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Senators introduce comprehensive immigration reform bill

Published on Thu, Jun 23, 2011

U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Harry Reid, D-Nev., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., reintroduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill on Wednesday.

Menendez’s office said in press release that the bill is “aimed at addressing the broken immigration system with tough, smart, and fair measures.”

The Immigration Policy Center explains that Menendez’s proposal includes the creation of Lawful Prospective Immigration (LPI) status. Applicants for LPI status would be required to submit biometric data, go through security checks and pay a fine. After six to eight years of LPI status, undocumented immigrants could transition to Legal Permanent Resident status only after they pay taxes and additional fines, learn English and U.S. civics, and undergo additional background checks. And even then, LPIs would have to wait behind those already in line for LPR status.

The Policy Center also says the bill includes improvements to regulate the future flow of legal immigrants by creating a standing commission that would study labor market and economic conditions to determine the number of employment-based visas needed. The bill also supports programs that better facilitate immigrant integration, such as enhanced policies to help immigrants learn English and grants for states that successfully integrate newcomers.

The release issued by Menendez adds that the

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011 includes both a mandatory employment verification system and a program to require undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of June 1, 2011 to register with the government, learn English, and pay fines and taxes on their way to becoming Americans.Read more...

Published in the Florida Independent

Court Vacates Injunction Against Hazleton Ordinances, Remands for Further Consideration

Hazleton v. Lozano, 563 U.S. __, 131 S. Ct. 2958 (2011)

In early June, the Court granted the petition in Hazleton v. Lozano, vacated the judgment of the Third Circuit, and remanded the case for further consideration in light of the decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, No. 09-115, 563 U. S. __ (2011).  The Third Circuit had upheld an injunction against the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, prohibiting the implementation of a pair of controversial ordinances designed to prohibit employers and landlords from employing and renting to undocumented residents. 

Read more...

This Land Is Your Land

Published on Thu, Aug 25, 2011

Jose Antonio Vargas came out of his first closet in high school when he told his classmates and family he was gay.

He came out of his second closet this summer, when he told the world he is an undocumented immigrant.

In his surprising, touching and much talked about New York Times essay, Vargas tells his story of being sent to America from the Philippines by his mother to live with his grandparents. Twelve-years-old when he arrived, it wasn't until he was 16 that he discovered he'd entered the country illegally.

Now 30, Vargas has built the kind of career a young reporter dreams of, much of it during his time at The Washington Post — covering the intersection of politics and technology in the 2008 presidential campaign; crafting a year-long series on AIDS in D.C. that was later adapted into the documentary The Other City; sharing a Pulitzer Prize with the Post team that covered the Virginia Tech massacre. During all that time, he was living with a secret that had the potential to end his career.

Reporting on himself — sifting through the history of his family and journey — hasn't been easy.

''I had to get it right,'' says Vargas. ''I only had one shot to tell this story and I had to tell it right, I had to be really accurate, or else people were just going to start picking holes in it.''

The story itself became a story when the news broke that The Washington Post had spiked the essay at the last minute. While the Times immediately picked up the piece, Washington's media class chewed over the question of why the Post had backed off. Slate media critic Jack Shafer dismissed Vargas's time in the immigration closet as a ''con.'' Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton wrote that Vargas had a reputation as ''a relentless self-promoter.'' Many others leapt to Vargas's defense, hailing his coming-out story as a watershed moment in the debate over immigration in America.Read more...

Published in the Metro Weekly

Going to the AILA Annual Conference in San Diego?

The International Exchange Center will be running three special sessions in the Exhibit Hall on understanding the J Visa.

Practical Tips for the J Visa
June 16 (3:00 pm–3:45 pm)

Including the J-1 Client in Your Practice
June 17 (10:15 am–11:00 am)

J-1 Visa—The Advanced Class
June 18 (9:25 am–10:10 am)

For more informations on the sessions, please click here.

Quick Fact: The cost of Alabama's HB 56

Alabama’s HB 56 could shrink the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by up to $10.8 billion.

Breaking the law applies equally

Published on Fri, Oct 28, 2011

Alabama politicians told the people that illegal immigrants cost the state $112 million a year, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform. But the Immigration Policy Center also reports that illegal immigrants spend $130 million a year. Why was this not brought out?

 People say they are tired of illegal immigrants taking Alabama jobs, but how many state contracts have been awarded to out-of-state companies?

 How much money and how many teachers, farmers and other workers will lose their jobs? We get so much money per student and the state is already cutting back. How much more will they cut?

 We need to take a minute and look at Detroit and remember that that city once relied heavily on the auto industry; now some parts of the city have empty buildings. The auto industry is wonderful, but how many people do you know who are buying new cars in this economy?

 We need to protect our farmers and help our neighbors. If we are going to be immigration officers, are we going to start paying the Coast Guard and the federal employees, or are we going to let the federal government do it? They are not perfect, but if we start taking matters into our own hands, then we are no different than the immigrants. Breaking the law is the same for everyone, states included.

Published in the The Anniston Star

LAC News Room

The Legal Action Center puts out press releases about ongoing developments in immigration law, posts on the Immigration Impact blog, the Immigration Slip Opinion blog, and we also compile links to news clips that feature Legal Action Center staff.

United States Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Deportation

After more than two years of litigation, the U.S. government has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Leonel Ruiz on behalf of his minor daughter, E.R. The suit alleged that in 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), unlawfully detained Mr. Ruiz’s then 4-year-old daughter—a U.S. citizen—when she arrived at Dulles Airport in Virginia, deprived her of any contact with her parents, and sent her back to Guatemala rather than allowing her to join her parents, who awaited her arrival in New York. Read more...Read more...

E-Verify a bothersome but not insurmountable chore for area businesses

Published on Sat, Jan 14, 2012

 

Steve Hale of Hale Building Company in Anniston only wants to hire legal workers. He wants to comply with all laws.

But to him, the state is just not making it very easy.

Hale Building Company was one of many Alabama businesses with government contracts that were required to enroll with the E-Verify system this month to comply with the state’s immigration law. E-Verify is a free Internet service offered by the federal government that lets companies check the working status of employees by comparing a worker’s name to official records.

Hale said the process to enroll in the system, and just complying with the immigration law in general, has been difficult.

“There is a good bit of time needed to switch over to it,” Hale said. “And there is just a lot of confusion about what is to be done. But we’ve made a very valiant effort to conform to the new law.”

Hale said he does not agree with the way the state has implemented the law, which was passed last year and considered the toughest immigration legislation in the country.

“It seems like politicians could have done a better job to phase things in and explain them,” Hale said. “And we’re being asked to be the police of the industry, but we’re not in business to track these people down.”

Lance Taylor, president of the Taylor Corporation in Oxford, whose company also had to enroll in E-Verify this month, agreed with Hale that much of the immigration law is confusing.

“Every time they come out with something different, the lawyers try to keep us abreast with what we can and can’t do,” Taylor said. “There was just so much confusion when it first came out.”

John Bryan, vice president of the Sunny King Auto Group in Anniston, said his company also enrolled with E-Verify this month as a precautionary measure.Read more...

Published in the The Anniston, AL Star