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MurderThe murder trial of the man accused of killing Kathryn “Kate” Steinle – whose 2015 shooting on a San Francisco waterfront ignited a furious national debate over undocumented immigration and sanctuary city policies – will not go to trial until next year, long after the presidential election.

The Delayed Trial of Kate Steinle’s Shooting

On August 11, a court judge set December 2, 2016 as the date to assign the case for trial against Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a five-time deportee and seven-time convicted felon. The actual start of the trial, however, might only happen in 2017.

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moneyA new report from the Washington Post takes a close look at the $1 billion contract given by the federal government to the country’s largest prison company to build a detention facility for undocumented immigrants (mostly women and children) seeking asylum in the South Texas town of Dilley.

The Billion Dollar Contract

According to the Post, the administration bypassed standard bidding procedures in order to quickly agree to the $1 billion contract during the Central American immigration crisis of 2014. The four-year contract with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is described as “an unusual arrangement”, because the federal government pays the CCA a fixed amount of $20 million per month regardless of how many people are detained in the facility.

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licenseThe Driver Services Department of Georgia has stopped asking immigrants who have federal work permits and who have applied for permanent residence in the U.S. to submit their proof of legal admission, following the settlement of a lawsuit against the state.

A Federal Lawsuit over Driver’s Licenses

The Southern Poverty Law Center – headed by immigration attorney Justin Chaney – sued the State of Georgia in April on behalf of six immigrants who complained that the state illegally discriminated against them by denying them driver’s licenses.

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Arrested ImmigrantThe Southern Poverty Law Center is suing the federal government for the release of records on the arrests of undocumented immigrants in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. The Center alleges that immigration officials detained more than 100 women and children from Central America earlier this year.

The Southern Poverty Law Center Sues DHS and ICE

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Georgia by Southern Poverty Law Center, saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICA) are in violation of public records laws by not releasing information regarding the arrests.

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DrugsThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal for deportation cancellation by one Javier Arellano Hernandez, a legal permanent resident found removable from the country by an immigration court for ‘attempted criminal threats.’ The ruling would later be affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), forcing Arellano Hernandez to make a final appeal with the 9th Circuit.

Arellano Hernandez moved into the U.S. with his parents as a legal permanent in 1967. In March 2009, he was convicted of illegal possession of drug paraphernalia. For pleading guilty, he served only 6 days in prison. Later that same year, however, a jury found Arellano Hernandez guilty for:

  • Attempted criminal threats, a felony in California
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Mexican Children27-year-old Azucena Macias was only 1 when she and her family crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into California. Her parents, however, were eventually deported in 2005, forcing Azucena and her siblings to live under the care of their older sister. Although Azucena would reunite with her mother 10 years later, it was under unfortunate circumstances—her mother had developed stage 2 breast cancer. Her mother’s illness, however, would also allow Azucena to apply for a little-used immigration rule, one that would fast track her way to permanent legal resident status, and eventually, full citizenship.

Understanding DACA and Advance Parole

The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) contains a little-known provision called Advance Parole, which allows undocumented immigrants to re-enter the U.S. and erase records of their unlawful entry, as well as all penalties associated with it.

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U.S. State Department May Revoke Non-Immigrant Visas Due to DUI ChargesBased on a recently released policy from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), foreign nationals who are visiting or working in Austin, Texas on a non-immigrant visa may face severe consequences if arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The DOS may revoke a foreign national’s visa once it learns that he or she has been charged with DUI, even before there has been any determination of guilt.

The Prudential Revocation Policy

The details of the new prudential revocation policy were released earlier in 2016 through the unclassified content in Volume 9 of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM).  According to Volume 9 of FAM, the DOS “has the authority to prudentially revoke a visa” when it receives notification of “an arrest or conviction of driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, or similar arrests/convictions that occurred within the previous five years.”

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Eligibility for Provisional Waiver ProcessThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently announced its final rule that expands eligibility for provisional waivers of inadmissibility, which affects individuals who have to travel from the U.S. to another country to obtain immigrant visas.

The Provisional Waiver Process

The provisional waiver allows certain individuals who are presently in the U.S. to process a request from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and receive a decision before departing from the country.

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U.S. Government Petitions Supreme Court to Re-Evaluate Immigration Law After DeadlockThe U.S. government has asked the Supreme Court to re-evaluate President Barack Obama’s offer of deportation relief for undocumented immigrants after a 4-4 deadlock in June. The petition was filed last week and seeks a decision when the Supreme Court has a full panel of nine judges.

The 4-4 split decision in United States v. Texas resulted in a nationwide injunction, effectively blocking Obama’s executive action on immigration, leaving approximately 4 million undocumented immigrants who qualified for the program uncertain of their futures. If the Supreme Court accepts the petition, arguments will begin as soon as a ninth justice is sworn in.

Push for Immigration Law Rehearing

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Advance ParoleThrough a little-known provision in U.S. immigration law, undocumented immigrants like 27-year-old Fresno resident Azucena Macias have left the country and returned legally through a process called “advance parole.”

Macias was only a year old when her family travelled across the border from Mexico to California. In 2005, her parents were deported, leaving her and her sisters to grow up in the U.S. Ten years later, Macias found out her mother had been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. This prompted her to apply for advance parole which allowed her to go to Mexico, return to the country, and speed up her path to legal residency.

Advance Parole and The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)