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DHS Extends Temporary Protected Status to Haitians

Released on Tue, May 17, 2011

Washington D.C. - Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took an important step on behalf of Haitians affected by last year’s devastating earthquake, demonstrating the humanitarian side of its immigration responsibilities.  Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that DHS would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional eighteen months for Haitians currently residing in the United States. She also announced that she would permit Haitians who arrived up to one year after the earthquake, many of whom came in on visitor visas and other authorized measures, to apply for TPS.  The following is a statement from Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center.

“We applaud DHS’s decision both to extend the timing of TPS and to broaden the scope of people who qualify for it. In the chaotic days following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the men and women of DHS worked hard to provide relief to survivors, admitting many people temporarily to save them from devastation, disease, and starvation. While DHS quickly designated TPS status for those Haitians residing in the U.S. at the time of the earthquake, many others who came to the U.S. within days or weeks of the disaster were ineligible for TPS, but were also unable to return home. Today’s announcement addresses these problems and recognizes the extraordinary need for a compassionate and humane response to the devastation in Haiti.Read more...

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AILA-AIC Survey Reveals ICE Officials' Sporadic Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion

Released on Wed, Nov 09, 2011

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (AIC) released a new survey today finding that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and attorneys across the country are applying different standards on prosecutorial discretion despite the issuance of national policy memoranda this summer. The report, which includes inform ation about all 28 ICE offices nationwide, shows that most ICE offices have not even implemented the two headquarters’ memos. These discrepancies reflect a need for ICE and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership to issue additional guidance to its rank and file.

“We felt that ICE’s June 2011 memoranda about the use of prosecutorial discretion in certain types of immigration cases were clear and straightforward,” said AILA President Eleanor Pelta. “But,” Pelta continued, “these survey results show that ICE agents and attorneys are not willing to use the discretion they are responsible for implementing without further guidance. They are asking for more, and the agency’s leadership should help them get it,” said Pelta.

According to Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, "the June 2011 memo lays out a basic premise in law enforcement: the proper exercise of discretion is an integral part of any law enforcement effort to focus its resources effectively. If, as this survey reveals, many local immigration officials are unwilling to accept this basic premise, then the challenge for DHS and ICE is to back the memo up with the leadership, training and support necessary to make sure that these policies are actually being implemented."Read more...

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Senate Hopeful Mark Kirk facing Upward Battle for Immigrant Votes

Published on Wed, Aug 19, 2009

New voter data shows Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) is facing a major challenge in his run for President Obama's former Senate seat. Immigrant advocacy groups say Kirk will have to make changes to his stance on immigration reform if he wants a fighting chance at gaining Illinois' growing immigrant vote.

Published in the Public News Service

Updated Practice Advisory on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Released on Mon, Aug 13, 2012

For Immediate Release

Updated Practice Advisory on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

August 13, 2012 

Washington, D.C.— The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to release an updated Practice Advisory, Deferred Action for Childhood ArrivalsThis Practice Advisory analyzes DHS guidance regarding the eligibility criteria and application process for the Obama administration’s new initiative to grant deferred action to certain individuals who came to the United States as children.  It also offers strategic advice for attorneys representing individuals who may qualify for deferred action under this initiative.  The LAC issued this advisory jointly with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

For additional resources related to the deferred action announcement, visit the Immigration Policy Center’s websiteRead more...

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Naturalización en 1986 trajo beneficios al país

Published on Thu, Nov 05, 2009

Undocumented Mexican migrants who won their legalization during the 1986 amnesty showed a marked improvement in their economic status, education levels increased substantially and thousands visibly moved out of poverty without relying on public assistance.

Published in the La Opinión

Senate Legislative Process Must Maintain Spirit of Compromise

The Process Must Adhere to Certain Principles to Ensure A Workable System

Released on Thu, May 09, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins “mark-up” of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. In an unprecedented move by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Charles Grassley, all amendments have been made publicly available in order to make the process more transparent and inclusive. Although nearly 300 amendments have been filed, the Committee will only take up a limited number over the course of the mark-up. It’s important that the amendments considered are those that really seek to improve and perfect the bill, rather than attempt to undermine it.

The point of a committee mark-up process is to expose a bill to careful scrutiny and debate. It is not the place for political grandstanding. Now more than ever, the Senate Judiciary Committee must use its authority to ensure that the immigration bill is workable, fair, and practical.

The United States needs a workable, efficient, and flexible immigration system that responds to the rapidly changing demands of a 21st century economy, technologies, and migration patterns. People live and work and create in ways that are different than they were twenty years ago, and yet our immigration system continues to operate on a series of static quotas and rigid requirements that ignore advances in every sector of our economy and the way we live today.

Additionally, we cannot wall ourselves away from the world. Many of the amendments that will be offered today will deal with border security and revisit the oft-repeated attempts to build a wall around this country—either through border fencing or by adding layers of national security screenings. We need to do what is smart, secure, and effective for immigration policy, but we should not revert back to the period of fear and suspicion that dominated immigration reform in the last decade. To be clear:
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New rules for asylum seekers go into effect this week

Published on Tue, Jan 05, 2010

New immigration rules go into effect this week for people seeking asylum in the United States. It's part of the overhaul of the US detention system announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last summer. Previously, many asylum seekers were put into detention - sometimes for many years - while their cases were pending. Mary Giovagnoli is the Director of the Immigration Policy Center and specializes in asylum law.

Published in the Free Speech Radio

LAC Issues Updated Practice Advisory on Stays of Removal in the Courts of Appeals

Released on Fri, Jan 24, 2014

The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) announces the release of an updated practice advisory, Seeking a Judicial Stay of Removal in the Court of Appeals

Filing a petition for review of a removal order does not automatically stay an individual’s removal from the United States. A court of appeals, however, may issue a judicial stay of removal to prevent the government from deporting a person while his or her petition for review is pending before the court. In Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 434 (2009), the Supreme Court instructed courts to adjudicate stay motions by applying the “traditional” standard for a stay. Under this standard, the courts must consider the likelihood of success on the merits, the harm to the applicant absent a stay, whether the issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding, and where the public interest lies.

This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the courts of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeals. A sample stay motion, a sample declaration in support of a stay motion, and sample guidelines to assist families, friends and community members in writing letters in support of stay requests are attached to the advisory.

The LAC issued this advisory jointly with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Boston College Post Deportation Human Rights Project and the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Washington Square Legal Services, New York University School of Law.Read more...

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Porous border not so scary: Illegal immigration doesn’t increase violent crime.

Published on Sun, Feb 21, 2010

From listening to the more vigorous critics of illegal immigration, our porous borders are a grave threat to safety. Not only can foreign terrorists sneak in to target us, but the most vicious criminals are free to walk in and inflict their worst on innocent Americans.

In xenophobic circles, this prospect induces stark terror. Fox News' Glenn Beck has decried an "illegal immigrant crime wave." A contributor to Patrick Buchanan's Web site asserts, "Every day, in the United States, thousands of illegal aliens unleash a reign of terror on Americans."

Published in the Chicago Tribune

Executive Director Benjamin Johnson Testifies Before Senate on High-Skilled Immigration

Released on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council's Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the integral role immigration plays in America’s economic prosperity. Although the hearing title, "Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers," suggested that some minds had already been made up, he reframed the conversation, calling on Congress to consider policies that will help the United States achieve an immigration system that serves a 21st century, global economy, while protecting the rights and promoting opportunities for all workers. In his testimony, he explained the need for skilled immigrant labor to complement the native-born work force, and highlighted the contributions they make in almost every aspect of the U.S. economy. However, he emphasized that talented immigrants come to our shores through a range of channels, not only on employment based visas, but through family immigration and humanitarian channels, and that reforms to our immigration system must be comprehensive to be effective.  

To view his full testimony submitted for the record see:

To view his oral testimony as given before the committee see:Read more...

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