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Quick Fact: The real cost of a border fence

A fence along all 2,000 miles of the southwest border would cost at least $2.5 billion to build, plus anywhere from $33 billion to $140 billion to maintain over the following two-and-a-half decades.

Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation: Caught Up In Confusion, Lost Records, Inconsistent Policy Enforcement And Difficult Choices

Published on Fri, Nov 18, 2011

PLANO, Texas -- The worst shock of Maria Navarro's life came, fittingly, on Halloween. Weeks later, she still is afraid, asking that her real name not be used, recounting her story over the phone and hiding out with her three U.S.-born children at the home of relatives.

In the pre-dawn, federal agents arrested Navaro's husband, Ramiro, as he made his way to his plumbing job. Within hours, he had been deported. He broke the news to his wife over the phone from his hometown in north-central Mexico's Guanajuato state.

"He is disillusioned," she said. "He spent the last 20 years in the United States. He made his life here. This is where his children were born."

Ramiro's is just one case in the record number of undocumented immigrants being deported by the Obama administration -- nearly 400,000 in the last fiscal year. Many are whisked quickly across the border. Increasingly, they're deported without speaking to a lawyer or having a proper hearing, according to a recent report from the National Immigration Law Center, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group.

An official at the Mexican Consulate and a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Dallas said they found no record of the immigration raid that netted Ramiro and seven other men on Oct. 31.

Roberto Nicolas, the consular official, said in an email it was "not a common practice for deportations to occur on the same day."

Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman in Dallas, also wrote in an email that he "did not find any information regarding these actions taken in that location that day."

Immigration attorney Kathleen Walker believes that Navarro may have been swept up in a little-known federal program called "stipulated removal."Read more...

Published in the The Huffington Post

LAC News Room

The Legal Action Center puts out press releases about ongoing developments in immigration law, posts on the Immigration Impact blog, the Immigration Slip Opinion blog, and we also compile links to news clips that feature Legal Action Center staff.Read more...

Saying "sí" to business opportunities

Published on Wed, Jan 18, 2012

Manny and Vicky Gonzalez are reminded each day that it isn’t only Spanish speaking people who stop to purchase Mexican (“tortas”) sandwiches at their two restaurants in Minneapolis.

“A lot of Minnesotans have learned that there is more to Mexican food than tacos,” said Manny, who with his wife started Manny’s Tortas along Lake Street in 1999.

In the past century, long-time Minnesota families learned there was more to Italian cuisine than pizza, and that Chinese food is regional and far more complex than chow mein. Now, Minnesotans with newly acquired tastes for the Gonzalez’s Mexican sandwiches drive from throughout the Twin Cities metro area to their two shops in Minneapolis’ Mercado Central and Midtown Global Market.    

U.S. Census data from 2010, anecdotal evidence about immigrant entrepreneurship, and a recently released study from the Immigration Policy Center show Minnesota is rapidly changing. Days of sputtering along and resisting change should be behind us. New Minnesotans are changing the demographic portrait of the state and communities. New ethnic entrepreneurs are changing the mix of businesses and the products and services being offered in commerce.

Hector Garcia, executive director of the Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC), refers to the benefits of this commerce as “cultural complementarities.” The long established Minnesota society learns from immigrants and refugees entering the state in search of opportunities, he said, and new arrivals learn from established businesses, groups and people.

What’s more, new Census data show that immigrants now comprise 8.3 percent of the Minnesota workforce. From them, Garcia said, existing Minnesota businesses and its large corporations gain knowledge for opening even more trade and business relationships with countries and businesses abroad, paving the way for even more economic activity.Read more...

Published in the Twin Cities Daily Planet

Kansas Officials Await Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law

Published on Sun, Apr 08, 2012

TOPEKA — Kansas hasn’t adopted an Arizona-like immigration law, but several current and former elected officials from Kansas have chosen sides as the issue goes before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court will hear arguments April 25 in the legal battle between the state of Arizona and the federal government over the immigration law known as Senate Bill 1070.

Kris Kobach, a Republican who before being elected Kansas secretary of state gained national attention by pushing tough anti-immigration laws, helped write SB 1070. The measure was adopted by the Arizona Legislature and enacted by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010.

The law contained a number of controversial provisions that are now front and center before the Supreme Court.

One of the most controversial requires local police in Arizona to determine the immigration status of anyone stopped if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

The Justice Department says regulating immigration is the job of the federal government, not the states. Officials in Arizona, a state bordering Mexico, say the feds haven’t done their jobs and that is one of the reasons for SB 1070.

In addition to legal briefs from the specific parties in the case, the Supreme Court has received approximately 40 legal briefs from others who support and oppose SB 1070, according to a report completed by the Immigration Policy Center, a nonpartisan group whose mission “is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration.”

Kansas is one of 16 states that have signed on in support of SB 1070. That decision was made by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican. Schmidt’s office says he supports preserving powers of states to promote public safety. His office said Kansas has not spent any money in the litigation.Read more...

Published in the Lawrence Journal World

Access to Counsel

Access to Counsel

The LAC has long advocated for the right to appointed counsel for indigent immigrants in removal proceedings, as well as fair standards and procedures to remedy the sometimes devastating results of ineffective assistance of counsel. Access to counsel lies at the very core of our legal system and is integral to ensuring a fair process and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. Without counsel, vulnerable noncitizens are often deported without inquiries into their ability to comprehend the proceedings against them.

What happens next in Arizona?

Published on Mon, Jun 25, 2012

IPC staff lawyer Ben Winograd was quoted in a Washington Post blog post covering what the Supreme Court decision will mean in Arizona: Read more...

Published in the The Washington Post

Sponsorship Priority Policy

To best serve our excellent existing host organizations, we are implementing a priority policy regarding which applications will be considered for J-1 sponsorship.

New applications will be considered based on the following priorities:

First priority: 
Applications that have already been reserved for existing host sites and AILA members.  For the remainder of 2012, no further applications are being added to the reserved list.

Second priority: 
Depending upon available space, excellent applications for programs at US organizations that have successfully hosted J-1 programs with the American Immigration Council in the past. Currently, space is available only in the event of cancellations from the reserved list.

Third priority:
If space becomes available, excellent applications sent to the American Immigration Council via members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Currently, unless there are major policy changes at the Department of State, we do not anticipate additional space opening for new host organizations.

Due to the limited remaining allotment, only extremely strong applications for training and internship programs will be considered.


More information on our annual allotment is found on the Allotment Tip Sheet.

 

-The International Exchange Center Staff

AIC's Wendy Feliz-Sefsaf in Politico

Published on Thu, Jan 03, 2013

Wendy Feliz-Sefsaf, Communications Director at the AIC, was quoted in this article on Politico:

"When the 113th Congress digs into immigration reform with renewed vigor in the new year, no lawmaker will find himself in quite so tight a spot as Rep. Mike Honda.

It’s a position, however, very much relished by Honda, a seven-term Democrat from the San Jose area. His district, California’s redrawn 15th, is among the nation’s most complicated on this hot-button issue — dominated by major high-tech firms focused on importing high-skilled labor as well as huge minority populations seeking paths to citizenship."

Read more here.

 

Published in the Politico