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AILA/AIC Letter to Secretary Napolitano on DHS' Use of Prosecutorial Discretion

Released on Wed, Apr 06, 2011

AILA and AIC submitted a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concerns and offering assistance and perspective with respect to implementing a well-balanced policy on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Update - March 31, 2015

Read our previous Entrepreneurship and Innovation Newsletters here.

Latest Research

Challenges and promising practices for immigrant small entrepreneurship, poverty reduction, and economic development. A new report, Harnessing Immigrant Small Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth, describes challenges for small business immigrant entrepreneurs and some of the promising practices to better support them in three cities: Miami, Florida; Des Moines, Iowa; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

How immigrant businesses contribute to community development. A new study—Immigrant Businesses, Place-Making, and Community Development: A Case from an Emerging Immigrant Gateway—explores immigrant business contributions to place-making and community development in Charlotte, North Carolina. The study finds that “immigrant businesses have transformed deteriorating and abandoned street fronts into vibrant and well-frequented urban environments conducive for further development.”Read more...

Prosecutorial Discretion Guidelines May Provide Temporary Relief to Gay and Lesbian Bi-National Couples

Released on Fri, Aug 19, 2011

Washington D.C. –Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they are taking concrete steps to implement existing guidance on prosecutorial discretion across the agency in an attempt to provide relief for low priority immigration cases. DHS also announced the creation of a committee which will review 300,000 immigration cases currently in removal proceedings to determine which cases are low priority and can be administratively closed. One of the factors in determining low priority cases is family relationships and community ties—factors the Administration said yesterday may apply to gay and lesbian families.

There are currently 36,000 same-sex bi-national couples in the United States, many of whom are routinely denied applications for lawful permanent residence and other relief from deportation due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Enacted in 1996, DOMA prevents the federal government—including DHS—from recognizing marriages or civil unions of same-sex couples for purposes of receiving federal benefits. Although the Administration determined that parts of DOMA were unconstitutional, DHS is still denying immigration benefits to same-sex spouses of bi-national couples.

DHS’s recent announcement, however, suggests that the guidelines on prosecutorial discretion may provide temporary relief to gay and lesbian bi-national couples. On a conference call hosted by the Immigration Policy center yesterday, a panel of experts discussed how the new policy may help gay and lesbian bi-national couples:

Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney with the Council’s Legal Action Center, said:Read more...

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Employee verification program could renew immigration battle

Published on Sat, Aug 22, 2009

President Barack Obama pushed back his immigration reform agenda until 2010, but a little-known initiative requiring employers to verify the legal status of their workers may ignite a political powder keg.

Published in the Washington Examiner

Legal Action Center Files Suit Against DHS for Failure to Disclose Records on "Voluntary" Returns

Released on Fri, Jun 08, 2012

Washington D.C. - Yesterday, the Legal Action Center (LAC) at the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Between January 2009 and April 2011, CBP managed 662,485 voluntary returns of Mexican nationals. Read more...

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Immigrants add richness to America's tapestry, Friends students write

Published on Thu, May 21, 2009

Imagine what it would be like if everyone looked the same, ate the same food, wore the same clothes and liked to do the same things

Published in the SOUTH COAST TODAY

Agreement Reached in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Released on Mon, Apr 15, 2013

Washington D.C. - The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. If approved by a federal judge, this agreement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases.  The settlement agreement represents the culmination of years of advocacy by the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) and other groups on behalf of deserving asylum seekers.

The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the LAC and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw.  The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.Read more...

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Latin American Business Expo presented by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

Published on Tue, Dec 01, 2009

According to a recent report from the Immigration Policy Center, businesses owned by Latinos and Asians in the state of South Carolina had combined revenues of $2.8 billion and provided over 20,000 jobs throughout the state in 2008. The Center also reported that Latinos and Asians living in South Carolina had a combined purchasing power of $5.2 billion. weather the economic recession has her beaming with enthusiasm.

Published in the Charleston S.C. News

Court Approves Settlement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Released on Tue, Nov 05, 2013

Washington, DC – On Monday, November 4, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ordered the final approval of a nationwide class action settlement agreement. The settlement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases.  The changes will commence on December 3, 2013.

The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.  The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.

The case, filed on behalf of asylum seekers around the country, alleged that the current system unlawfully denies asylum applicants the opportunity to obtain employment authorization if their asylum applications have been pending for six months or more. Some end up waiting several months or years for the government to make a decision on their asylum applications.  Indeed, one plaintiff from China had been waiting nearly 10 years for his case to be resolved.Read more...

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