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Lawsuits Filed Against Department of Homeland Security Seek Greater Transparency

American Immigration Council Seeks Disclosure of Records Regarding Access to Counsel

Released on Wed, Nov 09, 2011

Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) this week filed two lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The LAC pursued disclosure of these records, as well as records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed last March. To date, USCIS has failed to turn over any documents, and CBP has turned over only a few excerpts from its practice manuals. ICE has informed the LAC that it conducted a search for records, but that it is “unable to locate or identify any responsive records.” The LAC has filed an administrative appeal of ICE’s determination and will pursue litigation if necessary.

These FOIA requests were prompted by the results of a survey conducted by the LAC and the American Immigration Lawyers Association that revealed widespread restrictions on access to counsel before USCIS, ICE and CBP. Such limitations include bars on attorney presence at CBP inspections, limitations on the ability to consult with attorneys in ICE detention facilities and during questioning by ICE, and restrictions on attorneys’ ability to participate in interviews before USCIS. The survey also highlighted significant variations in policies and practices in DHS offices throughout the country.Read more...

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Senate Hopeful Mark Kirk facing Upward Battle for Immigrant Votes

Published on Wed, Aug 19, 2009

New voter data shows Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) is facing a major challenge in his run for President Obama's former Senate seat. Immigrant advocacy groups say Kirk will have to make changes to his stance on immigration reform if he wants a fighting chance at gaining Illinois' growing immigrant vote.

Published in the Public News Service

DHS Announces Application Process for Deferred Action, IPC Provides Data on Where Eligible Individuals Reside

Released on Fri, Aug 03, 2012

August 3, 2012

Washington D.C.
- Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released important details about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process, which will temporarily allow some eligible youth to go to school and work without fear of deportation. A recent Immigration Policy Center (IPC) report, Who and Where the DREAMers Are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action Initiative, provides the most detailed look to date at who is likely to benefit from the new program and where they are located in the country.

The IPC estimates that roughly 936,930 undocumented youth between the ages of 15 and 30 might immediately qualify to apply for the new program. The new report breaks down the deferred action-eligible population by nationality and age at the national and state level, as well as by congressional district.

Because potential applicants reside in all states and every congressional district, today’s announcement clarifying the application process sets the stage for an intense period of preparation around the country, as communities wait for the request form to be released on August 15. The DACA program is designed for young people who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have resided in the country for at least five years as of June 15, 2012; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military.

Among the key points shared by USCIS:

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Naturalización en 1986 trajo beneficios al país

Published on Thu, Nov 05, 2009

Undocumented Mexican migrants who won their legalization during the 1986 amnesty showed a marked improvement in their economic status, education levels increased substantially and thousands visibly moved out of poverty without relying on public assistance.

Published in the La Opinión

Bloated Estimate of Legalization Costs Ignores Immigration Reform's Broader Economic Benefits

Released on Mon, May 06, 2013

Washington D.C. – Today, the Heritage Foundation released a report which attempts to assess the fiscal costs associated with legalizing the 11 million unauthorized individuals living in the United States. The new report is similar to a 2007 study, which was widely criticized at the time of publication and continues to be re-rejected today by conservatives. As such, this report serves as a reminder of why fiscal cost analyses cannot replace broader economic analyses.

The following is a statement by Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council:Read more...

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New rules for asylum seekers go into effect this week

Published on Tue, Jan 05, 2010

New immigration rules go into effect this week for people seeking asylum in the United States. It's part of the overhaul of the US detention system announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last summer. Previously, many asylum seekers were put into detention - sometimes for many years - while their cases were pending. Mary Giovagnoli is the Director of the Immigration Policy Center and specializes in asylum law.

Published in the Free Speech Radio

Legal Action Center Issues Updated FAQ on the Asylum Clock Class Action Settlement

Released on Tue, Dec 03, 2013

The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce an update of Frequently Asked Questions About the Asylum Clock Class Action Settlement.  This updated FAQ answers questions about the benefits provided under the settlement of the nationwide class action, ABT v. USCIS, which challenged policies related to employment authorization for asylum applicants.  For more information about the ABT case, see the LAC’s Asylum Clock webpage.  The FAQ is released in coordination with co-counsel in the lawsuit, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Gibbs, Houston and Pauw.  


For more information, contact or call 202-507-7516.

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Porous border not so scary: Illegal immigration doesn’t increase violent crime.

Published on Sun, Feb 21, 2010

From listening to the more vigorous critics of illegal immigration, our porous borders are a grave threat to safety. Not only can foreign terrorists sneak in to target us, but the most vicious criminals are free to walk in and inflict their worst on innocent Americans.

In xenophobic circles, this prospect induces stark terror. Fox News' Glenn Beck has decried an "illegal immigrant crime wave." A contributor to Patrick Buchanan's Web site asserts, "Every day, in the United States, thousands of illegal aliens unleash a reign of terror on Americans."

Published in the Chicago Tribune

Executive Director Benjamin Johnson Testifies Before Senate on High-Skilled Immigration

Released on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council's Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the integral role immigration plays in America’s economic prosperity. Although the hearing title, "Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers," suggested that some minds had already been made up, he reframed the conversation, calling on Congress to consider policies that will help the United States achieve an immigration system that serves a 21st century, global economy, while protecting the rights and promoting opportunities for all workers. In his testimony, he explained the need for skilled immigrant labor to complement the native-born work force, and highlighted the contributions they make in almost every aspect of the U.S. economy. However, he emphasized that talented immigrants come to our shores through a range of channels, not only on employment based visas, but through family immigration and humanitarian channels, and that reforms to our immigration system must be comprehensive to be effective.  

To view his full testimony submitted for the record see:

To view his oral testimony as given before the committee see:Read more...

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Immigration reform needs to happen immediately

Published on Mon, Apr 12, 2010

Immigration reform needs to happen immediately. For too long, too many have lived under fear of deportation, their families being separated, and employers increasing hours while decreasing wages. There have been studies that suggest that an immigration bill will not only help immigrant families and communities, but the country as a whole.

Published in the Chicago Flame