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Defining Roles: Federal vs. State Immigration Authority

Closing the Floodgates and Reasserting the Constitution

Released on Tue, Jun 22, 2010

Washington D.C. - Today, the small town of Fremont, Nebraska is in the headlines after passing an ordinance that requires among other things that renters apply for an occupancy license - which also requires a legal immigration status check - before renting an apartment or home.

Although Fremont, Nebraska, and Arizona are the latest localities to propose measures designed to control and manage immigration, there have been many more attempts over the past seven years to pass similar bills. Like the other efforts before them, there will be rationalizations for their passage and legal challenges to their implementation. Millions of dollars will be spent as these laws are battled in state houses, city halls, and the courts. However, the larger question is whether the federal government will continue to sit idly by as a patchwork of legislation proliferates around the country or will it finally assert its role, as defined by the Constitution, and delineate local authority with respect to federal immigration law?Read more...

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Christopher Lasch, Esq.

Christopher Lasch is Assistant Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Professor Lasch’s scholarship focuses generally on the intersection of immigration and criminal law, and particularly on the legal validity of immigration detainer practices.

Legal Action Center Urges Court to Strike Down Regulation Barring Post-Departure Motions to Reopen

Released on Fri, Mar 11, 2011

Washington D.C. - This week, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center, joined by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted an amicus brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Contreras-Bocanegra v. Holder, urging the court to strike down the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) regulation barring review of motions to reopen filed by noncitizens outside the United States. The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the BIA to abandon its misguided regulation.

 

Federal law gives noncitizens the right to file motions to submit new evidence after their removal orders become final. For many years, the BIA has wrongly determined that it cannot consider such a motion if a foreign national is outside the United States. This policy gives the government a perverse incentive to remove noncitizens from the country before they have an opportunity to submit evidence that could change the outcome of their cases. Moreover, the policy is at odds with provisions of a harsh 1996 immigration law that resulted in a dramatic reduction in due process rights and expansion of expedited removal but that made it clear that noncitizens had the opportunity to seek review of unfavorable decisions from outside the United States.

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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Update - January 2015

Read our previous Entrepreneurship and Innovation Newsletters here.

Latest Research

New report illustrates how immigrant “Main Street” businesses help local economies grow. A new report from Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) explores ways in which immigrant small businesses contribute to local economies. In addition to quantifying the role of immigrants as small business owners in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, the report takes an in-depth look at how immigrant entrepreneurship has promoted economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in three cities: Philadelphia, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Nashville. Read more...

Dissecting the HALT Act: Last Safety Valves in Immigration System Under Attack

Released on Mon, Jul 25, 2011

Washington D.C. - Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement will hold a hearing on the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act” (HALT Act), a bill that would suspend discretionary forms of immigration relief until January 21, 2013—the day after the next Presidential inauguration. 

Today, the Immigration Policy Center held a briefing to describe how the HALT Act systematically attacks many of the discretionary forms of relief available to immigrants. Immigration policy experts described the implications of limiting the Administration’s discretion in prosecuting immigration cases, as well as the impetus behind the bill. 

Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, said:

“The HALT Act seeks to disable or suspend a number of immigration provisions that provide any discretionary relief to immigrants in order to chastise the Administration for a series of policy memos that contemplate using executive branch authority to improve current laws. Its authors seek to discourage the Administration from interpreting the law in ways that are more streamlined or benefit more individuals.” 

Beth Werlin, Deputy Director of the Legal Action Center, further explained:

“By taking away the power to grant deferred action, the HALT Act is basically interfering with the Administration’s ability to prioritize its removal cases and focus its resources on serious criminals and those who pose a true security risk.”

Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, commented on the impetus behind the bill:Read more...

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Immigration reshaping the political landscape

Published on Sun, Aug 23, 2009

New U.S. citizens like Ignacia J

Published in the The Santa Fe New Mexican

Practice Advisory on Supreme Court’s Favorable Decision in Vartelas v. Holder

Released on Thu, Apr 05, 2012

Washington, D.C.—Last week, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Vartelas v. Holder, holding that the Fleuti doctrine still applies to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with pre-IIRIRA convictions. This means that LPRs with convictions before April 1, 1997 who travel abroad do not, upon their return, face inadmissibility if their trip was brief, casual and innocent.

Today, the Legal Action Center, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild are issuing a Practice Advisory, Vartelas v. Holder: Implications for LPRs Who Take Brief Trips Abroad and Other Potential Favorable Impacts, which describes the Court’s decision and offers strategies for LPRs who are affected by it. Of particularly note, some LPRs with final orders may want to consider filing motions to reconsider within 30 days of the Court’s March 28 decision. The advisory also discusses some of the other potential favorable impacts of the decision, including support for challenging the retroactive application of other immigration provisions and support for a broad reading of the criminal defense lawyer’s duty under Padilla v. Kentucky.

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For more information, contact Seth Garfinkel at sgarfinkel@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7516.

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Sunday Pops

Published on Sat, Aug 01, 2009

Those much ballyhooed public state House-Senate conference committee hearings designed to end the long budget impasse were quickly suspended last week. And, as predicted here, a whining Gov. Rendell took the talks back behind closed doors. It's another exercise in screw-the-public politics.

Published in the Pittsburgh Tribune

LAC Releases Two Practice Advisories Relating to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Released on Wed, Jan 30, 2013

For Immediate Release

LAC Releases Two Practice Advisories Relating to
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Washington, D.C. - The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to release two new practice advisories relating to issues faced by DACA applicants:

“Brief, Casual and Innocent” Absences from the United States

“Brief, casual and innocent” absences from the United States do not interrupt continuous residence for purposes of DACA eligibility.  This practice advisory discusses the “brief, casual and innocent” standard under existing case law.  Though such case law may inform USCIS’s review of absences from the United States, DACA adjudicators are not bound by these decisions.  Courts have often adopted generous interpretations of the “brief, casual and innocent” standard, and it is hoped that USCIS will do the same in the DACA context.

Inspection and Entry at a Port of Entry: Where is There an Admission? 

The second practice advisory – which applies beyond the DACA context – discusses entries in three common situations: where a noncitizen is “waved” through a port of entry with no questions asked; where entry is gained by fraud or misrepresentation; and where there is a false claim to U.S. citizenship.  With respect to each situation, the practice advisory explores whether an “admission” has occurred, the individual’s immigration status upon entry, and the immigration consequences of the action.  It also discusses the impact of these three types of entries on a DACA application.

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