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President Obama Provides Moral Imperative for Immigration Reform

Released on Tue, Jan 29, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, in Las Vegas, President Obama urged the country to join him in moving forward on immigration reform, offering a proposal that addresses the pressing economic, cultural, and moral crisis facing the nation over immigration.  In doing so, he brought policies and principles down to one very important idea—that our American identity is directly tied to our heritage as immigrants and thus we owe it to each other to fix the immigration system once and for all. In laying out a moral and economic imperative for immigration reform, the President argued for a rational and productive debate, free of rancor and fear, reminding Americans that the nation was built by immigrants and “most of us used to be them.” His remarks today follow yesterday’s announcement from the United States Senate that a “gang of eight” bipartisan members have developed a set of principles to move immigration reform forward in the 113th Congress.Read more...

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White House outlines plan for legal immigration

Published on Fri, Nov 13, 2009

The Obama administration will insist on measures to give legal status to illegal immigrants as it pushes early next year for legislation to overhaul the immigration system, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday.

Published in the Dallas Morning News

LAC Issues New Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings

Released on Thu, Aug 15, 2013

Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings:  Cracking Down on Fourth Amendment Violations by State and Local Law Enforcement Officers.

Increasingly, state and local law enforcement officers are assisting the federal government in immigration enforcement, whether through formal agreements under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; through participation in Secure Communities and the Criminal Alien Program; through state laws such as those enacted in Arizona, Alabama, and elsewhere; or through policies promoted by local mayors, sheriffs, and police chiefs.  Motions to suppress seek to exclude evidence obtained by such officers in violation of an individual’s constitutional or other legal rights.

The LAC’s new practice advisory deals primarily with Fourth Amendment limitations on state and local immigration enforcement efforts and also briefly addresses Fifth Amendment violations that may arise from the same types of encounters with state and local officers.  It also discusses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings move to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a constitutional violation by such officers.Read more...

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Study finds the economy would benefit from legalizing undocumented immigrants

Published on Thu, Jan 14, 2010

Comprehensive immigration reform would produce at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years, according to a new report by a UCLA professor. Based on this report and other studies, Illinois would see significant economic gains from legalizing undocumented immigrants.

Published in the Medill Reports

President’s Executive Actions on Immigration Should Spur Congressional Action

Released on Thu, Nov 06, 2014

Washington D.C. – From the perspective of immigration reformers, Tuesday’s election is unlikely to change the gridlock that has stymied immigration reform for more than 15 years. Since at least 1998, there has been bipartisan agreement that our current immigration system is broken and that Congress must act to fix it. Since then, regardless of who has controlled Congress or the White House, the country has been waiting for the political stars to align in such a way as to make immigration reform a reality. In the meantime, families have been torn apart and our economy has been denied a powerful tool for innovation and entrepreneurship. The reason is clear. Too few of America’s lawmakers have the courage to lead on immigration and too many are content to play politics with this critical issue.

Despite the threat (and likelihood) of political tantrums from those who have consistently blocked reform, the most likely catalyst for change on immigration at this point is bold, decisive leadership by the President of the United States, who re-affirmed yesterday that he would “take whatever lawful actions I can take” by the end of the year. 

President Obama can and must show the way forward by using the tools at his disposal to fix as much of our broken immigration system as he can, and to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants who have built their lives here and contribute to our society and economy, but have no means of attaining legal status under our outdated immigration system.
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Before Brown, There Was Mendez: Immigrants' Role in Desegregating Schools

Published on Fri, Mar 26, 2010

I'm sure most everybody learned about Brown v. Board of Education at some point during their schooling, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ruled segregating black and white students was unconstitutional. But what you probably didn't learn was that before there was Brown, there was Mendez v. Westminster.

Published in the Change.org

Five Incarcerated Refugee Families Finally Released After Being Held for Months on End

Shameful Government Mistreatment of Mothers and Children Continues

Released on Thu, Sep 10, 2015

Washington, DC – Today, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), the American Immigration Council, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), partners in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, responded to Friday’s release of five families who had been subjected to many months of incarceration despite repeated efforts to advocate for their release pending the adjudication of their claims for protection in the United States. 

Michelle Mendez, CLINIC's CARA Project Coordinator stated, “More than 13 months ago, the first of these five families was detained in a temporary facility in Artesia, New Mexico. In those ensuing months, the Artesia facility closed, but this refuge-seeking mother and child were not released. Instead, they were shuttled to another remote family detention facility in Dilley, Texas. It was here that they bravely continued to seek protection under our laws and attempted to access what justice they could from within a securitized detention facility. Now, finally, they have been released and can pursue their legal claims in a meaningful way with the assistance of their families and the support of their community and church.”

“This was not a situation where people just slipped through the cracks, and the government fixed the problem after discovering its mistake,” noted Melissa Crow, Legal Director for the American Immigration Council. She continued, “CARA Project volunteers represented most of these mothers and children every step of the way, filing additional petitions and even damages claims in some cases. Our advocacy staff repeatedly raised concerns surrounding the traumatic impact of detention on the mental and physical health of children and their mothers. Our calls went unheeded until now.”Read more...

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A Complex Challenge and No Easy Answers

Published on Sun, Apr 25, 2010

Ours is a nation of immigrants. That’s what we’re told from our earliest years in grade school. The vast majority of Americans are descended from those who came (voluntarily or not) from other continents.

But the topic remains controversial. And immigration both legal and not is changing the American landscape. Demographers tell us that by 2050, the proportion of Hispanics in the U.S. will more than double to 29 percent, making them the largest segment after whites at 47 percent.

Published in the The Southern Pine Pilot

Our Melting Pot: Meeting, Eating and Growing Together

The goal of Our Melting Pot is to develop knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of nations from which our students' ancestors came. By creating his/her own Immigration cookbook, students will appreciate their ancestry and learn about how certain foods are incorporated in to life in the United States.

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What's really new about Arizona's new approach to illegal immigrants

Published on Fri, May 14, 2010

Boosted by the attention from other bloggers and KFI-AM's John and Ken, our online poll about the City Council's boycott of Arizona drew an overwhelming response from supporters of the Grand Canyon State's latest crackdown on illegal immigrants. Take the results with a grain of salt; the poll wasn't scientific. But the clear message from legions of commenters was that council members and other opponents of the law had it misconstrued; it is, as one put it, "the already established federal law!"

That's close to the truth, but not quite.

Published in the L.A. Times