* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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quakeEcuadorian Immigrants are seeking assistance from the Obama administration, asking that undocumented Ecuadorian immigrants be allowed to stay and work in the United States as the as the South American nation tries to get back on its feet after suffering a devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake. In Los Angeles, Ecuadorian activists recently took to the streets to voice their support to the efforts of Democrat legislators, who are calling for immigration relief for affected Ecuadorians in the wake of the April 16 earthquake that took the lives of more than 650 people, leaving countless more injured and homeless.

U.S. Policy: Temporary Protection for Disaster Victims

It’s a little known fact that the United States sometimes grants “temporary protected status” to citizens of countries affected by war and natural disasters, such as Nepal during the 2015 earthquake, and the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

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5thcircuitAfter being ordered removed by an immigration judge, Ulises Hernandez Rosales found a glimmer a of hope as the United States Court of the Appeals for the Fifth Circuit transferred his petition for review of removal (deportation), after learning there was a real issue of material fact to his citizenship concerns. In light of this issue, Court Of Appeals moved to transfer the case to United States district court for a hearing and decision to confirm Hernandez’s nationality claim.

Case Background: Overstaying and Drug Charges

Ulises Hernandez Rosales (Hernandez), age 29, is a native of Mexico, born in Nuevo Leon on August 21, 1986. Hernandez entered the United States in 1995 as a nonimmigrant visitor, but would overstay his visa and be convicted for cocaine possession charges by a Texas court in 2009. A year later, the Department of Homeland Security summoned Hernandez after finding him eligible for deportation on the grounds of violating his visa privileges and for being convicted of charges related to possession of a controlled substance.

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escalator-828621_640As the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) turn 20 in April, Humans Rights Watch issued a statement last week, denouncing the unjust immigration laws and calling for the United States Congress to repeal these measures. HRW adds these provisions have placed thousands of individuals at the brunt of aggressive detentions, deportations, and unfair family separations.

According to Alison Parker, co-director of Human Rights Watch’s U.S. program, “The US appears to be coming to grips with the harm caused by its 90s-era crime laws. These 90s-era immigration laws also deserve serious scrutiny and reconsideration.”

Effects of AEDPA and IIRIRA

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fingerprint-255899_640If officials from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have their way, parents of suspected undocumented immigrant children may soon have to provide their fingerprints to regain custody of their child.

ICE officials are pushing for the implementation of new rules critics fear may lead to the unnecessary separation of law-abiding immigrant families. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been particularly vocal about the ICE’s plan. The HHS is the government tasked to find housing for immigrant children.

HHS Concerns over the Proposed Measure

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city-hall-222740_640Lawyers representing the state of Texas have repeatedly claimed their efforts to block the Obama Administration’s executive action on immigration isn’t about U.S. immigration policy or the deportation of thousands of undocumented immigrants, but rather, is hinged on what they consider is a clear breach of the separation of powers, an overreach on the part of the president.

Still, that’s proved to be of little comfort to the millions of immigrants across the nation who stand to benefit from the program. Announced in November 2014, the m Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, would provide immigration relief to around 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, protecting them from removal by allowing them to apply for work permits good for 3 years.

Supreme Courts to Hear Arguments

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vote-661888_640With the 2016 presidential election fast approaching, large numbers of immigrants are finding themselves united by a common goal: become US citizens to let their voices be heard, especially on the subject of immigration.

Government data shows an increase of movement of more than 8 million immigrants qualified for naturalization, with their concerns geared towards meeting all the requirements to vote in the November elections.

With the issue of immigration more divisive than ever, the entire Latino community is under pressure to take a stand, or face the prospect of a Republican-controlled White House, which could push for the deportation of more than 11 million undocumented immigrations. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump hasn’t shied away from this polarizing issue, going so far as promising to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and sending the bill to the Mexican government.

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supreme-court-545534_640While the rhetoric behind the challenge led by Texas and 25 other states to the Obama administration’s immigration executive action—set for arguments in the Supreme Court this month—is centered on alleged violations of the separation of powers, the Court’s ruling may ultimately come down to something more trivial: drivers license fees in Texas.

It’s all because the 26-state coalition’s legal ability to submit the case to the Supreme Court is hinged on Texas’ claim that President Obama’s executive action, called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), would require the state to shoulder the costs of processing licenses to immigrants qualified under the program. In its outline, DAPA would allow millions of previously undocumented immigrants with children who have obtained legal U.S. citizenship to receive protection against deportation (albeit temporary), find work, and apply for a driver’s license.

In Texas, the cost of applying for a license is $24.00, but officials say the real cost of processing each driver’s license application is $200.00. And because of the large number of immigrants in Texas who can ask for licenses should DAPA be approved, state officials say, “Texas therefore would lose millions of dollars if even a small fraction of DAPA-eligible aliens applied for driver’s licenses.”

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gavel-1017953_640The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit dismissed the petition for review of removal by Julio Estrada Hernandez, a lawful permanent resident found guilty of drug-related and illegal firearms offenses. After an immigration judge (IJ) and the Board of Immigration Appeals rejected his efforts to avoid removal, Hernandez turned to the Court of Appeals as a last resort, but to no avail.

Case Background

Hernandez is a 34-year-old Mexican citizen, who, as a small child, entered the United States as an undocumented immigrant with his mother. The mother and son eventually obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in 1989, when Hernandez was seven. At the age of 16, his mother became a naturalized citizen, but a flaw in the immigration and naturalization process prevented her citizenship from automatically conferring to her son, as it would under normal circumstances.

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flag47After Texas and more than two dozen Republican-controlled states blocked an executive action by the Obama administration providing immigration relief to millions of undocumented immigrants who are also parents of naturalized citizens and permanent residents, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the case in two weeks time. In the meantime, 43 Senate Republicans have filed an amicus brief in an effort to support the states responsible for challenging the White House.

The brief was filed on April 4, Monday, supporting 27 states, their governors and attorney generals, all of whom are protesting the President’s executive action called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), first announced in November 2014. The Supreme Court picked up the case, now known as United States v. Texas, after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained a preliminary injunction against the proposed DAPA program.

Understanding DAPA

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dhsIn a sting operation spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security in New Jersey, operatives from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency created a fake university profile to attract and arrest criminal visa brokers. The operation led to the successful arrest of 21 individuals, who have been charged with student and work visa fraud.

On the surface, the University of Northern New Jersey looked like your regular college in the United States, with a campus located in Cranford, New Jersey, some 22 miles south of New York. It also had a friendly-looking website and Facebook page (both of which have since been shut down), complete with a fictional coat of arms bearing the words, “Humanus, Scientia, Integritas.” However, UNNJ had no professors or instructors, no curriculum, and no classes or other educational activities.

Instead, undercover agents from the ICE posed as corrupt administrators looking to work with unscrupulous brokers and scam foreign students wanting to enter the country on student visas.