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14th Annual Creative Writing Contest Launched

5th Graders Celebrate America Nationwide

Released on Thu, Sep 02, 2010

The American Immigration Council's Community Education Center has launced the 14th Annual "Celebrate America" creative writing contest.  Every year thousands of 5th graders from across the country participate in local contests.

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Federal Court Decision Protects H-1B Employees from Wrongful Arrest

AIC Amicus Argues Employees Have Right to Remain While Extension Applications Pending

Released on Wed, Apr 13, 2011

Washington D.C. - A recent ruling from a federal judge in Connecticut confirmed that—as the American Immigration Council (AIC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) argued in an amicus brief—the government may not arrest H-1B employees for whom timely-filed extension applications remain pending. The decision in El Badrawi v. United States, by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall, correctly recognized that a federal regulation allows H-1B employees to continue working for 240 days pending the adjudication of their extension applications, and that “work authorization is part and parcel of their authorization to be in the country, not a separate matter.” Permitting the initiation of removal proceedings during this period would thus be unfair to employees and employers alike, according to the decision.

The plaintiff, a Lebanese national, was gainfully employed as a medical researcher when his employer requested an H-1B extension in early 2004, more than a month before his H-1B status expired. Though his employer paid a $1,000 fee for premium processing of the application, the government never adjudicated it and refused to respond to requests for information. Nearly seven months after the request was filed, immigration agents arrested the plaintiff for allegedly “overstaying” his initial period of admission. He was placed in removal proceedings and detained for nearly two months.Read more...

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Another Court Upholds Immigrants' Right to Pursue Case From Outside the U.S.

Released on Wed, Aug 03, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the growing list of courts to reject the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking reopening or reconsideration of their cases from outside the United States. The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, which filed a joint amicus brief in the case and argued before the court, applaud the court’s ruling. “The court’s decision is yet another step in protecting the important safeguards that Congress put in place to help ensure that noncitizens are not unlawfully separated from their families,” said Beth Werlin of the Legal Action Center.

The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to abandon its misguided regulation barring review of motions filed by noncitizens outside the United States.  To date, six courts of appeals have rejected the departure bar.  And just this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the only court with a decision at odds with the majority, granted rehearing en banc to address the validity of the departure bar.  “The writing is on the wall.  It’s past time for the government to stop cutting off access to the BIA and immigration courts by defending this clearly unlawful regulation,” said Trina Realmuto of the National Immigration Project.Read more...

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Immigrant myth, busted

Published on Sun, Aug 23, 2009

There's no time like a recession to find scapegoats, and immigrants are always a popular choice. Blame immigrants, legal and illegal, for the high unemployment rate. If they weren't here, the complaint goes, millions of great jobs would open up for native-born Americans who are ready and willing to do the work. Get rid of the country's 11 million illegal immigrants and you would solve the unemployment problem. Or would you?

Published in the Palm Beach Post

Groups Seek Information on CBP’s "Translation" Activities in Northern Border States

Released on Mon, Jun 04, 2012

Washington, D.C. - Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The FOIA requests seek information regarding CBP policies on providing translation assistance to other law enforcement agencies and on participating in 911 dispatch activities. The filing coincided with a federal agency decision finding the U.S. Forest Service’s policy of using Border Patrol agents as interpreters to be discriminatory. The alliance is seeking documents explaining the relevant legal authority, applicable procedural guidance, training materials, statistical data, and complaints filed with the government as a result of CBP's practices.

Over the past year, advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving as Spanish-English interpreters and participating in 911 dispatch activities. Capitalizing on their access to noncitizens, Border Patrol agents often use these opportunities to question individuals about their immigration status and, in many cases, initiate removal proceedings.

There is little public information about the scope and purpose of CBP's collaboration with other law enforcement agencies. The alliance hopes to promote greater transparency regarding these practices and includes the American Immigration Council, the Michigan Organizing Project/Alliance for Immigrants & Reform Michigan, Migrant Justice, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and OneAmerica.


To view the FOIA requests in their entirety see:Read more...

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b-activists: New children's book reminds us that we all have immigrant pasts (see authors read in NYC!)

Published on Mon, Sep 14, 2009

One part of childhood everyone remembers are their favorite books; the characters, the story, and the lessons they taught

Published in the Blisted

National Wave of Complaints Highlights Rampant Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Dire Need for Reform

Released on Wed, Mar 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states.   

This effort, which was coordinated by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, highlights CBP agents’ unlawful use of their enforcement authority. Border Patrol agents routinely exceed their statutory mandate by conducting enforcement activities outside border regions, making racially motivated arrests, employing derogatory and coercive interrogation tactics, and imprisoning arrestees under inhumane conditions. The cases include claims for unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.

Among the cases filed: Read more...

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Senate Democrats want U.S. residency for kin of immigrant service members

Published on Sat, Nov 14, 2009

Six Senate Democrats have introduced a bill to grant permanent residency to family members of immigrants actively serving in the U.S. military — even in cases where the service member has died.

Published in the The Hill

First Circuit Holds That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States

Released on Tue, Oct 01, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that individuals who have been deported must have the opportunity to pursue motions to reopen their cases from outside the United States.  A motion to reopen is an important procedural safeguard that helps ensure noncitizens are afforded a fair immigration hearing.  The American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit and argued before the court, welcome the court’s ruling in Perez Santana v. Holder.

Despite having lost in nine other circuits, the government continued to vigorously defend a regulation – the so called “departure bar” – barring individuals from pursuing their cases from outside the United States.  This most recent decision means that all but one circuit court of appeals has rejected the government’s arguments and concluded that the regulation is unlawful.  Only the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the legality of the departure bar.  The American Immigration Council and NIPNLG renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.Read more...

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