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...
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...
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...
Immigrants - and immigration - have provided significant fuel for America's growth and prosperity since the beginning days of our country. American values and beliefs; businesses and homes, and military and infrastructure have been shaped by the millions of immigrants who have arrived on our shores over the centuries. Unfortunately, the current national debate over immigration often has become so bitter that an important fact has been obscured: Immigrants contribute a wealth of new strengths and ideas to America.
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.
WASHINGTON--A new study by a leading academic researcher contends that legalizing undocumented workers through comprehensive immigration reform would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over a 10-year period, generate billions of dollars in additional tax revenue, increase wages and consumer spending, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The study, “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” was conducted by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Hinojosa presented the findings during a telephonic press conference moderated by Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy and advocacy at the Center for American Progress.
Last Sunday, a crowd estimated at 200,000 by its organizers gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to rally for comprehensive immigration reform; President Obama appeared in a video at the demonstration endorsing a bipartisan plan proposed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).