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DHS Does Right by Some Haitians, Extends Protected Status

Published on Wed, May 18, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security has decided to show some reason and compassion in its dealings with Haitians who might have been headed for deportation as soon as their Temporary Protected Status was set to expire this summer. On Tuesday, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department would be extending TPS for Haitian nationals another 18 months, through January 2013.

Under the new extension, Haitians who have been in the country since January 12 of this year will be eligible to stay in the U.S. and be legally allowed to work in the country. The Obama administration originally announced that it would grant TPS to Haitians as a result of the devastating earthquake last year. TPS is typically granted on a limited basis to folks from countries mired in war or natural disaster, where returning would be too dangerous. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 48,000 Haitians are in the country under Temporary Protected Status. Around 60,000 or so initially applied for TPS—far fewer than the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 undocumented Haitian-Americans in the country at the time.

“In the extended aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, the United States has remained fully committed to upholding our responsibility to assist individuals affected by this tragedy by using tools available under the law,” Napolitano said.

“Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.”

Immigration policy experts and advocates applauded the announcement, and Napolitano’s use of her discretionary powers to help ease the suffering of folks who would be sent back to a country that is still in dangerous disarray.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

Criminal Alien Program (CAP)

The Criminal Alien Program (“CAP”) is one of the federal government’s largest and least understood immigration enforcement programs. Through CAP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents screen detainees in jails and prisons across the country and place those deemed removable into immigration proceedings. Between 2005 and 2010, CAP led to the arrest of more than a million people, and the program was implicated in approximately half of all removal proceedings in FY 2009. As a result of CAP, ICE often deports individuals before they have been convicted of a crime or have had the opportunity to speak with an immigration attorney. CAP’s operations vary widely. In some jurisdictions, ICE agents work in jails to routinely interview and process prisoners. At other facilities, ICE agents interview detainees either during regular or ad hoc visits, or by telephone or video conference. Some counties give ICE full access to jails, while other localities limit agents’ access to certain hours or days of the week. Despite CAP’s role in removing hundreds of thousands of individuals each year, very little information about CAP is available to the public. What little is known about the program suggests that CAP targets individuals with little or no criminal history and incentivizes pretextual stops and racial profiling. The LAC and its partners are engaged in litigation intended to enhance public understanding and oversight of one the federal government’s most ubiquitous enforcement programs.

CASES

Lawsuit Against ICE for Failure to Disclose CAP Records

AIC v. DHS, No. 12- 00355 (D. Conn. filed March 8, 2010)Read more...

America Through Sonja Haenzelmann’s Lense

November, 2010

The International Exchange Center is proud to announce Sonja Haenzelmann as this month’s Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American culture. Sonja is also the winner of last month’s photo contest on our Facebook page!

Read more...

Economists say Alabama's tough new immigration law could damage state's economy

Published on Sat, Jul 16, 2011

MONTGOMERY -- Supporters of the state's new immigration law called it a jobs program when it was being debated in the Legislature, but some economists predict it will put the stigma of the 1960s back on Alabama.

In enacting what has been described as the nation's toughest immigration law, some fear the Legislature's action will backfire, possibly driving away industrial prospects as it promises to chase away thousands of Hispanics holding jobs in construction, food service, manufacturing and agriculture.

Dr. Keivan Deravi, an economics professor at Auburn Montgomery and budget adviser to the Legislature, says the law wasn't supported by facts and wasn't based on "real economic theories and research."

"It is the wrong message sent to the rest of the nation and the business world, especially considering the degree of ongoing globalization," he said.

But Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, the Senate sponsor of the immigration bill, called that view a wish of "something bad on the state."

"A business invests where it gets a good quality product and work force," he said. "I don't believe for a minute that it (immigration law) will keep them from coming here. I do not believe it hurts us on the world stage."

Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, the House sponsor of the bill, did not return a phone call.

The law is scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, although a coalition of civil rights groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit that asserts it is unconstitutional because it interferes with federal authority over immigration matters.

Dr. Chris Westley, associate professor of economics at Jacksonville State University, said the law raises the "perception factor" about the state and that capital investment "will tend to avoid Alabama relative to other Southern states."Read more...

Published in the Alabama.com

Court Upholds Arizona Law Mandating E-Verify, Creating Employer Sanctions

Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 563 U. S. __, 131 S. Ct. 1968 (2011)

In a 5-3 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007 is not preempted by federal law. The Arizona law mandates the use of E-Verify by all employers within the state and allows Arizona courts to suspend or revoke the business license of any employer who “knowingly or intentionally” violates federal employment verification requirements. Read more...

Rick Perry, immigration enforcement and the Florida Legislature

Published on Fri, Sep 30, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s statements on immigration in Florida last week and the reaction of immigration enforcement only policy supporters seems to be having an impact on the Florida Legislature.

According to The Miami Herald:

Florida’s Tea Party activists say they will accept nothing short of requiring every employer to check the immigration status of their workers through the federal E-verify program in January when legislators convene in regular session. But armed with the support of Florida’s powerful agriculture and business groups, the same legislative leaders who last year promised Arizona-style immigration reform are now barely offering tentative support for it.

The Herald adds: “House Speaker Dean Cannon, whose chamber proposed but never passed an Arizona-style immigration enforcement plan last year, said that immigration reform may take a back seat to balancing the budget, reapportionment and strengthening the economy.”

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis, R-Merritt Island, said last week that his chamber would pass the same immigration bill it passed in the 2011 session. At this year’s RedState Gathering, Gov. Rick Scott said that an immigration enforcement bill “will happen this session.”

According to Numbers USA — an organization that wants “lower immigration levels” — Perry’s results in the Florida straw poll can be blamed on his weak stance on immigration enforcement. The group writes that “Texas Gov. Rick Perry is proving that appearing to be more concerned about illegal-alien workers than about unemployed Americans doesn’t work in Republican primaries.”Read more...

Published in the The Florida Independent

ANNOUNCEMENT: The AILA/AIC India Tour (November 2013)

JOIN THE AILA/AIC INDIA TOUR!
(November 9/11 - 21, 2013)

The American Immigration Council's International Exchange Center is co-sponsoring a once in a lifetime opportunity for cultural exchange in India. AILA and AIC have partnered to develop a program that combines international exchange with visits to the three main U.S. consulates that handle visa applications for your India-based clients. Learn about the unique issues and sensitivities in the various regions; network with business groups and professionals; and meet with U.S. consular officials.

Space is filling quickly, so REGISTER TODAY!

Contact Jai Misra at jmisra@immcouncil.org to obtain the registration packet with trip details and cost information.Read more...

Quick Fact: Latino-owned Businesses Add Billions to the U.S. Economy

At last count, the nation’s 2.3 million Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $350.7 billion and employed 1.9 million people.

Anchor Baby: A Term Redefined as a Slur

Published on Thu, Dec 08, 2011

What does the term “anchor baby” mean? If you were to look it up in the American Heritage Dictionary, you would find a new definition since last week.

The term was among some 10,000 new words and phrases in the fifth edition of the dictionary, published in November. It was defined as: “A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.”

But when Steve Kleinedler, the executive editor of the dictionary, read that definition during a radio interview last month, it troubled Mary Giovagnoli, the director of the Immigration Policy Center, a pro-immigration research group in Washington.

The once-obscure term has been used frequently in the recent debate over whether to change the Constitution to deny automatic American citizenship to children born in this country to illegal immigrant parents.

Last Friday morning, Ms. Giovagnoli posted an angry item on the center’s blog, saying the dictionary “masks the poisonous and derogatory nature of the term, a term which demeans both parent and child.” Her item soared into the blogosphere. By Friday afternoon, Mr. Kleinedler had called Ms. Giovagnoli.Read more...

Published in the New York Times