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Will Obama’s deportation policy pose ‘nightmare’ for law enforcement?

Published on Fri, Aug 19, 2011

Sheriff Neil Warren, dubbed "Wild West Warren" by pro-immigration groups, has racked up nearly 15,000 immigration-related arrests in Cobb Country north of Atlanta. A new deportation policy announced Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security could mean that many of those arrested by Mr. Warren may not only get out of jail, but could go back to Cobb County with a legal work visa in hand.

Responding to criticism that the US deportation net has been cast too wide – sweeping up college kids, grandparents, and other noncriminal illegals – the Obama administration on Thursday formalized new rules that could mean release for many of the 300,000 people currently facing deportation in the US. Its goal will be to focus on deporting only the worst and most hardened criminals.

The move centers on prosecutorial discretion, with the Obama administration deciding whom it will and won't deport. Clearly, the shift has political ramifications, with Latino groups lauding the decision and conservative critics calling it a backdoor "administrative amnesty."

But perhaps more important to Main Street America is the question of how the new policy will affect police departments, primarily in the West and Southeast. Many of these departments have used federal programs as a means to arrest every illegal immigrant they come across. Now, the Department of Homeland Security's announcement introduces new uncertainty about whether many of those arrested will simply be sent back.

It is further proof that, until comprehensive immigration reform passes Congress, states and federal agencies will continue to nibble at the issue with different and often contradictory measures. In the meantime, the latest move makes for a "law enforcement nightmare," says the union that represents US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel.Read more...

Published in the Alaska Dispatch

UPDATE: IEC Comments on Proposed DS 7002 (July 2012)

July 05, 2012-- The International Exchange Center has responded to the second round of proposed revisions to the DS 7002. Read our full comments to the Department of State here.

Quick Fact: Immigrants support the economy by establishing Fortune 500 companies

Immigrant entrepreneurs established 18% of all Fortune 500 companies. Combined, these businesses have generated $1.7 trillion in annual revenue and currently employ 3.7 million workers worldwide.

Kris Kobach: Immigration bills likelier to pass

Published on Fri, Oct 14, 2011

LAWRENCE — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday that bills targeting people living in the United States illegally may be more likely to pass this year because of the pressure conservative candidates are applying on moderate state senators.

That includes, he said, a possible repeal of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.

Kobach, one of the nation's most prominent advocates for tougher immigration laws, shared his opinion after a wide-ranging discussion of the impact of illegal immigration at the State of the State Kansas Economic Policy Conference on the campus of the University of Kansas.

Kobach defended the controversial laws he co-authored for Arizona and Alabama that, among other things, require law enforcement officers to check immigration status when they've stopped someone on suspicion of any other crime and are suspicious the person is here illegally.

Alabama's law allows police to detain people without bond who can't prove their residency, and it also requires schools to check residency status when kids register. Since key parts of the law were upheld by a federal judge in late September, illegal immigrants have been fleeing the state and schools have reported higher absentee rates.

Kobach acknowledged that such an exodus was an intended outcome of the law he helped write for Alabama. It may decrease population, but it has opened jobs for legal residents.

His views were fiercely challenged.

Benjamin E. Johnson, executive director of the nonprofit American Immigration Council in Washington, D.C., said those laws undercut increasingly successful community policy efforts, use up time that officers could spend on more important matters, and lead to discrimination.

The laws specifically prohibit racial profiling.

Published in the The Wichita Eagle

Events and Awards

New stats released on political, economic role of Ariz. immigrants

Published on Fri, Jan 13, 2012

On Thursday, the research and data-gathering Immigration Policy Center released an extensive report detailing the vast contributions of immigrants to the U.S. The enlightening report titled “Strength in Diversity” breaks down by each state the information gathered and also makes important nationwide conclusions.

Nationally, the IPC estimates that 12.5 percent of U.S.-Americans are immigrants, rising steadily from 7.9 percent in 1990. In total, there are over 40 million immigrants in the U.S. today. Former Mexicans make up the largest segment of this country’s immigrant population at nearly 30 percent. The vast majority of U.S. immigrants are authorized residents, with just 28 percent undocumented. And the report estimates that at least 4.5 million native born U.S. citizen minors in this country have at least one undocumented parent. 

In addition, the statistics gathered by the IPC demonstrate the tremendous economic and political contributions made by immigrants to this country. Ten percent of all registered voters in the U.S. are naturalized immigrants or the U.S. citizen children of immigrants. More than 15 percent of all U.S. workers are foreign born, including 40 percent of our nation’s farming, fishing and forestry work force. And households headed by undocumented immigrants annually pay $11.2 billion in state and federal taxes. The IPC concludes that if the nation’s undocumented population were to be completely expelled, the U.S. would lose $551.6 billion in economic activity, $245 billion in gross domestic product and 2.8 million jobs.

In Arizona, specifically, the IPC estimates that 13.4 percent of the state’s population or 856,663 state residents are immigrants. This is up from 7.6 percent in 1990.Read more...

Published in the Tucson Examiner

"Undocumented and Unafraid"

Published on Thu, Mar 29, 2012

On March 14, Tania Chairez and Jessica Hyejin Lee walked into the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in downtown Philadelphia and handed over letters demanding the release of Miguel Orellana, an undocumented immigrant who has been detained for eight months at a Pennsylvania detention center. Both Chairez, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lee, a 20-year-old junior at Bryn Mawr College, were undocumented immigrants themselves, having been brought to the U.S. by their parents at ages 5 and 12, respectively. After making their demand, they exited the building, sat down in the middle of the street, and began shouting “Undocumented! Unafraid!” They were arrested after refusing to move, putting themselves at risk of deportation in the process.

With Washington unlikely to take up immigration reform any time soon, some immigrants, like activists in the Occupy and LGBT movements, are turning to more confrontational tactics. Young undocumented immigrants across the country have come out as “undocumented and unafraid” in the most conspicuous of places: in front of the Alabama Capitol; in Maricopa County, Ariz., home of Sheriff Joe Arpaio; in front of federal immigration courts; and even inside ICE offices, processing centers, and detention centers. While they sometimes have specific causes, such as Orellana’s release, they also had a larger demand: that the civil and human rights of all undocumented immigrants be recognized and respected.Read more...

Published in the

The LAC Docket | Volume I, Issue 3

The Newsletter of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center

June 3, 2011
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Obama Administration urged to exercise prosecutorial discretion in compelling cases

Frustrated by Congress’ failure to enact comprehensive reform, immigration advocates have increasingly advocated for a robust prosecutorial discretion policy that encourages immigration officers to grant relief from deportation in compelling cases. In a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in early April, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) asked the Department of Homeland Security to offer written guidance setting forth detailed criteria on the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. A subsequent legal memorandum released by the Immigration Council and co-signed by two general counsels of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service outlined specific steps the Administration could take to forestall removals in sympathetic cases. Read more...