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Once Again, Congress Pursues Costly E-Verify Legislation to the Peril of U.S. Economy

Released on Tue, Jun 14, 2011

Washington D.C. - On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement will hold a hearing on the “Legal Workforce Act,” another enforcement-only bill introduced today by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). The bill would make the electronic employment verification system “E-Verify” mandatory for all employers within two years (three for agriculture). Much like the other hearings conducted by the Subcommittee this year, Wednesday’s hearing is likely to promote tougher enforcement and more deportations as the solution to immigration reform, rather than offer a thoughtful analysis of what must be done to create an effective immigration system that stimulates our economy and supports workers and businesses.

E-Verify is a web-based technology that allows employers to check federal databases to determine whether their employees—U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other foreign-born workers—are authorized to work in the U.S. While USCIS has made significant improvements in E-Verify, many problems still exist. An independent evaluation found that E-Verify is unable to identify unauthorized workers in half of the cases. At a time when the U.S. needs to stimulate its economy and create jobs, mandatory E-Verify will impose additional regulations and costs on businesses, and employers will have to fire U.S. citizens who are erroneously indentified as unauthorized to work. Read more...

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Feds' screening for illegal workers begins next week

Published on Thu, Sep 03, 2009

Anyone who does business with the federal government will soon be required to use a federal system that is intended to weed out employees without authorization to work in the country.

Published in the TMC News

USCIS Takes Steps to Improve Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel

Released on Thu, Jan 19, 2012

Washington D.C. – During its nine-year history, issues have arisen with respect to restrictions on counsel by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration agencies. Tuesday, in response to calls from the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued immediate, comprehensive changes to their policies to ensure an appropriate role for attorneys in the immigration process.

Many noncitizens are forced to navigate the immigration process without representation because they cannot afford an attorney.  But even persons who can afford one, or are represented by a pro bono attorney, have at times faced severe restrictions on their representation.  This is particularly troublesome given the significant power USCIS officers wield.  For example, they decide whether a noncitizen is entitled to stay in the U.S. or not.  The assistance of an attorney well versed in the complexities of immigration law can help safeguard the rights of these noncitizens and ensure just outcomes.   

By revising its guidance, USCIS has responded to some of the most serious access concerns.  For example, the new guidance provides that an attorney generally may sit next to his or her client during an interview, may be permitted to submit relevant documents to the USCIS officer, and may raise objections to inappropriate lines of questioning. Read more...

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AIC Applauds Ruling Allowing Immigration Judges to Consider Evidence of Hardship

Released on Mon, Sep 17, 2012

American Immigration Council Applauds Ruling
Allowing Immigration Judges to Consider Evidence of Hardship

Washington, D.C.—Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a unanimous ruling that will allow immigration judges to exercise discretion in cases involving lawful permanent residents (LPRs) whose removal would cause extreme hardship to family members in the United States. The ruling marks the fourth opinion from a federal appellate court to reject a contrary decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals. The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center, which filed an amicus brief in the case and participated in the oral argument, applauds today’s ruling and calls on the Board to overturn its decision in Matter of Koljenovic, 25 I&N Dec. 219 (2010).

The case involved a 1996 amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that prevents immigration judges from considering evidence of hardship in certain cases involving immigrants who were “admitted” to the United States as LPRs. For many LPRs facing removal, the ability to obtain such a hardship waivers is the only means to avoid separation from U.S. family members. In its amicus brief, the Council argued that the Board ignored the plain language of the statute and improperly conflated applicants who entered the country as LPRs with those who gained LPR status post-entry.

The beneficiary of today’s decision, Zaman Hanif, has resided in the United States for more than 25 years. The Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against him in 2009 based on a criminal conviction that resulted in four months’ incarceration. Hanif sought a waiver of inadmissibility on account of the hardship his removal would create for his immediate family members, including his wife, two elderly parents, and U.S. citizen children.Read more...

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Immigration Issue Drifts Into Olympics Bid

Published on Fri, Oct 02, 2009

Is the U.S. losing some of its juice as a destination for foreign tourists? Syed Shahid Ali, a member of the International Olympic Committee from Pakistan, raised that issue ahead of the IOC picking Rio to host the 2016 Summer Games over Madrid, Tokyo and last-place finisher Chicago.

Published in the NY Daily News

Senate Floor Debate Must Maintain Spirit of Compromise

And Adhere to Certain Principles to Ensure A Workable System

Released on Tue, Jun 11, 2013

Washington D.C. – Today, the long-awaited opportunity to reform the country’s dysfunctional immigration system moves one step closer to reality as the full Senate begins consideration of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee set a high standard for civility and transparency during its markup of the bill last month, and we urge the full Senate to continue in this vein. The bill that emerged from committee offers a workable plan that takes a balanced approach to immigration reform. Evidence, rather than grandstanding and rhetoric, should drive the debate on the Senate floor. Common sense and good policy can trump political one-upmanship, as long as Senators keep the following principles in mind.Read more...

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UCLA study says legalizing undocumented immigrants would help the economy

Published on Thu, Jan 07, 2010

Even during the ongoing recession, immigration reform legislation that legalizes undocumented immigrants would boost the American economy, according to a new study out of UCLA. The report said that legalization, along with a program that allows for future immigration based on the labor market, would create jobs, increase wages and generate more tax revenue. Comprehensive immigration reform would add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years, according to the report.

Published in the L.A. Times

Understanding ICE’s Release of Immigrants with Criminal Convictions

Released on Thu, May 15, 2014

Washington D.C. - Understanding the complexities of immigration law and its intersection with criminal law is not easy. Over the past month, a flood of reports about enforcement policies and deportation data have compounded the confusion. Some of these reports were clearly designed to derail genuine and productive conversations around immigration policy reform. Case in point, this week the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) issued a paper that claims over 36,000 “criminal aliens” were released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.  

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Reviewing first year of immigration policy under Obama

Published on Tue, Mar 02, 2010

The Immigration Policy Center today has released a thoughtful and detailed analysis on the Obama administration's work on immigration. The report focuses on all the key areas: worksite raids, E-verify, detention, immigration benefits, reform, etc.

Here's just one quick excerpt on specific issues such as enforcement and border strategy.

 

Published in the Houston Chronicle

A Talk With Mary Giovagnoli

Published on Wed, Apr 21, 2010

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, ) has come under increasing criticism because of its poor treatment of would-be immigrants held in detention – including a number of unreported deaths – lack of medical facilities, administrative bungling resulting in loss of records, and absence of due process for detainees at ICE detention centers.

Published in the The World According to Bill Fisher Blog