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Letter to the editor: by Mary Giovagnoli

Published on Fri, Jan 06, 2012

The POLITICO article “Obama: We Can’t Wait on Immigration” (Jan. 6) suggests that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announcement of streamlined processing for certain immigration waivers is part of a “war on GOP members of Congress.”

This is an unfortunate characterization of a long-overdue regulatory change. It is designed to correct a decade-long problem that has unnecessarily separated families and caused undue hardship to thousands of U.S. citizens and their loved ones.

The proposed rule would permit “in-country processing” of family unity waivers. This changes regulations that now require applicants to leave the country before they can apply for a waiver.

The current system has become increasingly burdensome, because of processing backlogs, uncertainty of outcomes and violence in key U.S. consulates, such as the one in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It creates unnecessary hardship for applicants who are eligible to receive a legal status but must first obtain a family unity waiver.

This waiver can now only be obtained abroad. But leaving the U.S. may trigger a bar of three years to 10 years if the applicant has been unlawfully present.

Many applicants fear that they might be permanently separated from their families and so never apply to become lawful permanent residents. Though applicants would still have to depart the U.S., under the new proposal they would do so knowing that their waiver had been provisionally approved — reducing waiting time and hardship for all.

All members of Congress — Republican or Democrat — have likely seen the compelling cases raised by the three year-to-10 year bar problem. Resolving it is not a partisan issue. It is instead an example of immigration service acting responsibly to address a problem of its own regulatory making.

Mary GiovagnoliRead more...

Published in the Politico

Community Grants

Do you have a creative classroom project that needs funding?  Are you affiliated with an organization working with young people between the ages of 7 and 18? The American Immigration Council’s Community Education Center is here to help! In an effort to support educators in engaging their students and communities in thoughtful dialogues centered on the issue of immigration and multiculturalism, the Center awards bi-annual grants for immigration- themed classroom and community-based projects. Read more...

Quick Fact: DREAM Graduates

Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school.

Immigration advocates march to support immigration reform

Published on Mon, Mar 12, 2012

Immigration advocates continue to march to oppose enforcement-only state laws, deportation proceeding and to support immigration reform measures.

The recent deportation proceedings against Miami student Daniela Pelaez and her sister have sparked outrage in South Florida, with thousands taking to the streets last week to protest.

Speaking on the Spanish-language news show Al Punto on Sunday, Pelaez told reporters that her lawyer had obtained a deferred action – a step that effectively halts deportation proceedings against her, and grants her two years to adjust her residency status in immigration court.

Congressman David Rivera, R-Florida, who met with Pelaez on the heels of the Miami protest, announced Friday that he would file the Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status Act, or S.T.A.R.S. Act, which would allow undocumented immigrant youth who meet certain criteria to adjust their residency status.

But according to DRM Capitol, an organization that supports the DREAM Act, Rivera’s S.T.A.R.S. Act “is far from the more comprehensive DREAM Act that many undocumented youth organizations are fighting for.”

“This proposal is an orchestrated attempt to appeal to the important Latino voting block that will be critical to the 2012 elections,” adds DRM Capitol.

In its March/April issue, Mother Jones published its Immigration Hardliner Family Tree, a chart showing the links between organizations that support self-deportation or attrition through enforcement immigration policies and several GOP politicians, including Florida congressman Allen West.

GOP presidential candidates have said they support controversial immigration enforcement laws that currently exist in Alabama, Arizona and Georgia. Those candidates have also voiced their opposition to the DREAM Act, which polls show the majority of Latino voter support.Read more...

Published in the The Florida Independent

Contest Coordinators for the 2011 "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest

If you are interested in participating in the 2011 Creative Writing Contest and are the parent or educator of fifth grade students please contact your local coordinator to get started.  Or email teacher@immcouncil.org for more information.

Atlanta
Theresa Bailey Kennedy
tkennedy@fspklaw.com
404-320-7000

California
Los Angeles
Maggie Castillo
mcastillo@mbc4law.com
323-725-0350


Los Angeles
Silvia Martinez
silvia.martinezlawoffice@gmail.com
213-488-1457


San Diego
Kimberley Best Robidoux
krobidoux@larrabee.com
858-642-0420


San Diego
Liz Sweet
sweete@staff.abanet.org
619-699-2930


San Francisco
Brenda Boudreaux
aicessay@ailanorcal.com
510-928-0773 

Santa Clara Valley
Randall Caudle
randall@caudleimmigration.com
415-541-9290


Colorado
Chris Pooley
cpooley2007@gmail.com
970-845-7474Read more...

Report: Biometric Data Being Collected with 'Little to No Standards, Oversight, or Transparency'

Published on Wed, May 23, 2012

A report released by the IPC was highlighted and summarized by Security Management: Read more...

Published in the Security Management

Order your Copy of Green Card Stories Today!

The American Immigration Council is proud to support the publication of Green Card Stories. Green Card Stories is an incredible tribute to the diverse backgrounds that make up our immigrant population in America today. We can’t think of a better way to serve our mission to strengthen America by honoring our immigrant history than by highlighting this incredibly beautiful and touching book.

You can order books for yourself, your office, family members, clients, etc. as well as donate a book to your local school, library or community center or to one of the Council’s designated “hot spots” where education on immigration is needed most. Could your Member of Congress use a thank you or a gentle reminder of who our immigrant population is? Donate a copy of Green Card Stories to a Congressional office. All donated books will be delivered free of charge with a note indicating your generous gift.

To order your copy, fill out an order form.

Click on the book above to get a slideshow preview!

The American Immigration Council would like to thank the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers for providing the initial efforts and funding of Green Card Stories.

Deportations Are Up, But Is Anyone Applauding?

Published on Thu, Sep 13, 2012

Ben Winograd, an American Immigration Council staff attorney, was quoted in a KPBS article in which he explains government deportation-speak:  Read more...

Published in the KPBS San Diego

Dr. Nadia Krupnikova

Nadia Krupnikova was born in Moscow, Russia and immigrated to Columbia, MO when she was 14 years old. As with many Soviet Jews, Nadia's family came to escape religious and political persecution of the Soviet Russia. They left Russia with ninety dollars and two suitcases per person, feeling lucky to have escaped as opportunities began to close. Along with her mother, Nadia worked odds jobs, including cleaning homes, looking after children and alterations to help support the family. At 18, she entered medical school in Kansas City, MO, with the intention of becoming a psychiatrist. Through the plethora of scholarships, grants and loans this dream was realized after she completed her residency at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Upon graduation she became director of inpatient psychiatry at GW, where she worked and taught until 1997. While there, she also co-authored a behavioral science review book.

From then until 2000, she worked at the world-renowned Chestnut Lodge Hospital in Rockville, MD, that was founded on psychiatric principles that Nadia respected. Nadia wanted to work with severely ill patients who required hospitalization. Certainly, medications were used in treatment of the mentally ill, but Chestnut Lodge advocated a very humanistic approach that paralleled Nadia's view. It was a "labor-intensive" psycho-therapy which required intensive patient-therapist interaction. The world fame of Chestnut Lodge was well deserved, and Nadia thrived while practicing medicine there. With the closure of Chestnut Lodge, Nadia began a private practice in Rockville treating patients who are often severely mentally ill.Read more...

AIC Executive Director Ben Johnson Quoted in the Financial Times

Published on Tue, Jun 11, 2013

The Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, Ben Johnson, was quoted in a Financial Times article titled "US Senate to debate immigration."  Here's an excerpt:

"In a sign of how the GOP establishment is swinging behind the effort, Crossroads GPS, the well-funded and influential political group run by former Bush aide Karl Rove, has started running newspaper ads in favour of immigration reform.

"The group has taken full-page ads in Washington newspapers declaring that 'America deserves an immigration system that works', saying reform 'presents a historic opportunity to strengthen our nation’s security and prosperity for the future'.

"However, many immigration reform advocates are holding their breath.

'This issue has proven to be difficult – beyond difficult – and I think it’s going to be a fight to the death,' said Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council, adding that it was still 'susceptible to political winds'.

Published in the Financial Times