The Obama administration proposed changing federal rules to let some undocumented immigrants stay in the U.S. while seeking legal status, a move that would help Hispanics, a key voting bloc in the 2012 election.
The proposal is aimed at spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are eligible for a visa. The proposed change would let them remain in the country while applying for a green card, according to a statement by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The law now calls for immigrants who have been in the country illegally for 180 days or more to leave the U.S. to apply for legal residence, a period that can last as long as 10 years. Because of the potentially long separation from their families, immigrants who are eligible don’t apply for legal status, according to the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based pro-immigration group.
Congressional Republicans have stymied President Barack Obama’s drive to overhaul immigration laws to let temporary foreign workers enter the U.S. and to help illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship. The proposed change doesn’t need congressional approval.
It would “provide a more predictable and transparent process and improved processing times,” according to the immigration agency’s statement.
Hispanics contributed to Obama’s margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election. Exit polls on election day showed 67 percent of Hispanic voters supported him compared with 31 percent for Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.
States With Hispanics
That support helped Obama carry states with large Hispanic populations, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The states are among the ones likely to be the most competitive in this year’s presidential race.
The illegal immigration issue has sparked disputes in the race among Republicans vying to be Obama’s opponent.Read more...
From 2006-2012, the Legal Action Center maintained several issue-specific webpages focused on topics being litigated in courts nationwide. These issue pages are no longer updated. Please see our litigation and advocacy for current information on the Legal Action Center's ongoing work.
67% of voters said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally became legal taxpayers so they pay their fair share,” vs. 28% who said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally left the country because they are taking away jobs that Americans need.”
Raul Rodriguez and Alberto Ledesma live parallel lives. Both proudly claim UC Berkeley as their alma mater. Both have worked hard academically. And both have published personal essays about the stigma of being an undocumented student.
But that’s where their lives diverge. Ledesma was fortunate enough to gain amnesty via the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), federal legislation that granted amnesty to immigrants who entered the U.S. before 1986. Rodriguez, on the other hand, remains undocumented because legislation like IRCA no longer exists.
“Even now, years after amnesty, I get all tongue-tied when anyone asks me about my immigrant past. I become that undocumented immigrant Cantinflas, twisting words and phrases until nothing I say makes sense. The problem is, I don’t know where my Cantinflas and where the true me begins.”
Rodriguez says he shares that same feeling of being constantly distressed. If he were granted amnesty, he says he would take every opportunity that presented itself, the simplest of all being travel. Before discovering he was undocumented, Rodriguez had plans to move to New York City and Paris, but all of those plans disappeared upon hearing the truth about his legal status.
“Being undocumented means re-shifting your life and not doing what you love,” he notes.
Today, Rodriguez lives a life that he can only describe as “going through the motions.” He is not alone. A study conducted by the Immigration Policy Center in 2008 showed that 25 percent of all people in the U.S. are either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. The same study concluded that 40 percent of all immigrants currently in the U.S. came to this country before 1990, which suggests that they've since established deep roots in this country. Many are like Ledesma and Rodriguez, having grown up in the U.S. yet never fully embraced as Americans. Read more...
The LAC uses litigation and advocacy as tools to protect the rights of noncitizens. We litigate in the federal courts, focusing our work on cases that have a wide impact. We also advocate before the immigration agencies to help ensure that the immigration laws are implemented properly. The following are our litigation and advocacy priorities: Read more...
Remembering the American Immigration Council when you travel with American Airlines will earn us rewards and benefits that we can use to support our work.
Simply enter the American Immigration Council’s Business ExtrAA number (815300) in the proper field (see below) when booking your flight with American Airlines®, American Eagle®, and AmericanConnection.
And don’t worry, you will still earn your individual AAdvantage miles (you enter that code in a separate field.)
IPC's own Michele Waslin was quoted in yesterday's KQED article about the vetoed California bill that would have limited local law enforcement's ability to work with federal immigration authorities:
“The problem with [Secure Communities] is that the research that’s been done so far has shown that a lot of the people that are being held under these detainers, the people that are being identified by ICE, are not serious criminals, violent criminals,” said Michele Waslin of the Immigration Policy Center, a research and analysis group based in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Mohammad Akhter is the President and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. InterAction's 160 members provide humanitarian and development assistance in every developing country, working to overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all.
Dr. Akhter's journey to this position appears to be the epitome of the American dream. He was born into a family of farmers in India shortly before the partition that established India and Pakistan as two separate nations. His mother had an eighth-grade education. His father had completed high school on a sports scholarship. This helped them to establish a toehold in the new nation.
Dr. Akhter's grandfather couldn't write his name, but his parents made sure that all six of their children had master's degrees and the cycle of poverty was broken. He believes that health and education are the twin lights leading one away from poverty.
Dr. Akhter earned his medical degree from King Edwards Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan (1967), and his master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University (1973). His public health residency was completed at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. In 1976, he was certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Akhter serves as clinical professor in the department of family and community medicine at Georgetown University Medical School, and as an adjunct professor of international public health at George Washington University School of Public Health. He also served as Dean of the College of Community Medicine, as well as professor and chair of the department of public and hospital administration in Lahore, Pakistan.Read more...
A recent Fox News Latino article drew on a recent fact sheet released by the Immigration Policy Center in an article on the economic impact of immigrants in Texas.
"A Texas congressman wants to know what the economic impact on the Lone Star State would be if it lost its estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants.
"Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, believes the cost to Texas would be much higher now than a 2006 estimate done by the state comptroller. So his office has sent a letter to the comptroller asking for a more current analysis.
"In 2006, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn concluded that a loss of the undocumented immigrant population would have resulted in 'a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion.'
"But a more recent report by the Immigration Policy Center this year put the economic loss at more than twice the last estimate, which Gallego’s office said was the first such comprehensive effort by a state.
"'If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Texas, the state would lose $69.3 billion in economic activity, $30.8 billion in gross state product, and approximately 403,174 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time,' said the IPC report.