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Budget hogs up Congress’ attention

Published on Sun, Apr 24, 2011

The 112th Congress had a full plate to start the year.

Debates and votes were expected on energy, climate change, education, national security, immigration, trade agreements and transportation. And there was the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

But for the most part, lawmakers have been consumed with cutting the federal budget deficit – which might top $1.6 trillion this year – since convening in January.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said the focus on all things fiscal began with the November elections, when voters gave Republicans control of the House and a larger minority in the Senate.

“The overwhelming interest of citizens in this country in these budget matters … almost impelled that this would likely be the case, that we would be spending almost all the time discussing some part of spending, taxes, budget stability, debt and the future of all this,” Lugar said in a recent interview.

Freshman Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, blames the previous Congress, which failed last year to approve a budget for fiscal 2011. After a series of short-term spending extensions, legislators finally passed an appropriations bill April 14, more than six months into the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The 2011 budget, which spends about $3.8 trillion, “took up an awful lot of our time this year. We could have been dealing with next year’s budget, energy, tax policy,” said Stutzman, a member of the House Budget Committee.

After a two-week spring recess, Congress will reconvene in May and dive back into the fiscal fray. It must soon vote on whether to raise the $14.3 trillion national debt ceiling that the government is about to reach. Lawmakers also will be tussling over a half-dozen budget proposals for fiscal 2012, including a version approved April 15 by the House. They will battle over whether to cut spending for the military, Medicare and Social Security.Read more...

Published in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Prevailing Party May Recover Paralegal Fees Under EAJA

Richlin Security Service Co. v. Chertoff, 553 U.S. 571 (2008)

The Court held that under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) a prevailing party may recover its paralegal fees from the government at the prevailing market rates. The government had argued that paralegal services are recoverable only at “reasonable cost” and that such costs should be measured from the perspective of the attorney rather than the client. The Court rejected the government’s arguments. In so doing, it reversed an underlying Federal Circuit decision and reached a decision that is consistent with the majority of circuits to have addressed the issue. The decision is available on the Supreme Court’s website. Read more...

DREAM Act supporters publish self-help deportation guide

Published on Thu, Jun 16, 2011

The record level of deportations being carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement includes an unknown number of immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age, call this country home and are not aware that they are eligible for deferred action.

While deferred action is not limited to youth, according to the Immigration Policy Center, “Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), for instance, last year asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to defer the removal of young people who qualified for legal permanent residence until such time as their legislation, the DREAM Act, became law.”

Many young people who now face deportation proceedings would be eligible for the DREAM Act, which would grant unauthorized immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 conditional legal-resident status for a period of six years, after which they would be eligible to become legal permanent residents, if they obtain at least an associate-level college degree or serve two years in the military.

DREAM Activists — a resource network for undocumented students — has been working on deportation cases of students for a long time, along with law students and immigration attorneys.

“As we started getting more cases we realized we don’t have the resources to handle all cases and they will fall through the cracks,” Mohammad Abdollahi of DREAM Activist tells The Florida Independent, “so we sat down and came up with a guide so people can figure it out by themselves.”

The Asian Law Caucus, Educators for Fair Consideration, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance and DREAM Activist together released a Removal Defense Guide (.pdf) earlier this month.

“With over 60 pages of legal and organizing support from various successful public cases, the guide aims to provide undocumented youth, families, and lawyers with the essentials for deportation defense,” according to a press release issued by the Asian Law Caucus.Read more...

Published in the Florida Independent

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.


View Document

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 Operations 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, Cultural Exchange Development Manager
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.