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04/18/16 | Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in U.S. v. Texas

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas. The highest court will now decide whether the President’s deferred action initiatives announced in November 2014, known as expanded DACA and DAPA, move forward.

“The lawyers arguing for the deferred action initiatives made a convincing case that the law and the Constitution are on our side. As expected, the Justices asked probing questions to both sides, demonstrating they understand the high stakes involved this case,” said Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.

According to the Council’s Legal Director Melissa Crow, “Much of the argument focused on whether Texas really has standing – a sufficient stake in the outcome of the case to file a lawsuit. The arguments highlighted the fact that this is a political dispute about enforcement policies, not the type of legal dispute that should be before the Supreme Court. Texas’ arguments on standing are unconvincing. As Justice Breyer noted, a finding by the Court that Texas has standing could flood the courts with lawsuits based on all kinds of political disagreements between States and the federal government.”

President Obama’s deferred action initiatives advance common-sense enforcement priorities. To qualify for deferred action, individuals must have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010, register with the government and pass a criminal background check. Instead of tearing apart families through broad enforcement actions, the President is letting law enforcement officials focus their attention on those who pose the greatest threats to public safety.

The American Immigration Council and 325 other immigrants’ rights, civil rights, labor and service-provider organizations filed an amicus brief in the case outlining how families and communities would benefit from the initiatives.

04/06/16 | Beth Werlin Named Executive Director of the American Immigration Council

Washington D.C. - Today, the Board of the American Immigration Council (Council) is announcing that Beth Werlin, Esq., will take the reigns as the new leader of the organization. Beth follows Ben Johnson, who left in January to become the Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Beth has worked for the American Immigration Council since 2001 in multiple roles. First she served as a fellow, then staff attorney, followed by deputy director of the legal department and, most recently, as director of the policy team. She has been involved in nearly every major legal issue the Council has tackled over the past decade, including working to protect the rights of noncitizens and ensuring that the immigration agencies are held accountable for violations of the law. She has represented plaintiffs and amicus curiae in immigration litigation in the federal courts and before the Board of Immigration Appeals and is the author of numerous practice advisories.

Beth first joined the legal team in 2001 as an Equal Justice Works fellow (formerly NAPIL) and before that was a judicial law clerk at the immigration court in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School and her B.A. from Tufts University. 

“Beth’s deep commitment to the Council’s mission and its staff is only one of her many fine qualities,” said Paul Zulkie, President of the Board of Directors of the American Immigration Council. “Beth is also well-known and respected in the immigration law community. I cannot think of a better, more qualified candidate to lead the Council into the future.”

Beth is also an avid runner and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Michael Wiesenfelder and her two children, Sarah Rose and Aaron.


For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524

03/16/16 | Angy Paola Rivera Named Council’s 2016 Immigrant Youth Achievement Award Recipient

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council is pleased to announce that Angy Paola Rivera is the winner of the 2016 Immigrant Youth Achievement Award. Angy is a powerful young advocate who has brought to light the difficulties of carrying two painful, personal secrets through life: being undocumented and surviving sexual abuse. 

Angy has been an activist in the undocumented youth movement in New York City since 2009. She also writes a column called “Ask Angy” hosted by the New York State Youth Leadership Council. She provides advice to the undocumented community on a range of topics. In addition, she uses her column and AskAngy YouTube channel to speak out about sexual abuse. 

Angy came out about her undocumented status publicly in 2010. Two years later, in an article she wrote for The Progressive, she recollected the night she told her mother she was going public about her status:

“I still have her tears from the night I told her I would be coming out—tears laced with fear, etched on my heart. My mom blankly stared at me, and then she accused me of wanting to put myself and our family at risk. I was going against all the warnings she had given me. The look in her eyes convinced me that this was something I needed to do, not just for myself but also for her.


The Council in the News

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Donald Trump's immigration platform, Univison anchor Jorge Ramos cited data from the American Immigration Council's report "The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States" which notes that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native-born population.

Watch the exchange below:

Examiner | 08/17/15

CNN cited the American Immigration Council's recent report The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States and by quoting Senior Researcher Walter Ewing in "Immigrants and crime: Crunching the numbers":

"'Government statistics on who is being removed from the country can be somewhat deceptive,' says Walter Ewing, a senior researcher for the American Immigration Council who helped author a report released this week that argues immigrants are less likely to be criminals than native-born U.S. citizens."

The article went on to point out figures from the Council’s recent report which dispells anti-immigrant rhetoric through facts, noting:

…the percentage of foreign-born men in the United States who are incarcerated (1.6%) is less than the percentage of U.S.-born men who are imprisoned (3.3%). And the reason they're behind bars is often tied to immigration offenses.”

CNN | 07/08/15

Patrick Taurel, Legal Fellow and the American Immigration Council, provides an in-depth look into the implementation of President Obama’s executive order on immigration and the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs.

Watch the C-Span segment below:

C-Span | 02/09/15