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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Update - July 23, 2014

Read our previous Entrepreneurship and Innovation Newsletters here.

Latest Research

Immigrants offset population decline and aging workforce in Midwest metropolitan areas. A June 25 piece for Immigration Impact highlights a new report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs exploring immigration’s impact on changing populations in the Midwest. “The metropolitan areas of Midwestern states are experiencing slow rates of growth and even declining populations,” the report said. “The arrival of immigrants over the past decade has helped to reverse these trends.” Furthermore, “immigrants play a key role in the Midwest economy because the Midwest’s Baby Boomers are moving into retirement and the native-born population as a whole is aging.”Read more...

DHS Announces Expansion of Prosecutorial Discretion Guidelines

Signals Opportunity to Regain Common Sense

Released on Thu, Aug 18, 2011

Washington D.C. - Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would put guidelines in place across all immigration agencies to ensure that its enforcement priorities are focused on removing persons who are most dangerous to the country.

In a letter to Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and other senators who had requested that DHS consider deferring the removal of all DREAM Act eligible students, DHS announced that it would not categorically defer removal, but that persons who were not high priority targets for removal would have the opportunity to request prosecutorial discretion on a case by case basis. Low priority cases—previously identified in a prosecutorial discretion memo issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on June 17—include persons who are not criminals and have been in the country since childhood, have strong community ties, are veterans or relatives of persons in the armed services, are caregivers, have serious health issues, are victims of crime or otherwise have a strong basis for remaining in the United States.

DHS announced the creation of a joint committee with the Department of Justice that will review nearly 300,000 cases currently in removal proceedings and determine which cases are low priority and can be administratively closed. In addition, agency-wide guidance will be issued to ICE, USCIS and CBP officers to ensure that they appropriately exercise discretion when determining whether a low priority case should be referred to immigration court.

Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, stated:Read more...

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Struggling Over Words in Immigration Reform

Published on Sun, Aug 23, 2009

Detractors of immigration reform legislation managed to defeat an effort to get it through Congress in 2006 and 2007 partly through publicly deriding the proposals as "amnesty bills," defining the legislation as efforts to give illegal immigrants a penalty-free opportunity to remain in the United States.

Published in the Homeland Security Today

AIC Reveals Government’s Interference with Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel

Released on Thu, May 31, 2012

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center released a report and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on the pressing issue of noncitizens’ access to counsel. Reports from across the country indicate that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration agencies—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—often interfere with noncitizens’ access to counsel in benefits interviews, interrogations, and other types of administrative proceedings outside of immigration court. Depending on the context, immigration officers completely bar attorney participation, impose unwarranted restrictions on access to legal counsel, or strongly discourage noncitizens from seeking legal representation at their own expense.

A joint report by the Legal Action Center and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights, Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel, describes restrictions on access to legal representation before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat these harmful practices. It also addresses recent changes to USCIS’s guidance that are intended to expand access to legal representation.

Also today, in collaboration with Dorsey & Whitney LLP, the Legal Action Center filed a lawsuit against ICE and DHS to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before ICE. This is the third of three FOIA lawsuits filed by the LAC seeking records from DHS’s immigration agencies regarding their policies on access to counsel in DHS proceedings.Read more...

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American Immigration Law Foundation Announces Creative Writing Contest Winners

Published on Fri, May 09, 2008

The American Immigration Law Foundation announced the winners of the 11th annual "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest this week.

Published in the CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE

National Wave of Complaints Highlights Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Released on Wed, Mar 13, 2013

For Immediate Release

National Wave of Complaints Highlights Rampant Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
and Dire Need for Reform

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states.   

This effort, which was coordinated by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, highlights CBP agents’ unlawful use of their enforcement authority. Border Patrol agents routinely exceed their statutory mandate by conducting enforcement activities outside border regions, making racially motivated arrests, employing derogatory and coercive interrogation tactics, and imprisoning arrestees under inhumane conditions. The cases include claims for unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.

Among the cases filed: Read more...

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ICE audit targeting 1,000 companies

Published on Thu, Nov 19, 2009

U.S. immigration officials put an unprecedented 1,000 businesses — including 42 in the Houston metro area — on notice Thursday that their paperwork would be inspected to make sure they don't employ illegal immigrants.

Published in the Houston Chronicle

New “Pocket DACA” Mobile App Helps Young Immigrants Apply for Deferred Action

Released on Wed, Aug 14, 2013

Washington, D.C. - The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), and the Own the Dream campaign are proud to announce the launch of a new "Pocket DACA" app for smartphones and tablets that will help immigrants brought to this country as children understand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process. Through DACA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is granting two-year, renewable reprieves from deportation to eligible young immigrants who meet certain criteria.

The free app, available for download from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores, offers a self-screening tool for DACA applicants to understand their eligibility and a searchable directory of listings for immigration legal services providers, including non-profit groups, in all 50 states. The app also includes links to news about the deferred action process and frequently asked questions.

"This app is yet another way that AILA's national organization and members are reaching out to the young undocumented population who may be eligible for this potentially life-changing opportunity, while offering protection from scammers who may try to take advantage of a vulnerable population," said Laura Lichter, AILA's Immediate Past President who was involved in developing a related online screening tool.

"AIC is proud to have been a part of the development of this new app, which includes an easy-to-use and accurate screening tool and answers questions potential applicants may have. This free app will leverage the power of technology and social media to help young immigrants decide whether to apply for this temporary relief," said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.Read more...

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MA election's impact on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Published on Sun, Jan 24, 2010

Congress has a 41st Republican senator, but Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is challenging that notion. Yes, Graham does gain a new Republican colleague on Capitol Hill very soon (Senator-elect Scott Brown, of Massachusetts). In response to that, though, Graham announced on Friday his “willingness to tackle tough issues, including immigration” by breaking from partisan politics and finding a way to cooperate with the Democrats.

Of the Senator’s announcement, Immigration Impact’s Travis Packer quoted Graham as saying:

“Is the message that Democrats shouldn’t take on anything controversial and is the message that we should not work with them on anything controversial? … How much risk aversion does it create in the United States Senate to deal with tough issues like energy independence, climate change and immigration? … I hope that’s not the message. It’s not the message to me. The real reason we’re all here is to govern the country and do hard things.”

Published in the The E xaminer

U.S. District Court in D.C. Hears First Arguments Against Executive Action on Immigration

Released on Mon, Dec 22, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in the case brought against executive action by notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is seeking to enjoin the DACA and DAPA programs based on the increased burden on his law enforcement office that would allegedly result from these programs. Specifically, Arpaio’s theory is that the President’s executive actions will cause a “flood” of “millions more illegal aliens,” and in turn a “crime wave”—because many “illegal aliens… are repeat offenders.”

Melissa Crow, the Legal Director at the American Immigration Council was in the courtroom today and issued the following statement:

“It was clear that attorney representing Arpaio, Larry Klayman, a well-known conservative lawyer who founded Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch, was struggling to demonstrate the type of “concrete and particularized” injury that is required to bring a challenge of this nature, or that the alleged harms would be a direct result of DACA or DAPA.  While disagreeing adamantly with the government’s argument that DACA and DAPA would promote public safety by enabling DHS to focus on high priority threats, he failed to provide any compelling explanation for his position.

“Judge Beryl Howell asked probing questions to determine whether Sheriff Arpaio had established that he had “standing” under the law. She listened attentively to Mr. Klayman’s responses, but seemed skeptical that he had met his burden of proof. Before concluding the hearing, Judge Howell indicated that she would issue her rulings very shortly on both Sheriff Arpaio’s motion for a preliminary injunction and the government’s motion to dismiss the case.Read more...

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