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Chinese Tradition meets New England Character

August, 2009
Yongwei Ding

The Exchange Visitor Program is proud to announce Yongwei Ding as this issue's Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...

Arizona’s State-Owned Mexico Border Fence Attracts Donors From Across U.S.

Published on Tue, Aug 02, 2011

Arizona, whose immigration law sparked a lawsuit by the Obama administration and national boycotts, aims to collect tens of millions of dollars in private donations to build a border fence with inmate labor.

The plan, created by lawmakers and signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in April, would turn donations over to a group of Republican legislators, political appointees and four county sheriffs who have criticized U.S. efforts to combat illegal immigration. They say the fence is needed to stop an “invasion” that may include violent criminals and Middle Eastern terrorists disguised as Mexicans.

“Arizona once more has to step in and do a job the federal government won’t do,” Republican state Senator Steve Smith, who sponsored the bill, said in a telephone interview. He said he believes the Obama administration has failed to secure the border and has now given up. “It is a massive invasion on our social and economic systems. Nobody can deny that.”

The campaign is ratcheting up rhetoric between the state and the federal government over border security. It is modeled after a similar effort by Brewer that taps into the same nationwide discontent over U.S. policy to pay for the defense of Arizona’s immigration law. The campaign, Keep Arizona Safe, has raised more than $3.8 million from about 45,000 donations since June 2010, said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Brewer.

$50 Million Goal

For the border fence, more than $146,000 has been collected from about 3,000 private donors in 50 states since fundraising began July 20. At least 568 were from Arizona, 329 from California, 182 from Texas, 173 from Florida, 88 from New York and 42 from New Jersey. The goal is to raise a minimum of $50 million, said Smith.Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg

Court Upholds Arizona Law Mandating E-Verify, Creating Employer Sanctions

Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 563 U. S. __, 131 S. Ct. 1968 (2011)

In a 5-3 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007 is not preempted by federal law. The Arizona law mandates the use of E-Verify by all employers within the state and allows Arizona courts to suspend or revoke the business license of any employer who “knowingly or intentionally” violates federal employment verification requirements. Read more...

A Conversation with Jessica Dickman

July, 2011
Congratulations to Jessica Dickman, our Exchange Visitor of the Month. We recently caught up with Jessica to learn more about her J-1 visa experience.

Read more...

LGBT Couples Facing Increased Immigration Tensions

Published on Mon, Oct 10, 2011

CHICAGO—According to the Immigration Policy Center, there are approximately 36,000 same sex, bi-national couples living in the United States. These couples have to reach out to alternative methods such as student visas or other legal resources in order to remain together.

 Kevin Goodman is associate dean at St. James Cathedral, in Chicago. He met Anton Pulung-Hartanto, who is originally from Indonesia, at Disney world in 2000.

“I went to Disney with a youth group, to try to show them that one could have a religious experience in a place like that, and that’s where I met my partner”, said Goodman at a forum on LGBT Immigrant Rights held at the Adler School of Professional Psychology on September 27th.

Pulung-Hartanto worked at Disney, in Florida, as a cultural host with a Q-1 visa, which is provided specifically for cultural exchange programs.

They have been together for 12 years and plan on marrying next spring in Vermont, said Goodman.

The Final Option

Goodman is from New Orleans and grew up tied to the All Saints’ River Ridge Episcopal church. He studied communication and worked as a television producer. But he’s always been interested in Asian cultures, which is why he traveled to Xi’an in the Republic of China and has taken Asian Studies courses. He also studied in the theological seminary in New York, where his work with indigent youth and people with HIV began.

When he arrived in Chicago he worked with The Night Ministry program, specifically with indigent youth in the Lakeview neighborhood. He was also working with the St. Matthew church in Evanston through the Ravenswood Community Services agency and now with St. James Cathedral.

When Pulung-Hartanto’s Q-1 Visa expired, he applied for a Student I-20 visa which allowed him another 10 years in this country. He studied culinary arts at Saint Augustine College.Read more...

Published in the New American Media

ANNOUNCEMENT: The AILA/AIC India Tour (November 2013)

JOIN THE AILA/AIC INDIA TOUR!
(November 9/11 - 21, 2013)

The American Immigration Council's International Exchange Center is co-sponsoring a once in a lifetime opportunity for cultural exchange in India. AILA and AIC have partnered to develop a program that combines international exchange with visits to the three main U.S. consulates that handle visa applications for your India-based clients. Learn about the unique issues and sensitivities in the various regions; network with business groups and professionals; and meet with U.S. consular officials.

Space is filling quickly, so REGISTER TODAY!

Contact Jai Misra at jmisra@immcouncil.org to obtain the registration packet with trip details and cost information.Read more...

American Immigration Council Sues U.S. Immigration Agencies Over Asylum “Clock”

Published on Tue, Dec 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Last week, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review in federal court in Seattle. The lawsuit alleges widespread problems with the asylum “clock”—the system that the government uses to determine when immigrants with pending asylum applications become eligible to obtain work authorization in the United States. The class certification motion describes the nationwide impact of these policies.

The complaint, co-filed with the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, was submitted on behalf of untold numbers of asylum applicants wrongfully denied work authorization due to unlawful agency policies and practices. The named plaintiffs include asylum seekers who have pursued their cases for years without work authorization—including a man from China who initially filed his asylum application in 2003.

With limited exceptions, federal law requires USCIS to grant work authorization to any person with an asylum application pending for 180 days. In calculating this period, however, USCIS relies on determinations made by immigration judges who work for EOIR. As a result, arbitrary EOIR policies on when the “clock” should start and stop—combined with growing backlogs in U.S. immigration courts—have unlawfully prevented asylum seekers from working. The suit alleges these policies violate the Constitution, federal statutes, and governing regulations.
Read more...

Published in the New American Media

Staff

DIRECTORS

Executive Director
Benjamin E. Johnson

Director, Immigration Policy Center
Mary Giovagnoli

Director, Legal Action Center
Melissa Crow

Director, International Exchange Center
Lois C. Magee

Director, Finance & Operations
Wilma Linares

Director, Communications
Wendy Feliz

Director, Fundraising & Development
Megan Hess

STAFF

Legal Action Center
Melissa Crow, Director
Emily Creighton, Staff Attorney
Leslie, Dellon, Business Litigation Fellow
Seth Garfinkel, Legal Assistant
Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney
Kristin Macleod-Ball, Fellow
Catalina Restrepo, Legal Assistant/Paralegal
Patrick Taurel, DACA Legal Services Fellow
Beth Werlin, Deputy Director

Immigration Policy Center
Mary Giovagnoli, Director
Walter Ewing, Senior Researcher
Guillermo Cantor, Senior Policy Analyst
Paul McDaniel, Immigrant Entrepreneur and Innovation Fellow
Matthew Kolodziej, Legislative Fellow
Mark Noferi, Enforcement Fellow
Amy Grenier, Administrative & Research Assistant

International Exchange Center
Lois Magee, Director
Jai Misra, Program Specialist
Tammie Harrison, Program Specialist
Moksheda Thapa, Program Specialist

Community Education Center
Claire Tesh, Community Education Center Manager

Fundraising and Development
Megan Hess, Director
Anh Ngo, Development Associate and AILA Chapter Liaison

Communications

Wendy Feliz, Director
Amanda Peterson Beadle, Research and Communications Associate
Eric Gibble, Online Communications Associate 

BIOGRAPHIES:

Benjamin E. Johnson, Executive DirectorRead more...

Quick Fact: CBP and ICE Budgets

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget grew from $6 billion in FY 2004 to $11.4 billion in FY 2010, while ICE’s budget increased from $3.7 billion to $5.7 billion over the same period.