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Utah's Immigration Solution Not a National Model

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...

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The LAC Docket | Volume IV, Issue 3

The American Immigration Council Docket

June 17, 2014
Our Work | Quick Links | Donate

OUR WORK

The American Immigration Council welcomes Leslie Dellon, who will be joining us in July as our Business Litigation Fellow. As a member of the Council’s legal team, Leslie will spearhead a national effort to challenge current agency policies and practices on employment-based immigration issues.


 

Systemic Reforms

     Systemic Reform

 


Heavily-Divided Supreme Court Upholds Matter of WangRead more...

LAC Urges Eighth Circuit to Reject Departure Bar to Review

Released on Mon, Jul 25, 2011

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 byourish@immcouncil.org.

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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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Anti-immigration activists see opportunity in health care debate

Published on Thu, Aug 13, 2009

When President Obama showed up for a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday, he heard more than just protests against health care.

Published in the Minnesota Independent

Thankful for a New Conversation on Immigration Reform

Released on Fri, Nov 23, 2012

Dear Friend:

Two weeks ago, many national leaders awoke to a new political and demographic reality—one that they had long suspected and been warned about, but couldn’t quite believe until the election results were in. The unmistakable lessons of this political season are that national elections are won by uniting a diverse coalition of American voters and promoting positive solutions to the challenges that face our nation. 

The good news for our political system is that neither party has a monopoly on the ability to meet this new demand. These lessons reflect a need and an opportunity to break through the partisan gridlock that has crippled the nation and to build broad coalitions in support of real solutions that are driven by messages that unite us rather than divide us.   Nowhere is this clearer than in the immigration debate.   Misguided and mean-spirited ideas like “self-deportation” no longer have credibility on the national stage. The strategy of ignoring the human and economic toll of “enforcement only” policies and refusing to reform an outdated and dysfunctional immigration system must be put to rest once and for all.   The shrill voices of the nativist fringe must give way to the chorus of conservative and progressive voices that have long called for a path towards citizenship for the 11 million undocumented (including the courageous DREAMers who helped to shape this new political reality) and the creation of a 21st century immigration system that allows families and businesses to flourish and succeed.Read more...

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New Report Finds Legalization of Immigrants Substantially Improves Economic Status

Published on Thu, Nov 05, 2009

A new report prepared for the Immigration Policy Center finds that illegal immigrants who gained legal status in the 1980s via the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) went on to earn substantial gains in their socioeconomic status. The report suggests that, contrary to the idea that legalizing immigrants will increase competition for scarce jobs in the U.S., legalization of many of the 11 million or so current undocumented immigrants would actually yield economic benefits, not only for the immigrants but for the U.S. economy as a whole.

Published in the The Washington Independent

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...

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Study: Immigration Reform Would Boost US Economy

Published on Fri, Jan 08, 2010

If the United States were to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the country, it could boost its gross domestic product by $1.5 trillion in just 10 years, a new study claims.Conducted by a U.C.L.A. economist and released by the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan research institute based in Washington, the study argues that if comprehensive immigration reform were passed it would result in higher wages, which would lead to a rise in consumption that, in turn, would create more jobs and generate more tax revenue.

Published in the Sphere