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En Banc Court Reverses Adverse Holding, Says Immigrants Can Pursue Cases from Outside U.S.

Released on Mon, Jan 30, 2012

Washington, D.C.- Today, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking to reopen their cases from outside the United States. This is the seventh appellate court to find the “departure bar”—a regulation barring noncitizens from pursuing their cases after departure or deportation—unlawful and is a step forward in protecting the right to a fair immigration hearing. The decision is particularly significant because the Tenth Circuit had been the only court at odds with the majority. The court had granted rehearing en banc to reconsider its prior decision.

Despite the overwhelming rejection of the departure bar, the government continues to defend the regulation and apply it to cases outside the circuits that have invalidated the bar. The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed amicus briefs in the Tenth Circuit and argued before the court, renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.

Read more about the LAC and NIPNLG’s challenges to the departure bar on our website, Motions to Reopen from Outside the Country.

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For more information contact clearinghouse@immcouncil.org.

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Immigrants don't overuse health care system

Published on Wed, Aug 12, 2009

It's not exactly news among those who follow these things, but it bears noting that a new report once more shows that immigrants in the United States today, whether they have legal status or not, are certainly not overusing the U.S. health care system, and are in fact using it less than are U.S. citizens.

Published in the People's Weekly World

Federal Judge Orders USCIS to Release Records on Access to Counsel

Released on Thu, Nov 29, 2012

This week, a federal district court issued an opinion highly critical of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) handling of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by the American Immigration Council (AIC) for records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel. The Court ordered USCIS to turn over records that it previously had refused to produce. 

Most decisions about immigration status—including whether to grant lawful permanent residence, asylum or citizenship—are made by government officials outside the courtroom. Given the significant impact such decisions have on the lives of noncitizens and their families, it is critical that they be allowed to have their private attorneys with them during complex administrative proceedings.  

Historically, USCIS has imposed unwarranted restrictions on access to counsel, though in recent months the agency has made significant progress toward addressing these problems. Through its FOIA request, the AIC hopes to shed light on USCIS policies about counsel. 

After waiting almost a year for USCIS to respond to the request, the AIC’s Legal Action Center and co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP filed a FOIA suit on behalf of the AIC, alleging that USCIS had failed to turn over records responsive to the FOIA request. After filing suit, USCIS determined that it had over 2042 pages of documents responsive to the request.  However, it withheld 1169 pages and released 418 pages with redactions, claiming FOIA exemptions protected the records from disclosure. In response to the government’s motion for summary judgment, the AIC argued that USCIS had not demonstrated the adequacy of its search and had improperly withheld numerous documents not protected under the FOIA exemptions.  Read more...

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Military Families Act: protect families who protect U.S.

Published on Tue, Nov 10, 2009

On the eve of Veteran's Day, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced in the Senate, the Military Families Act, S. 2757, joined by co-sponsors Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill seeks to provide immigration relief to parents, spouses, or children of US Armed Forces members. Senator Menendez announced the introduction of the bill with Army Specialist Jack Barrios, his wife Frances, and with Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

Published in the The Examiner

LAC Releases Updated Practice Advisory on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Released on Mon, Jul 29, 2013

For Immediate Release

LAC Releases Updated Practice Advisory on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Washington, DC-The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of an updated practice advisory, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  This advisory includes the latest information about DACA adjudication trends and agency policies contained in the DACA Standard Operating Procedures Manual. It also offers strategic advice for attorneys representing potential DACA requesters whose cases involve potential gang-related issues and certain drinking and driving offenses. The LAC issued this advisory jointly with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

All Legal Action Center practice advisories can be found on the LAC website.

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For more information, contact clearinghouse@immcouncil.org or call 202-507-7516.

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And, oh yes, immigration reform

Published on Wed, Feb 03, 2010

Comprehensive immigration reform made it into the State of the Union speech last week. The Middle East, a hardy annual, and indeed Northern Ireland, did not.

But President Obama's focus on reform during the lengthy address to both houses of Congress struck many observers as being little more than perfunctory.

Published in the THE IRISH ECHO ONLINE

Groups Ask Court to Block Deportation Hearings for Children Without Legal Representation

Move Comes as Immigration Courts are Speeding Up Deportation Hearings Against Children, Raising Serious Concerns

Released on Fri, Aug 01, 2014

Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP have asked a federal court to immediately block the government from pursuing deportation proceedings against several children unless it ensures those youth have legal representation. The move comes as immigration courts are speeding up deportation hearings against children in an expedited process sometimes referred to as a "rocket docket."
Read more...

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Immigrants on the March

Published on Thu, Mar 25, 2010

In the weeks leading up to the March 21 demonstration for comprehensive immigration reform, organizers were careful to tamp down turnout expectations, stating only that "tens of thousands" would descend on Washington. It was just a few days before the event--with reports of countless buses heading toward the nation's capital--that they hinted that the crowd could reach 100,000.

Published in the The Nation

America's new pastime: immigrant-bashing

Published on Wed, Apr 28, 2010

We have always been told that baseball is America's pastime. In fact(after hypocrisy)immigrant-bashing is our new national sport. The draconian anti-immigrant bill recently passed by Arizona's legislature proves just how true this is.

Advocates of this law claim it is necessary to fight crime brought into Arizoma by the "flood" of illegal aliens. In addition, the usual claims of higher unemployment, lower wages and increased welfare spending are cited as reasons for this law.

These claims are largely bogus. A study by Walter Ewing of the Immigration Policy Center shows that if illegals were to suddenly disappear, crime in America would actually increase. Syndicated columnist, Stephen Chapman, notes that El Paso, the ultimate border city, is one of the safest in America.

Published in the Joplin Independent

The Man Behind Arizona’s Immigration Law

Published on Fri, May 07, 2010

When Arizona passed a law that handed local police unprecedented authority to investigate and arrest suspected illegal immigrants, the state ignited a firestorm in a midterm election year. And for Kris Kobach, the former Bush administration lawyer who helped draft the legislation, the crackdown in Arizona is just the beginning.

Published in the Mother Jones