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Why immigrant, GLBT and good-government groups were behind the defense bill

Published on Tue, Sep 21, 2010

Here's a question for you: Why are immigration advocates, GLBT groups and good-government types crestfallen that the defense-spending authorization bill failed to beat a Republican filibuster? "The political gridlock that has immobilized the Senate has resulted once again in a lost opportunity for the American people," said Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center. Why did she even care?

Published in the Washington Post

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. An overview of the updates to Deferred Action under the President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action can be found here.

The American Immigration Council is currently developing new resources for attorneys ahead of the implementation of these programs.


On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum announcing that prosecutorial discretion should be applied to certain individuals who came to the United States as children.  It explains that young noncitizens who do not present a risk to national security or public safety and meet specified criteria may receive deferred action for two years, subject to renewal, and may apply for work authorization. On June 5, 2014, DHS announced the DACA Renewal process.Read more...

2013 Annual "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest for 5th Graders-Get Involved

The American Immigration Council's Community Education Center is proud to announce the 16th Annual "Celebrate America"  Creative Writing Contest. 

Past winners have used the theme “Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants” to discuss their personal immigration experiences, learn about and share family histories or write about the broader questions of the challenges facing immigrants in a new land. Fifth grade students enter their work in local contests which are sponsored by chapters of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Each chapter forwards the local winning entry to the National Competition where entries are reviewed by a distinguished panel including U.S. senators, award-winning authors and noted journalists. Winning entries are to be printed in the Congressional Record. The winner and two guests receive an all expenses paid trip to The Council’s Annual Benefit Dinner where he/she is honored and reads his/her winningentry aloud. This year’s Annual Benefit will take place June 28, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The winner also receives a travel stipend, engravedplaque, his/her winning entry printed in the Congressional Record and a flagflown over the Capitol in his/her honor. Local and national judges are looking for student writing that is original, thoughtful and speaks to the Council’s mission to educate the public about the benefits of immigration to our society.

The deadline for local submissions varies so check with a local coordinator (local deadlines are usually in February or March).  The national deadline where local contest winner's submissions are judged will be April 12, 2013.Read more...

The DREAM Act, justice and economics

Published on Sat, Nov 06, 2010

According to Roberto Gonzales of the Immigration Policy Center, the 10 states that allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public institutions show no evidence of U. S. citizen-student displacement or systemic financial drain. Interestingly, the states with the greatest number of undocumented immigrants are the most likely to allow the undocumented to pay in-state tuition because of the societal benefit of decreased crime and increased future revenue. This is true on both sides of the political aisle. Both Texas and New York allow these individuals to pay in-state tuition rates.

Published in the South Coast Today

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 6

This issue covers a suit challenging the transfer of detainees following the ICE raid in Iowa, a suit seeking to recover fees paid by TPS registrants, the settlement agreement in a natz delay/SSI restoration class action, a Supreme Court decision in a criminal sentencing case, and en banc review of an aggravated felony decision.

Published On: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 | Download File

Innocent Until Proven Immigrant" - Wisconsin Joins Secure Communities

Published on Sat, Feb 05, 2011

According to an Immigration Policy Center report, around 30% of those deported through the program between Oct. 2009 - Sept. 2010 were non-criminals. Other Immigration and Customs Enforcement sources have placed the number at almost half of those arrested. Previous efforts to focus on high-level criminals have seen Immigration and Customs Enforcement arresting and likely deporting up to 83% of folks convicted of minor traffic violations or no crime at all, says IPC.

Published in the Change.Org

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 11

This issue covers LCCR's efforts to obtain remedies for individuals mistreated by immigration officials, Supreme Court update, and courts to consider who can apply for waivers of removability.

Published On: Monday, May 22, 2006 | Download File

Is immigration policy killing the American Dream?

Published on Fri, Apr 01, 2011

It's a story repeated throughout American culture, in theatre, film and novels: the penniless immigrant arrives on American shores seeking a new life and, through hard work and determination, prospers and thrives.

Such tales are a quintessential part of the "American Dream", the idea that anyone willing to work hard and think big can come to the US and "make it".

But, at a time when immigration is a divisive, hot-button political issue, is that dream still possible?

The dream itself is alive and well, says Ben Johnson, the executive director of the American Immigration Council.

"The spirit of the people who have the drive to uproot themselves and pursue this dream across the world is powerful. It continues to shine through," Mr Johnson told the BBC.

But the spirit is not sufficient if the system won't allow it. And America's immigration system does not make it particularly easy to start a new life on its shores.

Quotas reached

American immigration policy is largely family based, meaning residency is most commonly granted to the immediate family of existing residents or citizens.

For others, visas are granted mostly based on skill levels, with highly skilled immigrants having a much easier time getting work permits than unskilled labourers.

So-called skilled workers - usually people with a university education or professional training - have a range of visa options. The most common visa, the H1B class, currently has a ceiling of 65,000 each year.

That quota is easily filled every year. Before the recession, it was filled in the same month the visas were released.

At the moment, Mr Johnson says, it gets filled in eight or nine months, meaning that for several months of the year, H1B visas simply are not available regardless of the demand for them.

For unskilled labourers, the US grants just 5,000 work visas each year to people employed in fields other than agriculture.Read more...

Published in the BBC News