A new joint study by the Immigration Policy Center, the British Council, and the Migration Policy Group on immigrants’ integration into countries around the world shows that the United States has some fairly strong integration policies for documented immigrants, ranking a respectable ninth out of 23 countries surveyed in North American and Europe.
In particular, the study found that the United States’ anti-discrimination laws are extremely good—the best out of all the countries surveyed. And despite the politically convenient xenophobia that rears its ugly head on a regular basis in American politics, we’re not too bad at moving new immigrants from total strangers to full participants in society.
According to a statement released by the three groups:
The U.S. also ranked high on the access to citizenship scale because it encourages newcomers to become citizens in order to fully participate in American public life. Compared with other countries, legal immigrants in the U.S. enjoy employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and the opportunity to reunite with close family members.
There’s also a pretty nifty page on the Migrant Integration Policy Index site where you can play around with visual representations of the data.
But immigrants and immigrant advocates shouldn’t celebrate just yet—state and federal budget cuts could give those great integration programs the axe.
Immigrant services are getting slashed at both the state and federal level. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) proposed cutting its immigrant services from $8.6 million in 2010 to $2.5 million in 2011. Progress Illinois reports that this would translate to over 47,000 fewer immigrant families losing access to state-funded services—despite the fact that Latino and Asian populations in the state have jumped by more than 33 percent in the last decade.Read more...
March's newsletter features Chairy Saidjan of Jakarta, Indonesia as our exchange visitor of the month and discusses Chairy's appreciation for American art and the art of American entrepreneurship. Helpful tax tips and a discussion of Women's History Month are also included.
The 112th Congress had a full plate to start the year.
Debates and votes were expected on energy, climate change, education, national security, immigration, trade agreements and transportation. And there was the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
But for the most part, lawmakers have been consumed with cutting the federal budget deficit – which might top $1.6 trillion this year – since convening in January.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said the focus on all things fiscal began with the November elections, when voters gave Republicans control of the House and a larger minority in the Senate.
“The overwhelming interest of citizens in this country in these budget matters … almost impelled that this would likely be the case, that we would be spending almost all the time discussing some part of spending, taxes, budget stability, debt and the future of all this,” Lugar said in a recent interview.
Freshman Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, blames the previous Congress, which failed last year to approve a budget for fiscal 2011. After a series of short-term spending extensions, legislators finally passed an appropriations bill April 14, more than six months into the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
The 2011 budget, which spends about $3.8 trillion, “took up an awful lot of our time this year. We could have been dealing with next year’s budget, energy, tax policy,” said Stutzman, a member of the House Budget Committee.
After a two-week spring recess, Congress will reconvene in May and dive back into the fiscal fray. It must soon vote on whether to raise the $14.3 trillion national debt ceiling that the government is about to reach. Lawmakers also will be tussling over a half-dozen budget proposals for fiscal 2012, including a version approved April 15 by the House. They will battle over whether to cut spending for the military, Medicare and Social Security.Read more...
This class action lawsuit challenges the Department of Homeland Security's willful refusal to follow the precedent I-212 decision of the Ninth Circuit in Perez-Gonzalez v. Ashcroft.
Duran Gonzalez is a Ninth Circuit-wide class action challenging DHS’ refusal to follow Perez-Gonzalez v. Ashcroft, 379 F.3d 783 (9th Cir. 2004). In Perez-Gonzalez, the Ninth Circuit had said that individuals who had been removed or deported may apply for adjustment of status (under INA § 245(i)) along with an accompanying I-212 waiver application. In Duran Gonzales v. DHS, 508 F.3d 1227 (9th Cir. 2007), the Ninth Circuit overturned Perez-Gonzalez, deferring to the BIA’s holding that individuals who have previously been removed or deported are not eligible to apply for adjustment of status. See Matter of Torres-Garcia, 23 I&N Dec. 866 (BIA 2006). The Court subsequently said, however, that some plaintiffs may be able to establish that the new rule should not apply retroactively.
On July 22, 2014, the District Court approved the settlement agreement and issued a final judgment in the case. The settlement involves remedies for class members who submitted adjustment of status and I-212 waiver applications on or after August 13, 2004 and on or before November 30, 2007. Read the announcement about the settlement agreement.
The record level of deportations being carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement includes an unknown number of immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age, call this country home and are not aware that they are eligible for deferred action.
While deferred action is not limited to youth, according to the Immigration Policy Center, “Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), for instance, last year asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to defer the removal of young people who qualified for legal permanent residence until such time as their legislation, the DREAM Act, became law.”
Many young people who now face deportation proceedings would be eligible for the DREAM Act, which would grant unauthorized immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 conditional legal-resident status for a period of six years, after which they would be eligible to become legal permanent residents, if they obtain at least an associate-level college degree or serve two years in the military.
DREAM Activists — a resource network for undocumented students — has been working on deportation cases of students for a long time, along with law students and immigration attorneys.
“As we started getting more cases we realized we don’t have the resources to handle all cases and they will fall through the cracks,” Mohammad Abdollahi of DREAM Activist tells The Florida Independent, “so we sat down and came up with a guide so people can figure it out by themselves.”
The Asian Law Caucus, Educators for Fair Consideration, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance and DREAM Activist together released a Removal Defense Guide (.pdf) earlier this month.
“With over 60 pages of legal and organizing support from various successful public cases, the guide aims to provide undocumented youth, families, and lawyers with the essentials for deportation defense,” according to a press release issued by the Asian Law Caucus.Read more...
In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Fifth Circuit misapplied the Supreme Court case, Fedorenko v. United States, 449 U.S. 490 (1981), to find that the persecutor bar at INA § 208(b)(2)(A)(i) applies even if a person's assistance in persecution was coerced or the product of duress. Read more...
The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Heather Conn as May's Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...
In a significant reprieve for the same-sex partners of American citizens facing the threat of deportation, the Obama administration on August 18 announced that such actions would no longer be pursued against foreign nationals unless they are identified as security threats, convicted criminals, or repeat immigration law violators.
The policy was rolled out in a letter from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In a telephone conference call with reporters, a senior administration official explained that the focus on those “high-priority” categories represents the latest in the government’s efforts to un-“clog” a deportation system that currently has 300,000 cases pending.
The Obama administration has already made a significant dent in shifting deportations toward priority cases, the official said. In fiscal year 2010, more than half of those deported were security risks or criminal convicts –– up from just 30 percent before the president took office –– and two-thirds of the remainder were repeat immigration law offenders, including deported individuals who had reentered the country.
The new policy was announced in response to a letter sent to President Barack Obama from 22 senators earlier this year asking that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) categorically stop deportation proceedings against young people who would have been covered had the Dream Act been approved by Congress. That bill aims to offer permanent residency to college students and military service personnel who are undocumented immigrants that arrived in the US as minors.
Like same-sex partners and other law-abiding undocumented immigrants, these young people should now largely be in the clear.Read more...