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Supreme Court Reverses Second Circuit Decision on Post-9/11 Detention Suit

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)

On May 18, 2009, a divided Supreme Court reversed the Second Circuit's decision upholding the denial of a motion to dismiss respondent's complaint alleging constitutional violations by defendants. Following his arrest and detention for more than 150 days in a maximum security detention center after 9/11 attacks, respondent Iqbal, who is a Muslim and a native of Pakistan, filed a lawsuit against then-Attorney General, John Ashcroft and other officers and officials. The complaint alleged that government officials adopted an unconstitutional policy of subjecting certain individuals to harsh conditions of confinement based on their race, religion, or national origin. Iqbal claimed that petitioners violated his First and Fifth Amendment rights. Read more...

Let Alabama take the heat for migrant law

Published on Thu, Jun 16, 2011

Alabama now has the nation's toughest immigration law. Arizona should not compete to take back that title.

Our Legislature gave the state a break this year. No controversial immigration law was passed. No new spotlight fell on Arizona.

Yet the adjective phrase "Arizona-style" is still used to describe extreme, enforcement-heavy immigration measures such as the one just passed in Alabama.

In addition to mimicking most of the provisions of Arizona's infamous Senate Bill 1070, Alabama's law builds on Arizona's employer-sanctions law and its voter-identification law.

Alabama also goes after schoolchildren with a requirement that schools report on the immigration status of students. The idea, which has been proposed in Arizona, is to create a record of the cost of educating undocumented children as a basis for challenging the 1982 Supreme Court ruling that all children should be educated, regardless of immigration status.

Checking the status of schoolchildren will mean that kids - even some who were born in this country - will be kept out of school by undocumented parents who fear questions at school will lead to deportation. Alabama's school provisions would create a permanent uneducated underclass.

Like SB 1070, the Alabama law is built around a strategy called "attrition through enforcement." The aim is to make things so uncomfortable that undocumented immigrants self-deport.

Research by the Immigration Policy Center found that undocumented migrants often just go further underground as a result of get-tough measures. They become more vulnerable and less likely to report crime, making local law enforcement more difficult.

Other provisions in the Alabama law, such as making it a crime to knowingly rent to an undocumented immigrant and barring undocumented people from enrolling in postsecondary institutions, are also part of this strategy.Read more...

Published in the Arizona Republic

In a Narrow Decision, Court Determines that Government Need Not Further Explain Visa Denial

Kerry v. Din, 576 U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 2128 (2015)

In a 5-4 judgement, the Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit and found that Fauzia Din, a United States citizen, was not entitled to further explanation of why the government denied her husband a visa. Previously, consular officials informed Ms. Din without further explanation that the denial was pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B), which describes a broad array of terrorism-related grounds of inadmissibility.

Justice Scalia delivered the judgment of the court and a plurality opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas. In the plurality’s view, a U.S. citizen lacks any constitutional interest in living in the United States with her spouse and, therefore, does not have a right to know the factual basis which caused the government to deny her spouse’s visa petition. Justice Kennedy concurred in the judgment but filed a separate opinion, joined by Justice Alito. He found that, assuming that Ms. Din had a constitutional interest in residing with her husband, the citation to the statutory ground of inadmissibility that the government provided as an explanation satisfied her due process rights. Justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented.

Quick Fact: Latino-owned Businesses Add Billions to the U.S. Economy

At last count, the nation’s 2.3 million Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $350.7 billion and employed 1.9 million people.

Obama to Recognize Same Sex Couples in Deportation Changes

Published on Tue, Aug 23, 2011

It’s not just DREAMers that are getting a reprieve under the Obama administration’s revised deportation policies. When the Department of Homeland Security announced last week that in the coming months it will review its roughly 300,000 open deportation cases with the aim of closing low-priority cases, the agency indicated that for the purposes of deportation policy, it will recognize same-sex couples and families as real families.

The news means that queer families facing deportation may win the right to stay in the country under DHS criteria of who constitutes a high priority for removal. The guiding document for who merits the use of prosecutorial discretion is a June 17 memo written by Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton. Morton advised ICE agents and attorneys to consider those who met any of the following characteristics were a low priority for deportation: those who were victims of crime, especially domestic violence or trafficking; those who are long-time lawful permanent residents; those with are veterans or active-duty military personnel and those with strong family ties in the U.S.

Under the Defense of Marriage Act, federal agencies are forbidden from recognizing the partnerships of same-sex couples, and that’s extended to the world of federal immigration policy. According to the American Immigration Council there are currently 36,000 bi-national same-sex couples in the country, and DOMA has provided the legal justification for the routine denial of same sex couple’s applications for permanent residence, and other immigration benefits like deportation relief, that straight couples are eligible for.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines

Policy Staff

Beth Werlin, Policy Director

Beth Werlin directs the Council’s policy and research program.  Prior to assuming the position of Director of Policy, Beth worked for over 13 years in the Council’s legal department and was involved in nearly every major legal issue the Council tackled over the last decade.  She has worked to protect the rights of noncitizens and ensure that the immigration agencies are held accountable for violations of the law.  She has represented plaintiffs and amicus curiae in immigration litigation in the federal courts and before the Board of Immigration Appeals and is the author of numerous practice advisories.  Beth first joined the legal team in 2001 as a NAPIL fellow and before that was a judicial law clerk at the immigration court in Boston, Massachusetts.  She earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School and her B.A. from Tufts University. 

Wendy Feliz, Communications Director
202-507-7524
wfeliz@immcouncil.org
Read more...

Executive Action on Immigration

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President Obama laid out his plan to use executive authority to improve parts of the U.S. immigration system. Here's what you need to know.

Hispanics caution Obama

Published on Wed, Nov 30, 2011

President Barack Obama risks losing important Hispanic votes if he does not do more on the immigration issue, protesters from Winston-Salem and surrounding areas said Tuesday during a rally in Charlotte, echoing a message that has been expressed at similar rallies nationwide.

"For me, the rally means: 'Obama, you really need to help us, and if not, we can take you out of office,'" said Ana Sosa, a 19-year-old Mocksville resident who can't vote because she doesn't have legal permission to be in the United States but who says she can affect how other people vote. Read more...

Published in the The Winston-Salem Journal