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New Numbers from U.S. Sentencing Commission Reveal Dysfunction of U.S. Immigration System

Published on Thu, Dec 01, 2011

By Walter Ewing

The broken U.S. immigration system is flooding federal courts with low-level cases involving non-violent defendants, and inundating federal prisons with individuals whose only crime was to enter or remain in the country without permission. Thanks to this ever-widening immigration dragnet, a disproportionateshare of the Latinos and non-U.S. citizens who wind up in federal courts and prisons are there solely because of immigration violations. In other words, the federal government is wasting its limited law-enforcement and criminal-justice resources on immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety or national security.

These are the inescapable conclusions to emerge from a statistical report released in September by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The statistics, which cover the first nine months of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, illustrate the degree to which immigration cases are being channeled into federal court rooms. Immigration offenses accounted for more than one third (35.1 percent) of all federal sentences handed down during this period.1 In comparison, immigration offenses comprised one in five (19.6 percent) of all sentences in FY 2000.Read more...

Published in the Cornerstone: A National Legal Aid and Defender Association Publication

2006 Winner, Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

My Mom “Thuy”

By Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

International School of Indiana

 

My mother’s name is Thuy. She was born in Saigon, South Vietnam. Her father was a 3-star Lieutenant General for the South Vietnam military and her family had almost everything that you could possibly think of before the civil war of Vietnam. However, when they lost their country, they lost everything. After the war, all they had left was their hope and beliefs.

 

In 1975, North Vietnam won the war. When my mother was only twelve years old (8th Grade), she and her brother and sister were forced to go to Canada. The rest of her family was then scattered around the world in places like France, Australia, Canada and the U.S.A. They all had a very tough time there because they had no support and no money as new immigrants.

 

For seven years after the war, my mother went to school and worked during the evening to help out my grandfather. My mother attended college for only two years because she needed a full time job to support her family. She also went to beauty school, graduated, and worked for the family. Then, having lived in Canada for ten years, my mother realized there was a better future for her in the U.S.A. -- “The Land of Opportunity.” She decided to move to Pennsylvania in 1985.

 

My mother began hard work at a beauty shop near Philadelphia and she worked hard everyday. Her dreams were to “ONE DAY” create her own salon and reach her many dreams. Due to her talents, she developed many clients and made a lot of friends. She saved as much money as she could and even avoided eating out or going to the movies or doing anything fun that might cost money.

 Read more...

Eased Immigration Laws May Spur Growth, U.S. Chamber Report Says

Published on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

The U.S. needs to ease restrictions on immigrants who plan to open businesses, and create a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Current immigration laws make it difficult for people to enter the U.S. and start a business, according to the report, released today by the Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council. Expansion of the visa program would also aid companies’ access to foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities, helping economic growth, the authors of the report said. 

Immigrant entrepreneurs established 18 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, according to a June 2011 report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group of business leaders and mayors that advocates for immigration reform. Those companies, such as Google Inc. (GOOG), Big Lots Inc. (BIG) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) generated $1.7 trillion in revenue in 2010 and had 3.7 million employees worldwide, the report said. 

“They are going to contribute and succeed somewhere -- why shouldn’t it be the United States?” Thomas Donohue, the Chamber’s chief executive officer, said in a Jan. 12 speech in Washington. 

Immigrants are more likely than native-born U.S. workers to start their own business or be self-employed, according to the Chamber of Commerce study. Of naturalized citizens, 5.1 percent were employed by their own business, compared with 3.7 percent of the native-born citizens, the report found. In Massachusetts, immigrants were 14 percent of the population in 2008 and started 61 percent of the businesses, the report found. 

Legislation Stymied Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg

The LAC Docket | Volume I, Issue 2

The Newsletter of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center

March 1, 2011
Our Work | Requests for Evidence | Quick Links | Donate

OUR WORK

Access to Courts

Federal appeals court rejects jurisdictional bar to post-departure motions to reopen
Pruidze v. Holder, No. 09-3836 (6th Cir. 2011)

In early February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the government’s long-held position that immigration courts lack “jurisdiction” to consider motions to reopen filed by noncitizens who have already left the country. The unanimous decision agrees with the position of the Legal Action Center (LAC) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP), which contended in an amicus brief that the decades-old regulation underlying the government’s argument has been superseded by more recent changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). (See press release.) The Sixth Circuit thus became the fourth court to strike down or question the validity of the regulation, which only the Tenth Circuit has expressly found to be consistent with the motion to reopen statute.Read more...

Romney Campaign May Be Moving Left on Immigration

Published on Wed, Apr 18, 2012

Mitt Romney’s campaign hired GOP campaign strategist Ed Gillespie, while Kris Kobach’s “advisor” status was put in doubt, according to news reports.

Elise Floey of Huffington Post wrote Tuesday that the Romney campaign “told Politico that [Kris] Kobach is a ‘supporter,’ not an adviser. This contradicts both Kobach’s previous statements and his seemingly larger role in the campaign — a bigger part than the campaign is letting on.”

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach authored Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement-only law. He endorsed Romney in January, “advised Romney on immigration during his 2008 presidential bid and has long-promoted the strategy of ‘attrition through enforcement’— the immigration-control strategy to drive away the unauthorized population by making their lives so miserable that they will choose to ‘deport themselves’ rather than remain in the U.S.,” according to the Immigration Policy Center.

The Hill reported Tuesday that “Romney’s hiring of Republican strategist Ed Gillespie is being seen as a sign the campaign will heavily court Hispanic voters — perhaps at the expense of immigration hard-liners in the party.”

“When asked for an interview, Gillespie directed The Hill to Romney’s presidential campaign, which said he’d be a senior adviser that will help them with messaging, overall strategy and the August convention in Tampa, Fla,” The Hill added.

“Gillespie, a former head of the Republican National Committee, has long advocated an aggressive outreach to the Hispanic community,” The Hill wrote. “He also heads up Resurgent Republic, an organization focused on messaging to independents, including Hispanic swing voters.”

Resurgent Republic is currently developing a six part “target voter series” focused on suburban women, young voters, seniors, independents, Hispanics and blue collar Catholics.Read more...

Published in the Colorado Independent

2012 Creative Writing Contest Honorable Mention

Working Toward a Dream

By: Aedra Li

San Francisco, CA


I remember being confused, so many why’s and not enough because’s. Why did we leave Saulita? Where were we going? My parents didn’t say a word to me or my brother. All they said was, “We are going to a better place. You will understand later.” Was a twelve year old girl too young to know the truth? If I got a penny for every question I had, I’d be a millionaire. Then I’d have enough money to go back to Saulita and see my bestfriend, Pablo.

 

During one part of the trip, my brother and I had to hide under a blanket. We heard a gringo speaking, but we couldn’t understand him through the blanket. He asked a lot of questions. After three days, we finally stopped driving. We got out, stretched our aching legs, and looked cautiously around. We saw many other immigrants working in the fields, picking strawberries. In front of us was a house that you could tell used to be white, but was now an ugly cream. It used to be a single-family house, but now it housed for families of five. Everyone that lived in that house had to work in the fields to live there and put food in their families’ mouths. We worked 15 hours a day under the hot California sun. All of our backs ached, all of our hands turned ugly with calluses. As the seasons changed, we moved from farm to farm, but the work was the same. We worked for six hard, intense years harvesting crops that would feed the lucky people who didn’t have to work like us.

 Read more...

Romney Debuts a Lighter Touch on Immigration

Published on Fri, Jun 22, 2012

IPC Senior Policy Analyst Michele Waslin was quoted in a TIME article covering Romney's stance on immigration:

According to a State Department report from November 2011, in fiscal year 2012 there are 322,636 people in countries around the world awaiting approval to join legal permanent-resident family members in the U.S. Many others who are eligible already live here, according to Michele Waslin of the Immigration Policy Center, some of whom are undocumented and legally awaiting a change in status.

Published in the TIME

Jhoon Rhee

The Father of American Tae Kwon Do

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, a 10th Degree Black Belt, is considered the "Father of American Tae Kwon Do." Grandmaster Rhee's first trip to America was on June 1, 1956, for a short military training program soon after the Korean War. In 1957, he returned as a freshman to Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, Texas with $46 in his pocket. English was his biggest obstacle. It took him half an hour to read a single page. Through perseverance and discipline, Grandmaster Rhee has become one of the most prominent motivational public speakers in the world today, encouraging individuals to achieve self-discipline, self-esteem and self-defense through the development of academic, moral, and physical excellence.

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee has been involved in every aspect of Tae Kwon Do. He has opened schools in order to teach not only the physical techniques of Tae Kwon Do, but the inseparable mental aspects, as well. His Martial Arts philosophy calls for building true confidence through knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, and strength in the body. His philosophy and seminars center around rediscovering the vision of America's Founding Fathers by restoring mental discipline in America and in the world.Read more...

IPC's Walter Ewing Writes for Yahoo! Finance

Published on Thu, Jan 24, 2013

The IPC's Senior Researcher, Walter Ewing, had this article published in Yahoo! Finance:

"The U.S. immigration system undermines the U.S. economy in many ways. Two particularly glaring (and interrelated) examples concern foreign students and high-tech workers.

Each year, foreign students graduate from U.S. universities, often with in-demand science and engineering degrees. Yet many are forced to return to their home countries rather than putting their newly acquired knowledge to work here. Likewise, each year many high-tech workers from abroad (some of whom studied in U.S. universities) are forced to return home when their temporary work visas expire, regardless of how valuable their continuing contributions to the U.S. economy might be.

Both of these scenarios are nonsensical. That is why President Obama said in his inaugural address that the nation’s work will not be complete 'until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.'"

Published in the Yahoo! Finance

Natasha Iskander

Natasha Iskander, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, conducts research on labor migration and its relationship to economic development; labor mobilization and its relationship to workforce development; and processes of institutional innovation and organizational learning. Her work examines how the dislocations caused by migration provide opportunities for knowledge creation and economic development.