that will actually move Congress to complete workable legislation.Read more...
LAC Files Amicus Brief Supporting Termination of Removal Proceedings
Released on Thu, Mar 17, 2011
Washington D.C. - This week, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) and Texas Appleseed filed an amicus brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) supporting Immigration Judges' authority to terminate removal proceedings against noncitizens with serious mental disabilities where a full and fair hearing would be impossible. Because immigration courts lack many of the due process protections that exist in other areas of our judicial system, more specific safeguards are necessary to protect the most vulnerable populations.
The LAC and Texas Appleseed filed the brief in the case of B-Z, a longtime legal permanent resident diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, who could not understand the purpose of the proceedings, assist counsel with his defense or present coherent testimony. The brief argues that immigration courts should adopt standards for evaluating mental competency similar to those employed in federal criminal or civil trials. Furthermore, Immigration Judges should be permitted to appoint counsel where non-citizens with serious mental disabilities are not competent to proceed on their own. Additional safeguards, including the appointment of a guardian ad litem, may also be required for noncitizens who are so severely incapacitated that they cannot understand and assist with their hearings even with the assistance of counsel. Finally, the brief contends that termination is proper where no conceivable set of safeguards would enable the respondent to participate meaningfully in proceedings and the record supports some inference of eligibility for relief.Read more...
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, the Department of Justice filed suit against the state of Alabama to block the implementation of HB 56, which is set to take effect September 1. HB 56 is similar to but far more punitive than Arizona’s SB 1070. The law includes provisions that require local school districts to check and report on the immigration status of all children enrolling in public schools. It also transforms local police into federal immigration officers, and creates criminal consequences for anyone who provides housing, transportation, or employment to undocumented immigrants.
Alabama is the second state, after Arizona, that the Department of Justice has sued for overstepping its authority to regulate immigration. Lawsuits have also been filed in Utah, Indiana and Georgia by immigrant rights and civil liberties groups. So far, the courts have prevented each state from implementing the central provisions of their anti-immigrant laws. In truth, all these laws have done is inflict long-lasting damage to these states’ reputations, businesses, and budgets.Read more...
While Democrats in Congress are hoping to push health care reform forward in honor of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, the senator's death serves as a reminder that Congress and President Obama have substantial work to do to accomplish another of Kennedy's lifelong causes: immigration reform.
Washington, D.C.—On Friday, the American Immigration Council challenged a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruling that immigrants who are arrested without a warrant do not need to receive certain Miranda-like warnings before being interrogated.
Under federal regulations, immigration officers must advise such noncitizens of the reason for their arrest, of their right to legal representation, and that anything they say may be used against them in a subsequent proceeding. Last August, however, the BIA ruled that these warnings are not required until after questioning has ended and charging papers are filed with an immigration court.
In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Council argued that the BIA misinterpreted both the text and purpose of the regulation.
“As a matter of law and fundamental fairness, people placed under arrest should be advised of their rights before questioning, not after,” said Melissa Crow, Director of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center. “The BIA’s ruling renders the notifications virtually meaningless and will subject countless immigrants to coercive questioning by federal officers.”
The brief was joined by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project.
The Ninth Circuit case is Miranda Fuentes v. Holder, No. 11-72641. The BIA ruling under challenge isMatter of E-R-M-F- & A-S-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 580 (BIA 2011).
Sleep is a rare commodity for Juan Cortez. Between nights spent clearing tables at a Manhattan nightclub and days running food to customers in a Bronx restaurant, the 42-year-old Peruvian immigrant worries more about finding time for shuteye than job security.