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A Conversation with Sabine Mucha

November, 2011

Congratulations to Sabine Mucha, our Exchange Visitor of the Month. We recently caught up with Sabine to learn more about her J-1 visa experience.

Tell me about your training:
EMD Serono is the US side of my German company. I’m training in pharmaceutical services. I hope when I go back to Germany I can share all of the new things I learned even after 10 years in the field!

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Senators introduce comprehensive immigration reform bill

Published on Thu, Jun 23, 2011

U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Harry Reid, D-Nev., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., reintroduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill on Wednesday.

Menendez’s office said in press release that the bill is “aimed at addressing the broken immigration system with tough, smart, and fair measures.”

The Immigration Policy Center explains that Menendez’s proposal includes the creation of Lawful Prospective Immigration (LPI) status. Applicants for LPI status would be required to submit biometric data, go through security checks and pay a fine. After six to eight years of LPI status, undocumented immigrants could transition to Legal Permanent Resident status only after they pay taxes and additional fines, learn English and U.S. civics, and undergo additional background checks. And even then, LPIs would have to wait behind those already in line for LPR status.

The Policy Center also says the bill includes improvements to regulate the future flow of legal immigrants by creating a standing commission that would study labor market and economic conditions to determine the number of employment-based visas needed. The bill also supports programs that better facilitate immigrant integration, such as enhanced policies to help immigrants learn English and grants for states that successfully integrate newcomers.

The release issued by Menendez adds that the

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011 includes both a mandatory employment verification system and a program to require undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of June 1, 2011 to register with the government, learn English, and pay fines and taxes on their way to becoming Americans.Read more...

Published in the Florida Independent

Second or Subsequent Possession Conviction is Not an Aggravated Felony

Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, 560 U.S. 563 (2010)

The Supreme Court held that a second or subsequent simple drug possession conviction does not qualify as an aggravated felony under INA § 101(a)(43)(B) (“drug trafficking crimes”) and therefore does not preclude a lawful permanent resident from applying for cancellation of removal. Read more...

This Land Is Your Land

Published on Thu, Aug 25, 2011

Jose Antonio Vargas came out of his first closet in high school when he told his classmates and family he was gay.

He came out of his second closet this summer, when he told the world he is an undocumented immigrant.

In his surprising, touching and much talked about New York Times essay, Vargas tells his story of being sent to America from the Philippines by his mother to live with his grandparents. Twelve-years-old when he arrived, it wasn't until he was 16 that he discovered he'd entered the country illegally.

Now 30, Vargas has built the kind of career a young reporter dreams of, much of it during his time at The Washington Post — covering the intersection of politics and technology in the 2008 presidential campaign; crafting a year-long series on AIDS in D.C. that was later adapted into the documentary The Other City; sharing a Pulitzer Prize with the Post team that covered the Virginia Tech massacre. During all that time, he was living with a secret that had the potential to end his career.

Reporting on himself — sifting through the history of his family and journey — hasn't been easy.

''I had to get it right,'' says Vargas. ''I only had one shot to tell this story and I had to tell it right, I had to be really accurate, or else people were just going to start picking holes in it.''

The story itself became a story when the news broke that The Washington Post had spiked the essay at the last minute. While the Times immediately picked up the piece, Washington's media class chewed over the question of why the Post had backed off. Slate media critic Jack Shafer dismissed Vargas's time in the immigration closet as a ''con.'' Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton wrote that Vargas had a reputation as ''a relentless self-promoter.'' Many others leapt to Vargas's defense, hailing his coming-out story as a watershed moment in the debate over immigration in America.Read more...

Published in the Metro Weekly

LAC Wins Release of H-1B Fraud Documents for AILA

For Immediate Release

LAC Wins Release of H-1B Fraud Documents for AILA

November 9, 2012

Washington, D.C.—USCIS released in full the four remaining contested documents in a FOIA lawsuit brought by the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) and Steptoe & Johnson LLP on behalf of AILA. The documents plainly describe - in more detail than documents previously released in this lawsuit - “fraud indicators” that result in greater scrutiny of certain H-1B applications. These documents are troubling evidence of a near presumption of fraud in H-1B applications submitted by small and emerging businesses and for certain types of positions at these businesses.  The following documents were released:

Background of the LawsuitRead more...

Quick Fact: The cost of Alabama's HB 56

Alabama’s HB 56 could shrink the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by up to $10.8 billion.

New Numbers from U.S. Sentencing Commission Reveal Dysfunction of U.S. Immigration System

Published on Thu, Dec 01, 2011

By Walter Ewing

The broken U.S. immigration system is flooding federal courts with low-level cases involving non-violent defendants, and inundating federal prisons with individuals whose only crime was to enter or remain in the country without permission. Thanks to this ever-widening immigration dragnet, a disproportionateshare of the Latinos and non-U.S. citizens who wind up in federal courts and prisons are there solely because of immigration violations. In other words, the federal government is wasting its limited law-enforcement and criminal-justice resources on immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety or national security.

These are the inescapable conclusions to emerge from a statistical report released in September by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The statistics, which cover the first nine months of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, illustrate the degree to which immigration cases are being channeled into federal court rooms. Immigration offenses accounted for more than one third (35.1 percent) of all federal sentences handed down during this period.1 In comparison, immigration offenses comprised one in five (19.6 percent) of all sentences in FY 2000.Read more...

Published in the Cornerstone: A National Legal Aid and Defender Association Publication

Legal Action Center Staff

Emily Creighton, Staff Attorney
202-507-7500 ext. 7505 (ecreighton@immcouncil.org)

 Emily Creighton is a Staff Attorney at the Legal Action Center. She has represented plaintiffs and amicus curiae before the Board of Immigration Appeals and numerous federal courts and serves as counsel in national class action litigation. Ms. Creighton also contributes to practice advisories and administrative advocacy efforts on a variety of immigration-related topics. Ms. Creighton graduated cum laude from American University Washington College of Law in 2006.

Melissa Crow, Director
202-507-7500 ext. 7523 (mcrow@immcouncil.org)

Melissa Crow is the Director of the Legal Action Center, the litigation and legal advocacy arm of the American Immigration Council.  Ms. Crow has practiced immigration law for more than twelve years, including litigation in the federal courts, immigration courts, and Board of Immigration Appeals.  Prior to joining the LAC, she served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security. She was previously a partner with Brown, Goldstein & Levy in Baltimore, Maryland, where she developed a thriving immigration practice and undertook litigation to protect immigrants' rights in the workplace. Before entering private practice, Ms. Crow served as Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy during the 2007 debates on the U.S. Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill. She also spent a year as the Gulf Coast Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. Ms. Crow has taught in the Safe Harbor Clinic at Brooklyn Law School and the International Human Rights Clinic at Washington College of Law.  She holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Leslie Dellon, Business Litigation Fellow
202-507-7500 ext. 7530 (ldellon@immcouncil.org)Read more...

Eased Immigration Laws May Spur Growth, U.S. Chamber Report Says

Published on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

The U.S. needs to ease restrictions on immigrants who plan to open businesses, and create a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Current immigration laws make it difficult for people to enter the U.S. and start a business, according to the report, released today by the Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council. Expansion of the visa program would also aid companies’ access to foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities, helping economic growth, the authors of the report said. 

Immigrant entrepreneurs established 18 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, according to a June 2011 report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group of business leaders and mayors that advocates for immigration reform. Those companies, such as Google Inc. (GOOG), Big Lots Inc. (BIG) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) generated $1.7 trillion in revenue in 2010 and had 3.7 million employees worldwide, the report said. 

“They are going to contribute and succeed somewhere -- why shouldn’t it be the United States?” Thomas Donohue, the Chamber’s chief executive officer, said in a Jan. 12 speech in Washington. 

Immigrants are more likely than native-born U.S. workers to start their own business or be self-employed, according to the Chamber of Commerce study. Of naturalized citizens, 5.1 percent were employed by their own business, compared with 3.7 percent of the native-born citizens, the report found. In Massachusetts, immigrants were 14 percent of the population in 2008 and started 61 percent of the businesses, the report found. 

Legislation Stymied Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg