Skip to Content

Programs:

Press Releases

11/13/13 | LAC Issues New Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress Evidence Unlawfully Obtained by CBP

The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) has just released a new practice advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings: Fighting Back Against Unlawful Conduct by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Since 9/11, Congressional appropriations for border security have skyrocketed.  This influx of resources to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has corresponded with increased reports of pretextual arrests, racial profiling, excessive use of force, and coercive tactics to aid immigration enforcement along both borders.  Although these enforcement practices often violate the constitutional, statutory or regulatory framework governing the conduct of CBP officers, they are rarely challenged in immigration court. 

The LAC’s new practice advisory discusses some of the factual scenarios that may give rise to successful motions to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully by CBP officers, including CBP inspectors stationed at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents, who operate between ports of entry.  It also addresses some of the legal issues specific to motions to suppress evidence obtained at and near the border.  If successful, a motion to suppress can prevent the government from using unlawfully obtained evidence to prove alienage, which may result in the termination of removal proceedings. 

Read more...
11/08/13 | American Immigration Council Files BALCA Brief Challenging Unfair DOL Process

Yesterday, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with AILA, filed an amicus brief in an en banc case pending before the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA), an administrative body at the Department of Labor (DOL) that reviews denials of PERM labor certifications.  The case involves a regulation that requires employers to notify certain U.S. employees that they have laid off about new job opportunities before the employers are permitted to hire foreign workers.   

The focus of the amicus brief is the agency’s failure to provide fair warning about its interpretation of the notification requirement before applying a new, more restrictive interpretation.  The Department is notorious for failing to provide guidance and leaving it to employers to guess at what processes the Department will find to be in compliance with the regulations.  Here, the Department offered no guidance, but, through a pattern of decision making, established a practice of approving certain notification procedures.  Amici argue that the Department acts arbitrarily and violates due process when it does an about face without giving prior notice. 

###

For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at wfeliz@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524.

Read more...
11/06/13 | Immigration Advocacy Groups Urge Supreme Court to Interpret Child Status Protection Act Broadly

Washington, D.C.—This week, the American Immigration Council filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of young adults who, due to long delays caused by visa backlogs, lost the opportunity to obtain their “green cards” before they turned 21. The brief was filed in collaboration with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigrant Justice Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The case, Cuellar de Osorio v. Mayorkas, involves a provision of the Child Status Protection Act of 2002 (CSPA).  The amicus brief argues that in the CSPA, Congress specifically remedied the problem of children who, due to long delays caused by visa backlogs, turned 21 and lost the opportunity to immigrate with their families before a visa became available.  Specifically, the brief argues that children listed as beneficiaries on all types of visa petitions – and not simply those filed by lawful permanent residents, as the government argues – are entitled to retain the earlier filing date of their parents’ visa petitions when new visa petitions are filed for them as adults.  As a result, they do not have to wait as long for new visas. The brief presents compelling case histories illustrating the hardship that these families have suffered as the result of the government’s narrow interpretation.    

The amici were represented on a pro bono basis by Lori Alvino McGill and Nicole Ries Fox of Latham and Watkins, LLP.  Read more about this case and the Child Status Protection Act on our website.

###

Read more...
11/05/13 | Court Approves Settlement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Washington, DC – On Monday, November 4, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ordered the final approval of a nationwide class action settlement agreement. The settlement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases.  The changes will commence on December 3, 2013.

The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.  The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.

The case, filed on behalf of asylum seekers around the country, alleged that the current system unlawfully denies asylum applicants the opportunity to obtain employment authorization if their asylum applications have been pending for six months or more. Some end up waiting several months or years for the government to make a decision on their asylum applications.  Indeed, one plaintiff from China had been waiting nearly 10 years for his case to be resolved.

Read more...
10/02/13 | House Democrats Unveil Comprehensive Immigration Reform Proposal

Washington D.C. - Today, in an important effort to keep the conversation and momentum on immigration reform moving forward in the House, a group of centrist Democrats introduced their version of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. Although the full text has not yet been made available, it is said to be a modification of the bipartisan Senate bill of the same name adopted earlier this year. Among other reported changes, the House bill takes a different path on border security, incorporating a bill introduced by Republican Congressman Mike McCaul which passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Homeland Security in May of 2013. The House sponsors—including Representatives Garcia, Chu, Polis, DelBene, and Horsford—adopted provisions of the McCaul-Thompson bill as a replacement for the costly, controversial “border surge” strategy adopted by the Senate under the Corker-Hoeven amendment.  

Substantively, the comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced today reflects a series of bipartisan policy and political compromises made during deliberations in the Senate. The original co-sponsors represent diverse interests from within the Democratic Party, including the New Democrats Coalition, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

The following is a statement from the American Immigration Council’s Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson:

Read more...
10/01/13 | First Circuit Holds That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States

Washington, D.C. - Last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that individuals who have been deported must have the opportunity to pursue motions to reopen their cases from outside the United States.  A motion to reopen is an important procedural safeguard that helps ensure noncitizens are afforded a fair immigration hearing.  The American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit and argued before the court, welcome the court’s ruling in Perez Santana v. Holder.

Despite having lost in nine other circuits, the government continued to vigorously defend a regulation – the so called “departure bar” – barring individuals from pursuing their cases from outside the United States.  This most recent decision means that all but one circuit court of appeals has rejected the government’s arguments and concluded that the regulation is unlawful.  Only the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the legality of the departure bar.  The American Immigration Council and NIPNLG renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.

Read more...
08/28/13 | LAC and CLINIC Release Practice Advisory on Advanced Parole for DACA Recipients

Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC), in collaboration with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory, Advance Parole For Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients. One of the benefits of DACA is that a recipient may seek permission – through a process known as “advance parole” – to travel abroad temporarily for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. This practice advisory provides guidance on advance parole eligibility for DACA recipients; outlines how a DACA recipient may apply for advance parole; addresses the legal issues that can confront a DACA recipient considering travel on advance parole, including any potential risks; and finally, covers the impact that the travel may have on the DACA recipient’s future immigration benefits. 

For a complete list of the LAC’s Practice Advisories, please visit our website.

###

For more information, contact clearinghouse@immcouncil.org or call 202-507-7516.

 

Read more...
08/15/13 | How DACA is Impacting the Lives of Those Who Are Now DACAmented

Washington D.C. - Today, on the one-year anniversary of USCIS’ implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Immigration Policy Center, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California, releases early findings from the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP)—a longitudinal mixed-methods study of the impact of DACA on the educational, labor market, health, and civic engagement outcomes of young adult immigrants.

While the DACA program does not provide permanent legal status or a path to citizenship, it does provide a two-year renewable grant of deferral from deportation for certain young immigrants and allows them to apply for work permits and social security cards. The research finds that DACA is increasing their opportunities for economic and social incorporation. According to the survey, many recipients also seek further social integration beyond DACA. In fact, almost all DACA recipients indicate that they would apply for U.S. citizenship if given the opportunity. The study also shows that DACA recipients are often fearful that family members and friends could be deported at any time.

Overall, the research indicates that although DACA opens up some economic opportunities for young aspiring Americans, it does not address the constant threat of deportation still facing those closest to them, including mothers, fathers, and siblings.

To view the research summary see:

###

Read more...
08/15/13 | LAC Issues New Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings

Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings:  Cracking Down on Fourth Amendment Violations by State and Local Law Enforcement Officers.

Increasingly, state and local law enforcement officers are assisting the federal government in immigration enforcement, whether through formal agreements under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; through participation in Secure Communities and the Criminal Alien Program; through state laws such as those enacted in Arizona, Alabama, and elsewhere; or through policies promoted by local mayors, sheriffs, and police chiefs.  Motions to suppress seek to exclude evidence obtained by such officers in violation of an individual’s constitutional or other legal rights.

The LAC’s new practice advisory deals primarily with Fourth Amendment limitations on state and local immigration enforcement efforts and also briefly addresses Fifth Amendment violations that may arise from the same types of encounters with state and local officers.  It also discusses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings move to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a constitutional violation by such officers.

Read more...
08/14/13 | New “Pocket DACA” Mobile App Helps Young Immigrants Apply for Deferred Action

Washington, D.C. - The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), and the Own the Dream campaign are proud to announce the launch of a new "Pocket DACA" app for smartphones and tablets that will help immigrants brought to this country as children understand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process. Through DACA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is granting two-year, renewable reprieves from deportation to eligible young immigrants who meet certain criteria.

The free app, available for download from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores, offers a self-screening tool for DACA applicants to understand their eligibility and a searchable directory of listings for immigration legal services providers, including non-profit groups, in all 50 states. The app also includes links to news about the deferred action process and frequently asked questions.

"This app is yet another way that AILA's national organization and members are reaching out to the young undocumented population who may be eligible for this potentially life-changing opportunity, while offering protection from scammers who may try to take advantage of a vulnerable population," said Laura Lichter, AILA's Immediate Past President who was involved in developing a related online screening tool.

"AIC is proud to have been a part of the development of this new app, which includes an easy-to-use and accurate screening tool and answers questions potential applicants may have. This free app will leverage the power of technology and social media to help young immigrants decide whether to apply for this temporary relief," said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.

Read more...