Skip to Content



Photography by Sharon Panackal

January, 2013
Sharon Panackal, IEC Exchange Visitor of the Month, 2013

In November of last year, the International Exchange Center began publicizing our Annual Photo Contest. We received an email from Sharon Panackal:

“I am attaching the photograph with this email, and below is the caption I have written about the photograph...

Latino Dollars

Published on Sun, Oct 16, 2011


Members of the Latino community in Alabama closed their businesses and stayed away from work and school Wednesday to make a point about their contribution to Alabama’s economy. A closer look reveals it is a significant contribution, regardless of legal status.

Alabama’s unduly restrictive new illegal immigration law has prompted a backlash from many in the state’s Latino community, who rightly contend they are an important part of the state’s economy.

Latino-owned businesses closed their doors Wednesday, and many Latino workers and students stayed home in a show of solidarity against what is considered the nation’s strictest immigration law.

A three-judge federal panel temporarily blocked enforcement of parts of the law Friday, but most of the objectionable portions of the law that give police sweeping powers to detain people suspected of being in Alabama illegally were left intact. The court will review the law in the coming months.

So, what of Latinos’ claims that their businesses and labor are an important part of the state’s economy?

A survey of information compiled by the Immigration Policy Center bears out their arguments. For example, unauthorized immigrants in Alabama paid $130.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010.

A breakdown of that number is:

• unauthorized immigrants paid $25.8 million in Alabama income taxes in 2010.

• unauthorized immigrants paid $5.8 million in Alabama property taxes.

• unauthorized immigrants paid $98.7 million in Alabama sales taxes.

Statistics compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center showed that unauthorized immigrants make up approximately 4.2 percent of the state’s workforce with 95,000 workers in 2010.

Most Latino business owners are legal residents, but many of them entered the country illegally years ago looking for work.Read more...

Published in the Times Daily

En Banc Court Reverses Adverse Holding, Says Immigrants Can Pursue Cases from Outside the U.S.

Published on Mon, Jan 30, 2012

Jan. 30, 2012 - Today, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking to reopen their cases from outside the United States. This is the seventh appellate court to find the “departure bar”—a regulation barring noncitizens from pursuing their cases after departure or deportation—unlawful and is a step forward in protecting the right to a fair immigration hearing. The decision is particularly significant because the Tenth Circuit had been the only court at odds with the majority. The court had granted rehearing en banc to reconsider its prior decision. 

Despite the overwhelming rejection of the departure bar, however, the government continues to defend the regulation and apply it to cases outside the circuits that have invalidated the bar. The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed amicus briefs in the Tenth Circuit and argued before the court, renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.

Read more about the LAC and NIPNLG’s challenges to the departure bar:


For more information, contact

Published in the | View PDF

Community Grants

Do you have a creative classroom project that needs funding?  Are you affiliated with an organization working with young people between the ages of 7 and 18? The American Immigration Council’s Community Education Center is here to help! In an effort to support educators in engaging their students and communities in thoughtful dialogues centered on the issue of immigration and multiculturalism, the Center awards bi-annual grants for immigration- themed classroom and community-based projects. Read more...

Quick Fact: Immigrants found large percentage of science and technology firms

Immigrant entrepreneurs have founded or co-founded 25.3% of all science and technology firms in the United States.

Info Demanded on 'Criminal Alien Program'

Published on Tue, Mar 13, 2012

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CN) - Immigration lawyers want the Department of Homeland Security to release information on its Criminal Alien Program, which is believed to be involved in nearly half of all the "removal proceedings."

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut Chapter sued the Department of Homeland Security in a federal FOIA complaint.

Critics have said that the so-called "criminal alien program" does not target criminals at all, but is used to enlist local governments in deportations.

"The Criminal Alien Program ('CAP') is an enormous, nationwide initiative of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ('ICE'), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is implicated in approximately half of all removal proceedings," the complaint states. "CAP's enforcement operations take place in tandem with law enforcement in every state, and as a result of CAP, individuals are often detained by ICE and deported before they have been convicted of a crime or have had the opportunity to speak with an immigration attorney. Despite CAP's role in facilitating the removal of hundreds of thousands of individuals each year, and despite serving as ICE's 'bedrock' enforcement initiative, very little information about CAP is available to the public. What little is known about the program suggests that CAP exacerbates racial profiling and other abusive police practices."

The complaint adds: "Congress never enacted legislation authorizing CAP. Nor did DHS officially promulgate regulations to govern CAP. As a result, little publicly available information exists that could illuminate how CAP functions. Instead, DHS and ICE stitched CAP together from interpretations of vague congressional appropriations provisions and a patchwork of administrative initiatives, thwarting public understanding of the program."Read more...

Published in the Courthouse News Service

Contest Coordinators for the 2011 "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest

If you are interested in participating in the 2011 Creative Writing Contest and are the parent or educator of fifth grade students please contact your local coordinator to get started.  Or email for more information.

Theresa Bailey Kennedy

Los Angeles
Maggie Castillo

Los Angeles
Silvia Martinez

San Diego
Kimberley Best Robidoux

San Diego
Liz Sweet

San Francisco
Brenda Boudreaux

Santa Clara Valley
Randall Caudle

Chris Pooley
970-845-7474

Three Madera 5th Graders in Top 10 – Northern California Writing Contest

Published on Sat, May 26, 2012

When the top 10 winners of a Northern California creative-writing contest for fifth graders took the stage in San Francisco Wednesday night, three of them were from El Cerrito's Madera Elementary School.

The Northern California "Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest," now in its 10th year, challenged fifth graders to write essays or poems on the theme, "Why I Am Glad America Is a Nation of Immigrants."


Published in the ElCerritoPatch