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05/23/16 | Lawsuit Seeks Transparency in H-1B Lottery Process

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council (Council) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have teamed up on a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seeking information about the government’s administration of the H-1B lottery. The lawsuit, filed last Friday, was brought under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. is co-counsel with attorneys from the Council.

Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals submit petitions to USCIS on the first business day of April for the limited pool of H-1B nonimmigrant visa numbers that are available for the coming fiscal year. With an annual limit of 65,000 visas for new hires—and 20,000 additional visas for professionals with a master’s or doctoral degree from a U.S. university—employer demand for H-1B visas has exceeded the statutory cap for more than ten years. 

If USCIS determines at any time during the first five business days of the filing period that it has received more than enough petitions to meet the numerical limits, the agency uses a computer-generated random selection process (or “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to satisfy the limits, taking into account a percentage of the petitions selected which will be denied, withdrawn, or otherwise rejected. Petitions not selected are returned to the petitioning employers. U.S. employers, foreign nationals seeking H-1Bs, and immigration lawyers are keenly interested in how USCIS administers the lottery process.

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05/17/16 | Winners of the 19th Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce that the first place winner of the American Immigration Council’s 19th Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest is Eliana Jaffee from the Pardes Jewish School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Eliana’s poem was chosen from among thousands of entries nationwide. Her poem “Why We’re Here” describes America as a place of freedom, hope, and refuge for new arrivals. Eliana writes:

 

That morning when the sun had risen,

my shores, my seas,

my hopes freed from prison,

the poor,

the rich, and

all the forgiven came to me.

 

Go,

ask that girl to compare,

a life of despair to a breath of free air,

ask her why are you here,

not somewhere over there?

 

To read the entire piece and the other winning pieces, click here.

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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.

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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