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Noncitizens won’t be informed of their rights before questioning, says Obama administration

Published on Mon, Aug 15, 2011

Under a new decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals made on Thursday, immigrants arrested without a warrant will not be read their rights until they are placed in formal deportation proceedings. The Board argued that its decision (PDF) was based on changes to regulations stating that immigrants arrested without a warrant need not be informed of their rights before being questioned.

Melissa Crow, director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council, said in a press release, “The Board’s ruling renders the advisals practically meaningless and makes immigrants less likely to remain silent when questioned and less likely to assert their right to counsel.”

The new decision makes it harder for immigration attorneys to successfully file motions to suppress evidence acquired while violating an immigrant’s rights. Such motions are being used more often in deportation cases, which are themselves occurring at record levels.

Although people arrested for immigration violations don’t have “Miranda rights” per se, arresting immigration officers were required to inform immigrants of their right to an attorney and that anything they say can be used against them. Now, Crow told TAI, that protection is rendered less effective because officials can inform immigrants of their rights after they given incriminating testimony while under warrantless arrest.

Technically, the decision only affects arrests by federal immigration officials. However, Secure Communities, the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement program in which local law enforcement give the fingerprints of people they arrest to federal immigration officials, could reinforce the effects of the decision.

That’s because immigrants can potentially give incriminating testimony well before federal officials place them in deportation proceedings but after they have been flagged by Secure Communities.Read more...

Published in the American Independent

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.

Immigration activists slam Gingrich on ‘Red Card Solution’

Published on Wed, Nov 23, 2011

Newt Gingrich is trying to carve out a middle way on illegal immigration, pushing a “Red Card Solution” that would essentially expand the guest-worker program without giving those immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

But Gingrich’s compromise isn’t eliciting much praise within the immigration community: Activists on both on left and right say that Red Carding fails to address fundamental problems with the U.S. immigration system.

On the right, advocates who want greater restrictions on immigration say the Red Card Solution simply gives businesses a pool of cheap labor at the expense of native-born workers. The Kriebel Foundation, which developed the idea, “has an interest in a modern-day form of slavery while wages have atrophied for less-skilled American workers,” says Dan Stein, president of the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform. “This is effort to create a stratified labor force that provides wealthy employers with a way to get employees at below-market rates.” What’s more, he warns, guest workers with Red Cards might simply overstay their visit when their work permits expire.

Pro-immigration advocates argue that the Red Card plan would undermine the rights of immigrants and would be massively difficult to put in place. “It virtually guarantees that we create second-class status for workers and their families — lawful but with no real rights,” says Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center. She described plan’s the elimination of birthright citizenship for Red Card workers as “eradicating rights.” She also says the proposal ignores the need to reform the legal immigration system.Read more...

Published in the The Washington Post

Staff

DIRECTORS

Executive Director
Benjamin E. Johnson

Policy Director
Beth Werlin

Legal Director
Melissa Crow

International 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
Amy Grenier, Administrative & Research Assistant

International Exchange
Lois Magee, Director
Colleen Tomlinson, Exchange Program Manager.
Moksheda Thapa, Exchange Program Specialist
Joanna Quiambao, Exchange Visitor Program Associate 

Community Education 
Claire Tesh, Senior Manager
Sara Burnett, Education Associate

Fundraising and Development
Megan Hess, Director
Claudia Ornelas, Development AssociateRead more...

U.S. Immigration Services Improves Access to Legal Counsel for Immigrants

Published on Sun, Jan 22, 2012

During its nine-year history, issues have arisen with respect to restrictions on counsel by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration agencies. Tuesday, in response to calls from the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued immediate, comprehensive changes to their policies to ensure an appropriate role for attorneys in the immigration process.

Many non-citizens are forced to navigate the immigration process without representation because they cannot afford an attorney.  But even persons who can afford one, or are represented by a pro bono attorney, have at times faced severe restrictions on their representation.  This is particularly troublesome given the significant power USCIS officers wield.  For example, they decide whether a non-citizen is entitled to stay in the U.S. or not.  The assistance of an attorney well versed in the complexities of immigration law can help safeguard the rights of these non-citizens and ensure just outcomes.  

By revising its guidance, USCIS has responded to some of the most serious access concerns.  For example, the new guidance provides that an attorney generally may sit next to his or her client during an interview, may be permitted to submit relevant documents to the USCIS officer, and may raise objections to inappropriate lines of questioning. 

The American Immigration Council looks forward to commenting on the new guidance and working with the agency to make sure it is followed.  The other immigration agencies – Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – should take note of USCIS’s commitment to improving access to counsel and take similar steps to recognize the meaningful role that attorneys play in protecting noncitizens’ rights. 

Published in the Hispanically Speaking News

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...

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Win Politically

Published on Wed, Apr 11, 2012

President Obama’s inability to pass much-needed comprehensive immigration reform could cost him the 2012 election.

Though recent news of a rebounding economy, coupled with Republican Party infighting suggest otherwise, the Hispanic vote is neither uniform nor clearly aligned with the Democratic Party. If Hispanics fail to support the president in four key swing states — Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado — the election could go to the likely Republican candidate, former Gov. Mitt Romney.

Time magazine kicked off the topic of Hispanic electoral power with their March 5 cover story “Yo Decido.” The author noted demographic trends that favor Hispanic predominance in certain places in the nation, and last week, it was widely reported in the U.S. media that about one in six Americans are Hispanic. Additionally, one in six workers in the U.S. are Hispanic and of legal status.

While the Republicans may have learned from earlier egregious mistakes, like former candidate Herman Cain’s jocular comment about electrifying the fence between the U.S. and Mexico, they seem to have a collective tin ear when it comes to Hispanic culture, issues, voting patterns and history. They don’t understand the importance of Hispanics among us, and, surprisingly, they don’t seem to really care.

Romney is hardly progressive or nuanced when it comes to Hispanic issues; he opposes the critically important DREAM Act, which would allow people who arrived in the U.S. as children to earn an education in America beyond high school. Common sense suggests we support a policy whereby our nation, struggling to compete in an increasingly technical, global environment, supports the education of young people who want to contribute to the social and economic development of the U.S.Read more...

Published in the Tennessean

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...