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

Press Releases

05/15/14 | Understanding ICE’s Release of Immigrants with Criminal Convictions

Washington D.C. - Understanding the complexities of immigration law and its intersection with criminal law is not easy. Over the past month, a flood of reports about enforcement policies and deportation data have compounded the confusion. Some of these reports were clearly designed to derail genuine and productive conversations around immigration policy reform. Case in point, this week the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) issued a paper that claims over 36,000 “criminal aliens” were released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.  

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05/06/14 | No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council releases No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse, by Daniel E. Martinez, Ph.D., Guillermo Cantor, Ph.D., and Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D., a report that analyzes complaints filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection between 2009 and 2012. The analysis is based on information received through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation. The report examines one of the few avenues available for people to report mistreatment by Border Patrol agents - namely, the complaint system. For a long time, advocates and legal providers on the border have highlighted the flaws in the complaint system. This report is the first systematic attempt to document the problem in a rigorous way. In addition, a coalition of immigrants' rights groups has developed and released recommendations to DHS to address the CBP Complaint Process.

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03/31/14 | New Report from Center for Immigration Studies on Deportation Data Misleads and Misinforms

Washington D.C. – Today the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a new report that makes a range of false claims about deportation data.  Following is a statement from Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, in response to “Catch and Release: Interior Immigration Enforcement in 2013”

“A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) makes a range of false claims about deportation data. First their claim that out of 722,000 “potentially deportable aliens” encountered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement only 195,000 were charged is completely misleading.  As a result of dragnet programs like Secure Communities, any foreign-born individual that that comes into contact with law-enforcement likely falls into 722,000 number cited by CIS.  Thus, this number includes immigrants (including long time permanent residents) whose interaction with law enforcement was so minor that they are not even legally subject to removal.  In fact, that data likely includes U.S. citizens as well.  CIS is essentially asserting that a legal-permanent resident or a recently naturalized citizen with a broken tail light should be charged by ICE and removed from the country although there is no basis in law for such action. 

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IPC in the News

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

The New York Times published an editorial calling for more transparency within Customs and Border Protection based on the Immigration Policy Center's report "No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse".

The editorial stated: "If a Border Patrol agent beats, kicks, threatens or otherwise abuses you, you can file a complaint. What you can’t count on, evidently, is anything being done about it.

That is the sorry conclusion of a study released last week by the American Immigration Council, an advocacy organization in Washington. The council sought to collect data about abuse complaints against the Border Patrol — a difficult task, given the lack of transparency at Customs and Border Protection, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security to which the Border Patrol belongs.

The council had to sue under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain records of 809 complaints between January 2009 and January 2012. The accusations varied widely — of migrants kicked and stomped after being detained, struck in the face and head with flashlights and other objects, sexually groped, improperly strip-searched, verbally abused."

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New York Times | 05/11/14