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Former Ariz. Attorney General proposes new approach to border

Published on Mon, Sep 12, 2011

In a paper published today by the Immigration Policy Center, former Arizona Attorney General and 2010 Democratic candidate for governor Terry Goddard strikes out at the state’s current border enforcement strategies and attempts to lay out what he sees as a superior binational approach to border security.

In criticizing Arizona’s current approach to border enforcement, Goddard writes, “Again and again, symbols trump reality, misinformation buries the truth.” Goddard is referring to recent efforts to build a massive wall, stretching the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border, an effort derided by many as simultaneously impractical and ineffective. Goddard is similarly critical of the federal Secure Communities program, in which local law enforcement is employed to enforce immigration law. He argues that these largely symbolic and rhetorical efforts at securing the border could in fact be making current problems worse.

Goddard’s solutions to solving current problems at the Arizona-Sonora border focus not on undocumented immigrants but rather on what he sees as the larger issue in this region: Mexican drug cartels. He argues that the U.S. and Mexican governments must approach the cartels as business enterprises. In order to disable them, Goddard writes that the countries must work together to stanch the flow of money into these criminals’ hands.

For Goddard, because the Tucson Sector is the primary locus through which people and resources are smuggled back and forth across the border, it is here where any successful effort to abolish border violence must begin. This means that Tucson must serve as a model to the rest of the border region of how effectively securing the border starts not with capturing and deporting undocumented migrants, but with capturing and arresting the criminals that facilitate these individuals’ cross-border movement and propagate the border region’s larger criminal environment.Read more...

Published in the Examiner: Tucson AZ

J-1 Alumni Impact Survey

Do the J-1 intern and trainee programs sponsored by the American Immigration Council produce a lasting and positive impacts on the lives of the J-1 visa holders? Do the J-1 visa holders leave with a lasting and positive impression of the United States? The responses from our alumni survey indicate an overwhelming “Yes.”

Survey results show that our alumni “Learned, Left and Leveraged” their experience in America. 

  • They learned from their host company sponsors and about American culture–20% arrived in the US with a very positive impression but 59% left with a very positive impression.
  • The vast majority left when their visas ended—89% reported that they left the United States after the conclusion of their J-1 program.
  • After returning home they leveraged their new skills into new jobs and expanded responsibilities—95% of the respondents reported that the J-1 training or internship has had an impact on their current career

Read more...

Alabama immigration law: Long waits face many who wish to immigrate

Published on Sun, Dec 04, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The idea that prospective immigrants simply wait their turn to enter the U.S. legally, as advocates of Alabama's immigration law suggest, would apply to only a few because the legal paths for entering the country permanently are selective, limited and backlogged.

There are 4.7 million people from around the world already in line waiting for a chance to move in, according to the latest figures from the U.S. State Department. And the law, as set out in the Immigration and Nationality Act, does not let just anyone get in line.

 The law is specific about who is allowed in on a permanent basis, coinciding with four general objectives of federal immigration policy: to reunite families, attract workers with special skills, increase diversity from countries that don't usually have high numbers of immigrants to the U.S., and protect people who are fleeing persecution in their home countries.

 If someone wants to immigrate permanently, they have to fall into one of those four categories. Even then, the wait can last years or decades. For example, applications filed by Mexican unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens before April 1993 are the ones being considered now, according to a monthly update from the State Department.

 In other words, the proposal that illegal immigrants should have just waited for their turn is not even possible.

 "When there is no line to get into, those are times when people feel they don't have options," said Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center and former associate chief counsel for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 There are 12.6 million legal permanent residents currently living in the United States plus millions more who have long since become naturalized citizens.Read more...

Published in the Birmingham News

Litigation Clearinghouse

The Litigation Clearinghouse serves as a national point of contact for lawyers conducting or contemplating immigration litigation. From 2005-2010, the Clearinghouse issued Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletters to discuss immigration-related litigation, share valuable resources, and look at litigation arguments being used by immigration lawyers accross the country. Between 2006 and 2012, the Clearinghouse also provided Supreme Court developments and Litigation Issue Pages, which focused on issue-specific topics being litigated in the federal courts. Although these pages are no longer updated, they are valuable resources in understanding federal court litigation as it relates to immigration law and procedure.

The LAC encourages immigration attorneys to contact the Clearinghouse to share information about your cases at clearinghouse@immcouncil.org.

Quick Fact: The real cost of a border fence

A fence along all 2,000 miles of the southwest border would cost at least $2.5 billion to build, plus anywhere from $33 billion to $140 billion to maintain over the following two-and-a-half decades.

Kan. plan: Allow illegal immigrants to stay, work

Published on Tue, Jan 31, 2012

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A coalition of business groups will propose Kansas start a new program to help some illegal immigrants remain in the state so they can hold down jobs in agriculture and other industries with labor shortages, coalition representatives disclosed Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Washington-based Immigration Policy Council called the proposal "unprecedented" and questioned whether the federal government would allow such a program, though she was sympathetic toward supporters' goals. Utah has set up a guest-worker program, but it doesn't take effect until 2013 and was part of a broader package of initiatives on immigration.

The Kansas proposal also is notable because it complicates the debate over immigration issues in the home state of Kris Kobach, a former law professor who helped draft tough laws against illegal immigration in Alabama and Arizona. Kobach, known nationally for advising state and local officials across the nation on immigration issues, is secretary of state, the chief elections official in Kansas.

The proposal is likely to stir controversy in the Kansas Legislature and divide the Republican majority, some of whose members are pursuing proposals to crack down on illegal immigration. Representatives of the business coalition, which includes agriculture groups and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, provided a draft copy of their proposed legislation to The Associated Press ahead of its formal introduction in the House and Senate.

Supporters of the proposal acknowledge they're trying to protect industries heavily reliant on laborers, particularly agriculture. But state officials and backers don't have any hard numbers for how many jobs are in danger of going unfilled. Kansas has an estimated 45,000 illegal-immigrant workers.Read more...

Published in the Associated Press

LAC News Room (page 2)

More migrants facing deportation are getting reprieves

November 28, 2010: LAC attorney Mary Kenney is quoted in this Arizona Daily Star article on deferred action, wich is a discretionary tool ICE officials can use to help people in special circumstances. Read more . . .

H-1B Employees Should Not Face Arrest While Extension Pending

November 8, 2010: Late last week, the Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council (LAC), together with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), filed an amicus brief arguing that an H-1B employee should not face arrest, detention or deportation after his initial period of admission expires if a pending extension request remains under review. The brief, filed in federal district court in Connecticut, maintains that H-1B employers who follow the law should not lose valuable employees because of widespread delays at immigration processing centers."Both existing law and common sense dictate that the government cannot sit on an employer's H-1B extension request and then arrest the employee due to its own processing delays," said Melissa Crow, director of the Legal Action Center. Read more . . .Read more...

Arizona Immigration Law: What The Supreme Court Is Considering, And Why It Matters

Published on Wed, Apr 25, 2012

In January, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona made headlines when she was photographed thrusting an accusatory finger in President Barack Obama's face during a confrontation on a Phoenix tarmac. Brewer later explained that the president was "a little disturbed" about her book, in which she described Obama as weak on immigration.

The fleeting exchange filtered quickly out of the news cycle, but the image encapsulated the underlying legal issue as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Arizona's new immigration law on Wednesday. Fundamentally, the case pivots on the relationship between states and the federal government when it comes to enforcing immigration law. Read more...

Published in the International Business Times

My Grand Father Ben: 2011 National Grand Prize Winning Entry

From China sailed my Grandfather Ben.
He came to America when he was four plus ten.
His Guangzhou village was small and poor
And he helped his mother with farming chores.
Every morning he gathered bits of firewood
And drew water from the well as much as he could.
From morning to night he slaved like an ox.
But it was never enough to fill the rice box.
So his parents said, "You'd better leave home
And go to America where you can roam.
Until you find  a great place of your own.
America, Gold Mountain, is the place to go
Big and wide, and high and low.
Everything is yes, and there are never any nos."


But here in America life was hard
And it wasn't like a birthday card.
Golden Mountain didn't have jobs
For Chinese men, and that made them sob.
From San Francisco to Saint Louis
Chances for Chinese were least to fewest.
Still his heart never gave way
Cause he knew hard work always pays.
So Grandpa Ben worked hard again.
Slaving in a laundry from five to ten.
And he lived in important USA times
Starting from cool Jazz Age crime
Right on down to the Great Depression's
Brother can you spare a dime.
Until finally his big chance came
To show America Chinese are the same.
He joined the army in World War II
And fought in Europe for the red, white and blue.
All over he fought bringing supplies
To American soldiers on the lines.
Until one day he was shot in the back
And his jeep flipped over and he got smacked.
He didn't win any fame or medals
Just came back home to wed and settle.


Still to me he is The Greatest Hero.
Cause he never gave up and never said no.
He loved America both good and bad
And taught his 5 kids not to be sad.
Work hard, dream big, and never give up.
And one day Gold Mountain will live up
To what is written on the Statue of Liberty
Chances for all and the gift to be free.Read more...