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Big Breakthrough on Binational Gay, Lesbian Couples

Published on Thu, Aug 18, 2011

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

In a significant reprieve for the same-sex partners of American citizens facing the threat of deportation, the Obama administration on August 18 announced that such actions would no longer be pursued against foreign nationals unless they are identified as security threats, convicted criminals, or repeat immigration law violators.

The policy was rolled out in a letter from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In a telephone conference call with reporters, a senior administration official explained that the focus on those “high-priority” categories represents the latest in the government’s efforts to un-“clog” a deportation system that currently has 300,000 cases pending.

The Obama administration has already made a significant dent in shifting deportations toward priority cases, the official said. In fiscal year 2010, more than half of those deported were security risks or criminal convicts –– up from just 30 percent before the president took office –– and two-thirds of the remainder were repeat immigration law offenders, including deported individuals who had reentered the country.

The new policy was announced in response to a letter sent to President Barack Obama from 22 senators earlier this year asking that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) categorically stop deportation proceedings against young people who would have been covered had the Dream Act been approved by Congress. That bill aims to offer permanent residency to college students and military service personnel who are undocumented immigrants that arrived in the US as minors.

Like same-sex partners and other law-abiding undocumented immigrants, these young people should now largely be in the clear.Read more...

Published in the Chelsea Now

The J-1 in American Happy Hour

A Special Announcement for All J-1 Participants:

The International Exchange Center and the American Council on International Personnel are hosting a joint happy hour event in Manhattan, NY.

The event is a chance for you to connect with other J-1s living in the Greater New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area and share some of the experiences that are unique to exchange visitors currently living in the United States.
We are all very excited to meet some of the participants in our programs and to hear about your adventures, so please come and join us for our first meet up of the New Year!

EVENT:
The J-1 in America Happy Hour!

DATE&TIME:
Friday, 1.18.2013 @ 6:00PM - 8:00PM

LOCATION:
Jack Doyle’s
246 West 35th Street NY, NY 10001 (MAP)
(www.jackdoylesnyc.com)

There will be food, many opportunities to share your stories, and hopefully lots of laughter and great conversation all around. If you plan to attend, please send a short email to J1Program@immcouncil.org so we can get an idea of how many people are coming.

Thank you for being part of the International Exchange Center and we can’t wait to see you there!


-The International Exchange Center Staff

Quick Fact: The cost of detention

It costs roughly $166 per day for ICE to detain one person. ICE spends $5.5 million per day to detain 33,400 people in over 250 facilities. Furthermore, over half of detainees did not have criminal records and traffic offenses accounted for roughly 20 percent of those who did have criminal records.

Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation: Caught Up In Confusion, Lost Records, Inconsistent Policy Enforcement And Difficult Choices

Published on Fri, Nov 18, 2011

PLANO, Texas -- The worst shock of Maria Navarro's life came, fittingly, on Halloween. Weeks later, she still is afraid, asking that her real name not be used, recounting her story over the phone and hiding out with her three U.S.-born children at the home of relatives.

In the pre-dawn, federal agents arrested Navaro's husband, Ramiro, as he made his way to his plumbing job. Within hours, he had been deported. He broke the news to his wife over the phone from his hometown in north-central Mexico's Guanajuato state.

"He is disillusioned," she said. "He spent the last 20 years in the United States. He made his life here. This is where his children were born."

Ramiro's is just one case in the record number of undocumented immigrants being deported by the Obama administration -- nearly 400,000 in the last fiscal year. Many are whisked quickly across the border. Increasingly, they're deported without speaking to a lawyer or having a proper hearing, according to a recent report from the National Immigration Law Center, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group.

An official at the Mexican Consulate and a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Dallas said they found no record of the immigration raid that netted Ramiro and seven other men on Oct. 31.

Roberto Nicolas, the consular official, said in an email it was "not a common practice for deportations to occur on the same day."

Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman in Dallas, also wrote in an email that he "did not find any information regarding these actions taken in that location that day."

Immigration attorney Kathleen Walker believes that Navarro may have been swept up in a little-known federal program called "stipulated removal."Read more...

Published in the The Huffington Post

Staff

DIRECTORS

Executive Director
Benjamin E. Johnson

Policy Director
Beth Werlin

Legal Director
Melissa Crow

Cultural Exchange Director
Lois C. Magee

Finance & Operations Director
Wilma Linares

Communications Director
Wendy Feliz

Fundraising & Development Director
Megan Hess

STAFF

Legal 
Melissa Crow, Director
Emily Creighton, Senior Staff Attorney
Leslie Dellon, Business Litigation Fellow
Lindsay M. Harris, Legal Fellow
Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney
Kristin Macleod-Ball, Staff Attorney
Catalina Restrepo, Legal Assistant

Policy
Beth Werlin, Director
Guillermo Cantor, Deputy Director of Research
Walter Ewing, Senior Researcher
Tory Johnson, Policy AssistantRead more...

Saying "sí" to business opportunities

Published on Wed, Jan 18, 2012

Manny and Vicky Gonzalez are reminded each day that it isn’t only Spanish speaking people who stop to purchase Mexican (“tortas”) sandwiches at their two restaurants in Minneapolis.

“A lot of Minnesotans have learned that there is more to Mexican food than tacos,” said Manny, who with his wife started Manny’s Tortas along Lake Street in 1999.

In the past century, long-time Minnesota families learned there was more to Italian cuisine than pizza, and that Chinese food is regional and far more complex than chow mein. Now, Minnesotans with newly acquired tastes for the Gonzalez’s Mexican sandwiches drive from throughout the Twin Cities metro area to their two shops in Minneapolis’ Mercado Central and Midtown Global Market.    

U.S. Census data from 2010, anecdotal evidence about immigrant entrepreneurship, and a recently released study from the Immigration Policy Center show Minnesota is rapidly changing. Days of sputtering along and resisting change should be behind us. New Minnesotans are changing the demographic portrait of the state and communities. New ethnic entrepreneurs are changing the mix of businesses and the products and services being offered in commerce.

Hector Garcia, executive director of the Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC), refers to the benefits of this commerce as “cultural complementarities.” The long established Minnesota society learns from immigrants and refugees entering the state in search of opportunities, he said, and new arrivals learn from established businesses, groups and people.

What’s more, new Census data show that immigrants now comprise 8.3 percent of the Minnesota workforce. From them, Garcia said, existing Minnesota businesses and its large corporations gain knowledge for opening even more trade and business relationships with countries and businesses abroad, paving the way for even more economic activity.Read more...

Published in the Twin Cities Daily Planet

Organizations in Your Community

Educators, community organizers and civic leaders interested in engaging your community with service learning projects? Find local organizations committed to immigrant rights, integration and social justice. Read more...

Kansas Officials Await Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law

Published on Sun, Apr 08, 2012

TOPEKA — Kansas hasn’t adopted an Arizona-like immigration law, but several current and former elected officials from Kansas have chosen sides as the issue goes before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court will hear arguments April 25 in the legal battle between the state of Arizona and the federal government over the immigration law known as Senate Bill 1070.

Kris Kobach, a Republican who before being elected Kansas secretary of state gained national attention by pushing tough anti-immigration laws, helped write SB 1070. The measure was adopted by the Arizona Legislature and enacted by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010.

The law contained a number of controversial provisions that are now front and center before the Supreme Court.

One of the most controversial requires local police in Arizona to determine the immigration status of anyone stopped if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

The Justice Department says regulating immigration is the job of the federal government, not the states. Officials in Arizona, a state bordering Mexico, say the feds haven’t done their jobs and that is one of the reasons for SB 1070.

In addition to legal briefs from the specific parties in the case, the Supreme Court has received approximately 40 legal briefs from others who support and oppose SB 1070, according to a report completed by the Immigration Policy Center, a nonpartisan group whose mission “is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration.”

Kansas is one of 16 states that have signed on in support of SB 1070. That decision was made by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican. Schmidt’s office says he supports preserving powers of states to promote public safety. His office said Kansas has not spent any money in the litigation.Read more...

Published in the Lawrence Journal World

Leadership Roster

American Immigration Council 2014-2015 Leadership Roster


Lori Chesser, Chair

Davis Brown Law Firm

Lori Chesser is a senior shareholder of the Davis Brown Law Firm and the chair of the Firm's immigration Department. She has a background in finance and corporate law, but has been practicing primarily in immigration law for 20 years.

Lori represents individuals and companies in employment-based immigration applications for both temporary and permanent positions, assists in making visa applications, trains and advises companies on I-9 compliance and audit response, and helps plan immigration strategy for business owners and entrepreneurs. She also assists in family-based immigration, including fiancé(e) visa applications and marriage-based and other family-related immigration issues. Finally, she advises clients on maintaining permanent residence and applying for naturalization, and works in conjunction with the firm's tax and estate planning departments to optimize immigration status for financial planning purposes.

Read more...

What happens next in Arizona?

Published on Mon, Jun 25, 2012

IPC staff lawyer Ben Winograd was quoted in a Washington Post blog post covering what the Supreme Court decision will mean in Arizona: Read more...

Published in the The Washington Post