FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of the Spokesperson
January 4, 2012
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Brooklyn Academy of Music announced today the tour dates of the second season of DanceMotion USASM. A launch event for this people-to-people exchange will take place January 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Dance Place 3225 8th Street, NE, Washington, D.C., where the American dance companies will engage with Washington, D.C. area youth.
DanceMotion USASM sends American dance companies overseas to engage with audiences and communities, especially underserved youth, through dance and a variety of other means. DanceMotion USASM builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the full use of diplomatic tools, in this case dance, to engage people and create opportunities for greater understanding.
This season’s participating DanceMotion USASM companies will tour in 2012 as follows:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
January 6, 2012
Yesterday morning, President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta unveiled new strategic guidance that reflects our 21st century defense needs and secures America’s leadership for the future. The Defense Department and State Department continue to work side-by-side to bring the full range of American assets to bear on our foreign policy. As the new strategy notes, meeting our challenges cannot be the work of our military alone. Diplomacy and development are equal partners with defense in our smart power approach to promoting American interests and values abroad, building up our economic prosperity, and protecting our national security.
This new guidance is a critical element in our integrated approach to strengthening American leadership in a changing world. It enhances the capabilities and relationships we need to lead and meet our responsibilities for years to come. And it promotes our strategic priorities, including sustaining a global presence while strengthening our focus on the Asia-Pacific region; deterring our adversaries and fulfilling our security commitments; investing in critical alliances and partnerships, including NATO; combating violent extremists and defending human dignity around the world; and preserving our ability to respond quickly to emerging threats. As we move forward with this strategy, we will continue to consult our allies and partners to address our shared concerns, seize new opportunities, and bolster global stability.
I look forward to continuing the close partnership between the Departments of State and Defense as we work together to realize President Obama’s vision for the security of the United States and its people.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2012 - Washington, D.C. The United States welcomes 650 Brazilian students who arrive this week to study in over 100 U.S. universities in 42 states across the country. These students are the first wave of academics participating in Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s “Science Without Borders” program to come to American classrooms and we look forward to receiving many more in the future.
Last year, Presidents Obama and Rousseff set complementary goals for international education. President Obama announced the “100,000 Strong for the Americas” initiative to increase international study with a target of 100,000 students from Latin America and the Caribbean studying United States, and a reciprocal 100,000 students from the United States studying in the Latin American and the Caribbean region.
Additionally, President Rousseff’s “Science Without Borders” scholarship program will support as many as 101,000 outstanding Brazilian students for international study in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the next four years; up to half of them will study in the United States. Our partnership with Brazil continues to grow and this investment through educational exchanges will continue to benefit our societies for generations to come.
December 26, 2011 - In the wake of Alabama’s new anti-immigration law, there are new reports that agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been making terrorizing raids on north Alabama families that undermine federal efforts to protect the civil rights of the state’s Latino community.
According to a press release issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a non-profit civil rights organization that is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and seeks to implement justice for society’s most vulnerable, agents have allegedly been threatening children and terrorizing families throughout the state.
SPLC has urged the Department of Homeland Security to end the raids.
A Plea for Help to Homeland Security
The SPLC sent a letter urging that the raids be stopped immediately to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, after the SPLC had been informed that armed ICE agents had been entering the homes of Latino families living in a mobile park in Collinsville and Fort Payne.
According to witness reports the ICE agents were entering homes without permission and interrogating young children.
In addition to urging that such threatening and forceful raids be stopped, the letter also asked for there to be a formal investigation conducted into the civil rights violations that may have taken place during the raids, which are a result of the state’s anti-immigration law, HB 56.
Prior to the letter, Napolitano had written a statement that the Department of homeland Security would not be assisting Alabama in enforcing the HB 56 law.
“Alabama’s Latino community has already been devastated by HB 56, and many Latinos who have not left the state are living in terror,” Mary Bauer, the SPLC Legal Director wrote in the press release. Bauer continued:
“These raids profoundly undermine the federal government’s substantial efforts to reassure people that they still have civil rights and that the federal government is committed to protecting them. They are terrorizing a community living in fear and chaos.”
Illegal Raids and Threatening American Children
Making illegal raids, threatening to arrest children – who incidentally are U.S. citizens – if they did not reveal their parent’s whereabouts, terrorizing families, and arresting people who happened to be in the vicinity, is blatantly unacceptable behaviour.
It is behavior that marginalizes immigrants further, and does little to tackle the problem of immigration, as Dan Werner, the SPLC’s deputy legal director, stated on the press release:
“These raids are a stark reminder that the failure of our nation to pass comprehensive immigration reform has devastating repercussions that rip apart communities and push immigrants deeper into the shadows.”
If such terrorizing raids are a by-product of the anti-immigrant law, HB 56, and an “avowal” made by several federal agencies, including the departments of Education and Labor, it just goes to show how backward the HB 56 anti-immigration law really is.
The departments of Education and Labor are taking steps to reassure Alabama’s Latino community that the government will be vigilant in protecting their civil rights.
This is not the first time that the state of Alabama and its anti-immigration laws have been scrutinized and criticized, as when the state’s HB 56 was signed into law it was universally condemned by immigrant and civil rights groups as the “harshest anti-immigrant state law to be passed”.
The state of Alabama and its anti-immigration laws are attempting to criminalize every aspect of life for immigrants living in Alabama, including making it illegal for immigrant children to go to school, and making it illegal for undocumented immigrants to work or rent a house.
Similar to the HB 56 law’s predecessor, Arizona’s SB 1070, the new law in Alabama also states that it is a criminal offense for immigrants to simply be in Alabama.
Basically, as Johnson Malhotra, advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, told Colorlines.com, “The aim [of the HB 56 law] is to make it economically not viable for immigrants to do anything.”
Alabama’s new harsh anti-immigration law, which obviously advocates making illegal raids and interrogating and terrorizing children inside family homes, furthers Alabama’s reputation and stereotype as being a xenophobic state, where racism is bred from the mouths of the lawmakers themselves.
It will be interesting to see whether, in the wake of the SPLC’s appeals to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice will go after Alabama for its abuse of basic human rights.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 26, 2011 - REDLANDS, CA- When it comes to fighting against an unwanted assembly bill, the Redlands Tea Party Patriots are working the old fashioned way - going door to door to gather signatures against AB 131.
The new legislation, AB 131, would give undocumented students in California the opportunity to apply for financial aid.
Opponents are seeking to gather a minimum of 505,000 signatures to file their petition by Jan. 5, because they say the Dream Act disenfranchises legal resident students in a time of deep fiscal difficulty for the state.
(("It's as immoral as it is outrageous," said Tea Party Patriot John Berry, who is in charge of the group's canvassing committee.))
Berry said the Tea Party has a group of volunteers who have gone door to door twice in the past two months to gather signatures.
So far, they've gathered about 1,000 in Redlands, which he said was significant, considering it was done on an unpaid, volunteer basis.
"We get people who can't wait to sign the petition," Berry said. "It's been an overwhelmingly positive response."
In addition to going door to door, the Tea Party has had a booth at Market Night, Stater Bros. and Lowe's in Highland, Berry said.
And it`s not just the Tea Partiers who are against this potential legislation.
"All across the board, people want to sign the petition," he said, noting that Democrats, Republicans, Independents and other members of political parties have signed the petition.
"It's fair to say it's widely hated," Berry noted.
He added that this is one of the first pushes for the Tea Party to become more active in the coming year.
"We have a whole slew of events," he said. "This year, we got our sea legs as an institution. We've learned a lot, and we're going to do more in 2012.
Molly Davis, Redlands Daily Facts
Reach Molly via email, or call her at 909-793-3221.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHARLESTON, S.C. ― Major parts of South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law, including a provision that would have forced drivers to prove they were citizens or legal residents at virtually all traffic stops, were blocked today by a federal judge.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups recently argued that the law, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, was unconstitutional, interferes with federal laws and would cause great harm if implemented.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel also said that sections of the law, including those making it a crime to transport and harbor undocumented immigrants and criminalizing the failure to carry "papers" at all times were also likely to be found unconstitutional.
The coalition filed a lawsuit against the law in October. A hearing seeking a preliminary injunction was held Monday. The U.S. Department of Justice, which also sued South Carolina, also argued the law should be blocked because it will cause irreparable harm and interfere with federal immigration law.
“Today’s ruling blocking key provisions of South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law recognizes that such legislation is unconstitutional and likely to lead to serious civil rights abuses,” said Andre Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case in court Monday on behalf of the coalition. “We have already seen the devastating effects of a similar law in Alabama, and are pleased South Carolina will not follow the same destructive path."
South Carolina’s law would have subjected citizens and legal residents to unlawful searches and seizures and interfered with federal power and authority over immigration, Segura said.
The law would require police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person lacks immigration status, thereby inviting racial profiling. It also attempted to criminalize South Carolinians for everyday interactions with undocumented individuals, such as driving someone to church, or renting a room, said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina.
"The court’s ruling means this draconian law will not immediately threaten the safety of innocent people, including victims of domestic violence and human trafficking and even asylum seekers,” Middleton said. “We hope the ruling means families will not be separated, and South Carolina will not be turned into a police state.”
Today’s ruling comes shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take a case involving parts of Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. The civil rights coalition has pressed to continue with hearings over similar laws in South Carolina, Alabama and other states because they involve claims not before the Supreme Court, and because these laws will cause severe harms if they take effect.
Federal courts have already blocked key provisions of these laws in Arizona, Indiana and Georgia. A federal court in Alabama allowed some parts of the law to take effect, leading to devastating humanitarian consequences. Members of the civil rights coalition also have a case pending against Utah’s anti-immigrant law that has been blocked pending a hearing now scheduled for February.
The coalition in the South Carolina case includes the ACLU, the ACLU of South Carolina, the National Immigration Law Center, MALDEF, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firms of Rosen, Rosen & Hagood and the Lloyd Law Firm.
To learn more about the case and read today’s decision, the complaint, as well as the motion for preliminary injunction, go to:
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2011
Washington D.C. - Tomorrow, the House Immigration Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the controversial Secure Communities program. In advance of the hearing, IPC has updated The Secure Communities Program: Unanswered Questions and Continuing Concerns, which provides expert analysis of the Secure Communities program and recommendations for its improvement.
Initiated in 2008, Secure Communities is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program designed to identify immigrants in U.S. jails who are deportable under immigration law. ICE plans to implement Secure Communities in every state and local jail across the country by 2013. However, there are a wide range of ongoing concerns with the program that have not been answered to date. This paper describes the Secure Communities program, identifies concerns about the program’s design and implementation, and makes recommendations for the future of the program.
To view this special report in its entirety, visit:
The Secure Communities Program: Unanswered Questions and Continuing Concerns (IPC Special Report, updated November, 2011)
For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-507-7524
For Immediate Release
November 18, 2011
Washington D.C. - Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Principal Legal Advisor directed all ICE attorneys to begin a systematic review of immigration cases to determine whether pursuing deportation in each case is consistent with the Administration’s enforcement priorities. This directive follows last summer’s announcement that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to review 300,000 immigration cases to assess whether they fall within the enforcement priorities and suspend those cases which do not. ICE also provided more detailed guidance to ICE attorneys regarding criteria for determining when it is appropriate to exercise prosecutorial discretion to close or dismiss a case.
These directives are important steps toward reforming the culture of immigration enforcement within the agency and aligning its resources with its enforcement priorities. They empower ICE attorneys to take into account the individual circumstances of each case when deciding whether it is appropriate to pursue removal. Although DHS needs to refine its overly-broad definitions of criminality, this new guidance, if fully implemented, should mean that the government can focus its resources on deportations of those who pose a real threat to public safety. It should result in fewer deportations of low priority immigrants, such as DREAM Act students or individuals with strong family and community ties and more. Importantly, prosecutorial discretion does not mean that a person is granted legal status in the United States; rather, a person whose case is dismissed or closed will remain in the status they were in prior to the initiation of deportation proceedings.
The new ICE guidance also brings DHS more in line with traditional law enforcement practices, which emphasize the important role of discretion in carrying out any law enforcement officer’s duties. In fact, members of a DHS Task Force sent a letter today to Congress highlighting the importance of prosecutorial discretion as an immigration enforcement tool. They write:
“there is nothing unusual in our recommendation or in DHS’s current efforts to improve its use of prosecutorial discretion. Such discretion is a normal and essential part of the everyday activities of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices at the local, state, and federal levels across the nation. Exercising prosecutorial discretion, case by case, in a systematic and professional way, does not amount to administrative amnesty. Instead it helps to make sure that resources are focused in ways that best promote the overall enforcement mission.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2011
Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) this week filed two lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The LAC pursued disclosure of these records, as well as records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed last March. To date, USCIS has failed to turn over any documents, and CBP has turned over only a few excerpts from its practice manuals. ICE has informed the LAC that it conducted a search for records, but that it is “unable to locate or identify any responsive records.” The LAC has filed an administrative appeal of ICE’s determination and will pursue litigation if necessary.
These FOIA requests were prompted by the results of a survey conducted by the LAC and the American Immigration Lawyers Association that revealed widespread restrictions on access to counsel before USCIS, ICE and CBP. Such limitations include bars on attorney presence at CBP inspections, limitations on the ability to consult with attorneys in ICE detention facilities and during questioning by ICE, and restrictions on attorneys’ ability to participate in interviews before USCIS. The survey also highlighted significant variations in policies and practices in DHS offices throughout the country.
The LAC has long advocated for the right to counsel in immigration settings, including meaningful access to an attorney. The LAC currently is pursuing administrative reforms to secure improved access to counsel in all DHS proceedings. The information sought through our FOIA requests will assist in this work and in advising immigration lawyers regarding how best to safeguard their clients’ right to counsel.
Dorsey & Whitney LLP is co-counsel with the LAC on these FOIA cases.
For more information contact Brian Yourish at email@example.com or 202-507-7516.
The Legal Action Center strives to increase the accountability of government agencies that administer the immigration laws and to ensure these laws are interpreted and implemented in a way that honors fundamental constitutional and human rights. The LAC engages in impact litigation, including appearing as amicus curiae (friend of the court) before administrative tribunals and federal courts in significant immigration cases on targeted legal issues, and has long worked to protect the right to counsel for noncitizens facing removal from the United States.
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For Immediate Release
October 19, 2011
Washington D.C. - Many political pundits, presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the need for fiscal austerity, and a Congressional “super-committee” is currently working on slashing federal spending in order to reduce the deficit. On the other hand, even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just announced a record high number of deportations, some still want to increase federal spending on immigration enforcement; putting more Border Patrol boots on the ground, completing the border fence, and deploying an array of high-tech gadgetry. However, they miss one very important fact: piling on more immigration enforcement without immigration reform is a practical and fiscal dead-end.
Over the past decade, the federal government has spent tens of billions of dollars trying to keep unauthorized immigrants out of the United States, or trying to get them out of the country if they are already here. The end result? Roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants now call the United States home, the majority have been here for more than 10 years, and many have U.S.-born children. In short, the “enforcement only” approach to unauthorized immigration has proven to be costly and ineffective. But many political candidates and Members of Congress have yet to get the news that the enforcement-only approach has been tried and failed.
To learn more about the impracticality of enforcement without reform, view our Fact Check:
Fiscally Irresponsible: Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars (IPC Fact Check, October 2011)
Also see today's blog post on the recent release of DHS's fiscal year 2011 deportation numbers:
Redefining Criminality: Untangling DHS’s Record High Deportation Numbers (ImmigrationImpact.com, October 19, 2011)
For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-507-7524
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.