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07/07/16 | Court Again Rules Against Federal Government's Efforts to Detain Children

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commented on the decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that the nearly 20-year-old Flores Settlement Agreement governs the custody and release of all immigrant children, and that the Obama Administration’s family detention practices violate that agreement.

The decision came after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appealed last summer’s ruling by District Court Judge Dolly Gee finding DHS in violation of the agreement. DHS had argued that the settlement did not apply to children apprehended with their mothers, and that the continued detention of children who arrived with their mothers was therefore permissible. However, the appellate court held that the Flores settlement does in fact govern the treatment of both unaccompanied and accompanied children, and that neither the family detention centers nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s published standards governing such detention centers comply with the settlement. The appellate court further affirmed that the district court was right to deny DHS’s request to amend the settlement agreement in order to permit family detention to continue. While the court disagreed with the district court’s finding that the settlement’s terms address the release of mothers, its decision does nothing to preclude the release of mothers with their children.

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07/01/16 | Asylum Seekers File Class Action Lawsuit Against DHS

Washington D.C. - The U.S. Government has placed unnecessary hurdles in front of asylum seekers who are attempting to file asylum applications within the required time period. In fact, bureaucratic obstacles, a well-documented court backlog, and jurisdictional disputes between agencies often make it impossible for individuals to file their asylum applications by the deadline, leaving them ineligible for asylum and subject to deportation. 

In an attempt to bring order and fairness to what has become an overly bureaucratic and chaotic process, today, 4 asylum-seekers filed a class action lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) failure to advise them of the deadline for filing their asylum applications, as well as both DHS’s and the immigration courts’ failure to adopt procedures which would ensure that an individual is able to file an asylum application by the deadline.  

Plaintiffs, represented by the American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Dobrin & Han, PC, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, sue on behalf of themselves and all other individuals in the United States who are in the same situation.

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06/27/16 | Federal Court Grants Class-Action Status in Challenge to Obama Administration

Washington D.C.— A federal court has granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the federal government's failure to provide children in immigration court with lawyers in their deportation hearings. Several thousand children are estimated to be members of the class.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP.

“This ruling means that thousands of children will now have a fighting chance at getting a fair day in immigration court,” said Ahilan Arulanantham of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. “The Obama administration should stop defending its draconian practice of conducting deportation hearings against unrepresented children.”

The class covers all children under 18 who are in immigration proceedings in the Ninth Circuit on or after June 24, 2016; lack counsel; are unable to afford legal representation; and are potentially eligible for asylum or are potentially able to make colorable claims to U.S. citizenship. 

“The government will not be able to simply delay the case in hoping that a few individual cases may resolve themselves without court intervention. Instead, the government must now defend a system that pits unrepresented children against trained federal prosecutors in an adversarial court hearing that literally may carry life and death consequences for the children involved,” said Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

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The Council in the News

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.”

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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:

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C-Span | 02/09/15

The Durham Academy News Feed recently highlighted remarks made by the American Immigration Council's Executive Director Ben Johsnon.

Johnson spoke at the Durham Academy Upper School's annual Martin Luther King assembly and noted that lessons can be gleaned on a big-picture scale from the civil rights movement.

"One component of the Civil Rights Movement and its genesis from slavery wasn't just about the people who were being abused and whose rights were being denied," Johnson said. "It was about us. It was about our commitment to freedom, fairness and equality. In that context, we can have a conversation about where else do we have questions and challenges about our commitment to these principles."

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Durham Academy Newsfeed | 01/16/15