Mary Giovagnoli

Mary Giovagnoli is a Fellow at the American Immigration Council. Previously, Mary served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration Policy at the department of homeland security under the Obama administration from 2015 to 2017, covering a wide portfolio of domestic and international migration issues with an emphasis on coordination of immigration policy across the Department. Prior to that, Mary was the Director of the Immigration Policy Center. Prior to IPC, Mary served as Senior Director of Policy for the National Immigration Forum and practiced law as an attorney with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security—serving first as a trial attorney and associate general counsel with the INS, and, following the creation of DHS, as an associate chief counsel for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Mary specialized in asylum and refugee law, focusing on the impact of general immigration laws on asylees. In 2005, Mary became the senior advisor to the Director of Congressional Relations at USCIS. She was also awarded a Congressional Fellowship from USCIS to serve for a year in Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s office where she worked on comprehensive immigration reform and refugee issues.

Mary attended Drake University, graduating summa cum laude with a major in speech communication. She received a master’s degree in rhetoric and completed additional graduate coursework in rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin, before receiving a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She spent more than ten years teaching public speaking, argumentation and debate, and parliamentary procedure while pursuing her education.

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Effort to Quickly Deport Child Migrants Fails to Address the Problem

Effort to Quickly Deport Child Migrants Fails to Address the Problem

The White House informed Congress Monday that it would seek additional funding for an aggressive border enforcement strategy designed to thwart the dramatic increase in unaccompanied minors and families crossing the southwestern border, to expend more resources on fighting traffickers and drug smugglers, and to work closely with Mexico and Central American countries to end […]

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The Legacy of S. 744, the Senate Immigration Reform Bill

Written by on June 27, 2014 in Legislation, Reform with 2 Comments
The Legacy of S. 744, the Senate Immigration Reform Bill

On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed S. 744, an ambitious, bipartisan comprehensive reform of our immigration system.  Although far from perfect, it represented a genuine effort to wrestle with the complex, confusing, and highly emotional train wreck that has become our immigration system.  In the months that followed, a small bipartisan team in the […]

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On Immigration, Legislative Reform and Administrative Action Are Not at Odds

Written by on April 18, 2014 in Enforcement, Legislation, Reform with 5 Comments
On Immigration, Legislative Reform and Administrative Action Are Not at Odds

A year ago this week, senators introduced S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill, to much fanfare. It was a high point for the immigration reform movement, only to be eclipsed by the bipartisan vote to move the bill out of committee and then, in June 2013, final passage in the Senate itself. Thus far, […]

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Are GOP Immigration Standards Enough to Shake Up the Conversation?

Written by on January 31, 2014 in Elections, Enforcement, Legislation, Reform with 0 Comments
Are GOP Immigration Standards Enough to Shake Up the Conversation?

Reactions to the release of the House GOP leadership’s principles for immigration reform ranged from ecstatic to furious yesterday—and that was just within the Republican Party. Outside the tortured world of House politics, reactions tended more toward cautious praise for releasing something as a starting point, but with serious doubts about the shortcomings of the […]

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New Year, New Leadership and New Opportunities at DHS

Written by on December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments
New Year, New Leadership and New Opportunities at DHS

              The Department of Homeland Security enters 2014 with new leadership, following the confirmation this month of Jeh Johnson and Alejandro Mayorkas for  Secretary and Deputy Secretary, respectively.  Johnson and Mayorkas bring years of government service to their new jobs.  Mayorkas’ tenure as Director of USCIS led to a […]

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Will New USCIS Memos Confuse House Judiciary Committee Again?

Will New USCIS Memos Confuse House Judiciary Committee Again?

One of the significant lessons of 2013 is that good immigration policy matters to the American public.  It’s unfortunate, then, that the House Judiciary Committee is choosing to end its year focusing not on immigration reform, but on how best to take the President to task for making use of executive authority.

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Talking Turkey on Immigration 2013

Written by on November 27, 2013 in Family-Based Immigration, Legislation, Reform with 2 Comments
Talking Turkey on Immigration 2013

In an effort to preserve harmony at the Thanksgiving table, we have for the last several years offered up tips on making the case for immigration reform in front of, what is for many, the most hostile audience of all—their families. Even in the most congenial of families, there’s likely to be someone who can […]

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Will Congress Be Ready To Play Ball on Immigration Reform?

Written by on September 10, 2013 in Legislation, Reform with 1 Comment
Will Congress Be Ready To Play Ball on Immigration Reform?

In the classic baseball movie Bull Durham, Kevin Costner’s eyes go misty as he talks about how great it was to be “in the show” (the major league) for 21 days before being kicked back down to minor league ball. Immigration reform was in the show this spring for 60 days or so, ending in […]

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ICE Policy on Parental Rights Addresses Long Overdue Problem in Immigration System

ICE Policy on Parental Rights Addresses Long Overdue Problem in Immigration System

For years, leading family and children’s advocates have argued that the bond between parent and child is often a casualty of our broken immigration system.  Consequently, they have argued that ensuring parental rights in the context of immigration proceedings is critical—whether the issue is about determining who should have custody of an unaccompanied minor, exercising […]

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Fear Mongering via Mexican Asylum Cases

Fear Mongering via Mexican Asylum Cases

Here’s how an immigration rumor gets started. Take one local Fox news station, mix in a bunch of undisclosed sources complaining about asylum seekers at the Otay border crossing, add in some inflammatory comments from the chairman of the board of the Center for Immigration Studies, and just wait for the story to get blown […]

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