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Soft Power: The J-1 Visa!

The J-1 is a “feel-good” visa that we can all be proud to offer, and the J-1 experience is about more than practical training.


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Quick Fact: CBP and ICE Budgets

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget grew from $6 billion in FY 2004 to $11.4 billion in FY 2010, while ICE’s budget increased from $3.7 billion to $5.7 billion over the same period.

Big Breakthrough on Binational Gay, Lesbian Couples

Published on Thu, Aug 18, 2011

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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...

Published in the Chelsea Now

International Exchange Center Staff

  • For inquiries or for an emergency, please contact Colleen Tomlinson, Cultural Exchange Program Manager at 202-507-7513, ctomlinson@immcouncil.org. 

Ms. Colleen Tomlinson, Cultural Exchange Program Manager
ctomlinson@immcouncil.org

Colleen Tomlinson serves as the Program Manager for Cultural Exchange at the American Immigration Council. Prior to joining the Council, she worked at the University of Maryland, College Park for almost 10 years as an International Advisor with F1 and J1 students. Colleen managed the entire international undergraduate population with over 3,000 applications from start to finish. She facilitated the procedure for processing incoming documents for prospective international students. Colleen holds a B.A. in Government and Public Policy and a M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. She has lived and studied in Jamaica and has travelled to China and Canada. 

Ms. Stephanie Rucker Andrews, Exchange Visitor Program Associate
sandrews@immcouncil.org

Read more...

Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation: Caught Up In Confusion, Lost Records, Inconsistent Policy Enforcement And Difficult Choices

Published on Fri, Nov 18, 2011

PLANO, Texas -- The worst shock of Maria Navarro's life came, fittingly, on Halloween. Weeks later, she still is afraid, asking that her real name not be used, recounting her story over the phone and hiding out with her three U.S.-born children at the home of relatives.

In the pre-dawn, federal agents arrested Navaro's husband, Ramiro, as he made his way to his plumbing job. Within hours, he had been deported. He broke the news to his wife over the phone from his hometown in north-central Mexico's Guanajuato state.

"He is disillusioned," she said. "He spent the last 20 years in the United States. He made his life here. This is where his children were born."

Ramiro's is just one case in the record number of undocumented immigrants being deported by the Obama administration -- nearly 400,000 in the last fiscal year. Many are whisked quickly across the border. Increasingly, they're deported without speaking to a lawyer or having a proper hearing, according to a recent report from the National Immigration Law Center, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group.

An official at the Mexican Consulate and a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Dallas said they found no record of the immigration raid that netted Ramiro and seven other men on Oct. 31.

Roberto Nicolas, the consular official, said in an email it was "not a common practice for deportations to occur on the same day."

Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman in Dallas, also wrote in an email that he "did not find any information regarding these actions taken in that location that day."

Immigration attorney Kathleen Walker believes that Navarro may have been swept up in a little-known federal program called "stipulated removal."Read more...

Published in the The Huffington Post

2008 Winner, Cameron Busby

 

“America is a Refuge”

By Cameron Busby

Tuscon, Arizona

 

 A small child holds out a hoping hand,

a crumb of bread,

or even a penny just to be fed

Hoping America is a refuge.

 

A child weeps over her mother's lifeless body,

the tears streaming down her face

Praying America is a refuge.

 

A child's torn sock blows in the wind,

as a bomb explodes the tiny sock catches a flame and begins to

burn to ash

Can America be a refuge?

 

A thirsty father and son seeking shade from the blazing sun,

all they want is a job

and for America to be a refuge.

 

America can be a refuge for you.

It can be a refuge for me.

I am glad that America is a refuge for all.

 

Saying "sí" to business opportunities

Published on Wed, Jan 18, 2012

Manny and Vicky Gonzalez are reminded each day that it isn’t only Spanish speaking people who stop to purchase Mexican (“tortas”) sandwiches at their two restaurants in Minneapolis.

“A lot of Minnesotans have learned that there is more to Mexican food than tacos,” said Manny, who with his wife started Manny’s Tortas along Lake Street in 1999.

In the past century, long-time Minnesota families learned there was more to Italian cuisine than pizza, and that Chinese food is regional and far more complex than chow mein. Now, Minnesotans with newly acquired tastes for the Gonzalez’s Mexican sandwiches drive from throughout the Twin Cities metro area to their two shops in Minneapolis’ Mercado Central and Midtown Global Market.    

U.S. Census data from 2010, anecdotal evidence about immigrant entrepreneurship, and a recently released study from the Immigration Policy Center show Minnesota is rapidly changing. Days of sputtering along and resisting change should be behind us. New Minnesotans are changing the demographic portrait of the state and communities. New ethnic entrepreneurs are changing the mix of businesses and the products and services being offered in commerce.

Hector Garcia, executive director of the Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC), refers to the benefits of this commerce as “cultural complementarities.” The long established Minnesota society learns from immigrants and refugees entering the state in search of opportunities, he said, and new arrivals learn from established businesses, groups and people.

What’s more, new Census data show that immigrants now comprise 8.3 percent of the Minnesota workforce. From them, Garcia said, existing Minnesota businesses and its large corporations gain knowledge for opening even more trade and business relationships with countries and businesses abroad, paving the way for even more economic activity.Read more...

Published in the Twin Cities Daily Planet

Practice Advisories by Topic

LAC Practice Advisories provide in depth discussion and analysis of select substantive and procedural issues in immigration law. The Practice Advisories are intended to assist lawyers and do not substitute for individual legal advice supplied by a lawyer familiar with a client's case. View advisories by date.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) | BIA & Immigration Court Procedures | Business Immigration |
Detention | EnforcementFederal Court Review | FOIA | Immigration Benefits |
Motions to Reopen | Relief from Removal | Voluntary Departure

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)

Failure to Appeal to the AAO: Does it Bar all Federal Court Review of the Case? (July 22, 2004). This Practice Advisory discusses whether and how a person can get review of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decision in federal court if he or she did not appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The advisory addresses the Supreme Court case Darby v. Cisneros, holding that a plaintiff is not required to exhaust non-mandatory administrative remedies in certain situations, and how it may apply to cases involving appeals to the AAO.Read more...

Kansas Officials Await Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law

Published on Sun, Apr 08, 2012

TOPEKA — Kansas hasn’t adopted an Arizona-like immigration law, but several current and former elected officials from Kansas have chosen sides as the issue goes before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court will hear arguments April 25 in the legal battle between the state of Arizona and the federal government over the immigration law known as Senate Bill 1070.

Kris Kobach, a Republican who before being elected Kansas secretary of state gained national attention by pushing tough anti-immigration laws, helped write SB 1070. The measure was adopted by the Arizona Legislature and enacted by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010.

The law contained a number of controversial provisions that are now front and center before the Supreme Court.

One of the most controversial requires local police in Arizona to determine the immigration status of anyone stopped if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

The Justice Department says regulating immigration is the job of the federal government, not the states. Officials in Arizona, a state bordering Mexico, say the feds haven’t done their jobs and that is one of the reasons for SB 1070.

In addition to legal briefs from the specific parties in the case, the Supreme Court has received approximately 40 legal briefs from others who support and oppose SB 1070, according to a report completed by the Immigration Policy Center, a nonpartisan group whose mission “is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration.”

Kansas is one of 16 states that have signed on in support of SB 1070. That decision was made by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican. Schmidt’s office says he supports preserving powers of states to promote public safety. His office said Kansas has not spent any money in the litigation.Read more...

Published in the Lawrence Journal World

Entrepreneurship and Economic Policy Fellowship

The Immigration Policy Center, (IPC) a division of the American Immigration Council is seeking applications for a two-year fellowship that will focus on the intersection of immigration, entrepreneurship, innovation and economic policy.

This fellowship will initially focus on two key challenges that face America in its development of a 21st century immigration policy:

  1. The importance of devising policies that permit American companies to competitively recruit and retain the best and brightest from around the world, and
  2. The growing importance of immigrant entrepreneurship in reviving economies and rebuilding communities throughout America.

In keeping with the IPC philosophy of active engagement in the immigration policy debate, the fellow would be expected to conduct original research, as well as build a network of academics and business people who can provide actual examples of immigrant innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship that make the contributions of immigrants real to the public. In addition to independent research products, the fellow will produce fact sheets, blog posts, and other materials that provide our target audiences with the tools they need to engage in a well-informed and rational discussion of immigration policy.Read more...