* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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american-691626_640-300x200President Trump’s revised executive order to once again suspend the United States’ refugee program and temporarily ban immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries has naturally stoked fears of tighter restrictions against visa applications. The original order, signed in January this year, resulted in legitimate visa holders being held in airports in the country due to their citizenship and country of origin. This prompted a Seattle court to file an injunction against the so-called Muslim ban, which has since been frozen.

Yet despite the travel ban, gaining legal entry into the United States, even on a temporary basis (e.g. for work, leisure, education purposes), has always been challenging for people from different countries, especially in recent years. In fact, it has turned into a significant source of revenue.

According to data collected by Axibase, a data analysis software company, “In 2015, the U.S. State Department earned over $400 million from non-immigrant visa applications that ended up being rejected.” The report also revealed that the federal government rejected around 1 in every 5 applications, amounting to more than 2.6 million denied non-immigrant visas, each one costing an average of $160 in fees.

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courthouse-1223279_640-300x200Tennessee filed a lawsuit against the federal government this week, claiming a violation of the 10th Amendment after it threatened to cut the state’s Medicaid funding unless it agreed to allocate funds for the resettlement of refugees in the country. The suit, filed in Jackson, Tennessee, by the state’s General Assembly and 2 representatives, argues that the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program—comprised of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—violates the protection of state sovereignty and the Constitution’s Spending Clause.

The lawsuit states: “This suit is not intended to inflict harm on immigrants or refugees from any nation. Rather, this is a suit that seeks to preserve the constitutional relationship between the federal government and the states as mandated by our nation’s founders.”

Tennessee state officials point out that in 2015, they spent over $31 million to help resettle refugees through TennCare, the state’s version of Medicaid, which receives federal funding. After voluntarily participating in the program, Tennessee tried to pull out unsuccessfully in 2008.

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coffee-1018508_640-214x300A federal judge refused to free a Houston immigrant and breast cancer patient held in custody since October last year, preventing her from freely seeking the proper medical treatment for her condition. Rashan Akbar Momin is a 48-year-old convenience store clerk who has lived with her husband and two children—full U.S. citizens born in the country—in their Houston suburban home since its purchase in 2011.

She first came to the United States in December 1993 through O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Upon turning 21, Momin’s eldest son applied for a petition for an alien relative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agency, however, blocked the petition void after they discovered a previous deportation order from 22 years ago.

These incidents connect to the curious circumstances surrounding Momin’s entry into the United States. Upon her arrival, an immigration inspector reviewed her visitor’s visa and judged it counterfeit, ordering her to appear in the Chicago Immigration and Naturalization Service Office at an undetermined time. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has since absorbed the INS and its functions in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

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terminal-1210006_640-300x200President Trump signed a revised executive order that reactivates his immigration ban, this time addressing the challenges placing his original order in legal limbo. According to legal pundits, while the revised executive order still bans immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, and freezes the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, it’s more likely to withstand legal challenges.

The immigration ban still applies to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, but comes with some notable revisions. For starters, the order removes Iraq from the list of banned countries. The executive order was also a low-key affair behind closed doors, with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeting a photo of the event.

Below are four other crucial points to know about Trump’s revised executive order.

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Attorney Daniella Lyttle headed a Pro Bono Clinic at the Mexican Consulate to help immigrant families execute a power of attorney for minor children. Below are the links to the television interviews covering the story.




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airport-1897716_640-300x200President Donald Trump signed a new and revised executive order on Monday that imposes yet another 90-day immigration ban against six predominantly Muslim countries, and bans refugees from all countries for 120 days.

Learning from the controversies circling his original January 27 order, which has since been frozen by a Washington state court, the Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States comes with some notable changes.

Iraq Excluded from Ban

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flag-395272_640-225x300Immigration officials arrested an El Paso immigrant inside a courthouse on charges her lawyers claim are based on a perjured testimony of Border Patrol agent.

Irvin Gonzalez, a Mexican citizen charged with illegal re-entry into the United States after having been deported at least six times and a string of criminal charges, was arrested in a courthouse under dubious circumstances, prompting her lawyers to file a habeas corpus petition calling for her release.

Border Patrol Agent John Urquidi conducted the arrest on February 9. However, his sworn statement has some discrepancies.

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chicago-690364_640-300x200In the wake of a disastrous immigration ban that has since been frozen by a Washington state judge, White House sources say the Trump administration is in the final stages of a revised executive order that still temporarily bans refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, but now excludes current visa holders.

The revision comes in response to last month’s travel ban fiasco, which resulted in the State Department revoking thousands of legitimate visas and detaining hundreds of people in airports around the country. According to sources, the Department of Justice is hoping the new executive order will be ironclad and able to withstand legal challenges, while also preventing the nightmare scenario of having to detain travelers in airports.

Furthermore, the revised executive order now reportedly removes the exception for religious minorities in banning refugees. Critics had argued the exception was clearly motivated to discriminate against Muslims as it allowed Christian refugees to enter the U.S.

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urban-decay-1209689_640-300x225The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program faces yet another threat of being repealed, putting the fate of its undocumented immigrant beneficiaries, commonly known as “DREAMers,” into question. This comes in the wake of the controversial arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina despite his temporary permission to live and work in the country under DACA, making him another casualty of the Trump administration’s intensified crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

Enacted under the Obama administration in 2012, DACA is an executive action ensuring deferred action for particular undocumented immigrants who had entered the U.S. as children. “Deferred action” refers to a limited immigration discretionary benefit released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), granting undocumented immigrants in certain removal conditions permission to apply for temporary employment permits in the U.S. and even driver’s licenses.

In the past few weeks, Immigration and Custom (ICE) has conducted a series of broad, sweeping raids on immigrant communities, detaining immigrants with previous criminal records and immigration charges. Yet the raids have also rounded up immigrants with no criminal charge to their name.

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courthouse-1223280_640-300x200The controversial arrest of a domestic violence victim at an El Paso courthouse enraged a Texas district attorney and immigration rights activists. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials detained the woman after she had just received a domestic violence protection order against an abusive boyfriend.

According to El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza, the arrest by ICE officials sends a chilling message to domestic abuse victims that they may not be able to seek justice in Texas courts.

“I don’t think it matters what your [immigration] status is. Everyone has the right to be free of violence and live in a safe community,” Esparza said.