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American Immigration Council Applauds DOMA Decision

Released on Wed, Jun 26, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court unequivocally affirmed that there is no legitimate reason for the federal government to discriminate against married couples on account of their sexual orientation.  The Justices struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, noting in their decision, “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”

Today’s historic decision means that our immigration system must stop treating gay and lesbian families differently than other families.   For far too long, gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been barred from obtaining immigration status for their noncitizen spouses.  As a result, families have been separated and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been deported from the United States. 

President Obama issued an immediate directive to the Attorney General to “work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.”

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano also issued a statement to press confirming that DHS is “working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, [to] implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."

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Benjamin Johnson Discusses the Economic Benefits of CIR

Published on Fri, Jan 08, 2010

No one ever said legislating "change" would be easy. With Congress mired in health care, cap and trade and more, why not take on another issue that has vexed it for years? Take immigration. Ben Johnson of the American Immigration Council says the stars have aligned for reform.

Published in the NPR

New Practice Advisory Regarding Notices to Appear

Released on Mon, Jun 30, 2014

The American Immigration Council, ABA Commission on Immigration and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights are pleased to announce the release of the practice advisory, Notices to Appear:  Legal Challenges and Strategies.

The Notice to Appear is the charging document used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to notify a noncitizen about immigration charges and a future immigration court hearing. Filing a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) with the immigration court places an individual in a removal proceeding before a judge and is a significant step in the removal process. Various officials within the three major immigration-related components of the Department of Homeland Security — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — are empowered to issue NTAs, which trigger removal proceedings in immigration court. At various points after an NTA is issued, an attorney may negotiate with DHS to obtain a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. DHS has discretion either to file the NTA with the court, thus going forward with removal proceedings, to drop or revise certain charges, or to cancel the NTA and thus end the removal proceedings. After the NTA is filed, DHS can exercise discretion through a joint motion asking the judge to administratively close or terminate proceedings. The decisions made by DHS about Notices to Appear are not just ministerial, but can impact the lives of noncitizens and their families in significant ways.Read more...

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Studies Show Immigration Reform Could Give a Boost to the Economy

Published on Fri, Mar 12, 2010

Add to the immigration debate following yesterday’s White House meetings a few recently published studies that could prove to be useful in pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

One study shows that comprehensive immigration reform could add $1.5 trillion to the country’s GDP over the next 10 years by increasing consumption and investment. Comprehensive immigration reform, here, is defined as a plan that “creates a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and establishes flexible limits on permanent and temporary immigration that respond to changes in U.S. labor demand in the future.” According to this Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center study, comprehensive reform would also boost wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.

 

Published in the The Washington Independent

Steve King: Immigrants Aren’t ‘Real Americans If They Love Taxes’

Published on Fri, Apr 16, 2010

This week, crowds of peaceful immigration reform supporters gathered outside post offices in several cities bearing signs with slogans stating “We Love Taxes!” and “Viva Taxes!” in an effort to demonstrate that there are millions of undocumented immigrants who are eager for a chance to be brought into American civil society and pay taxes as part of their civic duty. Advocates also submitted thousands of blank tax forms to federal lawmakers that could’ve been filled out to by undocumented immigrants who have the capacity to generate billions in tax revenue.

Published in the Think Progress

Immigration Blueprint

Published on Fri, May 07, 2010

Lawmakers in at least nine states are using Arizona’s immigration law as a test case to craft similar legislation, ratcheting up the pressure on the federal government to act before states enact a patchwork of laws that undercut federal authority.

Arizona’s S1070 opened a door that national anti-illegal immigration advocates had been pushing against for years. Groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform and its legal wing, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, have sought for years to create model legislation on illegal immigration that would withstand legal challenges and create a blueprint for states and cities that wanted to follow suit.

Published in the Arizona Capitol Times

Congress on Border: Big Bill vs. Bits

Published on Mon, Jun 07, 2010

Should they wait for the comprehensive package, gambling that some heretofore elusive breakthrough will land on their plates? Or should they slice off what they can, when they can?

"That's the question everyone is asking right now," said Wendy Sefsaf, a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center, which advocates a comprehensive approach.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star

How to get Judicial Relief Under 8 USC 1447(b) for a Stalled Naturalization Application

Section 336(b) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b), gives a district court jurisdiction to intervene in a case where USCIS has failed to make a decision on the naturalization application within 120 days of the applicant’s “examination” by USCIS. This Practice Advisory discusses the nuts and bolts of bringing a suit under INA § 336(b). It also discusses when attorneys fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act are available.

Published On: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | Download File

Exhibit Hall

Becoming Americans: A Historical Perspective

Exhibit by Phillip Ratner  


When Eleanor Sreb, of the Smithsonian Folklife Center, and Ross Holland, National Park Service Associate Director for Cultural Resources Management, approached artist Phillip Ratner to create artwork for Ellis Island, Ratner initially thought, "How do I fit the entire world into a single piece?" Ratner sat for hours on a bench in the Great Hall at Ellis Island sketching, thinking, observing--trying to capture the essence of the immigration experience. Ratner conjured up images of the millions of immigrants who passed through that Great Hall--travel weary people of all ages, creeds and nationalities who hungered for a new life in America. "I picked up the ghosts," Ratner said, "and it changed my life. I felt my grandparents' energy and that of the thousands of immigrants who passed through those halls."

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N.J. Employers, Landlords Being Targeted For Illegals

Published on Thu, Jul 22, 2010

A rough estimate on the number of illegal immigrants residing in the nation as well as New Jersey places the numbers at a minimum of 500,000 in the state, and about 12 million nationwide. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council, released a study last year that found illegal immigrants made up 9.2 percent of the state's workforce.

Published in the New Jersey Newsroom