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National Wave of Complaints Highlights Rampant Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Dire Need for Reform

Released on Wed, Mar 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states.   

This effort, which was coordinated by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, highlights CBP agents’ unlawful use of their enforcement authority. Border Patrol agents routinely exceed their statutory mandate by conducting enforcement activities outside border regions, making racially motivated arrests, employing derogatory and coercive interrogation tactics, and imprisoning arrestees under inhumane conditions. The cases include claims for unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.

Among the cases filed: Read more...

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Letter to the Editor: Immigration and Employment

Published on Mon, Dec 07, 2009

In his Dec. 3 Ideas piece, “Recovering Stolen Jobs Key to Recovery,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) misconstrues the relationship between unauthorized immigration and unemployment among native-born workers. Smith seems to think that deporting the 8 million unauthorized-immigrant workers now in the United States would magically create 8 million job openings for unemployed, native-born Americans. In the real world, however, it’s not that simple. Immigrant and native-born workers cannot simply be exchanged for one another like batteries.

Published in the Politico

First Circuit Holds That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States

Released on Tue, Oct 01, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that individuals who have been deported must have the opportunity to pursue motions to reopen their cases from outside the United States.  A motion to reopen is an important procedural safeguard that helps ensure noncitizens are afforded a fair immigration hearing.  The American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit and argued before the court, welcome the court’s ruling in Perez Santana v. Holder.

Despite having lost in nine other circuits, the government continued to vigorously defend a regulation – the so called “departure bar” – barring individuals from pursuing their cases from outside the United States.  This most recent decision means that all but one circuit court of appeals has rejected the government’s arguments and concluded that the regulation is unlawful.  Only the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the legality of the departure bar.  The American Immigration Council and NIPNLG renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.Read more...

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Legalizing unauthorized immigrants would help economy, study says

Published on Thu, Jan 07, 2010

Legalization of the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs and generate more tax revenue, two policy institutes say in a joint report Thursday. The report by the Center for American Progress and the American Immigration Council estimates that "comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes currently unauthorized immigrants and creates flexible legal limits on future immigration" would yield at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over a 10-year period.

Published in the CNN

DHS Fails to Meet Target Immigration Goals

Published on Wed, Mar 03, 2010

More than one year into the administration of President Barack Obama, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) still must pursue some key changes in support of immigration reform to embrace Obama's intended immigration policy objectives, a policy group said Tuesday.

DHS must move forward in due process for illegal immigrants by creating an ombudsman at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate complaints and keep its focus on detention reform at ICE, recommended the Immigration Policy Center in its report, The Challenge of Reform: An Analysis of Immigration Policy in the First Year of the Obama Administration.

 

Published in the Homeland Security Today

Anti-Immigrant Group Cites Report That Disproves Its Own Arguments

Published on Sat, Apr 10, 2010

On Thursday, NumbersUSA — an immigration restrictionist group that calls for the suspension of most legal immigration — pounced on a report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) which found, amongst other things, that legalizing undocumented immigrants would not have a “significant effect” on the economy. According to NumbersUSA director Roy Beck, PPIC’s study validates what his organization has been saying all along:

Amnesty supporters claim that illegal aliens are paid below average wages, but by offering them a path to citizenship, their wages will increase. The study by the non-partisan institute, however, says that’s not the case.

Published in the Wonk Room

Arizonans just swatting the beehive

Published on Sun, May 02, 2010

Having been born on the banks of the Rio Grande (Eagle Pass, Texas) and after living 25 years among 2.4 million people in El Paso-Juárez — more than two-thirds of whom speak primarily Spanish — I have acquired a layman’s understanding of international relations. One lesson I’ve learned: Never treat a beehive like a piñata.

Published in the The Columbian

Violence On The Mexican Border Misconstrued

Published on Wed, May 26, 2010

The violence has increased since 2007 – on the Mexican side of the border. What gets lost in this debate is that violence on the American side of the border has actually decreased.

A report by the Immigration Policy Center compiled using statistics from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics found that violent and property crime in Arizona has been on a steady decline since 2002. It decreased by 8% in six years. Violent crime impacted 447 people out of 100,000 in 2008 compared to 555 in 2002.

Published in the News Junkie Blog

Numerous Legal Challenges To Arizona S.B. 1070 Advance Through Courts, In Addition To DOJ Suit

Published on Tue, Jul 13, 2010

According to the American Immigration Council, “The complaint alleges that S.B. 1070 unlawfully attempts to regulate immigration and punish those whom Arizona deems to be in violation of immigration laws.”

The AIC notes that in the Escobar case, “On June 11 the Arizona cities of Flagstaff, San Luis, Somerton and Tolleson moved to join the lawsuit as plaintiff intervenors.”

Published in the Florida Independent

Critics Invoke Bobby Jindal in Birthright Citizenship Controversy

Published on Wed, Aug 04, 2010

On a conference call today, opponents of changing the policy said that while Americans are "justifiably frustrated" with current immigration policy, eliminating birthright citizenship "would punish the innocent children of undocumented immigrants, which flies in the face of American values," according to Michele Waslin, Senior Policy Analyst at the Immigration Policy Center.

Published in the CBS News