Melissa Crow is the Director of the Legal Action Center. Ms. Crow served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, and previously as a Senior Policy Advisor, in the Office of Immigration and Border Security at the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to joining DHS, she was a partner with Brown, Goldstein & Levy in Baltimore, Maryland, where she developed a thriving immigration practice and undertook litigation to protect immigrants' rights in the workplace. As the past co-chair of the Worksite Enforcement Committee of the local AILA chapter, she played a critical role in responding to immigration raids in Maryland under the Bush Administration. Before entering private practice, Melissa served as Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy during the 2007 debates on the U.S. Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill. She also spent a year as the Gulf Coast Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. She has taught in the Safe Harbor Clinic at Brooklyn Law School and the International Human Rights Clinic at Washington College of Law.
Last year, in Arizona v. United States, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the federal government, rather than the states, has both the responsibility and the authority to enforce immigration law. Leaving immigration enforcement to the whims of individual state legislatures and law enforcement officers was, according to the Court, likely to undermine the federal framework [...]
While the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration officers have broad authority to detain and ultimately deport noncitizens, they are generally not authorized to detain U.S. citizens and certainly cannot deport them. Yet, that is essentially what happened to a four-year-old U.S. citizen. In March 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of [...]
Prosecutorial discretion is the authority of a law enforcement agency or officer to decide whether and to what degree to enforce the law in particular cases. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative continues to be a successful example of prosecutorial discretion in the immigration context. However the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) often [...]
Over the past year, advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” local law enforcement officers by serving as Spanish-English interpreters and participating in 911 dispatch activities. Capitalizing on their access to noncitizens, Border Patrol agents are using these opportunities to facilitate immigration enforcement. [...]
BY MELISSA CROW AND EMILY CREIGHTON Every year, thousands of people flee persecution in their home countries and seek safe haven in the United States. Many of them spend their entire savings on the journey, travel under life-threatening conditions, and arrive on our shores with not much more than the clothes on their backs. Those [...]
Last week President Obama issued a blueprint for a twenty-first century immigration policy that highlighted, among other things, the need to promote accountability for employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers. The Administration’s recommendations for achieving this goal include a better employment verification system, more comprehensive anti-retaliation protections for workers, and a legalization program [...]
The basic tenet that you can’t be sued without knowing the charges against you and having a meaningful opportunity to defend yourself is a cornerstone of the U.S. judicial system. This concept of fundamental fairness ensures that people in courtrooms across the country have access to a discovery process that enables them to see the [...]