Washington D.C. - It has long been the case that those responsible for carrying out and enforcing our nation's laws do so with a measure of discretion and proportionality. Every day, law enforcement officials and judges exercise discretion in charging and sentencing decisions, weighing differing priorities and social values, and matching punishments with crimes. Consequently, minors are treated differently in the criminal system, and traffic violators and murderers receive different punishments. The use of judgment and proportionality is so ingrained in our legal system—with the exception of immigration law—that we take it for granted. Today, the need for discretion and proportionality is needed more than ever in our antiquated and over-burdened immigration system to ensure that the government spends its limited resources on high priority cases, and that immigrants who have a strong case for remaining in the U.S. are able to do so if current law provides for an avenue of relief.
To that end, a wide range of organizations, including the American Immigration Council, have been asking the Obama Administration to use its executive authority to exercise discretion in the immigration context. In June, Director John Morton of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a memo outlining new guidance on the use of prosecutorial discretion in a wide range of circumstances. The memo signals a greater commitment to using limited resources to enforce immigration law with an understanding of the need for measured action and fairness in the immigration context. Read more...
In Immigration Policy Center's latest Perspectives on Immigration, Senior Researcher Walter Ewing argues that even as the U.S. economy begins a tenuous recovery, it is critical that policymakers look beyond short-term stimulus plans to the long-term economic revitalization of our nation.
House Hearing Makes Light of Necessary Detention Reform
Released on Wed, Mar 28, 2012
Washington D.C. - Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on new immigration detention standards recently issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Cynically entitled “Holiday on ICE,” the hearing reflects Chairman Lamar Smith’s allegation that the new standards—which set minimum requirements for medical care, access to counsel, and other living conditions—are a “hospitality guideline” for detained immigrants. Roughly 34,000 immigrants, including lawful permanent residents, and many immigrants who have never been convicted of a crime, are detained under civil immigration laws each day. It is anticipated that the hearing will be a vehicle for promoting mandatory detention proposals sponsored by Chairman Smith, who maintains that more detention, rather than less, should be the goal of our civil immigration system. Read more...
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), based in Washington, D.C., considered today, 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.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Asylum Clock Class Action Settlement
Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC), along with its co-counsel, recently announced a settlement of A.B.T., et al. v. USCIS, et al., a nationwide class action challenging the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This FAQ addresses key questions related to the settlement agreement, such as: who is a class member; what policies and practices are changed by the settlement; how class members will benefit from these changes; when the changes go into effect; and how a class member can complain if the settlement is not properly implemented in his or her case.
The lawsuit was brought by the LAC, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Massachusetts Law Reform Project, and the Law Offices of Gibbs Houston and Pauw. For more information about the lawsuit, including a copy of the settlement agreement, visit the LAC’s Asylum Clock webpage.
Legalizing the status of the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants living in America would create jobs, increase wages and boost the sagging U.S. economy, according to a study released Thursday. The study by UCLA associate professor Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda found that citizenship and flexible limits on legal immigration would serve future labor demands and boost wages for native-born workers.
Washington D.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.
Each year, the government initiates immigration court proceedings against thousands of children. Some of these youth grew up in the United States and have lived in the country for years, and many have fled violence and persecution in their home countries. The Obama Administration even recently called an influx of children coming across the Southern border a "humanitarian situation." And yet, thousands of children required to appear in immigration court each year do so without an attorney. This case seeks to remedy this unacceptable practice.
"If we believe in due process for children in our country, then we cannot abandon them when they face deportation in our immigration courts," said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "The government pays for a trained prosecutor to advocate for the deportation of every child. It is patently unfair to force children to defend themselves alone."
On Thursday, March 4, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) expressed confidence that the so-called jobs bill will be passed as early as next week. A tweaked version of the Senate measure has already passed the House. This latest attempt to address the economy which has been hailed as a rare bipartisan effort, is a welcome development, especially in places like Los Angeles, where double-digit unemployment has contributed to the city's worsening budget problems.