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Quick Fact: The importance of unauthorized immigrants in California

If all of the unauthorized immigrants in California were removed, the state would lose $301.6 billion in economic activity, decrease total employment by 17.4%, and eliminate 3.6 million jobs.

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month: Latinos Are The Majority In Federal Prison

Published on Thu, Sep 15, 2011

This year, we’re kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with the disheartening news that Latinos, for the first time in American history, comprise the majority of inmates in federal prison. One reason for this, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, is the unprecedented amount of undocumented immigrants being arrested and charged rather than deported. The trend is a tactic on the part of the Obama administration, (and the Bush administration before them), says Walter Ewing, senior researcher at the Immigration Policy Center, to butter up conservative litigators for immigration reform.

“It’s a losing strategy because it’s never going to be enough for them,” Ewing told political watchdog site Colorlines, referring to members of Congress who demand “a secure border” before they can consider immigration reform.

Meanwhile, those sneaking into the United States to willingly perform labor for minuscule wages are finding themselves involved in a far more diabolic system than they bargained for. Namely, privatized prisons motivated by profit.

Corrections Corp. of America, (it sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit, but it’s sadly very real), runs more than 60 prisons and immigrant-detention centers across the country. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the effect of money on U.S. politics, CCA has spent more than any other corrections company–$17.6 million– lobbying politicians, contributing to their campaigns and hiring their former staff. They also lobby the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement division which just so happens to contract with CCA and other private companies for immigration-detention centers.

Though CCA says they only lobby to educate policy makers, one can’t help but notice that what they lobby for is tougher prison sentences. After all, it’s how they make their money.Read more...

Published in the Texas Observer

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CONTACT US

Whether you are an educator, librarian, museum curator, immigration attorney, community activist or just someone who is interested in the unique ways immigrants and immigration touch our lives, we believe you have something valuable to add to the immigration dialogue. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get involved in this pivotal topic. If you have an idea or would like to make a suggestion on how we can make immigration more accessible to your community, please email us at teacher@immcouncil.org

Community Grants

The Community Education Center awards educational  grants of $100 to $500 to fund educational projects about immigrants and immigration.  No deadline available on rolling basis.

"Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest

The American Immigration Council is proud to sponsor the annual “Celebrate America” Creative Writing Contest in an ongoing effort to educate the public about the benefits of immigration to our society.

"Change in Motion" Multimedia Contest

The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce a call for submissions to the 2013 “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest. The competition challenges today’s young adults to explore the role that immigration plays in their lives and communities through video and other multimedia projects.

 

Gingrich: Cut ‘baloney’ costs and build fence

Published on Fri, Dec 02, 2011

Newt Gingrich continued his full-throttle emphasis on immigration on Thursday in Iowa, countering opponents who have accused him of embracing amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Gingrich signed a pledge to build a fence along the entire 2,000-mile stretch between Mexico and the United States by the end of 2013.

Building the fence could cost taxpayers billions of dollars, not including annual maintenance expenses. But Gingrich told The Des Moines Register in an interview that those costs could be trimmed as much as 95 percent by simply eliminating all federal regulations for the fence’s construction.

He did not explain how he arrived at that estimate and his staff was unable to pinpoint the information Thursday.

“Remember, we built the Pentagon for almost nothing because we didn’t go through all the modern baloney,” Gingrich said.

Such federal regulations are intended to protect water quality, prevent ground pollution and ensure worker safety — all items generally seen as critical to human health.

Several immigration reform advocates said Thursday that while they agree with Gingrich that action is needed, they doubt his cost-saving ideas and whether such a fence would be effective.

A better idea would be to invest the billions of dollars in increased security and screening at the nation’s ports of entry, where the majority of illegal immigration and drug smuggling occurs, said William Moore, a spokesman for the Texas Border Coalition. The nonpartisan group of mayors and local officials represents more than 6 million people living along the border.

Moore also contends that building the fence would be difficult if not impossible because of the region’s harsh landscape. Because of flood plains, some U.S. farmers and their homes would likely be on the Mexican side of the fence, creating numerous safety and property rights issues, he noted.Read more...

Published in the Des Moines Register

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...

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy

Published on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C— Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs and strengthen the economy, and the U.S. should tailor immigration laws and policies to encourage the best and the brightest to create businesses on U.S. soil, according to a new joint report issued today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Immigration Policy Center (IPC).

The report, Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy examines immigrant entrepreneurship in many different sectors, including neighborhood, growth, transnational, and science and technology firms, and demonstrates how these immigrant businesses create jobs for U.S. workers and contribute to America’s economic growth.

“Immigrant-owned growth businesses are hugely important to strengthening local economies, as well as providing jobs essential to economic recovery,” said report author Marcia Drew Hohn, director of the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. “The U.S. Small Business Association estimates that small businesses have generated 64% of the net new jobs over the past 15 years and credits immigrant businesses with a significant contribution to this job growth.”

“Regardless of one’s school of thought, there is very little disagreement among researchers and experts that immigrant entrepreneurship is a powerful and valuable asset to America’s economic future,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “There has been a lot of attention paid to the high tech, highly educated immigrant entrepreneur, this report reinforces that it is less about your degree or the product you produce, and far more about recognizing a need in your community and having the skills and commitment to bring a dream to life.”Read more...

Published in the Journal News Service

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...

Mark Cangemi, 9/11 Investigator, Adopts Immigrant Teen's Cause

Published on Mon, Apr 23, 2012

WOODBURY, Minn. — When a teenage boy sits down to dinner with his girlfriend's father, he's bound to feel intimidated. That's particularly the case if the boy came to the United States illegally and the dad is a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who spent three decades apprehending violators of immigration laws. But for Alan, the captain of his high school football team and an honor student, it's like eating with family. That's because the immigration special agent who ordered the arrest of convicted Sept. 11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui, has taken up a new cause. Mark Cangemi is trying to help the teenager stay in the country. Read more...

Published in the Minnesota Public Radio

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...

Congressman Barletta challenges President Obama over immigration order

Published on Tue, Jul 03, 2012

IPC staff lawyer Ben Winograd was quoted in a story about the legality of the Obama Administration's deferred action memo: Read more...

Published in the The Morning Call