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About the Legal Action Center

The Legal Action Center (LAC) is the litigation and legal resources arm of the American Immigration Council.  The LAC’s mission is to protect the legal and constitutional rights of noncitizens, and to ensure that immigration law is interpreted and implemented in a manner that is sensible and humane.  To this end, the LAC engages in impact litigation, including appearing as amicus curiae, before administrative tribunals and federal courts in significant immigration cases on targeted legal issues.  The LAC also works with other immigrants’ rights organizations and immigration attorneys across the country to promote the just and fair administration of our immigration laws.  In addition, the LAC is one of the leading providers of litigation-related legal resources for immigration advocates, including in-depth practice advisories, trainings and litigation meetings.

Additional information about what we do and our ongoing litigation and advocacy is available online, including staff biographies and contact information.

To learn more about the American Immigration Council, please see our organizational brochure.

Quick Fact: Immigrants support the economy by establishing Fortune 500 companies

Immigrant entrepreneurs established 18% of all Fortune 500 companies. Combined, these businesses have generated $1.7 trillion in annual revenue and currently employ 3.7 million workers worldwide.

Immigration reform may spur economic growth, U.S. Chamber says

Published on Thu, Jan 26, 2012

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report Wednesday urging Congress to make the immigration system more "entrepreneur friendly."

Because of U.S. policies that make it difficult for immigrant entrepreneurs to make a home in the states, many are "voting with their feet" and returning to their home nations, according to a joint report from the chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council. The report suggests permitting foreign students to remain in the United States after graduation and creating a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are responsible for establishing 18 percent of all Fortune 500 companies and 25.3 percent of all science and technology firms in the United States, including giants like Yahoo! and Google, according to the report.

"We should allow the world's most creative entrepreneurs to stay in our country," said Thomas J. Donehue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a speech earlier this month. "They are going to contribute and succeed somewhere — why shouldn't it be in the United States?"

Immigrants are more likely than native citizens to start their own businesses, according to the report. Five percent of naturalized citizens are self employed compared to just 3.7 percent of native-born Americans.

During his third State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama cited immigration reform as one of three important keys to boosting the nation's economy.Read more...

Published in the Deseret News

What We Do

Provide Resources for Educators and Community Leaders

The Community Education Center provides youth, education and community leaders with the tools and resources they need to prepare informative and effective immigration programming.Read more...

Undocumented Workers in Georgia Prepare to File Taxes

Published on Mon, Apr 16, 2012

Midnight on Tuesday is the deadline for filing your state and federal income taxes and a portion of Georgia’s taxpayers are undocumented workers.

It’s hard to say exactly how many of the state’s workers are illegal.

Workers who don’t have social security numbers can still file a tax return, using a nine-digit Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or I-TIN. The Georgia Department of Revenue doesn’t know how many people with ITINs are here illegally. But the Immigration Policy Center says in 2010, undocumented workers in Georgia paid more than $85,000,000 in income taxes.

Grace Williams is an Atlanta accountant who filed some of those returns. She says there are two reasons why undocumented workers file tax returns. Some want a refund. But Wilson says those who owe hope paying their taxes will lead to bigger things.

“A lot of people in the community are telling them that that’s the responsible thing to do,” Williams says, “And if they aspire to become legal one day, the first thing that they’re going to look at is, ‘Did you do your taxes?” she says.

Williams says those workers hope to become U.S. citizens. But DA King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, which advocates enforcement of immigration laws, says that’s not the real motivation.

“They are getting a refund on the Additional Child Tax Credit,” King says, “Refund is not the right word. They’re getting a rebate from the government for having U.S.-born children,” he says.

King calls the segment of undocumented workers who pay taxes “microscopic.” He points to the Center for Immigration Studies. The group doesn’t have Georgia-specific numbers, but nationally, they say illegal immigrants who file tax returns receive billions more in refunds than they pay in taxes.

So, what’s next? It’s hard to say. Immigrants’ rights groups advocate a path to citizenship, while opponents want tougher enforcement.Read more...

Published in the 90.1 WABE Atlanta

Institute & Meetings (2011 Litigation Meeting)

Litigation Meeting Materials

Folder Materials

How do we stop states and localities from adopting and enforcing local immigration measures? (Arizona copycat bills)

Prolonged detention/detention conditions

Outline of questions for discussion in the detention small group session

1. Larger perspective discussionRead more...

How the President's Deferred Action Initiative Will Help the U.S. Economy

Published on Fri, Jun 29, 2012

IPC head researcher Walter Ewing wrote a blog post for New American Media about the economic benefit of the Obama administration's deferred action program: Read more...

Published in the New American Media

2012 Creative Writing Contest Honorable Mention

Working Toward a Dream

By: Aedra Li

San Francisco, CA


I remember being confused, so many why’s and not enough because’s. Why did we leave Saulita? Where were we going? My parents didn’t say a word to me or my brother. All they said was, “We are going to a better place. You will understand later.” Was a twelve year old girl too young to know the truth? If I got a penny for every question I had, I’d be a millionaire. Then I’d have enough money to go back to Saulita and see my bestfriend, Pablo.

 

During one part of the trip, my brother and I had to hide under a blanket. We heard a gringo speaking, but we couldn’t understand him through the blanket. He asked a lot of questions. After three days, we finally stopped driving. We got out, stretched our aching legs, and looked cautiously around. We saw many other immigrants working in the fields, picking strawberries. In front of us was a house that you could tell used to be white, but was now an ugly cream. It used to be a single-family house, but now it housed for families of five. Everyone that lived in that house had to work in the fields to live there and put food in their families’ mouths. We worked 15 hours a day under the hot California sun. All of our backs ached, all of our hands turned ugly with calluses. As the seasons changed, we moved from farm to farm, but the work was the same. We worked for six hard, intense years harvesting crops that would feed the lucky people who didn’t have to work like us.

 Read more...

Council Announces Winners of the "Change in Motion" Multimedia Contest

Published on Fri, Feb 01, 2013

The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural 2012 “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest. The competition challenges young adults to explore the role that immigration plays in their lives and communities.  The program allows young filmmakers and artists to create projects which focus on celebrating America as a nation of immigrants and explore the impact immigration has on our everyday lives.   The contest is sponsored, in part, by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Published in the

Jhoon Rhee

The Father of American Tae Kwon Do

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, a 10th Degree Black Belt, is considered the "Father of American Tae Kwon Do." Grandmaster Rhee's first trip to America was on June 1, 1956, for a short military training program soon after the Korean War. In 1957, he returned as a freshman to Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, Texas with $46 in his pocket. English was his biggest obstacle. It took him half an hour to read a single page. Through perseverance and discipline, Grandmaster Rhee has become one of the most prominent motivational public speakers in the world today, encouraging individuals to achieve self-discipline, self-esteem and self-defense through the development of academic, moral, and physical excellence.

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee has been involved in every aspect of Tae Kwon Do. He has opened schools in order to teach not only the physical techniques of Tae Kwon Do, but the inseparable mental aspects, as well. His Martial Arts philosophy calls for building true confidence through knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, and strength in the body. His philosophy and seminars center around rediscovering the vision of America's Founding Fathers by restoring mental discipline in America and in the world.Read more...