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Elizabeth Kennedy

Elizabeth Kennedy is a Fulbright Fellow currently working with returned child and youth migrants from Mexico and the United States in El Salvador. Her work and research focuses on the experiences and needs of child, youth and forced migrants. She has over a decade’s experience in youth programming and organizing and co-founded and directs an internship program for undergraduates to mentor detained child migrants. She received her MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from Oxford University in 2011, and since beginning her doctoral program in 2011, has published in academic and popular press. She has also provided expert testimony in Central American asylum seekers’ cases in Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

House Subcommittee Continues Assault on All Forms of Immigration

Released on Tue, Apr 05, 2011

Washington D.C. - Opponents of immigration reform are often quick to differentiate their disdain for unauthorized immigration from their alleged support of legal immigration. However, finding any evidence of that support has always been elusive and, over the past several months, the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement has conducted hearings that question the value of all forms of immigration. They continue to perpetuate the myth that all immigrants - including legal immigrants - are stealing jobs from native-born workers.

Today, the committee continues these same attacks on legal channels of immigration with a hearing on diversity visas, a program which provides 55,000 green cards annually by lottery to persons from countries that do not currently send many immigrants to the United States. The diversity visa is a relatively small program designed to increase the diversity of our immigrant flows. One prime example of a diversity visa winner is famed soccer player Freddy Adu.Read more...

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The Docket | Vol. V, Issue 4

The Docket

October 8, 2015

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The American Immigration Council is pleased to welcome Lindsay Harris, formerly a Clinical Teaching Fellow and Supervising Attorney at Georgetown University Law Center, as our new Legal Fellow, and Vincent Rivas-Flores, currently a 3L at The George Washington University School of Law, as our new Law Clerk. Read more...

DHS: Prioritizing Enforcement and Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion

Experts Welcome New Guidance, But Agree the Devil is in the Details

Released on Mon, Aug 22, 2011

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council hosted a briefing to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement last week that it would issue agency-wide guidance to make certain that prosecutorial discretion is exercised in a manner that ensures the agency's enforcement resources are used to remove those who pose the greatest risk to public safety. DHS also announced the creation of a joint committee with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will review nearly 300,000 cases currently in removal proceedings to determine which ones are low priority and can be administratively closed in order to begin unclogging immigration courts. While it is unclear how these proposals will play out in practice, the federal government must continue to assert its authority over immigration given the rise of state legislative initiatives that seek to impose different priorities on immigration enforcement.

Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council discussed the practical implications of the use of greater prosecutorial discretion and had a warning for immigrants not in removal proceedings:

“Prosecutorial discretion is not a new concept, and is exercised on a daily basis by law enforcement agencies. It refers to the authority of a law enforcement agency or officer to decide whether – and to what extent – to enforce the law in a particular case. Prosecutorial discretion can take a variety of forms, depending on the nature of the case involved.Read more...

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Asian Americans Mobilize for Immigration Reform

Published on Thu, Aug 20, 2009

For the first time in the nation

Published in the New American Media

The American Immigration Council Honors Immigrant Achievement in Music at the 2012 American Heritage Awards

Released on Mon, Jun 11, 2012

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 American Heritage Awards. The Awards celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of immigrants to America and this year we recognize immigrant achievement in music. The Council will celebrate the honorees and enjoy live performances on Friday, June 15, 2012, in Nashville, Tennessee during the Council’s Annual Benefit and as part of the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Annual Conference. Read more...

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Clayton students take first, second and third in immigration essay contest

Published on Mon, Apr 20, 2009

Three fifth graders at Clayton Elementary School won awards in the "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest with their essays on the theme "Why I am glad America is a nation of immigrants."

Published in the COMMUNITY IMPACT PAPER

The American Immigration Council Welcomes Bi-Partisan Senate Immigration Bill

Released on Wed, Apr 17, 2013

Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council applauds the “Gang of Eight” Senators who have introduced the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act."  The Senators and their staff have been working tirelessly, for months, to create a bi-partisan solution that attempts to fix our broken immigration system. The Senate is to be commended for having the courage to lean into this difficult issue and bring forth a detailed and comprehensive proposal. In addition, labor and business groups should be acknowledged for their role in negotiating, in advance, some of the toughest sticking points to help ensure a smooth path through Congress. 

In the coming days and weeks as the bill is analyzed and debated, there will be many who criticize both the policy remedies in the bill, as well as the sheer length of the legislation. It is important to keep in mind, however, that developing a comprehensive solution requires striking a delicate balance between a diverse cross section of stakeholders and impacted constituencies. Furthermore, the dysfunctional system that we have developed over the past two decades is in dire need of deep and precise reforms. While there will be fair criticisms of some of the bill’s contents it is important to keep the spirit of the debate productive and to ensure room for compromise. Read more...

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Neb. immigrants vital to economic recovery

Published on Mon, Dec 14, 2009

A new report says immigrants in Nebraska have a buying power of nearly $3.8 billion and are integral to the state's economy as workers. The report issued Monday by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center says those contributions and others mean Nebraska's foreign-born population will play a critical role in the state's economic recovery.

Published in the Associated Press

Immigration Advocacy Groups Urge Supreme Court to Interpret Child Status Protection Act Broadly

Released on Wed, Nov 06, 2013

Washington, D.C.—This week, the American Immigration Council filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of young adults who, due to long delays caused by visa backlogs, lost the opportunity to obtain their “green cards” before they turned 21. The brief was filed in collaboration with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigrant Justice Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The case, Cuellar de Osorio v. Mayorkas, involves a provision of the Child Status Protection Act of 2002 (CSPA).  The amicus brief argues that in the CSPA, Congress specifically remedied the problem of children who, due to long delays caused by visa backlogs, turned 21 and lost the opportunity to immigrate with their families before a visa became available.  Specifically, the brief argues that children listed as beneficiaries on all types of visa petitions – and not simply those filed by lawful permanent residents, as the government argues – are entitled to retain the earlier filing date of their parents’ visa petitions when new visa petitions are filed for them as adults.  As a result, they do not have to wait as long for new visas. The brief presents compelling case histories illustrating the hardship that these families have suffered as the result of the government’s narrow interpretation.    

The amici were represented on a pro bono basis by Lori Alvino McGill and Nicole Ries Fox of Latham and Watkins, LLP.  Read more about this case and the Child Status Protection Act on our website.

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