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05/06/13 | Bloated Estimate of Legalization Costs Ignores Immigration Reform's Broader Economic Benefits

Washington D.C. – Today, the Heritage Foundation released a report which attempts to assess the fiscal costs associated with legalizing the 11 million unauthorized individuals living in the United States. The new report is similar to a 2007 study, which was widely criticized at the time of publication and continues to be re-rejected today by conservatives. As such, this report serves as a reminder of why fiscal cost analyses cannot replace broader economic analyses.

The following is a statement by Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council:

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04/17/13 | The American Immigration Council Welcomes Bi-Partisan Senate Immigration Bill

Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council applauds the “Gang of Eight” Senators who have introduced the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act."  The Senators and their staff have been working tirelessly, for months, to create a bi-partisan solution that attempts to fix our broken immigration system. The Senate is to be commended for having the courage to lean into this difficult issue and bring forth a detailed and comprehensive proposal. In addition, labor and business groups should be acknowledged for their role in negotiating, in advance, some of the toughest sticking points to help ensure a smooth path through Congress. 

In the coming days and weeks as the bill is analyzed and debated, there will be many who criticize both the policy remedies in the bill, as well as the sheer length of the legislation. It is important to keep in mind, however, that developing a comprehensive solution requires striking a delicate balance between a diverse cross section of stakeholders and impacted constituencies. Furthermore, the dysfunctional system that we have developed over the past two decades is in dire need of deep and precise reforms. While there will be fair criticisms of some of the bill’s contents it is important to keep the spirit of the debate productive and to ensure room for compromise. 

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12/14/12 | The American Immigration Council Welcomes Customs and Border Protection’s New Guidance on Interpretation

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council (AIC) welcomes U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) decision, announced yesterday, to stop providing interpretation assistance to other law enforcement agencies.  This decision, which is set forth in new agency guidance that has not been publicly released, reportedly directs CBP personnel to refer requests for language translation to a list of private regional and state interpreter associations.  The guidance does not affect CBP’s authority to respond to requests from law enforcement agencies for other types of assistance.

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09/25/12 | Border Patrol Agents as Interpreters Along the Northern Border: Unwise Policy, Illegal Practice

Washington D.C. – Today, the Immigration Policy Center released Border Patrol Agents as Interpreters Along the Northern Border: Unwise Policy, Illegal Practice by Lisa Graybill, Esq.

Advocates along the Northern Border report a recent, sharp increase in the use of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents to provide interpretation services to state and local law enforcement officers and emergency responders. This most often occurs when an officer or responder encounters an individual who does not speak English and proactively reaches out to USBP for assistance. But it has also occurred when USBP agents respond to an incident report in lieu of, or in addition to, local law enforcement officers.

Immigrants, their advocates, and community members are reporting—and official statistics confirm—that there are simply too many USBP agents on the ground, apparently with too much time on their hands, who lack adherence to stated priorities.

This special report lays out the problems with border patrol agents serving as translators and make recommendations intended to promote Title VI compliance, maintain the integrity of the USBP mission on the Northern Border, and protect the rights of immigrants and their families who call the Northern Border home.

To view the report in its entirety, see:

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08/03/12 | DHS Announces Application Process for Deferred Action, IPC Provides Data on Where Eligible Individuals Reside

August 3, 2012

Washington D.C.
- Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released important details about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process, which will temporarily allow some eligible youth to go to school and work without fear of deportation. A recent Immigration Policy Center (IPC) report, Who and Where the DREAMers Are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action Initiative, provides the most detailed look to date at who is likely to benefit from the new program and where they are located in the country.

The IPC estimates that roughly 936,930 undocumented youth between the ages of 15 and 30 might immediately qualify to apply for the new program. The new report breaks down the deferred action-eligible population by nationality and age at the national and state level, as well as by congressional district.

Because potential applicants reside in all states and every congressional district, today’s announcement clarifying the application process sets the stage for an intense period of preparation around the country, as communities wait for the request form to be released on August 15. The DACA program is designed for young people who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have resided in the country for at least five years as of June 15, 2012; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military.

Among the key points shared by USCIS:

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07/25/12 | How the Supreme Court Ruled on SB 1070 and What It Means for Other States

Washington, D.C.—One month ago today, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Arizona v. United States, which invalidated three provisions of the immigration law known as “SB 1070” and left a fourth open to future challenges. More than any matter in recent history, the case settled a range of important questions regarding the role that states may play in the enforcement of federal immigration law. As a result, the ruling will affect not only SB 1070, but the fate of other state immigration laws being challenged in court and the odds of similar laws passing around the country.

Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases an updated version of its Q&A on Arizona v. United States, which discusses how the Supreme Court decided the case and what the ruling means for immigration laws in other states. As debates over the ruling continue, understanding the basis for the Court’s opinion will prove critically important in furthering a rational discussion on the implications of the decision. 

To view the Q&A Guide in its entirety, see: 

 For more information, contact Wendy Sefsaf at wsefsaf@immcouncil.org or 202- 812-2499.

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03/29/12 | The Council Applauds Supreme Court Decision Rejecting Retroactive Application of Immigration Law Provision

Washington, D.C.—Yesterday morning, the Supreme Court issued an important decision, Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10-1211, rejecting the retroactive application of a provision of a law passed by Congress in 1996 that has prevented many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from returning to the United States after a trip abroad.  Citing the "deeply rooted presumption" against applying new laws retroactively, the Court ruled 6-3 that LPRs who temporarily leave the country cannot be denied readmission on account of criminal convictions that occurred before the law took effect.  

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03/28/12 | Mocking Humane Immigration Detention Standards

Washington D.C. - Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on new immigration detention standards recently issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Cynically entitled “Holiday on ICE,” the hearing reflects Chairman Lamar Smith’s allegation that the new standards—which set minimum requirements for medical care, access to counsel, and other living conditions—are a “hospitality guideline” for detained immigrants. Roughly 34,000 immigrants, including lawful permanent residents, and many immigrants who have never been convicted of a crime, are detained under civil immigration laws each day. It is anticipated that the hearing will be a vehicle for promoting mandatory detention proposals sponsored by Chairman Smith, who maintains that more detention, rather than less, should be the goal of our civil immigration system. 

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01/31/12 | Missouri State Legislature Pursing Budget Busting Solutions to Immigration

Washington D.C. – As Missouri faces a $704 million shortfall in fiscal year 2012, state legislators are currently pursuing a costly and short-sighted anti-immigrant law. Senate Bill 590 is similar to the immigration law passed in Alabama and is currently working its way through the state legislature. The costs associated with the bill are unknown because the fiscal note attached to it is woefully incomplete. According to the Missouri fiscal note, the law would cost taxpayers $156,000 the first year, and $43,000 in subsequent years, primarily for recording and reporting the immigration status of Missouri’s school children.  However, the fiscal note claims that the provisions to detain, arrest, jail, and prosecute suspected unauthorized immigrants will have no additional costs.   The note further claims the costs for enforcement activities will be “absorbed with existing resources,” meaning that resources will be diverted away from other important law enforcement activities.

Other states pursuing similar measures, such as Kentucky and Utah, have estimated the costs, which reach into the tens of millions of dollars. Aside from the costs of implementation there are whopping costs for defending these measures in court. Missouri legislators should consider the following evidence before final votes on SB 590.

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01/26/12 | The Real Meaning of “Self-Deportation”

Washington D.C. - The term “self-deportation” has found its way into the GOP presidential primary race, with candidate Mitt Romney outlining a vague immigration platform which includes "self-deportation," or the idea that unauthorized immigrants will voluntarily choose to leave the U.S. if life here is made unbearable enough. While "self-deportation" may be a new idea to some, those who monitor immigration policy understand that it is code for “attrition through enforcement” - a plan pursued by extremist immigration-control organizations in Congress and state houses across the nation. 

Mr. Romney explains how he thinks "self-deportation" would work by saying “if people don’t get work here, they’re going to self-deport to a place they can get work.”  However, as described in a forthcoming report from the Immigration Policy Center, "self-deportation" - or, more accurately, "attrition through enforcement" - goes far beyond denying unauthorized immigrants work. The strategy is currently embodied in state laws that include provisions denying education, transportation, and even basic services like water and housing to anyone who cannot prove legal immigration status. So far, the states that have attempted to roll out this plan have done little more than undermine basic human rights, devastate local economies, and place unnecessary burdens on U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants. 

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