Archive for May, 2012

Please join – FRI 6/1: National Call on Supreme Court AZ Decision in June: What you need to know

May 31, 2012 By: admin Category: The situation

This is a reminder to please mark your calendar and join us this Friday, June 1st at 1pm Eastern for an important national State of Play conference call on the impending Supreme Court decision on AZ’s SB1070.

Before the end of June, the Supreme Court will announce its decision on the Department of Justice’s challenge to Arizona’s discriminatory anti-immigrant law.

There are four provisions of the law that are under challenge. How the Supreme Court will rule is unpredictable, but experts on the call will clearly explain the possible scenarios, what they mean, not only for Arizona, but also for the whole country, while leaders from Arizona and around the country will outline what we all need to do.

The Supreme Court’s decision will impact all of us, in every state and community across the country. The decision will determine whether our 50 states can enact 50 different sets of immigration laws, and whether legislators practicing the politics of fear and hate will continue to abuse our communities or be forced to stop their legislative attacks.

Please join this important national call to discuss what happened, what we need to know, and what we need to do to take action together.

Please join us:

Friday, June 1st at 1p.m. Eastern, 12 noon Central, 11am Mountain, and 10am Pacific.

Please call: 1-800-267-5734. Your conference title and password is “SCOTUS.”

Please note: This call is closed to members of the press. For press inquiries, please contact Katherine Vargas at

Interference with Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel

May 31, 2012 By: admin Category: The situation

May 31, 2012
Washington D.C. – Today, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center released a report and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on the pressing issue of noncitizens’ access to counsel. Reports from across the country indicate that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration agencies—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—often interfere with noncitizens’ access to counsel in benefits interviews, interrogations, and other types of administrative proceedings outside of immigration court. Depending on the context, immigration officers completely bar attorney participation, impose unwarranted restrictions on access to legal counsel, or strongly discourage noncitizens from seeking legal representation at their own expense.
A joint report by the Legal Action Center and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights, Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel, describes restrictions on access to legal representation before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat these harmful practices. It also addresses recent changes to USCIS’s guidance that are intended to expand access to legal representation.
Also today, in collaboration with Dorsey & Whitney LLP, the Legal Action Center filed a lawsuit against ICE and DHS to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before ICE. This is the third of three FOIA lawsuits filed by the LAC seeking records from DHS’s immigration agencies regarding their policies on access to counsel in DHS proceedings.
To date, ICE has failed to turn over any documents. Initially, ICE informed the LAC that it had conducted a search for records, but was “unable to locate or identify any responsive records.” ICE has since conceded that its search was inadequate and renewed its search for documents, but no documents have been forthcoming.
The LAC has long advocated for the right to counsel in immigration settings, including meaningful access to legal representation in immigration court and DHS proceedings.
To view the report and the complaint against DHS, see:
Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel (LAC Report, May 31, 2012)
FOIA Lawsuit Against ICE and DHS (LAC Litigation, May 31, 2012)
To learn more about LAC’s efforts around Access to Counsel, click here.

For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at or 202-507-7524.