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DHS Does Right by Some Haitians, Extends Protected Status

Published on Wed, May 18, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security has decided to show some reason and compassion in its dealings with Haitians who might have been headed for deportation as soon as their Temporary Protected Status was set to expire this summer. On Tuesday, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department would be extending TPS for Haitian nationals another 18 months, through January 2013.

Under the new extension, Haitians who have been in the country since January 12 of this year will be eligible to stay in the U.S. and be legally allowed to work in the country. The Obama administration originally announced that it would grant TPS to Haitians as a result of the devastating earthquake last year. TPS is typically granted on a limited basis to folks from countries mired in war or natural disaster, where returning would be too dangerous. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 48,000 Haitians are in the country under Temporary Protected Status. Around 60,000 or so initially applied for TPS—far fewer than the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 undocumented Haitian-Americans in the country at the time.

“In the extended aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, the United States has remained fully committed to upholding our responsibility to assist individuals affected by this tragedy by using tools available under the law,” Napolitano said.

“Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.”

Immigration policy experts and advocates applauded the announcement, and Napolitano’s use of her discretionary powers to help ease the suffering of folks who would be sent back to a country that is still in dangerous disarray.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

A Conversation with Klaas Frese

April, 2011

Congratulations to Klaas Frese, our Exchange Visitor of the Month! Klaas came to Pennsylvania from Germany to train in the area of freight forwarding. We caught up with Klaas after a recent trip to Las Vegas to learn more about his experience in the United States.

Read more...

Economists say Alabama's tough new immigration law could damage state's economy

Published on Sat, Jul 16, 2011

MONTGOMERY -- Supporters of the state's new immigration law called it a jobs program when it was being debated in the Legislature, but some economists predict it will put the stigma of the 1960s back on Alabama.

In enacting what has been described as the nation's toughest immigration law, some fear the Legislature's action will backfire, possibly driving away industrial prospects as it promises to chase away thousands of Hispanics holding jobs in construction, food service, manufacturing and agriculture.

Dr. Keivan Deravi, an economics professor at Auburn Montgomery and budget adviser to the Legislature, says the law wasn't supported by facts and wasn't based on "real economic theories and research."

"It is the wrong message sent to the rest of the nation and the business world, especially considering the degree of ongoing globalization," he said.

But Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, the Senate sponsor of the immigration bill, called that view a wish of "something bad on the state."

"A business invests where it gets a good quality product and work force," he said. "I don't believe for a minute that it (immigration law) will keep them from coming here. I do not believe it hurts us on the world stage."

Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, the House sponsor of the bill, did not return a phone call.

The law is scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, although a coalition of civil rights groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit that asserts it is unconstitutional because it interferes with federal authority over immigration matters.

Dr. Chris Westley, associate professor of economics at Jacksonville State University, said the law raises the "perception factor" about the state and that capital investment "will tend to avoid Alabama relative to other Southern states."Read more...

Published in the Alabama.com

Court Finds Tax Crimes Are Aggravated Felonies

Kawashima v. Holder, 565 U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 1166 (2012).

In a 6-3 decision written by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court affirmed a Ninth Circuit decision holding that convictions for committing and aiding tax evasion in which the Government’s loss exceeds $10,000 qualify as aggravated felonies under INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i) and therefore, are deportable offenses. In so holding, the Court resolved a circuit split between the Third and Ninth Circuits in favor of the latter. Compare Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 368 F.3d 218 (3d Cir. 2004) with Kawashima v. Holder, 615 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir. 2010).

The Court began its analysis by stating that it will employ the categorical approach by looking to the statutory definition of the crime rather than the specific facts of the case. See Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183, 186 (2007). First, the Court found that the elements of the tax crimes at issue, 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) and (2), clearly establish that commission of the crimes involves fraud or deceit. Second, the Court addressed the Petitioners’ argument that INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i) must be read in conjunction with INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(ii), and because clause (ii) references a specific tax crime (not at issue here), Congress did not intend clause (i) to cover tax crimes as well. The Court rejected that argument, concluding that the two clauses are not mutually exclusive and thus tax crimes are not excluded from clause (i).

Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan, issued a dissent in which she challenged the Court’s “dubious” statutory interpretation.

Rick Perry, immigration enforcement and the Florida Legislature

Published on Fri, Sep 30, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s statements on immigration in Florida last week and the reaction of immigration enforcement only policy supporters seems to be having an impact on the Florida Legislature.

According to The Miami Herald:

Florida’s Tea Party activists say they will accept nothing short of requiring every employer to check the immigration status of their workers through the federal E-verify program in January when legislators convene in regular session. But armed with the support of Florida’s powerful agriculture and business groups, the same legislative leaders who last year promised Arizona-style immigration reform are now barely offering tentative support for it.

The Herald adds: “House Speaker Dean Cannon, whose chamber proposed but never passed an Arizona-style immigration enforcement plan last year, said that immigration reform may take a back seat to balancing the budget, reapportionment and strengthening the economy.”

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis, R-Merritt Island, said last week that his chamber would pass the same immigration bill it passed in the 2011 session. At this year’s RedState Gathering, Gov. Rick Scott said that an immigration enforcement bill “will happen this session.”

According to Numbers USA — an organization that wants “lower immigration levels” — Perry’s results in the Florida straw poll can be blamed on his weak stance on immigration enforcement. The group writes that “Texas Gov. Rick Perry is proving that appearing to be more concerned about illegal-alien workers than about unemployed Americans doesn’t work in Republican primaries.”Read more...

Published in the The Florida Independent

IEC will not review new applications for J-1 sponsorship (September 1-7, 2014)

The IEC will not review applications during the first week of September (09/01/2013 - 09/07/2013).

New applications received during this week will not be looked at until September 9 at the earliest, and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Expedited applications received on or before 08/23 will be reviewed by 08/30. Non-Expedited applications received on or before 08/16 will be reviewed by 08/30. Staff will not be available to conduct Skype webcam interviews during the week of 09/01 - 09/07.

This crucial break during the first week of September will allow the International Exchange Center to conduct an internal review of our procedures in anticipation of some new changes that we hope will improve the programs we offer to J-1 Trainee/Intern participants, host organizations, and AILA attorneys who utilize our services.

Staff will not be available to make exceptions. Thank you for supporting us through this exciting transition!

-The International Exchange Center Staff

Quick Fact: Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes

At last count, households headed by unauthorized immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes.

 

Anchor Baby: A Term Redefined as a Slur

Published on Thu, Dec 08, 2011

What does the term “anchor baby” mean? If you were to look it up in the American Heritage Dictionary, you would find a new definition since last week.

The term was among some 10,000 new words and phrases in the fifth edition of the dictionary, published in November. It was defined as: “A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.”

But when Steve Kleinedler, the executive editor of the dictionary, read that definition during a radio interview last month, it troubled Mary Giovagnoli, the director of the Immigration Policy Center, a pro-immigration research group in Washington.

The once-obscure term has been used frequently in the recent debate over whether to change the Constitution to deny automatic American citizenship to children born in this country to illegal immigrant parents.

Last Friday morning, Ms. Giovagnoli posted an angry item on the center’s blog, saying the dictionary “masks the poisonous and derogatory nature of the term, a term which demeans both parent and child.” Her item soared into the blogosphere. By Friday afternoon, Mr. Kleinedler had called Ms. Giovagnoli.Read more...

Published in the New York Times