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03/19/13 | Two Systems of Justice: How the Immigration System Falls Short of American Ideals of Justice

For Immediate Release

Two Systems of Justice:
How the Immigration System Falls Short of American Ideals of Justice

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council issued Two Systems of Justice: How the Immigration System Falls Short of American Ideals of Justice. This new report explores how the justice system for immigrants falls far short of the American values of due process and fundamental fairness. In fact, the immigration system lacks nearly all the procedural safeguards we expect in the U.S. criminal justice system.  Given the high stakes involved in immigration cases and the increasing criminalization of immigration law, the report concludes that we must no longer tolerate a system that deprives countless individuals of a fair judicial process.

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03/13/13 | National Wave of Complaints Highlights Rampant Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Dire Need for Reform

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states.   

This effort, which was coordinated by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, highlights CBP agents’ unlawful use of their enforcement authority. Border Patrol agents routinely exceed their statutory mandate by conducting enforcement activities outside border regions, making racially motivated arrests, employing derogatory and coercive interrogation tactics, and imprisoning arrestees under inhumane conditions. The cases include claims for unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.

Among the cases filed:

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03/13/13 | National Wave of Complaints Highlights Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

For Immediate Release

National Wave of Complaints Highlights Rampant Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
and Dire Need for Reform

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states.   

This effort, which was coordinated by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, highlights CBP agents’ unlawful use of their enforcement authority. Border Patrol agents routinely exceed their statutory mandate by conducting enforcement activities outside border regions, making racially motivated arrests, employing derogatory and coercive interrogation tactics, and imprisoning arrestees under inhumane conditions. The cases include claims for unlawful search and seizure, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.

Among the cases filed:

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02/05/13 | Carmen A. DiPlacido – A Champion and a Friend

The American Immigration Council mourns the loss of Carmen A. DiPlacido, an extraordinary lawyer known as much for his kind and gentle spirit as for his singular expertise in citizenship, naturalization and consular practice.  He had superb intellect, enormous practical knowledge, huge institutional memory, and unstinting and consistent generosity in sharing it all.

Before joining the private bar in 1997, Carmen had a distinguished 27-year career in the U.S. Department of State, where he served in numerous positions, including Director, Office of Citizens Consular Services and Director, Office of Policy Review and Interagency Liaison, Overseas Citizens Services, as well as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services.  A singular contribution of his was the landmark Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which Carmen authored to imbue derivative citizenship with his trademark fairness and compassion.

In addition to his long-time support for our work here at the Immigration Council, Carmen was an ardent supporter of individuals with special needs, and was the president of the board of directors of Porto Charities, Inc., a charitable organization dedicated to actively assisting people with developmental or intellectual disabilities; their community and their environment.  

Carmen is survived by his wife, Ann, and his daughter, Christie.

Carmen was a colleague and a dear friend to us all.  He will be missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

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01/30/13 | LAC Releases Two Practice Advisories Relating to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

For Immediate Release

LAC Releases Two Practice Advisories Relating to
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Washington, D.C. - The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to release two new practice advisories relating to issues faced by DACA applicants:

“Brief, Casual and Innocent” Absences from the United States

“Brief, casual and innocent” absences from the United States do not interrupt continuous residence for purposes of DACA eligibility.  This practice advisory discusses the “brief, casual and innocent” standard under existing case law.  Though such case law may inform USCIS’s review of absences from the United States, DACA adjudicators are not bound by these decisions.  Courts have often adopted generous interpretations of the “brief, casual and innocent” standard, and it is hoped that USCIS will do the same in the DACA context.

Inspection and Entry at a Port of Entry: Where is There an Admission? 

The second practice advisory – which applies beyond the DACA context – discusses entries in three common situations: where a noncitizen is “waved” through a port of entry with no questions asked; where entry is gained by fraud or misrepresentation; and where there is a false claim to U.S. citizenship.  With respect to each situation, the practice advisory explores whether an “admission” has occurred, the individual’s immigration status upon entry, and the immigration consequences of the action.  It also discusses the impact of these three types of entries on a DACA application.

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01/29/13 | President Obama Provides Moral Imperative for Immigration Reform

Washington D.C. - Today, in Las Vegas, President Obama urged the country to join him in moving forward on immigration reform, offering a proposal that addresses the pressing economic, cultural, and moral crisis facing the nation over immigration.  In doing so, he brought policies and principles down to one very important idea—that our American identity is directly tied to our heritage as immigrants and thus we owe it to each other to fix the immigration system once and for all. In laying out a moral and economic imperative for immigration reform, the President argued for a rational and productive debate, free of rancor and fear, reminding Americans that the nation was built by immigrants and “most of us used to be them.” His remarks today follow yesterday’s announcement from the United States Senate that a “gang of eight” bipartisan members have developed a set of principles to move immigration reform forward in the 113th Congress.

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01/28/13 | The American Immigration Council Welcomes Senate's Bipartisan Principles on Immigration Reform

Washington D.C. - Today, a bipartisan group of eight Senators unveiled a new set of comprehensive immigration reform principles, adding to the growing body of evidence that legislation to fix our nation’s broken immigration system is not only necessary, but possible. Although the framework offers only a very rough outline of what comprehensive immigration reform legislation might look like, the principles are a very strong starting point for legislative negotiations that should now begin in earnest.     

In presenting their proposal, the Senators reflect an understanding of the important role immigrants play in shaping our social and economic futures, and the critical need to create a fair and workable roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals living and working in the United States. Many issues remain to be debated and refined, and elements of the principles raise some real concerns that will need to be addressed in the months ahead.

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


“The American Immigration Council congratulates Senators Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Rubio, Bennett and Flake for reaching across the aisle and beginning an honest, bipartisan effort to confront the many difficult issues that must be resolved for immigration reform to become a reality. With the addition of a renewed commitment from President Obama, and the strengthened voices of those whose lives and livelihood have been damaged by the failure to act, the environment is better than it has been in many years for restoring fairness and integrity to our broken immigration system.”

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12/18/12 | The American Immigration Council Mourns the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye

Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council mourns the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. As the most senior member of the U.S. Senate, he was a stalwart supporter of immigration reform and spoke eloquently about his support for giving young undocumented youth the opportunity to become fully American.

The American Immigration Council was pleased to award Senator Inouye our “Stephen K. Fischel Distinguished Public Service Award” in the Spring of 2011 - an award given to individuals who exhibit a commitment and dedication to our heritage as a nation of immigrants and to the struggle to create fair and humane immigration policies in the United States.

In December of 2010, Senator Inouye made the following statement after the Senate’s failure to pass the DREAM Act during the lame duck session of Congress:

“The comprehensive immigration reform we claim we want in this country will not occur if we do not allow for the basic education of children and if we do not nurture the patriotic spirit of those brave enough to put on the uniform and fight for this country.  I was once labeled an enemy Alien by this country but we petitioned the government to allow us to fight and by the end of World War II the 442 Regimental Combat team had suffered the most casualties in the European campaign but was also the most decorated unit of its size in the history of the United States military.   By allowing the DREAM Act to sit idle, we extinguish hope for a lot of people and deny too many the opportunity I was given.”

The American Immigration Council sends its condolences to those who knew and loved Senator Inouye. We are a better nation for his service and will stand with those who work to advance the issues he most cared about.

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12/14/12 | The American Immigration Council Welcomes Customs and Border Protection’s New Guidance on Interpretation

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council (AIC) welcomes U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) decision, announced yesterday, to stop providing interpretation assistance to other law enforcement agencies.  This decision, which is set forth in new agency guidance that has not been publicly released, reportedly directs CBP personnel to refer requests for language translation to a list of private regional and state interpreter associations.  The guidance does not affect CBP’s authority to respond to requests from law enforcement agencies for other types of assistance.

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12/14/12 | The AIC Welcomes Customs and Border Protection’s New Guidance on Interpretation

The American Immigration Council (AIC) welcomes U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) decision, announced yesterday, to stop providing interpretation assistance to other law enforcement agencies.  This decision, which is set forth in new agency guidance that has not been publicly released, reportedly directs CBP personnel to refer requests for language translation to a list of private regional and state interpreter associations.  The guidance does not affect CBP’s authority to respond to requests from law enforcement agencies for other types of assistance.

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