Skip to Content

Programs:

Legalization

DHS Wants Your Input (Sort of)

Published on Mon, Sep 07, 2009

It sounded like a good idea. In this interactive age, the Department of Homeland Security wanted to take advantage of an easy way to get public feedback on its policies by implementing a Web-based system where users can share their opinions and ideas with the agency.

Published in the Washington Independent

The Council Applauds Supreme Court Decision Rejecting Retroactive Application of Immigration Law Provision

Released on Thu, Mar 29, 2012

Washington, D.C.—Yesterday morning, the Supreme Court issued an important decision, Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10-1211, rejecting the retroactive application of a provision of a law passed by Congress in 1996 that has prevented many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from returning to the United States after a trip abroad.  Citing the "deeply rooted presumption" against applying new laws retroactively, the Court ruled 6-3 that LPRs who temporarily leave the country cannot be denied readmission on account of criminal convictions that occurred before the law took effect.   Read more...

View Release

Hispanic Voters Gain Import in Fla

Published on Sat, Aug 15, 2009

Florida's more than 1.2 million Hispanic voters will play an increasingly critical role in state politics, an immigration-reform group said last week in a new analysis of recent U.S. Census data.

Published in the The Ledger

President Obama Provides Moral Imperative for Immigration Reform

Released on Tue, Jan 29, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, in Las Vegas, President Obama urged the country to join him in moving forward on immigration reform, offering a proposal that addresses the pressing economic, cultural, and moral crisis facing the nation over immigration.  In doing so, he brought policies and principles down to one very important idea—that our American identity is directly tied to our heritage as immigrants and thus we owe it to each other to fix the immigration system once and for all. In laying out a moral and economic imperative for immigration reform, the President argued for a rational and productive debate, free of rancor and fear, reminding Americans that the nation was built by immigrants and “most of us used to be them.” His remarks today follow yesterday’s announcement from the United States Senate that a “gang of eight” bipartisan members have developed a set of principles to move immigration reform forward in the 113th Congress.Read more...

View Release

Court Says ICE Failed to Satisfy FOIA Requirements in Council’s Suit to Compel Disclosure of Records on Access to Counsel

Released on Fri, Jul 12, 2013

Court Says ICE Failed to Satisfy FOIA Requirements in Council’s Suit to Compel
Disclosure of Records on Access to Counsel

A federal district court recently issued an opinion addressing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) failure to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  According to the court, ICE did not show that it had conducted an adequate search for records in response to the American Immigration Council’s (Council) FOIA request regarding noncitizens’ access to counsel in interactions with the agency.  The court also rejected ICE’s justifications for withholding numerous records. 

Under the U.S. immigration system, many decisions impacting the lives of noncitizens are made by ICE officers at field offices, detention centers and arrest sites nationwide.  Reports from immigration lawyers across the country indicate that the actions of ICE officers routinely impact attorneys’ efforts to represent their clients.  Yet, ICE’s policies about access to counsel have not always been easy to ascertain and appear to vary by location.  Through its FOIA request, the Council hopes to shed light on these policies.

After waiting more than a year for ICE to respond to the request, the Council’s Legal Action Center and co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP filed a FOIA suit on behalf of the Council, alleging that ICE had failed to turn over records responsive to the FOIA request.  After filing suit, ICE released 1084 pages, many of which were heavily redacted or withheld entirely.  It subsequently released several thousand records related to detention facilities, which the Council is not challenging. Read more...

View Release

Legalizing unauthorized immigrants would help economy, study says

Published on Thu, Jan 07, 2010

Legalization of the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs and generate more tax revenue, two policy institutes say in a joint report Thursday. The report by the Center for American Progress and the American Immigration Council estimates that "comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes currently unauthorized immigrants and creates flexible legal limits on future immigration" would yield at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over a 10-year period.

Published in the CNN

Groups Sue Federal Government over Failure to Provide Legal Representation for Children

Released on Wed, Jul 09, 2014

The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.

Each year, the government initiates immigration court proceedings against thousands of children. Some of these youth grew up in the United States and have lived in the country for years, and many have fled violence and persecution in their home countries. The Obama Administration even recently called an influx of children coming across the Southern border a "humanitarian situation." And yet, thousands of children required to appear in immigration court each year do so without an attorney. This case seeks to remedy this unacceptable practice.

"If we believe in due process for children in our country, then we cannot abandon them when they face deportation in our immigration courts," said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "The government pays for a trained prosecutor to advocate for the deportation of every child. It is patently unfair to force children to defend themselves alone."

The plaintiffs in this case include:Read more...

View Release

DHS Fails to Meet Target Immigration Goals

Published on Wed, Mar 03, 2010

More than one year into the administration of President Barack Obama, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) still must pursue some key changes in support of immigration reform to embrace Obama's intended immigration policy objectives, a policy group said Tuesday.

DHS must move forward in due process for illegal immigrants by creating an ombudsman at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate complaints and keep its focus on detention reform at ICE, recommended the Immigration Policy Center in its report, The Challenge of Reform: An Analysis of Immigration Policy in the First Year of the Obama Administration.

 

Published in the Homeland Security Today

Anti-Immigrant Group Cites Report That Disproves Its Own Arguments

Published on Sat, Apr 10, 2010

On Thursday, NumbersUSA — an immigration restrictionist group that calls for the suspension of most legal immigration — pounced on a report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) which found, amongst other things, that legalizing undocumented immigrants would not have a “significant effect” on the economy. According to NumbersUSA director Roy Beck, PPIC’s study validates what his organization has been saying all along:

Amnesty supporters claim that illegal aliens are paid below average wages, but by offering them a path to citizenship, their wages will increase. The study by the non-partisan institute, however, says that’s not the case.

Published in the Wonk Room

Arizonans just swatting the beehive

Published on Sun, May 02, 2010

Having been born on the banks of the Rio Grande (Eagle Pass, Texas) and after living 25 years among 2.4 million people in El Paso-Juárez — more than two-thirds of whom speak primarily Spanish — I have acquired a layman’s understanding of international relations. One lesson I’ve learned: Never treat a beehive like a piñata.

Published in the The Columbian