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Proportionality Review

Under the current immigration system, many noncitizens, including lawful permanent residents, face automatic removal as a consequence of a criminal conviction, without any consideration of the circumstances of his or her particular case.  Scholars and advocates have begun arguing that the Constitution requires a proportionality review in immigration proceedings; that is, that the Fifth and Eighth Amendments bar entry of a removal order without any consideration of whether removal would visit an impermissibly disproportionate penalty under the circumstances.


U.S. Deports Record Number of Migrants in 2010

Published on Wed, Jan 05, 2011

In the two years that the measure has been in effect – and according to a report by the Immigration Policy Center it lacks the proper supervision and a complaint procedure and it spurs racial profiling against immigrants – 69,905 foreigners have been identified as being in the country illegally and deported.

Published in the Latin America Herald Tribune

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 2, No. 11

This issue covers litigation challenging USCIS's fee increase, developments in the social security no-match letter case, the reversal of a Fifth Circuit decision on natz delay litigation, new raids lawsuits, surviving spouse litigation, and the Hutto detention facility settlement.

Published On: Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Download File

The Failure of Border Security

Published on Mon, Feb 28, 2011

With Democrats condemning House Republicans for slashing funding for border security in their budget, the American Independent reports on two new policy briefs that argue that increased U.S. funding and personnel for enforcement of the border with Mexico are proving totally ineffective at actually securing the border.

The National Immigration Forum’s report observes that despite hyperbolic political rhetoric to the contrary, Border Patrol funding has been increasing dramatically since 2005, rising at an average of $300 million per year. Under the combined efforts of the Bush and Obama administrations, the Border Patrol now has over 21,000 personnel, twice the amount they had in 2000, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) providing an additional 3,000 agents at the border. The reallocation of National Guard troops to prevent the feared “spillover effects” from Mexican drug violence costs $300 million every year. This in spite of the fact that “crime rates were already down in the border region” before the National Guard was deployed, with border cities like El Paso, Texas and San Diego, Calif. boasting some of the lowest crime rates in the country. Absurdly, the Obama administration’s unprecedented campaign to deport as many law-abiding immigrants as possible is costing the taxpayer $23,000 per immigrant. Read more...

Published in the Campus Progress

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 1

This is the inaugural issue of the Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter.

Published On: Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Download File

Costa Rica

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The pilot program to launch the first outbound exchange of American Immigration Council affiliates occurred January 16 & 17, 2007 in Costa Rica.  The group met with Costa Rican attorneys to discuss recent changes to the Costa Rican immigration laws, including employer sanctions on the hiring of undocumented aliens to perform low-skilled labor.  It was remarkable how many similar the Costa Rican and broader Central American immigration debate currently raging in the United States.  Such similarities were further emphasized during visits the group made to the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights and the Nonimmigrant Visa Section of the US Consulate in San Jose.  The expatriate Costa Rica Resident’s Association added an interested perspective on retiree and permanent legal resident issues.

Breaking away from discussions focused on immigration and emigration, the group visited Volcan Paos, an active volcano at the edge of Costa Rica’s central valley.  Another cultural excursion introduced participants to the last remaining water-powered traditional ox cart factory in the country.  The factory is a relic of Costa Rican tradition and has been operated for many generations by the Alfaro family in Sarchi.  No visit to Costa Rica could be complete without a lot excellent Central American food and a bit of rain.  We packed a lot into two days and came away wishing we had more time in this incredibly beautiful and hospitable country. Read more...

Enforcement remains biggest chunk of federal immigration spending

Published on Tue, Apr 26, 2011

The budget recently approved by Congress to keep the federal government running through the 2011 fiscal year includes a series of cuts to major federal immigration agencies that will impact immigrants and immigration programs over the next year.

According to the American Immigration Council:

The bar on spending for immigrant integration programs, present in the initial budget passed by the House (H.R. 1), was not present in the final 2011 budget (H.R. 1473) signed by the President. Immigrant integration funding is a great investment for the U.S.—the costs are minimal, and the benefits can be huge. If well-integrated, immigrants are entrepreneurs and innovators who can help revitalize communities.

The council adds that “the 2011 budget cuts U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by more than a third ($87.7 million) from 2010 funding, whereas the initial budget would have increased USCIS funding by $41.2 million.”

Citizenship and Immigration Services is the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States.

The Council also states that “immigration enforcement remains the biggest part of the budget, despite what restrictionists might have you think. The 2011 budget appropriates $8.2 billion for Customs and Border Protection salaries and expenses, $574.2 million for border fencing, infrastructure, and technology, and $5.4 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement salaries and expenses.”

Earlier this year, the National Immigration Forum and the Immigration Policy Center — the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council — released reports that state that as part of broad immigration reform, border security and enforcement spending has to be shifted to avoid the ineffective use of billions of taxpayer dollars.

Published in the Florida Independent

Enforcement, Lawsuits


ICE has expanded its enforcement activities, resulting in many highly publicized and criticized enforcement actions at workplaces and in homes and local communities. ICE also is employing local and state officers in some of these actions. This Litigation Issue Page highlights litigation challenging the legality of enforcement activities.

Unlawful Searches and Seizure (outside the workplace)|Worksite Raids|Additional Resources

Unlawful Searches and Seizure (outside the workplace)


Suit Challenged Unlawful Stop; Alleged Ethnic Profiling
Mora v. Arpaio, No. 09-01719 (D.Ariz. dismissed July 13, 2011)

An LPR and his U.S. citizen son filed a suit against Sheriff Joseph Arpaio and several other Maricopa County officials, charging that sheriff’s deputies unlawfully stopped their vehicle on a public street, then searched and detained them for several hours during an immigration-related raid at a worksite 100 yards away. Plaintiffs charge, inter alia, that they were targeted because of their ethnicity and/or perceived national origin and were subjected to unreasonable search and seizure. Plaintiffs claim that the deputies’ actions in this case form part of a pattern or practice of constitutional violations by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in its conduct of immigration enforcement raids. Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory relief and compensatory and punitive damages.Read more...