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Immigrants' Deportation Cases Stumble Over U.S. Policy Change

Published on Sun, Apr 15, 2012

When the Department of Homeland Security announced last summer that some lower-priority cases should be shelved in immigration court through a process called prosecutorial discretion, Alexandru Ghilan looked like the perfect candidate.

The 29-year-old from Moldova had come to the United States on a work visa six years ago. He had applied for political asylum because of incarcerations and beatings he said he had endured as an activist protesting the former Communist regime in his eastern European home country.

Ghilan, who earned a law degree in Moldova, did not enter the country illegally and has no criminal record in the United States. He has worked and paid taxes since he came to the country. He has a wife and a 1-year-old daughter who is a U.S. citizen.

His asylum request has been denied: Communists no longer hold power in Moldova. He is appealing the case. Now, it has been passed over for administrative closure through prosecutorial discretion even though an immigration judge recommended that Ghilan be considered. If Ghilan had been granted that closure, he would no longer be living under the constant threat of deportation.

Government prosecutors aren't saying why some seemingly good fits for prosecutorial discretion, such as Ghilan, are being denied. But immigration attorneys are saying this is happening too often.

"It looks like it's a national problem," said Denver immigration attorney Bryon Large, who heard input from other lawyers from around the country during a recent meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Figures collected by the American Immigration Council show that about 9 percent of 165,000 immigration cases reviewed since late last year have been suspended through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.Read more...

Published in the Denver Post

States move cautiously on immigration after Supreme Court ruling

Published on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

IPC staff lawyer Ben Winograd was quoted in a CBS article about the effect of the Supreme Court case over SB 1070 on other states:

For the states that have the same provisions as Arizona, the Court's decision provides clarity.

"To the extent that they have identical provisions, it's open and shut," staff attorney Ben Winograd with the American Immigration Council said.

...

Winograd says that the additional court cases will provide much more clarity.

"Based on the Supreme Court decision alone, I would be surprised" if the states move forward with their laws in the short term, Winograd said.

Published in the CBS News

Entrepreneurship and Economic Policy Fellowship

The Immigration Policy Center, (IPC) a division of the American Immigration Council is seeking applications for a two-year fellowship that will focus on the intersection of immigration, entrepreneurship, innovation and economic policy.

This fellowship will initially focus on two key challenges that face America in its development of a 21st century immigration policy:

  1. The importance of devising policies that permit American companies to competitively recruit and retain the best and brightest from around the world, and
  2. The growing importance of immigrant entrepreneurship in reviving economies and rebuilding communities throughout America.

In keeping with the IPC philosophy of active engagement in the immigration policy debate, the fellow would be expected to conduct original research, as well as build a network of academics and business people who can provide actual examples of immigrant innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship that make the contributions of immigrants real to the public. In addition to independent research products, the fellow will produce fact sheets, blog posts, and other materials that provide our target audiences with the tools they need to engage in a well-informed and rational discussion of immigration policy.Read more...

IPC's Mary Giovagnoli in Mother Jones

Published on Tue, Jan 15, 2013

The Director of the Immigration Policy Center, Mary Giovagnoli, was quoted in this recent Mother Jones article on Marco Rubio's immigration plan:

"Rising conservative star and tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is "riding to the immigration rescue," according to the Wall Street Journal editorial page. While a bipartisan group of senators is at work on a comprehensive immigration reform proposal, Rubio is touting ideas of his own, which Journal editorial writer Matthew Kaminski says will seek to "triangulate, if you will—the liberal fringe that seeks broad amnesty for illegal immigrants and the hard right's obsession with closing the door.""

Published in the Mother Jones

Flora Singer

Retired Teacher and

Scholar of the Montgomery County Public Schools

Ms. Flora Singer was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1930 and came to the United States at the age of 16. Hers is a compelling story of her own courage and the courage of others who assisted her in evading Hitler's deadly plan for the Jews of Europe during World War II. Ms. Singer and her siblings were separated in Belgium shortly after the beginning of the war. Her father escaped to the U.S. and served in the U.S. Army. Ms. Singer and her two sisters were protected from annihilation in the concentration camps by a Benedictine monk, Father Bruno Reynders. He hid Ms. Singer and her sisters and placed them in convents where they were looked after for two years before they came to the United States with their mother to be finally reunited with their father.

Ms. Singer began her life in the United States in New York City. While living in cramped conditions and sharing one bathroom with four other families in the apartment building, she learned to read and write in English on her own at the public library. She supplemented the family income by sewing in a workshop at first, but then began to study stenography and obtained employment as a secretary and did translations. It was not until the age of 27 that she decided to resume her formal education and received her G.E.D. at Temple University in Philadelphia.

After marrying Jack Singer and having two children, Ms. Singer decided to return to school and earn her college degree. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park and received a Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in French and a Master of Arts degree, also in French. She was invited to complete the Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland as well as at Catholic University but did not accept either offer.Read more...

AIC Executive Director Ben Johnson Published in Arizona Daily Star

Published on Sun, Jul 28, 2013

The American Immigration Council's Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson, was published as a guest columnist for the Arizona Daily Star this weekend, in an article titled, "Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants Makes Economic Sense."

"The mass deportation of immigrants would cause a steep reduction in labor supply. Because labor is a key factor of production, a drastic reduction in its supply would in turn lead to a contraction of the state economy and a decline in overall state fiscal revenue.

Pull people out of the economy and it shrinks. In fact, more than 60 percent of all undocumented immigrants have been living and working in the state for more than a decade, which makes it even more destructive to the economy. Thus, 'deportation only' is anything but good policy.

What would happen if nothing changes? If we fail to reform the immigration system, we may not necessarily lose a lot from an economic perspective, but we stand to gain very little.

Immigrants, even the unauthorized, are already contributing to the state's economy. For example, immigrants already account for 15 percent of total economic output in the Phoenix metropolitan area, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute."

Published in the Arizona Daily Star

James C. Ho

James C. Ho is currently Solicitor General for the state of Texas. Previously he worked at the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. He has previously served as chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on the Constitution and Immigration under the chairmanship of Senator John Cornyn (R‐TX) and as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas.

AIC Immigrant Youth Achievement Award Winner Featured in Las Vegas Sun

Published on Tue, Apr 08, 2014

Astrid Silva, the 2014 receipent of the American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award, was recently featured in a Las Vegas Sun article titled "Las Vegas immigration advocate Astrid Silva earns national honor".

"A prominent immigration reform advocate and community organizer from Las Vegas who has helped influence Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid garnered more national recognition this week.

The American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award winner is Astrid Silva, an organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

Silva has been on of the most visible faces of Las Vegas’ immigration reform movement, going public with her undocumented status before getting a work permit through the deferred action for childhood arrivals program."

Published in the Las Vegas Sun

Eric Ward

Eric Ward is Programme Executive at Atlantic Philanthropies and formerly National Field Director of the Center for New Community, a national civil rights organization based in Chicago, Illinois.