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Media Contact: Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524 or wsefsaf@immcouncil.org

Press Releases

03/17/15 | Executive Director Benjamin Johnson Testifies Before Senate on High-Skilled Immigration

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council's Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the integral role immigration plays in America’s economic prosperity. Although the hearing title, "Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers," suggested that some minds had already been made up, he reframed the conversation, calling on Congress to consider policies that will help the United States achieve an immigration system that serves a 21st century, global economy, while protecting the rights and promoting opportunities for all workers. In his testimony, he explained the need for skilled immigrant labor to complement the native-born work force, and highlighted the contributions they make in almost every aspect of the U.S. economy. However, he emphasized that talented immigrants come to our shores through a range of channels, not only on employment based visas, but through family immigration and humanitarian channels, and that reforms to our immigration system must be comprehensive to be effective.  

To view his full testimony submitted for the record see:

To view his oral testimony as given before the committee see:

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02/17/15 | Texas Decision at Odds with Legal Precedent, History and Facts on Immigration Enforcement

Washington D.C. - Late last night, a Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation of President Obama’s new deferred action initiatives. These initiatives, announced last November, came in response to more than 10 years of political stalemates and failure by Congress to address America’s broken immigration system and alleviate the pain endured by millions of families around the country. The President’s announced initiatives will provide temporary relief from deportation to approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. 

The new deferred action initiatives, which include Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are based on the well-established authority of Presidents and other executive branch officers to allocate and prioritize finite enforcement resources. This practice is used by prosecutors and other law enforcement personnel on daily basis. The judge’s order, issued just two days before the government was set to begin the DACA expansion, bars federal immigration officials from implementing “any and all aspects” of the new deferred action initiatives.

The following is a statement by Melissa Crow, Legal Director at the American Immigration Council:

“Today’s decision is only the first round in what will clearly be a much longer legal battle. Already, the White House has promised that the Justice Department will appeal the judge’s decision, and we urge them to do so in an expedited manner. We expect higher courts to overturn the judge’s decision based on well-established precedent.

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01/27/15 | Leadership Team Changes at the American Immigration Council

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council announces changes to our organizational leadership team. Beth Werlin will become the Director of Policy, and Guillermo Cantor will become our Deputy Director of Research. These changes will fill the gap created by the departure of Mary Giovagnoli, who will join the Department of Homeland Security as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration Policy next month.

Beth Werlin, Esq., will become our new Director of Policy. Beth has been with the Council for almost 14 years as part of our legal team and has a deep understanding of our mission and history. She is a talented lawyer who is widely-respected for her knowledge and dedication. She has been involved in nearly every major legal issue the Council has tackled over the last decade and has worked to protect the rights of noncitizens and ensure that the immigration agencies are held accountable for violations of the law. Her insight and experience have played a critical role in increasing the collaboration and integration of our work across all programs. In her new role, she will put her knowledge and experience to work in deepening and strengthening our relationships and ensuring that the work of our policy and legal teams is even more complementary.

Guillermo Cantor, Ph.D., will become our new Deputy Director of Research. In just two years with the Council, Guillermo has done a tremendous job in shaping, transforming, and strengthening our work. Using his extensive experience as a social science researcher committed to impacting policy, he has enhanced our research, expanded our partnerships with the academic community, explored new research and funding strategies, and has stepped forward as a leader within our office and within the broader immigration community. As the new Deputy Director of Research, Guillermo will be responsible for leading our research efforts and managing our research team.

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IPC in the News

Highlighting data from the American Immigration Council's report "Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present" NBC News Latino covered the historical precedent of executive action on immigration in the article "Report: Since Eisenhower, Executive Action Used for Immigration":

When President Barack Obama takes executive action to make immigration reforms, he will be following the lead of several other presidents, an immigration group said in a recently released report.

The report by the American Immigration Council states that every U.S. president since at least 1956 has granted temporary immigration relief of some form.

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NBC News | 10/06/14

Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council, was recently quoted in a Caller Times article about efforts by Congress to revise the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in order to speed up the return process for unaccompanied children from Central America.

“I think the HUMANE Act is a little bit inaptly titled,” said Mary Giovagnoli, policy director at the American Immigration Council.

Giovagnoli said federal officials are likely telling children about the advantages of voluntary return and that if they don’t have any problems, they can just go home and won’t be detained.

“A lot of these Mexican kids are probably being voluntarily returned without having any full screening that they are required to get under law to see whether or not they are a trafficking victim,” Giovagnoli said.

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Caller Times | 07/30/14

The Immigration Policy Center's report "Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA" was cited in the NBC article "White House To Honor DACA Recipients As Champions of Change." The data from this report examines the gains made by DACA recipients over the two year since the program was announced.

"The Obama Administration issued deferred deportation as an executive order two years ago. Since that time tens of thousands of undocumented young immigrants known as DREAMers have applied and just recently became eligible to renew their two-year deportation deferments.

study released Monday by Harvard researchers Roberto Gonzálesand Angie M. Bautista-Chavez for the American Immigration Council found almost 60 percent of deferred deportation (DACA) recipients surveyed had been able to obtain new jobs, 45 percent had increased their earnings, and almost six-in-ten had obtained driver's licenses, broadening education and employment options."

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NBC | 06/16/14