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DHS: Prioritizing Enforcement and Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion

Experts Welcome New Guidance, But Agree the Devil is in the Details

Released on Mon, Aug 22, 2011

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council hosted a briefing to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement last week that it would issue agency-wide guidance to make certain that prosecutorial discretion is exercised in a manner that ensures the agency's enforcement resources are used to remove those who pose the greatest risk to public safety. DHS also announced the creation of a joint committee with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will review nearly 300,000 cases currently in removal proceedings to determine which ones are low priority and can be administratively closed in order to begin unclogging immigration courts. While it is unclear how these proposals will play out in practice, the federal government must continue to assert its authority over immigration given the rise of state legislative initiatives that seek to impose different priorities on immigration enforcement.

Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council discussed the practical implications of the use of greater prosecutorial discretion and had a warning for immigrants not in removal proceedings:

“Prosecutorial discretion is not a new concept, and is exercised on a daily basis by law enforcement agencies. It refers to the authority of a law enforcement agency or officer to decide whether – and to what extent – to enforce the law in a particular case. Prosecutorial discretion can take a variety of forms, depending on the nature of the case involved.Read more...

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Hate - alive and well in Phoenix, Arizona.

Published on Fri, Aug 21, 2009

Just the other day, I had an email from a young woman, a former student, who is trying to do what she can to pursue a nursing degree. Committed to helping others, she is a regular volunteer at Hospice of the Valley.

Published in the The Examiner

The American Immigration Council Honors Immigrant Achievement in Music at the 2012 American Heritage Awards

Released on Mon, Jun 11, 2012

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 American Heritage Awards. The Awards celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of immigrants to America and this year we recognize immigrant achievement in music. The Council will celebrate the honorees and enjoy live performances on Friday, June 15, 2012, in Nashville, Tennessee during the Council’s Annual Benefit and as part of the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Annual Conference. Read more...

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A Perfect Performance For Two Local Schools

Published on Mon, Apr 20, 2009

In the fall of 2008, the Immigration Law firm of De Mott, McChesney, Curtright & Associates announced its sixth year of local participation in “Celebrate America”, an annual writing contest for 5th graders sponsored by the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) as part of its continual ongoing efforts to educate the public about the benefits of immigration to our society.

Published in the OPEN PR

The American Immigration Council Welcomes Bi-Partisan Senate Immigration Bill

Released on Wed, Apr 17, 2013

Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council applauds the “Gang of Eight” Senators who have introduced the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act."  The Senators and their staff have been working tirelessly, for months, to create a bi-partisan solution that attempts to fix our broken immigration system. The Senate is to be commended for having the courage to lean into this difficult issue and bring forth a detailed and comprehensive proposal. In addition, labor and business groups should be acknowledged for their role in negotiating, in advance, some of the toughest sticking points to help ensure a smooth path through Congress. 

In the coming days and weeks as the bill is analyzed and debated, there will be many who criticize both the policy remedies in the bill, as well as the sheer length of the legislation. It is important to keep in mind, however, that developing a comprehensive solution requires striking a delicate balance between a diverse cross section of stakeholders and impacted constituencies. Furthermore, the dysfunctional system that we have developed over the past two decades is in dire need of deep and precise reforms. While there will be fair criticisms of some of the bill’s contents it is important to keep the spirit of the debate productive and to ensure room for compromise. Read more...

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Are children of illegal aliens bankrupting Maryland?

Published on Sat, Dec 05, 2009

Maryland’s foreign-born population has grown by 34.6 percent while its native-born population has increased by 3.3 percent. .Public school enrollment of students who require special instruction in English has soared even more, rising by 93.5 percent from 2000 to 2008 while overall enrollment declined slightly.

Published in the The Examiner

Immigration Advocacy Groups Urge Supreme Court to Interpret Child Status Protection Act Broadly

Released on Wed, Nov 06, 2013

Washington, D.C.—This week, the American Immigration Council filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of young adults who, due to long delays caused by visa backlogs, lost the opportunity to obtain their “green cards” before they turned 21. The brief was filed in collaboration with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigrant Justice Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The case, Cuellar de Osorio v. Mayorkas, involves a provision of the Child Status Protection Act of 2002 (CSPA).  The amicus brief argues that in the CSPA, Congress specifically remedied the problem of children who, due to long delays caused by visa backlogs, turned 21 and lost the opportunity to immigrate with their families before a visa became available.  Specifically, the brief argues that children listed as beneficiaries on all types of visa petitions – and not simply those filed by lawful permanent residents, as the government argues – are entitled to retain the earlier filing date of their parents’ visa petitions when new visa petitions are filed for them as adults.  As a result, they do not have to wait as long for new visas. The brief presents compelling case histories illustrating the hardship that these families have suffered as the result of the government’s narrow interpretation.    

The amici were represented on a pro bono basis by Lori Alvino McGill and Nicole Ries Fox of Latham and Watkins, LLP.  Read more about this case and the Child Status Protection Act on our website.

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Study: Money sent out of U.S. beneficial

Published on Fri, Feb 12, 2010

A new report by a University of Rhode Island professor concludes that remittances sent by foreign workers from the United States to their home countries “yield surprising benefits” to the U.S. economy, rebutting critics who say they are a drain because the money is not spent in the United States.

The report, “Many Happy Returns: Remittances and their Impact,” by political science professor Kristin Johnson, was released Tuesday by the Immigration Policy Center, a nonpartisan research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council in Washington.

Published in the The Providence Journal

Leadership Team Changes at the American Immigration Council

Released on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council announces changes to our organizational leadership team. Beth Werlin will become the Director of Policy, and Guillermo Cantor will become our Deputy Director of Research. These changes will fill the gap created by the departure of Mary Giovagnoli, who will join the Department of Homeland Security as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration Policy next month.

Beth Werlin, Esq., will become our new Director of Policy. Beth has been with the Council for almost 14 years as part of our legal team and has a deep understanding of our mission and history. She is a talented lawyer who is widely-respected for her knowledge and dedication. She has been involved in nearly every major legal issue the Council has tackled over the last decade and has worked to protect the rights of noncitizens and ensure that the immigration agencies are held accountable for violations of the law. Her insight and experience have played a critical role in increasing the collaboration and integration of our work across all programs. In her new role, she will put her knowledge and experience to work in deepening and strengthening our relationships and ensuring that the work of our policy and legal teams is even more complementary.

Guillermo Cantor, Ph.D., will become our new Deputy Director of Research. In just two years with the Council, Guillermo has done a tremendous job in shaping, transforming, and strengthening our work. Using his extensive experience as a social science researcher committed to impacting policy, he has enhanced our research, expanded our partnerships with the academic community, explored new research and funding strategies, and has stepped forward as a leader within our office and within the broader immigration community. As the new Deputy Director of Research, Guillermo will be responsible for leading our research efforts and managing our research team.Read more...

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