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A coalition is uniting to improve the tone of the immigration debate

Published on Sat, Apr 30, 2011

Sunshine. Smiling people. Horizons as big as our opportunities.

Scenery as amazing as our optimism. That was the old Arizona.

Intolerant. Unwelcoming. Dangerous. Controversial.

That's the new image of Arizona.

If you don't think that image is right for our state, you might want to check out a new group in town called the Real Arizona Coalition. It includes some high-profile members from business, community and faith organizations who are ready to say, "Enough, already" - although they would probably say it more diplomatically.

This group is not about being in your face. It is about trying to get to your heart. Arizona's heart.

It's about remembering what made Arizona a destination. (Hint: It wasn't just the weather.) It's about honoring all the people who helped build the state and tapping that diversity to solve some big, big problems. Together.

This is a courageous concept. Despite all the talk of a new era of civility, wedges remain a powerful political tool to separate people and build alliances based on fear and dislike of the other guy.

Illegal immigration is one of those wedges. Two-thirds of Americans say the current system is broken. But the desperate, radical efforts to solve this national problem in Arizona's Legislature are largely responsible for Arizona's bad image.

Senate Bill 1070 made Arizona a punch line for political satirists. Reckless talk about headless bodies in the desert didn't help the state's image, either.

Once lauded for its friendliness and famous for its growth and tourism, Arizona saddled itself with a heavy load of bad publicity just as it was beginning the long, hard climb out of the Great Recession.

It matters to visitors.

"Bad news travels faster than good news," says Marc Garcia of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bad news does not attract tourists.

It matters to entrepreneurs and investors.Read more...

Published in the Arizona Republic

State and Local Law Enforcement

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED OCTOBER 2011)

An increasing number of states and local communities have passed laws targeting non-citizens in the United States, creating obstacles to their ability to find work, secure housing, qualify for a driver’s license, and even obtain a marriage license.  With increasing success, immigrant advocates have challenged many of these measures in court.  A summary of the cases are below. 

Contact Us! Please contact the Clearinghouse at clearinghouse@immcouncil.org with any new cases or information relevant to the cases summarized below.

Developments By State|Additional Resources

Alabama|Arizona|California|Georgia|Illinois|Indiana|Kentucky|
Louisiana
|Massachusetts|MichiganMissouri|Nebraska|New Jersey|
New York
|Oklahoma|Pennsylvania|Tennessee|Texas|Utah

Contact Us! Please contact the Clearinghouse at clearinghouse@immcouncil.org with any new cases or information relevant to the cases summarized below.

Developments By State

AlabamaRead more...

Heather Conn Explores the Art of Being an American through Cinema

May, 2008
Heather Conn

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...

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

Aiding and Abetting as an Aggravated Felony

Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183 (2007)Read more...

  • In a January 17, 2007 decision written by Justice Breyer, the Supreme Court found that a person who aids or abets a theft falls within the scope of the generic definition of theft. The Attorney General had sought certiorari in this Ninth Circuit removal case. The respondent, a permanent resident, was convicted of violating section 10851(a) of the California Vehicle Code. He was placed in removal proceeding and charged with removability based on an aggravated felony conviction, to wit, a theft offense as defined in INA § 101(a)(43)(G). The Ninth Circuit, relying on Penuliar v. Gonzales, 435 F.3d 961 (9th Cir. 2005), which held that the California statute is broader than the generic definition of theft, reversed the finding of removal.

What is the Australia/United States of America Work and Holiday Visa?

Read the 2007 Practice Advisory on the Australian Work and Holiday visa.

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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

Audio Seminar: The Unwritten Rules of J Visas

Program

Immigration attorneys with clients who are training international personnel find that the J visa can offer many advantages over Hs and Bs: no restrictions on source of income, no USCIS involvement in the application process, priority visa appointments, etc. But the J visa comes with many considerations not readily found in the Department of State Regulations.

This audio seminar will cover "how it works" questions regarding SEVIS, maintaining J status, determining eligibility, determining home residency requirements, etc. It will also address some of the political considerations behind J policies. Read more...