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Utah on immigration: We aren't Arizona

Published on Fri, Mar 25, 2011

Less than a year ago, Utah business leaders worried that their state would follow in Arizona’s controversial footsteps by passing tough new laws to crack down on illegal immigration. Already, there were signs that a divisive debate — the kind that led to mass protests, boycotts and lawsuits in Phoenix — was shaping up in Utah, too.

“Last summer, it was a foregone conclusion that Utah was going to do exactly what Arizona had done,” says Marty Carpenter, a spokesman for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. That worried many of the chamber’s members.

They feared Arizona-style legislation would stall the state’s economy before it really got a chance to recover from the recession. In addition, it might undermine the international goodwill Utah built by hosting the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Passing a law targeting unauthorized immigrants, Carpenter says, risked sending the message that Utah “was no longer a friendly and welcoming place.”

In July, a pair of state employees secretly leaked a list of 1,300 unauthorized immigrants to reporters and police. They demanded that the people on the list be deported. The list included names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers. It even included the due date of a pregnant woman.

The same month, three Utah legislators, including the House speaker, toured the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona as part of their effort to prepare legislation based on Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, empowering local police to question residents about their immigration status. When sponsors introduced the Arizona-style proposal on the steps of the Utah Capitol, dozens of protesters crashed the press conference and sang “We Shall Overcome.”Read more...

Published in the Stateline

IJ's Jurisdiction to Apply INA § 204(j)


In Matter of Perez Vargas, 23 I&N Dec. 829 (BIA 2005), the BIA held that immigration judges lack jurisdiction to determine whether an approved I-140 remains valid under INA § 204(j). Section 204(j) provides that, for purposes of an adjustment application that has been pending for more than 180 days, an approved I-140 visa petition remains valid even if the adjustment applicant changes jobs, so long as the new job is in the same or similar occupational classification. Several courts of appeals rejected the BIA’s holding, and in January 2010, the BIA reversed itself in Matter of Neto, 25 I&N Dec. 169 (BIA 2010).

Latest Developments|Additional Resources

Latest Developments

BIA Overturns Matter of Perez-Vargas

Q&A with Ricardo Ishida

February, 2011
Q: Were you excited to come to Illinois from Peru? What did you expect and how have your expectations been met?

A: Yes, As a Komatsu-Mitsui Maquinarias Peru executive, distributor of Komatsu equipment in Peru, I was very excited to come to Komatsu America Mining Division Headquarter in Peoria, Illinois.  Read more...

Immigrant organizations call for action on immigration reform

Published on Thu, May 12, 2011

The reaction from different pro-immigrant organizations to President Obama’s speech this week on immigration was mixed, but all tend to agree the administration needs to lead with action.

In his speech President Obama spelled out on his administrations increases on border security, adding that they have gone above and beyond what was requested by the people supported broader reform as long as there was more enforcement, but now are calling even more enforcement to ensure the border is secure before talking about comprehensive immigration reform. At the same time, immigrant advocacy groups are calling on the president to put a stop to detentions and deportations – other words, to scale back enforcement until lawmakers can fix the system as a whole.

Jonathan Fried of Homestead-based We Count said that president Obama made this speech to boost his ratings with Latino and other immigrant voters, adding that Obama has failed to move immigration reform while his enforcement policies have separated immigrant families.

“It is fine for him to say he’s starting another dialog in immigration but their isn’t anything new,” Fried said, “I think it is an effort to save face and get votes.”

“It is not accompanied by a legislative proposal, if he really wants to send a message he needs to look at what his administration is doing,”Fried added.

The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities press release said that despite Democratic Party majorities in the House and Senate over the last two years no immigration policy reform was enacted, and called on the Obama Administration to change its current enforcement approach.Read more...

Published in the Florida Independent

Particularly Serious Crime and Jurisdiction; Case Dismissed

Ali v. Achim, 551 U.S. 1188 (2007)

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Seventh Circuit erred 1) when it concluded that an offense does not need to be an aggravated felony to be classified as a “particularly serious crime,” and 2) when it construed the scope of the court’s jurisdiction to review the BIA’s particularly serious crime determinations under 8 U.S.C. §§ 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) and (a)(2)(D). On December 21, 2007, the petitioner filed a motion for voluntary dismissal asking the Court to dismiss the writ of certiorari pursuant to a settlement agreement. The motion states that the petitioner and the government entered into a settlement agreement and petitioner has agreed not to pursue his claims for asylum and withholding of removal. The Court dismissed the case on December 27, 2007. Read more...

Guest commentary: Michigan should avoid divisive immigration laws

Published on Thu, Jul 14, 2011

Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday will make his first major policy speech on immigration. Snyder already has signaled his opposition to an Arizona-style immigration bill, saying any such measure would further divide our state. Here's why that's a wise position.

Our immigration system has no capacity to deal with some 12 million undocumented people already in this country. Deportation is tearing families apart, and a backlog in processing applications creates agonizingly long wait times. Reports of overzealous immigration enforcement -- including stakeouts at a Detroit elementary school -- are only the most recent examples of why we must overhaul this system. But fair, humane legislation demands a comprehensive approach from the White House, not the statehouse.

Immigration bills were introduced in 23 states last year. At least five states have enacted "show me your papers" laws. Arizona blazed the path in 2010 with a sweeping measure that makes it a crime for people to fail to carry immigration documents, and gives police broad powers to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

A blatantly unconstitutional Alabama law goes even further, requiring school officials to verify the immigration status of children and their parents, authorizing police to demand papers during traffic stops, and even criminalizing Alabama residents for day-to-day interactions with undocumented individuals.

Such patchwork, state-by-state measures virtually guarantee the proliferation of racial profiling -- an issue with which the Arab-American community is all too familiar.Read more...

Published in the Detroit Free Press

J-1 Participant Distribution

J-1 exchange visitors often wonder if there are other trainees and interns in their city or state with whom they could connect and share experiences.  To answer, we've created a map showing the distribution of trainees and interns currently sponsored by the International Exchange Center throughout the United States.

Check it out!

Quick Fact: Immigrants are a vital part of the workforce

More than 1 in 7 workers in the U.S. is an immigrant.