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justice-471888_1280The California Court of Appeals recently granted the immigration petition of a 12-year-old undocumented immigrant from Honduras, who entered the United States as a child and is now seeking to “special immigrant juvenile” (SIJ) status.

The petitioner, one Alex R., entered the country as a young child, settling in Los Angeles with his mother. It should be noted that Alex R. has never shared a home with Alex B., the man seen as his presumptive father.

Alex R. looked to receive “special immigrant juvenile” (SIJ) status, a special classification created by Congress as a way to provide special immigration protection to unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children who crossed into the United States and were subjected to neglect, abandonment, parental abuse, and other forms of improper treatment on a child.

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phone-booth-1439052_640A new government deal now gives phone access to thousands of undocumented immigrant detainees across four California Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. The new policy was enacted as part of a settlement agreement between the government and several immigrants currently held inside different facilities in California. The detainees filed a lawsuit in 2013, claiming they were denied phone access while awaiting removal proceedings.

Changes to Expensive Phone Calls and Red Tape

The class action lawsuit argued against excessive phone fees, timed cutoffs, and automatic phone disconnection after calls were diverted to automated systems or voicemail.

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justice-471888_640A Texas federal judge hearing a lawsuit that challenges an immigration executive order by the Obama administration announced this week that he would postpone a decision ordering government lawyers to attend an ethics course from taking effect until August 22.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen had ordered the Justice Department lawyers last month to take ethics training after concluding that they had misled him on the question if the White House had begun executing one of the measures in the immigration initiative.

After President Obama first announced an executive order granting deportation relief to millions of immigrants in 2014, a coalition of 26 Republican-controlled states—led by Texas—filed a lawsuit against the federal government to block the program.

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united-states-637713_640The American Immigration Council, a nonprofit research and legal organization, recently filed a lawsuit demanding United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to provide information on their actions over the two years since records revealed the agency had taken “no action” in 97 percent of cases where agents committed acts of abuse. The organization calls on the Customs and Border Protection to respond to a long overdue request under the Freedom of Information Act filed in October 2015. The nonprofit also named the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agency’s operations, as a co-defendant.

The lawsuit demands access to documents related to complaints filed against Customs and Border against dating back to 2012, as well as information on the procedures used by the agency to investigate and resolve these issues.

A previous FOIA request gave the Immigration Council information on more than 800 abuse complaints against Border Patrol agents filed between 2009 and 2012. With the data in hand, the organization was able to publish a 2014 report titled, “No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse.”

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usa-1149896_640Ireri Unzueta Carrasco, a 29-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico who moved to the United States as a child, was recently denied protection against deportation by the Department of Homeland Security.

Carrasco first applied in 2013 for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protection against deportation. She was granted protection under the program despite being involved and arrested in several demonstrations for immigrant rights.

But when Carrasco applied for renewal of immigration status in 2015, she was denied protection by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the grounds of her previous civil disobedience arrests, referring to her case as having “raised public safety concerns.”

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gavelIn another development in the ongoing feud with a federal judge hearing a challenge to President Obama’s planned immigration executive actions, the White House accused the same judge for acting out of bounds by slapping sanctions on government attorneys for alleged ethics violations.

The Justice Department hit back on a May 19 court order issued by Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Brownsville, Texas. The judge had ordered government lawyers across 26 states involved in the case to take ethics courses, barring some of them from making an appearance in his court.

In a ruling that can only be described as scathing, Judge Hanen ordered the DOJ to submit the names of the thousands of immigrants granted relief for three years under the administration’s immigration programs. The judge had issued an injunction in February 2015.

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passport-881305_640 (1)Henri Kamenga Ndibu, a Congolese undocumented immigrant, submitted a petition for a review of removal issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which affirmed the immigration judge’s decision that Ndibut had filed a frivolous application for asylum. This effectively made him ineligible for status adjustment.

Henri Kamenga Ndibu first entered the United States in September 2001, using a Canadian passport not belonging to him. After managing to evade detection by immigration officials for nearly 3 years, Ndibu filed an application for asylum in July 2004, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). He claimed that he feared for his life under potential persecution upon returning to Congo for his political opinions.

In an affidavit submitted by Ndibu, he claimed he was living in the Democratic Republic of Congo in June 2003 when he was detained by government authorities for being a member of the Army of Victory Church and for joining the “Let us Save the Congo” movement.

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black-and-white-1117367_640Sonia Ramos-Lopez, an undocumented immigrant from Guatamala, was ordered removed from the country by an immigration judge, a decision affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which dismissed her appeal of the IJ’s denial of her motion to reopen in abstentia removal proceedings, and denial of her subsequent motion for reconsideration.

In her appeal to her removal order, Ramos-Lopez presented evidence that the situation in Guatemala, particularly the violence against women, has reached a level such that it’s now called femicide or feminicide. She also reasoned that since the election of the country’s new president, Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala has now remilitarized, placing her at risk due to her brother-in-law’s involvement with a drug cartel in the past.

Ramos-Lopez also contends that the BIA disregarded her due process rights by failing to weigh all of the evidence she submitted to the court. She also argued her strong showing of proving her eligibility for asylum, relief of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Despite making a prime facie showing, she believes the BIA did not sufficiently consider all of the evidence, as well as her subsequent application for CAT relief.

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white-house-754766_640Over the last 5 days, immigration officials conducted sweeps in Reno and Las Vegas, detaining 87 immigrants identified as threats to public safety. Most of the immigrants, who come from at least 9 different countries, have been charged with several criminal offenses, while those with outstanding deportation orders or have a history of illegal entry are reportedly to be removed immediately.

For those not facing criminal charges, they are set to appear in an immigration court and process for administrative removal.

The mass arrests come in the wake of widespread deportation raids that commenced during the start of the year. Naturally, these sweeps didn’t sit well with immigration activists, who have criticized the Obama administration for unfairly targeting undocumented immigrants.

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statue-of-liberty-164294_640A Pew Research Center report shows close to 250,000 undocumented immigrants flocked to immigration centers around the country to apply for U.S citizenship in the four-month period since October 2015.

In addition, preliminary data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows that approximately 249,609 legal permanent residents submitted complete N-400 application this fiscal year, a 5 percent increase from the same months that led to the 2012 presidential election. The number also signifies a 13 percent increase from the same period in October 2014 to January 2015.

Donald Trump the Cause?