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Utah's Immigration Solution Not a National Model

Legislation Fails To Live Up To State's Best Intentions

Released on Thu, Mar 10, 2011

Washington D.C. - Late Friday night, the Utah Legislature passed three immigration-related bills that await Governor Herbert's signature or veto. Utah's policy discussions were guided by the principles of a much-lauded Utah Compact, which brought together leaders from political parties, business, labor, and faith-based organizations for a thoughtful dialogue about immigration policy. The Compact was a welcome relief from the angry vitriol that has often dominated the debate and was well-regarded as a rational, solution-based conversation about the complexity of effective immigration reform. It recognizes that the current unauthorized immigrant population is made up of workers, taxpayers, and consumers, and that enforcement strategies must be coupled with reform of our legal system of immigration in order to meet legitimate labor force needs. Unfortunately, the Utah state legislature was not able to realize the Compact's aspirations.

The three bills represent one state's attempt to provide solutions that go beyond the enforcement-only approach of Arizona's SB1070 and similar copycats being considered in other states. It is noteworthy that Utah's legislature acknowledged that immigration is a complex issue, and that a realistic solution involves more than asking people for their papers and deporting those who lack legal status. However, what these well-intentioned Utah legislators have created is an aggressive Arizona-style enforcement program with no counter-balance. The provisions intended to create legal work status and visas are clearly at odds with the Constitution and cannot be implemented by state action alone.Read more...

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LAC Urges Eighth Circuit to Reject Departure Bar to Review

Released on Mon, Jul 25, 2011

Washington, D.C.— The Legal Action Center, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), filed an amicus brief last week urging the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the departure bar, a regulation that bars the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) from reviewing cases after a person has left the United States. In this case, Macharia v. Holder, No. 11-1962, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deported the person while his appeal of an immigration judge’s denial of a motion to reopen his case was still pending. By applying the departure bar, the Board of Immigration Appeals permitted DHS, a party to the case, to exert unilateral control over the litigation. This impermissibly interferes with the respondent’s statutory right to seek administrative and judicial review and to pursue reopening.

The Legal Action Center and NIPNLG have coordinated litigation on issues related to post departure review and adjudication of BIA cases nationwide. Read more about the LAC and NIPNLG’s efforts on the LAC’s website. To date, five circuit courts have found the motion to reopen departure regulation unlawful.
For inquiries contact Brian Yourish at byourish@immcouncil.org.

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Commentary: Reality check: immigrants and their health care

Published on Thu, Aug 27, 2009

As the current debate on health care rages in town halls across the nation, immigration is being used as a way to jam a stick into the wheels of impending reform.

Published in the Northwest Asian Weekly

The Council Applauds Supreme Court Decision Rejecting Retroactive Application of Immigration Law Provision

Released on Thu, Mar 29, 2012

Washington, D.C.—Yesterday morning, the Supreme Court issued an important decision, Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10-1211, rejecting the retroactive application of a provision of a law passed by Congress in 1996 that has prevented many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from returning to the United States after a trip abroad.  Citing the "deeply rooted presumption" against applying new laws retroactively, the Court ruled 6-3 that LPRs who temporarily leave the country cannot be denied readmission on account of criminal convictions that occurred before the law took effect.   Read more...

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Immigrants don't overuse health care system

Published on Wed, Aug 12, 2009

It's not exactly news among those who follow these things, but it bears noting that a new report once more shows that immigrants in the United States today, whether they have legal status or not, are certainly not overusing the U.S. health care system, and are in fact using it less than are U.S. citizens.

Published in the People's Weekly World

President Obama Provides Moral Imperative for Immigration Reform

Released on Tue, Jan 29, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, in Las Vegas, President Obama urged the country to join him in moving forward on immigration reform, offering a proposal that addresses the pressing economic, cultural, and moral crisis facing the nation over immigration.  In doing so, he brought policies and principles down to one very important idea—that our American identity is directly tied to our heritage as immigrants and thus we owe it to each other to fix the immigration system once and for all. In laying out a moral and economic imperative for immigration reform, the President argued for a rational and productive debate, free of rancor and fear, reminding Americans that the nation was built by immigrants and “most of us used to be them.” His remarks today follow yesterday’s announcement from the United States Senate that a “gang of eight” bipartisan members have developed a set of principles to move immigration reform forward in the 113th Congress.Read more...

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Military Families Act: protect families who protect U.S.

Published on Tue, Nov 10, 2009

On the eve of Veteran's Day, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced in the Senate, the Military Families Act, S. 2757, joined by co-sponsors Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill seeks to provide immigration relief to parents, spouses, or children of US Armed Forces members. Senator Menendez announced the introduction of the bill with Army Specialist Jack Barrios, his wife Frances, and with Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

Published in the The Examiner

LAC Issues New Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings

Released on Thu, Aug 15, 2013

Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings:  Cracking Down on Fourth Amendment Violations by State and Local Law Enforcement Officers.

Increasingly, state and local law enforcement officers are assisting the federal government in immigration enforcement, whether through formal agreements under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; through participation in Secure Communities and the Criminal Alien Program; through state laws such as those enacted in Arizona, Alabama, and elsewhere; or through policies promoted by local mayors, sheriffs, and police chiefs.  Motions to suppress seek to exclude evidence obtained by such officers in violation of an individual’s constitutional or other legal rights.

The LAC’s new practice advisory deals primarily with Fourth Amendment limitations on state and local immigration enforcement efforts and also briefly addresses Fifth Amendment violations that may arise from the same types of encounters with state and local officers.  It also discusses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings move to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a constitutional violation by such officers.Read more...

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