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Wrestler Henry Cejudo seeks immigration law change, another gold medal

Published on Mon, Apr 04, 2011

Henry Cejudo could have stayed away. He already left his signature on one of America's hottest hot-button issues. The son of illegal immigrants from Mexico, he held an American flag high while celebrating his wrestling gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Henry Cejudo celebrates after defeating Japan's Tomohiro Matsunaga in the finals of the men's 55 kg freestyle wrestling to win the gold medal in 2008.

Afterward, he spoke openly about his mom naively crossing the border in high heels, his drug-abusing dad dying impoverished in Mexico, his itinerant childhood spent evading rent collectors. He put the details in a book titled American Victory.

He settled back in his home state of Arizona. He didn't stay settled for long.

"We're living in the damn '60s, the '50s in Arizona," he says.

A state law passed last year requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain or arrest that they suspect is in the country illegally. A federal judge's decision to block the law is being appealed. Another proposed law would deny state citizenship to children born in the USA if neither parent has legal status.

"They've done a lot of articles on this whole 'anchor baby' law," Cejudo says, using the pejorative description that refers to U.S.-born children "anchoring" their illegal parents here. "I feel like I'm a figurehead to that."

He could use the speaking circuit as a platform. Instead, he decided to take on the issue in the only place he's ever felt truly at home: the wrestling mat.

In February he returned to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, determined to win another gold at the 2012 Games in London.

"I've done it, and I know I can do it again," says Cejudo, 24, who was born in Los Angeles. "This time I want to have more emphasis on this immigration issue."Read more...

Published in the USA Today

"Arriving Aliens" & Adjustment of Status

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2008)

In 1997, the former INS adopted a regulation that barred all "arriving aliens" who were in removal proceedings from adjusting status. See former 8 C.F.R. § 245.1(c)(8); § 1245(c)(8). At the same time, INS adopted a regulation broadly defining the term "arriving alien." As a result, under 8 C.F.R. § 245.1(c)(8) and § 1245.1(c)(8), almost all parolees in removal proceedings were barred from adjustment of status. Several courts struck down these regulations barring adjustment as ultra vires to the statute. On May 12, 2006, the government issued an interim rule deleting the absolute bar on an "arriving alien's" ability to adjust status in removal proceedings. Under the interim rule, USCIS has jurisdiction to adjudicate the adjustment application. Litigation under the interim rule has focused on the BIA's blanket denial of all motions to reopen, remand or continue a removal case while USCIS is adjudicating the adjustment application.

Latest Developments|Additional Resources

The American Immigration Council’s LAC would like to hear how USCIS is handling the adjustment applications of “arriving aliens” in removal proceedings who are now eligible to apply for adjustment with USCIS under the interim rule. Please contact clearinghouse@immcouncil.org to let us know what has happened in your clients' cases.

Latest Developments

BIA Requests Briefing on the Issue of Whether USCIS Can and Will Decide an Adjustment Application of an "Arriving Alien" Under a Final Order of RemovalRead more...

Studies Show That Comprehensive Immigration Reform Will Boost The Economy And Create Jobs

Published on Tue, May 17, 2011

IPC: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Could Generate "750,000 To 900,000 Jobs" And Increase GDP By $1.5 Trillion. In a report prepared for the American Immigration Council's Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, UCLA's Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda concluded that comprehensive immigration reform could add .84 percent to GDP each year, amounting to "at least $1.5 trillion in added GDP" over a ten-year period. He also concluded that comprehensive immigration reform could "generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue" over a three-year period. According to Hinojosa-Ojeda:

[A]n increase in personal income of this scale would generate consumer spending sufficient to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs. [Raising The Floor For American Workers: The Economic Benefits Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, January 2010]

Economist Cowen: "Allowing In More Immigrants, Skilled And Unskilled" Would "Create Jobs." In a New York Times opinion piece titled "How Immigrants Create More Jobs," George Mason economist Tyler Cowen wrote that "it turns out that the continuing arrival of immigrants to American shores is encouraging business activity here, thereby producing more jobs, according to a new study." Cowen cited the research of economists at the University of California, Davis and at Bocconi Uniersity in Italy. According to Cowen:Read more...

Published in the Media Matters

ACLU slams Texas bill allowing indefinite detention of immigrants

Published on Fri, Jul 15, 2011

There's no sugarcoating the destructive effect that Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-Texas) bill will have on people's lives. H.R. 1932 imposes indefinite detention on immigrants who have been ordered removed but cannot be deported through no fault of their own.

The House Judiciary Committee has debated H.R.1932. This bill would strip individuals of the right to appear before a neutral arbiter to argue that their detention is unjustified. It directly contradicts recent Supreme Court decisions reiterating that the fundamental guarantee of due process applies to all individuals present in the United States.

A recent Physicians for Human Rights report documents the severe and long-lasting effects of holding people in indefinite detention, noting that "without any information about or ability to control the fact or terms of their confinement, detainees develop feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that lead to debilitating depressive symptoms, chronic anxiety, despair, dread of what may or may not happen in the future, as well as to [post-traumatic stress disorder] and suicidal ideation." Rep. Smith has provided no compelling justification to support subjecting thousands of individuals to such debilitating conditions of confinement.

Rep. Smith said last week: "Just because a criminal immigrant cannot be returned to their home country does not mean they should be freed into our communities." But no one is arguing that dangerous criminals may never be detained, only that categorically locking up dangerous and non-dangerous immigrants forever is legally wrong and inhumane.

Both the criminal justice system and civil commitment systems are in place to protect our communities from truly dangerous people. Instead of attempting to amend or reform these systems to achieve Rep. Smith's goals, this bill creates a new Guantanamo-esque legal limbo where immigrants are detained indefinitely without charge.Read more...

Published in the Press TV

Court Holds that Padilla v. Kentucky Does Not Apply Retroactively to Certain Convictions

 Chaidez v. United States, 568 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 1103 (2013)

In a 7-2 decision written by Justice Kagan, the Court held that Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), does not apply retroactively to collateral review of convictions final at the time of that decision.  Padilla found that a noncitizen could raise a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment if his criminal defense attorney failed to advise him of the immigration consequences of a guilty plea. In Chaidez, the Court found that its previous decision went beyond applying the existing standards for ineffective assistance of counsel claims in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Because the preliminary question answered by the Padilla Court – whether the Sixth Amendment right to counsel encompassed advice about collateral consequences of convictions – was not settled at the time of its decision in 2010, it held that Padilla created a new rule of criminal procedure and thus did not apply in collateral challenges to past convictions under the principles set forth in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989).

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the Immigrant Defense Project issued a Practice Advisory addressing efforts to obtain post-conviction relief under Padilla after the Chaidez decision.  

The case left many issues and arguments unresolved.

Justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg dissented.

 

Harsh Immigration Policies Push Latino Majority Into Federal Prisons

Published on Mon, Sep 12, 2011

Deportation is clearly not punishment enough for the Obama administration. Not only has President Obama deported more people in his tenure than in any of his predecessors, his administration is responsible for the most aggressive spike in federal prosecutions of immigration offenses. Now, Latinos are the majority of those who are sent to federal prison for felonies, according to a new report (pdf) from the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The spike, other numbers show, has been driven in large part by the federal government’s aggressive prosecution of immigration offenses.

Where once people who were caught trying to enter the country without papers were allowed to opt for voluntary removal and kicked back across the border, today the federal government is choosing to file charges against people and incarcerate people before deporting them. It’s a profound enough change in policy that it’s changing the demographics of incarceration rates.

In the first nine months of the year Latinos were 50.3 percent of all those who were sentenced to federal prison for felony convictions. Blacks made up 19.7 percent and whites 26.4 percent. Latinos are just 16 percent of the general population though, according to the Census. This is the first year that Latinos have become the majority of those sent to prison for federal felonies.

The aggressive prosecutions are driven by a failed political strategy, immigration experts say. The Obama administration has stepped up its enforcement efforts with the hopes of encouraging a recalcitrant Congress to take up comprehensive immigration reform. “They seem to be trying to look tougher and tougher on enforcement as a down payment on immigration reform in the future,” said Walter Ewing, senior researcher at the Immigration Policy Center.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines

News Room

Media Contact: Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524 or wsefsaf@immcouncil.org