Skip to Content

Programs:

The Council In the News

An IPC report was cited in a recent article in the Washington Post on the Obama administrations push to give judges more leeway in deciding who can be deported:

"Under current law, non-citizen immigrants convicted of what’s known as an “aggravated felony” face automatic penalties that make it far harder for them to be spared from deportation. While the term suggests a crime of a serious and violent nature, the definition of an “aggravated felony” has been expanded over the years, to the point where it includes crimes that are neither “aggravated” nor “felonies.” Obama’s draft immigration bill would narrow the definition of an aggravated felony by giving immigration judges greater discretion to grant leniency to individual immigrants convicted of minor offenses.

Originally, only a small handful of serious crimes were classified as “aggravated felonies” in immigration law, but the definition was expanded in 1996 to encompass a host of other more minor offenses. “As initially enacted in 1988, the term ‘aggravated felony’ referred only to murder, federal drug trafficking, and illicit trafficking of certain firearms and destructive devices,” explains a brief from the Immigration Policy Center, an immigration advocacy group. “Today, the definition of ‘aggravated felony’ covers more than thirty types of offenses, including simple battery, theft, filing a false tax return, and failing to appear in court.”"

Read more...
Washington Post | 02/20/13

The American Immigration Council's Executive Director Ben Johnson wrote this Op-Ed for The Hill's Congress Blog, focusing on the problems with border security in the Immigration Reform debate.

"The recent immigration-reform proposals unveiled by President Obama and a bipartisan group of Senators are very much in accord when it comes to general principles. Both proposals advocate smarter and more effective immigration-enforcement measures at the border and in the interior of the country. Both stress the creation of a pathway to legal status and eventual U.S. citizenship for the nation’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants, as well as reforming the way we treat the best and the brightest who come here from around the world. And both call for reforms in the family-based and employment-based immigration systems to reduce backlogs and make limits on future flows more flexible. However, there are significant differences in the specifics of each proposal, particularly those having to do with immigration enforcement."

Read more...
The Hill | 02/05/13

The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural 2012 “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest. The competition challenges young adults to explore the role that immigration plays in their lives and communities.  The program allows young filmmakers and artists to create projects which focus on celebrating America as a nation of immigrants and explore the impact immigration has on our everyday lives.   The contest is sponsored, in part, by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Read more...
| 02/01/13

The IPC's Senior Researcher, Walter Ewing, had this article published in Yahoo! Finance:

"The U.S. immigration system undermines the U.S. economy in many ways. Two particularly glaring (and interrelated) examples concern foreign students and high-tech workers.

Each year, foreign students graduate from U.S. universities, often with in-demand science and engineering degrees. Yet many are forced to return to their home countries rather than putting their newly acquired knowledge to work here. Likewise, each year many high-tech workers from abroad (some of whom studied in U.S. universities) are forced to return home when their temporary work visas expire, regardless of how valuable their continuing contributions to the U.S. economy might be.

Both of these scenarios are nonsensical. That is why President Obama said in his inaugural address that the nation’s work will not be complete 'until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.'"

Read more...
Yahoo! Finance | 01/24/13

The Director of the Immigration Policy Center, Mary Giovagnoli, was quoted in this recent Mother Jones article on Marco Rubio's immigration plan:

"Rising conservative star and tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is "riding to the immigration rescue," according to the Wall Street Journal editorial page. While a bipartisan group of senators is at work on a comprehensive immigration reform proposal, Rubio is touting ideas of his own, which Journal editorial writer Matthew Kaminski says will seek to "triangulate, if you will—the liberal fringe that seeks broad amnesty for illegal immigrants and the hard right's obsession with closing the door.""

Read more...
Mother Jones | 01/15/13

AIC's Executive Director, Ben Johnson, was quoted in this recent ABC-Univision article:

"Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will remain at her post during President Obama's second term, a development that could have implications for the debate over immigration reform.

Officials from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed to ABC/Univision on Monday that Napolitano will stay in her current job...

'I think with Secretary Napolitano as the head of the Department of Homeland Security, it certainly is very hard to argue that the Obama administration isn't serious about enforcement. She has been very aggressive in enforcing the law,' said Benjamin Johnson, the executive director of the American Immigration Council in Washington, D.C. 'She's bringing a lot of credibility and a lot of experience in making the case that we've done enforcement, and it's time to start thinking about other areas of immigration policy that have to be changed.'"

Read more here.

Read more...
ABC News-Univision | 01/14/13

Wendy Feliz-Sefsaf, Communications Director at the AIC, was quoted in this article on Politico:

"When the 113th Congress digs into immigration reform with renewed vigor in the new year, no lawmaker will find himself in quite so tight a spot as Rep. Mike Honda.

It’s a position, however, very much relished by Honda, a seven-term Democrat from the San Jose area. His district, California’s redrawn 15th, is among the nation’s most complicated on this hot-button issue — dominated by major high-tech firms focused on importing high-skilled labor as well as huge minority populations seeking paths to citizenship."

Read more here.

 

Read more...
Politico | 01/03/13

American Immigration Council Board Member Matthew Hirsch published a piece on the need for immigration reform in the Patriot News on the PennLive website.  Here's an excerpt:

"Since the election, renewed attention has been focused on the issue of immigration reform and, like boxers circling in the ring, opposing sides seem to be inching toward some kind of compromise. The Republican leadership recognizes that shifting demographics helped President Obama win re-election, and it does not want to be the party of 'No' on immigration.

Both parties also understand that Congress is seen by the public as a pit of petty partisanship, and they view immigration as an issue that has the potential for a bipartisan bill they all can claim as their own.

These are good reasons for compromise on immigration, but there are at least five other good reasons for supporting immigration reform, which includes legalization of the undocumented."

Read more...
Patriot News | 12/08/12

IPC Director Mary Giovagnoli was quoted in USA Today's article on Senators Kyl and Hutchison's ACHIEVE Act legislation.  Here's an excerpt:

WASHINGTON -- Arizona Sen.Jon Kyl and Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced legislation Tuesday to give legal status to young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.

The bill by the two Southwest Republicans -- and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. -- would offer special student and work visas and ultimately permanent legal status to those who earn a college degree or serve four years in the military.

"We need to have a discussion that is sensible, that is calm," said Kyl, who, like Hutchison, is retiring in January. "This particular piece of immigration reform seemed a logical place to begin."

Unlike several previous "Dream Act"-style bills, it does not offer a special pathway to citizenship, a conscious omission that is likely to be opposed by immigrant rights' groups and many Democrats.

"I think this is a doubled-edged sword," said Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, which advocates for immigrants' rights. "On one hand, I think it's great that people are putting ideas out there about how to go forward on immigration. At the same time, I think it's really unfortunate that the choice is being made to put solutions out there that don't include the opportunity for people to become citizens."

Read more...
USA Today | 11/27/12

IPC's director, Mary Giovagnoli, was interviewed by Julián Aguilar of The Texas Tribune.  Read the interview below to learn more about immigration politics and reform:

Read more...
The Texas Tribune | 11/15/12