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01/27/15 | Second Circuit Narrowly Interprets Aggravated Felony Bar Under INA § 212(h)

Washington, D.C.—Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a precedent decision that will allow a greater number of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to avoid deportation if they can demonstrate to an immigration judge that their removal will result in extreme hardship to close family members in the United States. The Court held that the bar to a waiver under § 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) applies only to those persons with an aggravated felony conviction who became LPRs at the time that they lawfully entered the United States. The American Immigration Council (Immigration Council) filed an amicus brief in the case with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). 

The Immigration Council applauds the ruling and repeats its call for the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to overturn its contrary decision in Matter of Koljenovic, 25 I&N Dec. 219 (2010). With this decision, the Second Circuit joins the seven other Courts of Appeal—an overwhelming majority—to have rejected Matter of Koljenovic. To date, the Eighth Circuit stands alone in upholding the BIA’s decision. The First and the Tenth Circuits have not yet ruled on the issue, although the Council and AILA have filed amicus briefs in two pending cases in the Tenth Circuit. The Second Circuit case is Husic v. Holder, No. 14‐607. Thomas E. Moseley represented the petitioner.

 

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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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12/29/14 | Immigration, Civil Rights and Labor Groups Join Legal Effort to Defend Immigration Action

Washington D.C. - Today, immigration, civil rights and labor groups joined the legal effort to defend President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration by filing an amicus “friend of the court” brief in the case, State of Texas vs. United States. In the days after the President’s November 20th announcement, two lawsuits were filed seeking to block implementation of the new deferred action initiatives. Both lawsuits seek a “preliminary injunction”—a temporary block of the programs during the life of a lawsuit. The amicus brief, which was written in support of the federal government, provides powerful economic, fiscal, and societal reasons to allow these programs to take effect later this year.

The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Define American, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Law Center, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, Service Employees International Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, and United We Dream filed a brief opposing the states’ request for a preliminary injunction against the administration’s new deferred action initiatives. 

In their brief, the groups provide powerful testimonials about potential beneficiaries of the new deferred action initiatives, many of whom are already entrepreneurs and community leaders. These individuals include a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, community leaders, and primary breadwinners for U.S. citizen children. The groups also explain how the deferred action initiatives will positively impact the U.S. economy, raising wages, increasing tax revenue, and creating new jobs.

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The Council in the News

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

Patrick Taurel, Legal Fellow at the American Immigration Council, was recently quoted in the Washington Post article "Obama’s 2012 DACA move offers a window into pros and cons of executive action."

The article discusses the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrrivals (DACA) program, the lessons learned from it, and the need for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“We know it [DACA] has made a tremendous beneficial impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,’’ said Patrick Taurel, a legal fellow at the American Immigration Council, a pro-immigration group. “But it’s not enough. We ultimately need Congress to step in and create a permanent solution.’’

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Washington Post | 12/01/14

Citing a report by the American Immigration Council detailing 36 examples of executive actons taken on immigration by every president since 1956, the Associated Press highlighted executive actions taken by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to shield immigrants from deportation.

Mark Noferi, Enforcement Fellow at the American Immigration Council, was also quoted in the article on the similarities between President Obama's possible executive order on immigration:

"It's a striking parallel," said Mark Noferi of the pro-immigration American Immigration Council. "Bush Sr. went big at the time. He protected about 40 percent of the unauthorized population. Back then that was up to 1.5 million. Today that would be about 5 million."

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Associated Press | 11/15/14