Lisa Graybill, Esq., served as the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas from 2005-2012. Cases which Lisa litigated at the ACLU include ongoing litigation on behalf of immigrant women who were sexually assaulted at an immigration detention center; challenges to successive anti-immigrant housing ordinances in Farmers Branch, Texas; a successful challenge to a South Texas county’s practice of jailing indigent teens for failure to attend school without offering an indigency determination; and litigation challenging the federal government’s practice of detaining immigrant children and their families in substandard conditions. Before joining the ACLU of Texas, Lisa was a Trial Attorney in the Attorney General’s Honors Program at the Special Litigation Section of the U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, where she worked on police misconduct and prison and jail conditions. Lisa is a native Texan; she graduated from Smith College with highest honors in 1991 and received her law degree from the University of Texas with honors in 1999.
In recent days, leaders from both sides of the aisle indicated that comprehensive immigration reform is a legislative priority for the 111th Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reassured the public that Congress will move forward and pass immigration reform legislation. Meanwhile, renowned Republican strategist Karl Rove included immigration reform as part of a roadmap for the future survival of the GOP. Read IPC's comments.
Newspapers are reporting today that during the official Q&A session following the Chicago bid for the Olympic Games, I.O.C. member, Syed Shahid Ali, from Pakistan, asked President Obama how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Olympic Games because doing so can sometimes be "a rather harrowing experience." While this I.O.C. member's concerns raise a red flag about the need for a change in our immigration policies, a litany of voices have been warning for years that the U.S. is slowly adopting an anti-visitor policy that is harming business, higher education and families.
On June 14, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously in Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder that a lawful permanent resident who is convicted of minor drug possession offenses does not warrant classification as having been convicted of an "aggravated felony." As a result, the Court held that Mr. Carachuri-Rosendo cannot be deported without an opportunity to make a case for why he should be allowed to remain in the United States. Please view the press release directly below, and you can also read about this case on our Supreme Court Update page.
Legislation Fails To Live Up To State's Best Intentions
Released on Thu, Mar 10, 2011
Washington D.C. - Late Friday night, the Utah Legislature passed three immigration-related bills that await Governor Herbert's signature or veto. Utah's policy discussions were guided by the principles of a much-lauded Utah Compact, which brought together leaders from political parties, business, labor, and faith-based organizations for a thoughtful dialogue about immigration policy. The Compact was a welcome relief from the angry vitriol that has often dominated the debate and was well-regarded as a rational, solution-based conversation about the complexity of effective immigration reform. It recognizes that the current unauthorized immigrant population is made up of workers, taxpayers, and consumers, and that enforcement strategies must be coupled with reform of our legal system of immigration in order to meet legitimate labor force needs. Unfortunately, the Utah state legislature was not able to realize the Compact's aspirations.
The three bills represent one state's attempt to provide solutions that go beyond the enforcement-only approach of Arizona's SB1070 and similar copycats being considered in other states. It is noteworthy that Utah's legislature acknowledged that immigration is a complex issue, and that a realistic solution involves more than asking people for their papers and deporting those who lack legal status. However, what these well-intentioned Utah legislators have created is an aggressive Arizona-style enforcement program with no counter-balance. The provisions intended to create legal work status and visas are clearly at odds with the Constitution and cannot be implemented by state action alone.Read more...
Washington, D.C.— The Legal Action Center, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), filed an amicus brief last week urging the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the departure bar, a regulation that bars the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) from reviewing cases after a person has left the United States. In this case, Macharia v. Holder, No. 11-1962, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deported the person while his appeal of an immigration judge’s denial of a motion to reopen his case was still pending. By applying the departure bar, the Board of Immigration Appeals permitted DHS, a party to the case, to exert unilateral control over the litigation. This impermissibly interferes with the respondent’s statutory right to seek administrative and judicial review and to pursue reopening.
The Legal Action Center and NIPNLG have coordinated litigation on issues related to post departure review and adjudication of BIA cases nationwide. Read more about the LAC and NIPNLG’s efforts on the LAC’s website. To date, five circuit courts have found the motion to reopen departure regulation unlawful. For inquiries contact Brian Yourish at firstname.lastname@example.org.