* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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file3431250395716The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denied the appeal for withholding of removal by one Ronaldo Hernandez-Lima, a native and citizen of Guatemala, who asserted that he experienced past persecution in his home country on account of his political opinion and membership in the Democratic Christian Party.

Failing to Establish Grounds of Prosecution

Hernandez-Lima was admitted to the U.S. in 2004 using a B-2 tourist visa which allowed him to stay in the country until May 2005. He overstayed, however, and in January 2011 the Department of Homeland Security served him with a Notice to Appear, charging him with removability based on 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(1)(B).

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court-144090_640Two brothers and natives from Guatemala petitioned the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the ruling of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and immigration judge (IJ) on their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention against Torture (CAT). The IJ ruled the brothers were ineligible for all three applications and the decision was affirmed by the BIA. The Court of Appeals also denied their petitions for review.

A Case for Two Brothers

Ruben and Mario Cambara-Cambara are brothers who left Guatemala and entered the U.S. separately without inspection in 2001 and 2004. The two filed their applications for asylum, withholding of removal and CAT relief in 2009.

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last-nook-1-1250984smallA new agreement aims to make sure that labor rights are protected for employees in the U.S., specifically for foreign nationals. The U.S. Justice Department and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States recently established a formal partnership to protect migrant workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigrant status and national origin.

Partnership against Discrimination in the Workplace

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week, which formalizes the process for immigrant workers to have their discrimination complaints considered by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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Pile of CasesThe backlog of pending cases awaiting U.S. immigration courts reached a record of half a million this year. According to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), there are a total of 502,976 immigration applications as of July 31, 2016. This essentially makes two years the average waiting time for an immigration court petitioner.

Half a Million Immigration Cases Waiting to Be Heard

Violence and gang warfare in Central America drove up border crossings in the recent years. From October 2013 to July 2015 alone, an estimated 100,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in the U.S. from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Strict border enforcement has also produced higher number of arrests, which in turn require adjudication.

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Statue of justiceThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is taking legal action on behalf of Glenwood Springs attorney Jennifer Smith who was told by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that she could not access her client’s file because the ICE deemed her client a “fugitive” non-U.S. citizen.

FOIA Lawsuit Against the ICE and USCIS

The ACLU and Smith slammed a lawsuit against the ICE and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) because of their refusal to respond to Smith’s request to access her client’s file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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In a 28-page order, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered ethics courses for government lawyers who appear in any of the cases involving the 26 states that sued to block President Barack Obama’s immigration plan to give 4 million foreign nationals extended deportation reprieves and expanded work permits.

In addition, the judge also ordered the administration to produce a list of approximately 100,000 immigrants who are participating in a government plan that shields them from deportation.

Judge Accuses Lawyers of Being Intentionally Deceptive

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USA VISAA lawsuit was recently filed by the American Immigration Council (AIC) and American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that questions the lottery process associated with the issuance of H-1B visas. Two companies have also filed a class action allegation complaint regarding the matter.

The H-1B Visa Lottery Process

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are facing lawsuits concerning the H-1B visa, which is the most commonly used work-authorized visa category. Companies use the H-1B process to employ immigrants who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against immigration officials, claiming that they have denied access to documents requested by a lawyer who is representing a client in immigration court.

Violation of the Freedom of Information Act

ACLU filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, claiming that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to release 18 documents relevant to immigration proceedings.

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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.