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BIA Provides Important But Incomplete Guidance on Mental Competency Issues

Released on Mon, May 09, 2011

Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) cautiously applauds last week’s decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals concerning the rights of immigrants with mental disabilities in removal proceedings.  Echoing concerns expressed in amicus briefs filed by the LAC in other Board cases, the decision acknowledged the need for a framework to ensure that immigrants with mental competency issues are not deported without fair hearings. 

 “While the Board’s decision is a welcome first step, more comprehensive guidance will be necessary to protect the due process rights of immigrants who lack mental competency,” said Melissa Crow, director of the Legal Action Center (LAC).  “A rulemaking process, with outreach to a broad spectrum of stakeholders and an opportunity for discussion and formal comments, would be the ideal mechanism for establishing procedures in this context.”Read more...

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The American Immigration Council Applauds the Department of Justice for Responding to Utah's Anti-Immigrant Law

Released on Wed, Nov 23, 2011

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit against the state of Utah to block the implementation of HB 497, which mandates that local police enforce immigration laws. Several provisions of the law have already been enjoined as a result of previous legal challenges from immigrant rights groups. The DOJ claims that HB 497 violates the Constitution, and the suit is consistent with its other challenges in Alabama, Arizona and South Carolina. Utah's HB 497 is similar to Arizona's SB1070, however Utah state legislators attempted to couple the enforcement bill with a state-level guest-worker program. The guest-worker program is not yet being challenged by DOJ, as it does not go into effect until 2013.  

The DOJ continues to appropriately exercise its obligation to preserve the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate immigration and its responsibility to take a stand against laws that will result in profiling, discrimination and the violation of fundamental constitutional rights.  As noted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, these types of state immigration laws will overload the federal government with referrals and divert scarce resources from the agency’s highest priorities—national security and public safety.Read more...

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Experts Untie the Immigration and Unemployment Knot

Published on Tue, Aug 18, 2009

Today, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) released the third and final installment of a three-part report, Untying the Knot, which seeks to debunk the frequently misrepresented relationship between immigration and unemployment.

Published in the American Chronicle

Immigration Groups Seek Information on Customs and Border Protection’s “Translation” Activities in Northern Border States

Released on Mon, Jun 04, 2012

For Immediate Release

Immigration Groups Seek Information on Customs and Border Protection’s “Translation” Activities in Northern Border States

Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The FOIA requests seek information regarding CBP poliies on providingc translation assistance to other law enforcement agencies and on participating in 911 dispatch activities. The filing coincided with a federal agency decision finding the U.S. Forest Service’s policy of using Border Patrol agents as interpreters to be discriminatory. The alliance is seeking documents explaining the relevant legal authority, applicable procedural guidance, training materials, statistical data, and complaints filed with the government as a result of CBP's practices.

Over the past year, advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving as Spanish-English interpreters and participating in 911 dispatch activities. Capitalizing on their access to noncitizens, Border Patrol agents often use these opportunities to question individuals about their immigration status and, in many cases, initiate removal proceedings.Read more...

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Napolitano Sees Hope for Immigration Reform

Published on Sat, Nov 14, 2009

The government has beefed up border security and workplace immigration enforcement, and now should begin the work of overhauling immigration laws, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday.

Published in the L.A. Times

Senate Judiciary Committee Votes to Pass Immigration Bill on to Full Senate

Released on Tue, May 21, 2013

Mark-Up Characterized by Transparency and Bipartisan Cooperation

Washington D.C. - Today, on a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, out of the committe and on to the Senate floor for a full vote in the coming days. The Senate committee mark-up spanned three weeks and covered many of the 300 amendments offered on every aspect of the bill. The resulting legislation represents a concerted effort to find a workable and fair immigration policy that makes our nation stronger. 

The following is a statement by Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council: 

“We congratulate Senator Leahy and the entire Senate Judiciary Committee on the spirit of deliberation, collaboration, and transparency that marked the process. Many amendments added during the mark-up will strengthen the bill in the areas of high-skilled immigration, protections for vulnerable groups and due process. However, other amendments, like those attempting to deny citizenship, may have been driven more by rhetoric than reality. In addition, not providing some relief to siblings who face extreme hardships because of their separation and not ending the discrimination against same sex couples legally married in the United States is short-sighted and bad policy. Yet despite these high costs, the overall bill coming out of committee now gives the Senate an important and rare opportunity to complete the task we have been working on for years—passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that finally moves us to our goal of fixing our broken immigration system.

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U.S. Catholic leaders want President Obama to make immigration reform a priority

Published on Wed, Jan 06, 2010

Stepping up the pressure on President Obama, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday urged the administration to make legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants a priority to enhance national security and improve the nation's battered economy.

Published in the Miami Herald

New Report from Center for Immigration Studies on Deportation Data Misleads and Misinforms

Released on Mon, Mar 31, 2014

Washington D.C. – Today the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a new report that makes a range of false claims about deportation data.  Following is a statement from Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, in response to “Catch and Release: Interior Immigration Enforcement in 2013” Read more...

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This Week in Immigration

Published on Fri, Feb 26, 2010

A new report by the anti-immigration think-tank, Center for Immigration Studies, tells Republican leaders to give up on the Latino vote. The center suggests that only after reducing Hispanic immigration into the country can that voting block begin assimilating and becoming Republican. The Immigration Impact writes in an article, “In other words, the CIS report offers not only a grim view of Republican political prospects, but a stereotypical and insulting portrayal of Latino voters who are perceived as too poor and ignorant to vote Republican, and who should therefore be ignored by Republican political strategists until they grow out of their Democratic phase….Apparently, an immigrant has not really become fully part of American society until he or she fervently supports a Republican Party that officially looks down upon immigrants.”

Published in the The Washington Independent