Breaking News


Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:09:45 +0000   
Surging violence against transgender and gender nonconforming communities worldwide continue to force a record number of individuals to seek protection at U.S. borders and points of entry. Many of these people qualify for asylum based on past persecution, but encounter...
From the Bookshelves: .S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles, and Communities of Resistance by Karina Oliva Alvarado
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:57:20 +0000   
U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles, and Communities of Resistance by Karina Oliva Alvarado editor, University of Arizona Press 2017 In summer 2014, a surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America to the United States gained mainstream visibility—yet migration...
Answering the Impossible Question
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:48:56 +0000   
Possibly the most common question I hear at initial consultations with asylum seekers is, “What are the chances that I will win my case?” It’s a reasonable question. People want to know the likelihood of success before they start any endeavor. The problem is, it’s impossible to answer this question. Why is that? One reason […]
Naming and Shaming: The First ICE Weekly Alien Criminal Releases List
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:56:05 +0000   

Following the directives in one of President Trump's immigration-related executive orders (EOs) and the augmenting instructions in a subsequent policy memorandum from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued its first report identifying state and local jurisdictions that have refused to honor immigration detainers filed to hold alien criminals until they can be taken into custody by ICE agents.

The EO directed that ICE prepare the data contained in this report, and make it available in a readily understandable and accessible form for public consumption.

The report comes in four parts, the first three being most informative from the public's point of view:

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Public Relations Strategy to Paint Immigrants and Immigration as Negatives Embedded Deep Within Trump Executive Orders
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:55:46 +0000   
In this piece from the Migration Information Source, Muzaffar Chishti, Sarah Pierce, and Jessica Bolter look at the public relations consequences of President Trump's immigration executive orders. Even as the executive orders on immigration signed by President Trump during his...
Russian Signer Barred from International Singing Competition over Illegal Entry
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:02:19 +0000   
The Eurovision Song Contest is a big deal. It's the longest-running TV singing competition there is. It predates American Idol and the Voice by decades. Participating countries submit a singer with an original song. The singers perform on live TV....
Should Residents of Baltimore and Chicago "Fleeing Violence" be Given Asylum in Canada?
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:30:52 +0000   

Is it just me or are all Democrats and pro-immigration Republicans reading from the same scripts these days? How many times have you heard variations on this hackneyed sentiment?

We're a nation of immigrants, so we need to bring hard-working, tax paying immigrants who are fleeing violence out of the shadows and give them a path to citizenship.

The talking point I find most offensive is the "fleeing violence" bit. I have no problem with this characterization to describe a migrant who is coming here from an active war zone, like Syria, even if they have already spent time in other safe countries on their way here. But when I hear politicians from some of America's most dangerous cities making blanket statements about migrants from Latin America settling in their cities to escape violence, it makes me want to throw heavy objects at the television set.

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White House Can Open Up 140,000 Jobs
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:25:47 +0000   

What follows is a make-believe press release from the White House. But while the release is imaginary, the underlying facts are rock solid.

We are going to open up more than 140,000* good jobs for young American workers a couple of months from now, President Trump announced today.

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Border Patrol Implements Much-Needed Academy Revamping
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:02:33 +0000   

After an 11-year hiatus, a once-mandatory component of the U.S. Border Patrol academy in Artesia, N.M., is making a logical return along with a much-needed expansion of the overall curriculum.

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Items in the News: Sanctuary, Denaturalization, and Judges
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:52:02 +0000   

Immigration is constantly in the news for one reason or the next these days. It's like the cone of silence imposed by the Obama administration has been shattered. (Well, in fact, it has, hasn't it? Wasn't that what the election was all about?) Here is a trio of news items covering various aspects of that endlessly fascinating (and controversial) subject.

On Sanctuaries and the Power of Coercion

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Trump Immigration Policies Designed to Terrorize Immigrants
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:17:52 +0000   
In a piece on The Conversation, Professor Tanya Golash-Boza hits the nail on the head. She contends that immigration raids are not intended to deport large numbers of people. Instead, her research shows that they are primarily effective in spreading...
New DHS Declined Detainer Outcome Report
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:17:42 +0000   
Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security issued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Declined Detainer Outcome Report required by President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, signed on...
Demographic Changes in Mexico, Latin America Will Slow Immigration of Young Workers to Zero by 2050, Border Wall Unnecessary, According to New Brookings Research
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:24:46 +0000   
Gordon Hanson Immigration to the U.S. of young, low-skilled workers will continue to slow until it reverses in 2050, thanks to weak labor-supply growth in Mexico and other Latin American countries—even without changes to U.S. immigration and border policy, according...
Immigration Article of the Day: The Rights of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, and the Future of Constitutional Family Law by Kerry Abrams
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:50:00 +0000   
The Rights of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, and the Future of Constitutional Family Law by Kerry Abrams , University of Virginia School of Law, March 7, 2017 Abstract In the summer of 2015 the United States Supreme Court handed down two...
Germany Set To Deport German-Born Terror Suspects
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:39:56 +0000   
"Germany says it will deport two men born in the country but whose parents are foreign - the first such case in German history," begins the BBC coverage. The two men - one Algerian and one Nigerian -- were arrested...
Following the Lead of the Chief Justice of California, Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice sends letter to Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration enforcement activities in Washington Courts
Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:16:28 +0000   
Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice sends letter to Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration enforcement activities in Washington Courts The Washington Supreme Court is following the lead of the Chief Justice of California, who issued a similar statement last week....
Last-Minute Obama Regulation Exempts Universities from H-1B Limits
Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:36:22 +0000   

"60 Minutes" Reported this Sunday on how American workers at the University of California-San Francisco were replaced by foreign workers on H-1B visas.

One of Barack Obama's parting gifts to American workers was to exempt such replacements from the H-1B quota.

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With a Note from the Boss, Illegals in Kansas Get Tax Refunds
Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:22:01 +0000   

The state of Kansas' finances are in tatters, but it nonetheless explicitly allows illegal aliens, using criminally obtained Social Security numbers, to receive state income tax refunds. There is a minor catch — the SSN thief has to have a note from his or her employer if the use of the bad SSN is noticed by Kansas tax collectors before the refund can be paid.

So, on one hand, an illegal alien worker who uses a phony SSN can get money from the state, money that might have gone to the state's beleaguered schools, while simultaneously a double standard has been set for employers: A knowing employer of an illegal can preserve a tax benefit for his illegal workers (thus lessening pressure on him to raise wages) while the unknowing (and perhaps innocent) employer of other illegals gets no such indirect benefit.

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Academic Freedom and the Economic Impact of the H-1B Program
Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:34:32 +0000   

One of the virtues of working with some very big organizations is that they can produce excellent economic research on, say, the H-1B program, while ignoring the organizations' own extensive use of that very same program.

Harvard University, for example, employs George Borjas, who is highly critical of the H-1B program and has been for years, even though Harvard itself hires large numbers of H-1Bs. For his latest take on H-1B, and how it would fare in Congress if it covered lawyers as well as techies, see here.

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Solving the H-1B Green Card Backlog: It's Easy If You Try
Tue, 21 Mar 2017 11:09:46 +0000   

I recently posted about the paradox that fixing the immigration system requires the action of those who broke it in the first place. I did so in the context of the disastrous Immigration Act of 1990.

The Immigration Act of 1990 was a giant screw up. Worse than that, it set in motion chains of screws ups that continue to this day. In aviation, this is called the graveyard spiral.

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Replace SCAAP with Funds Tied to Enforcement Cooperation
Tue, 21 Mar 2017 03:34:11 +0000   

USA Today ran a story on March 16: "Trump budget cuts immigration aid and local police are stunned":

President Trump proposed a massive $4.8 billion increase in spending Thursday to combat illegal immigration, but his plan also includes a cut that stuns local law enforcement officials: a Department of Justice grant that helps pay the cost of jailing undocumented immigrants.

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DHS Is Your Friend on Facebook, Whether You “Like” It or Not
Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:35:58 +0000   
Following the December 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, where the husband-and-wife perpetrators had purportedly become radicalized via the internet, Congress requested that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) take steps to better investigate the social media accounts of immigrant applicants (the husband was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani decent; his wife […]
How Long Does It Take to Get a Nonimmigrant Visa?
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
If you want to know how long it will take to get your visa, the U.S. Department of State provides an online tool showing visa wait times in all Consular locations.
How Long Does it Take to Get a U.S. Visa?
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
The wait time for a visa can vary greatly but following the government's instructions can get you to the United States faster.
Case Referencing
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
How to check on the status of your immigration case online, through email, by phone, mail, or in person.
How to Get an Immigrant Visa Number to Become a...
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
In most cases, an immigrant visa number is required to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Here's an overview of the process to obtain an immigrant visa number.
Should the US Build Fences on the US-Mexico...
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
The purpose of the border fence is to tighten homeland security and prevent illegal immigration using a combination of physical barriers and high-tech. Page 2.
Your Guide to Choosing a U.S. Visa
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
Get a quick overview of the types of US visas available and determine which one is right for you.
What Is ICE and What Does It Do?
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
A definition of the immigration term, ICE.
What It Means To Be a First-Generation Immigrant
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
Defining generations of immigrant families is confusing but the government calls the first family member to acquire citizenship or residency the first.
What Is a Green Card?
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:29:49 +0000   
A definition of the immigration term, green card.
AILA: No Matter How Written, a Muslim and Refugee Ban Won’t Make U.S. Safe
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:23:59 +0000   
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) denounced President Trump’s rewritten Executive Order, which is again based on the false premise that barring Muslims and refugees from coming to America will make the country safer. The ban was revised in an effort to get around the court orders that blocked the Administration from […]
New State-by-State Interactive Shows How Much Federal Funding Sanctuary Cities Could Lose at the Hands of President Trump’s Administration
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:22:38 +0000   
The American Immigration Lawyers Association partnered with the Center for American Progress and the National Immigration Law Center on a new interactive resource which answers the question of “How Much Funding for Sanctuary Jurisdictions Could Be at Risk?” by calculating the amount of funding in sanctuary jurisdictions in 32 states that could be targeted by […]
The Terrorist Tactics of the Anti-Terrorism Executive Order
Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:20:50 +0000   
Earlier this week, President Trump issued a new Executive Order (“EO”) to replace one of his prior orders, which was largely blocked by the federal courts. The new EO, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, temporarily bans certain nationals of six majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, suspends the U.S. […]
Summary of Second Trump Executive Order on Visa Issuance/Screening and Refugees
Tue, 07 Mar 2017 15:19:17 +0000   
Via On March 6, 2017, the President signed a new executive order with the same title as the old Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The new Order takes effect on March 16, 2017 and expressly revokes the January 27, 2017 Order. The new Order prohibits entry into […]
A New Type of EAD Denial
Fri, 03 Mar 2017 17:58:12 +0000   
This article is by Ruth Dickey, a brilliant and dashing associate at Dzubow & Picher, PLLC. During the latter part of the Obama Administration, it became common for DHS/ICE attorneys (the prosecutors) in Immigration Court to offer “prosecutorial discretion” or PD. If the applicant accepted PD and the Immigration Judge agreed, the case would be administratively […]
Indian Engineer’s Death could leave Wife Without Legal Status
Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:52:29 +0000   
Mr. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the victim of a hate crime in Kansas City, appears to have held an H-1B professional work visa. Unfortunately, with his death, his wife’s H-4 Dependent visa (which Ms. Dumala appears to hold) would normally be terminated by U.S. Immigration. We should urge USCIS and Congress to offer her and anyone else affected […]
Practice Advisory on Changes to Expedited Removal due to President Trump’s Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:51:35 +0000   
The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Immigration Council, and ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project provide a practice advisory on how expedited removal has changed since President Trump issued the Executive Order on border security and immigration enforcement. This Practice Advisory addresses the coming expansion of expedited removal, who likely will be impacted, and possible ways to challenge an expedited removal order.
Implementing the Executive Orders: The DHS Memo
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:27:21 +0000   
Earlier this week, DHS Secretary John Kelly issued a memorandum describing how DHS plans to implement President Trump’s policies concerning “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.” Here, I want to discuss how this memo could affect the asylum system. First, for people granted asylum or who have obtained their residency (green card) or citizenship through asylum, the memo […]
Attorney Sharma speaks to WJXT Channel 4 News regarding President Trump’s Travel Ban (Version 2.0)
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:41:28 +0000   
Immigration Attorney Ashwin Sharma interviewed by WJXT News4Jax on President Trump’s new immigration executive order (Travel Ban Version 2.0) anticipated to be issued this week. The new order is expected be specifically tailored to address National Security issues and to overcome Constitutional challenges like those that affected the earlier executive order. The new Executive Order […]
Hateful Words and Helpful Actions
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:43:28 +0000   
After nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered on September 11, 2001, President Bush spoke to the nation and to the world. He assured us—Muslim and non-Muslim—that American was not at war with Islam. Would that President Trump had spoken similar words before instituting his immigration ban on seven majority-Muslim countries. But that is not Mr. Trump’s […]
AFP Article: “Florida’s foreigners living in fear in the era of Trump”
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:56:16 +0000   
Via This AFP article, which quotes several American Immigration Lawyers members, reports that undocumented individuals in Florida are living in a state of fear and confusion under the Trump administration. Those fears got even worse when Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez decided on January 26, 2017, to bow to a defunding threat from President Trump […]
Last week, ICE launched a Series of Targeted Enforcement Operations in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and New York City areas, resulting in the arrests of more than 680 individuals.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:53:42 +0000   
DHS Secretary John Kelly stated yesterday that last week, ICE launched a series of targeted enforcement operations in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and New York City areas, resulting in the arrests of more than 680 individuals. Secretary Kelly stated that the enforcement operations focused on individuals who posed a threat to public safety, […]
Statement From Secretary Kelly On Recent ICE Enforcement Actions Via
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:49:02 +0000   
Via Release Date: February 13, 2017 For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary Contact: 202-282-8010 WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a series of targeted enforcement operations across the country. These operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals […]
Harvard Law School Clinic releases report on effect of Trump’s executive orders on Asylum Seekers – urges Canada to accept Asylum Seekers rejected by U.S.
Thu, 09 Feb 2017 14:58:01 +0000   
Via Harvard Law Today Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program has released a report on the effects of President Trump’s executive orders on people seeking asylum protection in the United States under long-standing provisions of U.S. and international law, including refugee law and the Convention Against Torture. In the wake of the executive orders, media […]
Updates on the Executive Orders: The Umpire Strikes Back
Mon, 06 Feb 2017 16:37:04 +0000   
President Trump’s Executive Orders (“EOs”) on immigration triggered a series of lawsuits that are still playing out in federal courts across the nation. The lawsuits have resulted in orders barring certain portions of the EOs, at least for the time being. For those not familiar with the U.S. system, we have three (supposedly) co-equal branches […]
US Dept of State Alert on Provisionally Revoked/Expired/Cancelled Visas
Mon, 06 Feb 2017 15:05:20 +0000   
DOS alert that visas that were provisional revoked are now valid for travel to the U.S., if the holder is otherwise eligible. Individuals whose visas are expired, or were physically cancelled, must apply for a new visa, absent a CBP grant parole or waive the visa requirement at the port of entry. Link to US […]
Sun, 05 Feb 2017 17:43:40 +0000   
The US federal appeals court today denied the US government’s emergency request to resume President Donald Trump’s travel ban which had been suspended by a federal judge on Friday. The late night ruling means the travel ban will remain suspended until the full case has been heard.
Update on President Trump’s Immigration Orders
Wed, 01 Feb 2017 17:14:26 +0000   
Since President Trump began issuing executive orders (“EOs”) on immigration last week, there has been outrage, confusion, and chaos within the immigration community. The EOs were clearly not very well thought out, and seem to have been written by someone lacking a comprehensive understanding of America’s immigration law. As a result, several courts have blocked portions […]
President Trump’s Immigration Orders: Some Preliminary Thoughts
Fri, 27 Jan 2017 14:36:01 +0000   
During the first week of his Administration, President Trump has signed two “executive orders” on immigration: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements and Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. At least one other order has been leaked to the press: Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals. The effects […]
Work Permits for Asylum Seekers—Some Good News
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 15:51:06 +0000   
The new Administration has raised anxieties in immigrant and asylum seeker communities. In part, this is because of President Trump’s rhetoric (and rhetorical style) during the election. And in part, it’s because we just don’t know what to expect from a Trump Administration. Rumors have been flying: Will there be some sort of Muslim ban? […]
Matthew Kolken on MSNBC's The Rundown
Tue, 03 Mar 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
From Matthew L. Kolken's  appearance on MSNBC's The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart:

"José Díaz-Balart talks with immigration attorney Matthew Kolken about the fallout from the continuing legal limbo surrounding the president’s immigration actions."

Lawsuit Alleges Obama Admin Unlawfully Coercing Mexican Nationals into Self-Deportation
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
The Obama administration is being sued again, this time for allegedly engaging in "abusive and illegal practices" that coerce citizens of Mexico into abandoning defenses that could prevent their deportation.

The complaint speaks for itself:

The immigration enforcement agencies operating in Southern California regularly pressure, deceive, and threaten Mexican nationals who are eligible to reside in the United States lawfully—and have built lives in the United States over decades—into signing their own expulsion orders through misuse of a process known as “voluntary departure.” These abusive and illegal practices rob victims of their right to seek relief from removal. As administered and practiced in Southern California, the “voluntary departure” program has become a regime of unlawful coerced expulsion—one which tears numerous families apart every year.

Immigration officers’ misstatements and omissions are exacerbated by the fact that they regularly pressure individuals to agree to voluntary departure before they have had any opportunity to speak to an attorney. Immigration enforcement agencies in Southern California expel individuals who have taken voluntary departure as rapidly as logistically possible in many instances, on the same day. This practice violates the agencies’ governing regulations, which require that immigration officers exercise discretion to determine whether to allow an individual who has taken voluntary departure a period of up to 120 days to leave the United States. Thus, individuals who have been in the United States for decades are unlawfully ripped from their families and established lives for up to ten years without having time to consider their other legal options, put their affairs in order, or even say goodbye to family members
Click here to read the full complaint.
ICE No Longer Honoring New Prosecutorial Discretion Memo
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
Immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson has shared that a Deportation Officer at the Varick Street Detention Center in New York advised that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is no longer honoring the November 20, 2014 prosecutorial discretion memorandum due to Judge Hanen's injunction. The officer went so far to say that, and I quote, the memo has been "ripped off the wall." Newark Enforcement and Removal has confirmed this change in policy.

I have also been told that individuals that are considered a level 3 priority (the lowest priority) are being taken into custody for removal when they report for supervision. This includes parents of United States citizens that are DAPA eligible. Immigration lawyer Matthew Archambeault has indicated that this has been confirmed by ICE in Charlotte. There have been reports from immigration lawyers all over the country of their clients being taken into custody.

From the Carolinas Chapter of the American immigration Lawyers Association:

"ICE is now implementing it’s new policy of enforcement in accordance with the November Executive Action. But for those who have not yet received that desperate call from the client who has been taken into custody at his ICE check in, this is it: If the foreign national has a significant misdemeanor (most often arising in the form of a DUI/DWI) conviction or 3 misdemeanors or a final order after 1/1/14, he will be taken into custody when he checks in with ICE. If he is not checking in with ICE, he stands a chance of getting the knock on the door at 5:00 am. Individuals are being taken into custody even if they are currently in removal proceedings in Charlotte. They are being transferred to Stewart with no holds. ICE has been given the instructions NOT to take into consideration DACA or DAPA eligibility in such detention decisions."

Immigration lawyer Marty Rosenbluth responds: "It is happening all over. And of course if you don't show up for your appointment you are a fugitive and they knock on your door at 5:00 in the morning."

These directives have apparently come directly from HQ in Washington and are not the acts of rogue agents. It is absolutely imperative that you advise your clients accordingly.

UPDATE: Immigration lawyer Mo Goldman reports that Tucson/Phoenix ICE ERO has indicated they are no longer honoring the Nov. 20, 2014 memo as it relates to Expanded DACA/DAPA applicants (except they are making an emphasis on Deportation Priorities).

UPDATE: New Orleans ICE office is ignoring prosecutorial discretion memo and is taking DAPA eligible parents into custody to effectuate removal. Assistant Field Office Director Brian Acuna stated that ICE NOLA no longer needed to consider eligibility for DAPA since the court had enjoined the DAPA and expanded DACA programs.

UPDATE: Immigration lawyer Amy Maldanado has advised that a St. Louis Enforcement and Removal Officer has indicated that 
ICE isn't following the prosecutorial discretion memorandumeven for non-priority cases due to the Federal Court injunction. He further advised that they are following "some other guidelines." The Officer did not elaborate further.

ICE has confirmed that it was instructed to remove expanded DACA and DAPA flyers from detention areas. AILA Doc. No. 15022762

The ICE ERO Detention Reporting and Information Line confirms the following: "Until further guidance is given, ICE will not consider the new DAPA and expanded DACA guidelines in cases for exercising prosecutorial discretion.”

UPDATE: Courtesy of Charlotte immigration lawyer Benjamin Snyder. Office of Chief Counsel in Charlotte has declined prosecutorial discretion for an individual that is not a priority under the Nov. 20, 2014 memo. Moreover, Charlotte ICE is raiding homes looking for individuals with prior removal orders and is taking people into custody regardless of the nonexistence of a criminal record or DACA/DAPA eligibility.

UPDATE: Courtesy of St. Louis immigration lawyer Raymond Reza Bolourtchi: A St. Louis Enforcement and Removal Officer (ERO) has advised that 1. The November 20, 2014, REMOVAL PRIORITY MEMO remains in full force and effect; 2. ERO has received an e-mail from Headquarters informing all officers that (prospective) DAPA eligibility is NOT to be used any longer as a factor or criteria for the time being; and 3. DWI-DUI convictions remain a priority for removal enforcement.
ACLU Sues Obama Admin for Records Describing Abuse of Children
Wed, 11 Feb 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
Feb. 11, 2015

Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona, 602-773-6007,
Anna Castro, ACLU of San Diego, 619-206-6940,
Taylor Massa, Cooley LLP, 212-479-6546,

PHOENIX—American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in Arizona and San Diego, along with the law firm Cooley LLP, filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for its failure to produce records related to the abuse and mistreatment of children in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its sub-agency, the U.S. Border Patrol.

DHS oversight bodies have ignored scores of administrative complaints documenting CBP’s mistreatment of children. For years, media accounts, human rights reports, and child advocates have described the same abuse and neglect of children in Border Patrol custody. On June 11, 2014, the ACLU and partner organizations submitted a complaint to DHS oversight agencies on behalf of 116 unaccompanied children alleging abuse and mistreatment in Border Patrol custody—including harsh temperatures, severe overcrowding, and denial of adequate hygiene supplies, bedding, food, water, and medical care.

In response, CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske acknowledged the children’s complaints of brutal detention conditions were “spot-on.” But on Oct. 6, 2014—less than four months after the DHS Inspector General’s Office first stated its intent to launch a full investigation—the office announced it would be “curtailing routine inspections.”

“There’s no better demonstration of the lack of DHS oversight than the agency’s failure to investigate the mistreatment of vulnerable children,” said ACLU of San Diego Staff Attorney Mitra Ebadolahi. “As we’ve seen before, Border Patrol agents generally do not face disciplinary action for civil rights violations, and the agency refuses to reform its notorious detention system, where children—even infants—can still be held for days on end in horrific conditions.”

On Dec. 3, 2014, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU filed a request for DHS records pertaining to alleged or actual mistreatment of children in DHS custody, as well as DHS oversight agencies’ handling of those cases. DHS did not produce the requested documents.

Not only does the failure of DHS to produce the requested documents violate the Freedom of Information Act, it also impedes the ACLU’s efforts to educate the public on matters of pressing concern—namely, the mistreatment of children in Border Patrol custody.

The ACLU is also concerned that Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) officials and contractors have not consistently reported allegations involving Border Patrol, as required by federal child abuse reporting laws. ORR incident reports made public last year show that while shelter workers in Arizona and Texas generally reported abuse allegations to DHS, they did not always report those allegations to state child protection agencies.

Along with its lawsuit, the ACLU today filed accompanying state records requests with child protection agencies in Arizona and Texas, seeking records related to allegations of Border Patrol abuse.

“This case is about the systemic failure of multiple institutions to protect some of the most vulnerable among us,” said ACLU of Arizona Staff Attorney James Lyall. “Under any reasonable definition, the neglect and mistreatment that these children experience in Border Patrol custody qualifies as child abuse, and federal officials and contractors are required to report that abuse under applicable child protection laws.”

Attorneys on the case include Victoria Lopez, Dan Pochoda and James Lyall of the ACLU of Arizona; David Loy and Mitra Ebadolahi of the ACLU of San Diego; and Whitty Somvichian and Aarti Reddy of Cooley LLP.

Click here for a copy of the lawsuit, American Civil Liberties Foundation of Arizona, et al. v. Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, et al.

Click here for a copy of the records requests filed with child protection agencies in Arizona and Texas.
Sun, 01 Feb 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
Our client is a citizen of India and his Indian wife.  He was lawfully admitted to the United States in L-1B specialized knowledge status, and his wife was admitted in L-2 dependent status.  Before his status expired, his employer timely filed an extension petition.  His status expired while the employer was awaiting an adjudication of the petition.  The regulations provide that a person can continue to be employed for a period of 240 days beyond his expiry date pending an adjudication of a timely application for an extension.  During this period, he and his wife were encountered by officers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration Court proceedings were instituted seeking their deportation as overstays.  It is the position of the DHS that no lawful status can be acquired when a person remains in the United States after the expiry of his status, notwithstanding the regulation permitting continued employment while awaiting a timely filed application for extension of status.

At this point we were retained. 

We immediately contacted the Immigration Court where the proceeding had been venued and determined that the Office of Chief Counsel for the district had not yet filed the legal papers which conferred jurisdiction upon the Court.  We then submitted a formal letter to the Office of Chief Counsel for the district and served them with our Notices to Appear as Attorney on behalf of our clients.  We advised them of what had occurred and pointed out that another regulation prevented the adjudication of the timely filed application for extension of status once Immigration Court proceedings were instituted.  We further advised them that recently a United States District Court Judge in Connecticut had ruled that the regulation allowing continued employment conferred lawful status, contrary to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s position.  We requested that the Immigration Court proceeding be terminated as improvidently begun, prior to the filing of the charging document with the Immigration Court, which would have delayed the resolution of the matter for many months, and while they had jurisdiction to terminate the proceeding.  Under the circumstances presented, DHS elected not to pursue the Immigration Court proceedings and to allow the adjudication of the application for extension, and as a result, theImmigration Court proceedings were terminated at our request.

 Because we were retained immediately, we were able to save the clients the agony and expense of a prolonged Immigration Court proceeding.

Statistics Show Obama Administration is Arresting Immigrants at Unprecedented Levels
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics recently released a report confirming what I have long been saying: the Obama administration is targeting immigrants for prosecution at unprecedented levels in order to bolster criminal deportation statistics to the benefit of serious criminals.

From the report:
The number of federal arrests declined from 179,034 in 2010 to 172,248 in 2012. The decline in arrests was due to decreases across several offense types, including property (down 3,381), drug (down 2,786), and supervision violations (down 2,607). During this period, arrests for immigration offenses increased by 3,203. Illegal immigration (50%) was the most common arrest offense in 2012, followed by drug (15%) and supervision (13%) violations. From 2010 to 2012, arrests for regulatory offenses increased from 266 to 300 (average annual increase of 6%). Sex offense arrests increased at the next fastest rate (up 3% per year), followed by immigration offenses (up 2%). During this period, fraud offenses (down 10% per year) declined the most, followed by other property (down 6%) and supervision (down 5%) offenses.

Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration compiles more recent statistics. They have found that during FY 2014 the Obama administration reported 86,574 new immigration prosecutions. TRAC also found that prosecutions for immigration related crimes under the Obama administration are up 129 percent from 2004, and up 1,406 percent from 1994.

Remember when President Obama said deportations of "criminals" are up 70 percent under his administration? Well, now you know why.

Mon, 12 Jan 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
Our client is a native and citizen of Jordan.  He became a conditional permanent resident in 1995.  In 1997 he filed a petition to remove the conditions.  His petition languished without adjudication for 11 years. 

In December 2008 his conditional permanent resident status was terminated allegedly due to abandonment, and the following month Immigration Court proceedings were instituted to remove him from the United States.  Thereafter, we were retained. 

We denied that he was deportable and renewed his petition before the Immigration Judge, requested cancellation of removal as a lawful permanent resident, and readjustment of status to a permanent resident.  The case proceeded in a litigated posture.  We went to trial, and after hearing testimony we presented and documentary exhibits submitted, the Immigration Judge reversed the determination made by the Government and ordered that our client be afforded lawful permanent resident status.

Thu, 01 Jan 2015 05:00:00 +0000   
Our clients are married Canadian citizens, and are both retired missionaries residing in Canada.  Prior to their retirement, on several occasions they were admitted to the United States in nonimmigrant status to act as missionaries for their church.  Last Easter Sunday they were denied admission when they were coming to the United States for a vacation.

At this point we were retained. 

We investigated their complete immigration history, and prepared a letter Brief to a U.S. Customs and Border Port-of-Entry (POE), along with substantial supporting documentation, showing why they were both legally and factually admissible as visitors for pleasure, and requesting that appropriate computer entries be made so that they didn’t have problems in the future as a result of the refusal. 

After reviewing our submission, the Chief Inspector at the POE where we submitted our submission agreed with our position and we arranged for our clients to reapply for admission.  They were politely and professionally treated, and both of their passports were stamped to evidence their admission to the United States.

Wed, 24 Dec 2014 05:00:00 +0000   
Our client is a naturalized citizen of the United States and a native of Yemen.  She married a Yemeni citizen in the United States.  At the time of the marriage her husband had been inspected and admitted and was in status.  She then filed a Petition for Alien Relative on his behalf and he applied for a green card.  After an examination under oath was held at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Field Office, USCIS issued a Notice Of Intent To Deny (NOID) on the basis that they did not prove her husband’s identity and lack of prior marriages in Yemen, which would have rendered his marriage in the United States void and unlawful.  The reason for the NOID was that her husband’s birth certificate was not issued until he was 26 years old.

At this point we were retained. 

We investigated the situation and obtained copies of all relevant documents, including his passport, application for his student visa, marriage license, and the petition and application with supporting documents submitted to USCIS, as well as an Affidavit from a close family member who had known her husband since birth and who is a United States citizen.  We prepared a legal response to the NOID showing that UNICEF had found that the births of 83% of children under five years were not registered in Yemen, detailing that all of the documents presented to USCIS, including the ones submitted with our response were consistent as to names, dates of birth, and family relationships.  In addition, we pointed out that the cases cited in the NOID were factually inconsistent with the facts in our client’s case, and we cited the USCIS Adjudication Filed Manual sections indicating that the presentation of a duly certified marriage certificate is presumptive of a valid marriage.  We then served our response upon the USCIS Field Office. 

Nine days later our client’s petition was approved, and her husband’s application for green card was approved, and six days after the approval our client’s husband received his green card.

Obama Administration Turns Its Back on American Values with Mammoth New Family Prison
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 05:00:00 +0000   
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14121745 (posted Dec. 17, 2014)


December 17, 2014


George Tzamaras 

Belle Woods

Washington, DC
 - Leslie A. Holman, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) responded to the opening of a massive new private jail by the Department of Homeland Security in Dilley, Texas with the following statement:

“By opening this huge permanent private jail in Dilley, Texas, the Administration willfully ignores the clear evidence that the children and mothers that they are detaining are refugees fleeing from extreme violence, and thumbs its nose at the idea that the United States will live by its values and uphold the rights of asylum seekers.

“I’m appalled. While the Administration is leaving behind its bleak, remote temporary prison for children and their mothers in Artesia, New Mexico, it is embracing a bleak, remote permanent corporate-run prison in Dilley, Texas. Moving from a make-shift prison to one run by the private prison industry brings no more humanity to an inhumane situation.

“What does this mean for the remaining detainees in Artesia? Will they be able to overcome the Administration’s fallacy that they are undeserving of a fair chance at safe refuge? Will their removal from the place where stalwart AILA members have volunteered their time to assist them in proving their cases mean the end of their chances for due process? No. Even as they are being taken from one prison to another, the pro bono team is following, determined not to give up on justice for them.

“But what of the thousands of others that DHS Secretary Johnson proclaims he will imprison? How will justice find its way to them in a small Texas town? This is now reaching a scale that challenges the unfunded world of pro bono representation beyond what is realistic.

“Isn’t it enough that nearly every mother and child in Artesia who has had a full hearing before an immigration judge so far has been granted asylum? Doesn’t that tell the Administration that these most vulnerable of human beings deserve protection rather than warehousing as prisoners? This is unjust and a repudiation of our nation’s values and historic commitment to justice for all.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.



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