Skip to Content

Programs:

Press Releases

06/30/10 | President Obama’s Moment to Reassert Federal Leadership on Immigration Reform

Washington, D.C. - Tomorrow, Thursday, July 1st, President Obama will make what is being described by the New York Times as “a major speech on immigration” at American University in Washington, D.C. The President is expected to step forward to reassert the leadership of the Federal Government on the issue of immigration.

While a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s SB1070 now seems imminent, the President must address the underlying issues that led to passage of the Arizona law. We hope the President will squarely address the public’s frustration with a lack of workable solutions on immigration.  He must place this frustration in context—lack of federal action leads to growing impetus in the states to pass laws, no matter what their cost, simply to try to resolve the impasse. The President should address this frustration, but should also address the undisputed polling that shows that Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. This can be his moment to bring people together by laying out a framework that will actually move Congress to complete workable legislation.

Read more...
06/22/10 | Defining Roles: Federal vs. State Immigration Authority

Washington D.C. - Today, the small town of Fremont, Nebraska is in the headlines after passing an ordinance that requires among other things that renters apply for an occupancy license - which also requires a legal immigration status check - before renting an apartment or home.

Although Fremont, Nebraska, and Arizona are the latest localities to propose measures designed to control and manage immigration, there have been many more attempts over the past seven years to pass similar bills. Like the other efforts before them, there will be rationalizations for their passage and legal challenges to their implementation. Millions of dollars will be spent as these laws are battled in state houses, city halls, and the courts. However, the larger question is whether the federal government will continue to sit idly by as a patchwork of legislation proliferates around the country or will it finally assert its role, as defined by the Constitution, and delineate local authority with respect to federal immigration law?

Read more...
06/15/10 | Supreme Court Injects Reason into Immigration Felony Definition

On June 14, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously in Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder that a lawful permanent resident who is convicted of minor drug possession offenses does not warrant classification as having been convicted of an "aggravated felony." As a result, the Court held that Mr. Carachuri-Rosendo cannot be deported without an opportunity to make a case for why he should be allowed to remain in the United States. Please view the press release directly below, and you can also read about this case on our Supreme Court Update page.

Read more...
06/08/10 | Reality at the U.S. Mexico Border

Washington D.C. - On Monday, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) hosted a teleconference with border and national-security experts who dissected the myths linking immigration and border violence. These experts shared their analyses of the reality of crime and violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, what the real sources of violence are, and how the U.S. should respond.  They all made the point that nearly twenty years of immigration policy focusing on "securing the border first" has failed to address the underlying issues and criminal cartels that are the real cause of violence along the border.  The experts noted that immigration laws and policies of the past two decades have, ironically, made the border less safe and have actually benefitted the traffickers and smugglers who operate at the border.

Read more...
05/25/10 | When is Enough, Enough?

Washington, D.C. - Following a meeting to discuss comprehensive immigration reform with Senate Republicans, President Obama announced that he would send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and would request $500 million for additional border personnel and technology as part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill.

As we have seen time and time again, efforts to overhaul the entire immigration system have taken a back seat to the political expediency of pouring more money into border enforcement.  While it is clear that border violence must be addressed, it is also clear that enforcement alone is not a solution to our country's immigration problems.  

Over the last two decades, the United States has spent billions of dollars on border enforcement.  Since 1992, the annual budget of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased by 714 percent. At the same time, the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the southwest border has grown by 390 percent.  Interior enforcement has expanded as well, and detentions and deportations are at record levels.  However, during the same time period, the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has roughly tripled from 3.5 million in 1990 to 11.9 million in 2008. Yet close family members of American families continue to wait in visa backlogs that routinely last 5 to 7 years, and Americas competitiveness in the global market place is challenged by difficulties recruiting and retaining exceptional foreign workers.  

Read more...
05/20/10 | U.S. Border Enforcement Prioritizes Non-Violent Migrants Over Dangerous Criminals

Washington D.C. - The Mexican President's visit to the United States allowed both he and President Obama to address the important issues of immigration, border control and crime. Both Presidents made the important point that we address and not conflate these serious issues. This approach stands in stark contrast to the drafters of Arizona law SB1070 and those members of Congress, including Senators Kyl and McCain, who continue to equate dangerous criminals and migrant workers. These legislators share either a misguided understanding of who is really perpetrating violence at the border or a willingness to do anything to win an election.

The horrific violence which currently afflicts our southern neighbor is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution. This violence is driven by the flow of guns, drugs and money across the borders. Yesterday, the President reaffirmed his administration's commitment "to stem the southbound flow of American guns and money" and to develop "new approaches to reducing the demand for drugs in our country," pledging to keep up law-enforcement pressure on the criminal gangs that "traffic in drugs, guns, and people."  In practice, however, the Justice Department seems to have given in to the political rhetoric behind laws like SB1070.

Obama's pledge to focus on these serious criminal enterprises should mean that law enforcement resources are also focused there, rather than on rounding up non-criminal border crossers.  However, that's simply not the case according to recent reports that show Department of Justice prosecutions of drug and weapons violations are down while low level immigration violators are being prosecuted at record levels.

Read more...
05/20/10 | Second Grader Speaks to First Lady on behalf of 5.5 Million Children in the U.S.

Washington D.C. - In the midst of a loud, long and contentious battle over immigration, a soft voice emerged yesterday which spoke volumes about our nation's broken immigration system - and the fear and havoc it creates in the lives of million of young people in America. "My mom... she says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers," whispered a second grade girl in Silver Spring, Maryland, to Michele Obama during her visit to that school yesterday. Her honesty was powerful testimony on behalf of 5.5 million children (75% of which are U.S. Citizens) in America, who have at least one parent without proper immigration status. 


For several years a range of academics have documented the powerful effect this uncertain future is having on the lives of children in America. The Immigration Policy Center has produced fact sheets and provides links which highlight these various studies.

Read more...
05/19/10 | Disentangling Unauthorized Immigration and Border Violence

Washington, D.C. - Judging from his remarks today with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, President Obama understands that the horrific violence which currently afflicts our southern neighbor is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution.  President Obama reaffirmed his administration’s commitment “to stem the southbound flow of American guns and money” which fuel the lion’s share of Mexico’s violence, as well as to develop “new approaches to reducing the demand for drugs in our country.”  The President also pledged to keep up law-enforcement pressure on the criminal gangs that “traffic in drugs, guns, and people.”

A notable aspect of the President’s remarks is that his discussion of violence in Mexico was separate and distinct from his discussion of comprehensive immigration reform and the need to create a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States.  The distinction reflects the fact that unauthorized immigrants are not the cause of the violence which plagues so many communities in Mexico.  This distinction stands in marked contrast to the supporters of “get tough” anti-immigrant laws, such as Arizona’s SB 1070, who frequently cite scattered episodes of violence spilling over the border from Mexico as a justification for their legislation.  But cracking down on unauthorized immigrants in the United States is not going to diminish violence in border communities because unauthorized immigrants aren’t the perpetrators, criminal cartels are.

Read more...
05/18/10 | Anti-Immigrant Group Recommends Economic Self-Destruction for Arizona

Washington D.C. - In data released "exclusively to FoxNews.com," the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) - architects of the new Arizona law SB1070 - claim that unauthorized immigrants in Arizona are costing the state's taxpayers $2.7 billion per year for education, medical care, and incarceration. The release of this "fiscal analysis" takes advantage of the absence of any legitimate economic analysis by the state on what SB1070 will cost. However, judging from FAIR's track record when it comes to these kinds of state estimates, it is likely that their numbers are virtually meaningless. In its most recent state studies on unauthorized immigration in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, for instance, FAIR has dramatically exaggerated the fiscal "costs" imposed by unauthorized immigrants by including schooling and medical care for their native-born, U.S.-citizen children in its estimate, and conveniently forgetting to account for the economic role that unauthorized workers play as consumers who help support local economies.

Read more...
05/12/10 | American Immigration Council Announces Steve and Cokie Roberts as Masters of Ceremonies for the 2010 American Heritage Awards!

The American Immigration Council is excited to announce that we have confirmed Steve and Cokie Roberts as the Masters of Ceremonies of our 2010 American Heritage Awards!


Steve Roberts, an award winning journalist and the Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, is the recent author of the book From Every End of This Earth: 13 Families and the New Lives They Made in America. His wife of more than 40 years, Cokie Roberts, is a senior news analyst for NPR News and political commentator for ABC, as well as the author of several New York Times best selling books. This year, the Library of Congress named her a "Living Legend."


The American Heritage Awards, to be held on Friday, July 2, 2010 at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, will honor outstanding immigrant women and their allies. The honorees include Rebecca Cammisa, director and producer of the 2010 Oscar Nominated documentary Which Way Home; Nelly Rico, mother of Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo and Loula Loi Alafoyiannis, the founder and CEO of the Euro-American Women's Council. A limited number of tickets and sponsorships are available for the event; please contact Elizabeth Stinebaugh at estinebaugh@immcouncil.org for more information. Tickets may also be purchased online.

Read more...