March 26, 2011

The Following article originated at and is copied from

The American Immigration Council (AIC) was established in 1987 and was formerly known as the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF), AIC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a prominent member of the open-borders lobby. AIC advocates expanded rights and amnesty for illegal aliens residing in the U.S. It works in partnership with the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), whose affiliate members include the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the ACLU, the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, ASISTA, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Pro Bono Net, and the Advocates for Human Rights. Moreover, IAN is bankrolled by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Four Freedoms Fund, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

AIC is a powerful, multifaceted body in its own right. Indeed, its name change on Oct 29, 2009 was intended to reflect its expansion “beyond the courtroom and into the halls of Congress and the public square.” AIC pursues its open borders agenda via four separate programs:

1. The Immigration Policy Center uses its research findings and press releases to influence the opinions of lawmakers and private citizens on immigration and “social justice” issues.

2. The Legal Action Center litigates on behalf of illegal immigrants against various government agencies, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Department of Labor, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

3. The Community Education Center, formerly called the Public Education Program, promotes the “values of fairness, social justice and respect for all people” through four programs which provide: (a) schoolteachers with classroom resources that endorse a pro-immigration, pro-open-borders philosophy; (b) education workshops to youth, educators, and community leaders who aim to integrate the subject of immigration into their communities, professional and educational spheres; (c) a creative writing contest whose entries focus on the benefits of immigration to American society; and (d) a teachers’ grant program to fund educational projects concerning immigration.

4. The International Exchange Center, formerly called the Exchange Visitor Program, acts as a conduit to facilitate the entry of foreign students and workers into the United States; the Center also offers J-1 Visa trainee and intern programs.

Ever since AIC's founding, its leadership has been virtually interchangeable with that of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA.) Mas Yonemura, the founder and first president of the AIC (then the AILF), was an AILA member and has been described as “a friend and mentor to many AILA attorneys.” After Yonemura’s lengthy tenure (1987 to 1999) as president ended, Margaret H. McCormick, former President of the AILA from 1997 to 1998, took over the leaershipof AIC. She was later replaced by Steven Ladik, also a former AILA president. In addition to the funding it gets from AILA, AIC has received considerable grant money from the ChevronTexaco Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and George SorosOpen Society Institute.

AIC characterizes immigrants in America as the primary victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and views immigration restrictions and anti-terrorism measures as xenophobic assaults on civil liberties. In 2007, AIC released a report claiming that immigrants in the United States commit crimes at lower rates than do native-born Americans:

“Because many immigrants to the United States, especially Mexicans and Central Americans, are young men who arrive with very low levels of formal education, popular stereotypes tend to associate them with higher rates of crime and incarceration. The fact that many of these immigrants enter the country through unauthorized channels or overstay their visas often is framed as an assault against the ‘rule of law,’ thereby reinforcing the impression that immigration and criminality are linked.”

For AIC, these stereotypes have only been exacerbated "in a post-9/11 climate of fear and ignorance where terrorism and undocumented immigration often are mentioned in the same breath." "In fact," adds AIC, "data from the census and other sources show that for every ethnic group without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants." AIC concludes that immigration has, in fact, led to a decrease in crime.

The legal work of David W. Leopold, a member of AIC’s Board of Directors and 2009 president-elect of the AILA, typifies the ideological underpinnings of both groups. After September 11, 2001, Leopold was one of the first lawyers to defend the rights of non-citizens and to condemn the newly instituted security methods for handling suspected immigrant criminals. He has argued against detention, closed hearings, and various types of interrogation vis a vis illegal immigrants, calling the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees “a national disgrace.” In 2010, Leopold contended that economic prosperity for the U.S. was impossible without amnesty for illegal aliens:

“American businesses are unable to grow and invest in our economy, due to rigid and flawed interpretations of our laws by DHS and economists have shown that a broad immigration reform bill is one of the strongest stimulus measures available to jumpstart our troubled economy.”

In 2010, AIC continued to use this fiscal immigration argument, asserting that an Arizona law (SB1070) targeting illegal aliens was not simply “hate legislation,” but potentially disastrous for the U.S. economy.


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