* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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federal judge
In yet another setback for the Trump administration’s attempts to shutter the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn issued a nationwide injunction on Tuesday, temporarily blocking the President’s move to terminate the controversial immigration program.

DACA is an Obama administration program that protects undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors from immediate deportation. Under DACA, qualifying immigrants can seek legal employment in the country through renewable special work permits—each permit comes with a two-year validity and also allows recipients to apply for a driver’s license.

In September last year, President Trump last announced that he would finally end DACA on the grounds that, in creating the program, Obama had overstepped the power of his office. He did, however, place a 6-month delay for the program’s termination to take effect, which he said should give Congress enough time to draft a replacement program that is both constitutional and legislation-based.

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immigrantsUnited States Defense Secretary James Mattis assured undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children and are currently enlisted in the armed forces that they will not face deportation even after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the immigration program allowing them to continue staying legally in the country, expires.

Enacted as an executive order under the Obama administration, DACA protects undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors (often called DREAMers, after a failed bill with the same provisions as DACA) from immediate deportation, treating them with “deferred action” instead.

In addition, DACA recipients can apply for a special work permit that allows them to legally work in the country, renewable every two years.

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immigrantsSpeaking to the press in Capitol Hill, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly announced that “DREAMers,” or beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), would not be a priority for immigration even if Congress fails to come up with a legislative replacement to the program before its March 5 termination date.

DACA is an Obama era executive order that allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to apply for temporary protection against deportation. The program allows DREAMers (named after the DREAM Act, a failed bill with the same provisions as DACA) to apply for renewable work permits and even a driver’s license, making it possible for them to lead a normal life and contribute to society.

In September last year, President Trump announced he would rescind DACA on the basisof it being an overreach of the former president’s executive power. Trump, however, placed a 6-month delay for the program to end, giving Congress time to come up with a legislative solution in its place.

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high skilled workersWhile Congress continues to debate on a legislative replacement for DACA, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have presented the “I-Squared Bill,” a piece of legislation designed to reform immigration programs for high-skilled immigration workers, allowing the United States to maintain a skilled workforce and stay competitive in the global economy.

Established as an Obama executive order in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows immigrants who entered the United States as children (also known as DREAMers) to apply for temporary permits protecting them from deportation. In September last year, President Trump announced that his administration would repeal DACA, but would also give Congress six months to come up with a law to replace it.

And that’s exactly what Congress has been struggling to do these past few months. They have, so far, been unable to solve their primary legislative dilemma—arriving at a compromise between meeting the needs of DACA beneficiaries facing deportation and answering Trump’s demands for an end to chain immigration and the construction of his long-promised border wall.

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9th-Circuit-Upholds-Order-to-Deport-Immigrant-Child-with-No-Court-Appointed-Lawyer-300x203The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled unanimously that immigrant children are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney to assist and represent them in their deportation hearings—this after upholding a deportation order against a young Honduran boy who entered the United States to escape gang violence in his home country.

The panel, consisting of three judges of the appellate court, ruled per juriam to uphold the decision of an immigration judge to deny asylum to and deport a Honduran minor. The child, hidden under the pseudonym “CJLG,” was 13 years old when he was forced to leave Honduras with his family to escape gang violence.

The boy and his mother, Maria, appeared before immigration court unable to afford legal representation nor access the country’s roster of service lawyers. The court promptly denied asylum to the child and ordered his deportation.

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USCIS-Announces-Changes-to-Asylum-Application-System-to-Address-Backlog-300x166US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will be making adjustments to its asylum application processing, tackling newer applications first before older filings to reduce the agency’s overwhelming asylum backlog.

Under the Trump administration, the agency will now be giving first priority to applications that were rescheduled by either the applicant or USCIS, and second priority to applications pending for no more than 21 days since filing. Additionally, newer filings will be placed at the top of the queue, reverting to the “last in first out” scheme previously observed by the agency.

USCIS oversees the country’s legal immigration system, which includes handling and deliberating asylum claims among others. At present, the agency faces a huge backlog of more than 311,000 pending asylum applications—a 1750 percent spike from the last five years that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. This, according to the agency, may signify that the system of accepting asylees into the country could be fraught with fraud and abuse.

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seventh-circuit-imageThe 7th Circuit appears set on upholding a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Department of Justice’s efforts to withhold funding to sanctuary cities, so called because of their refusal to cooperate with the Trump administration’s anti-immigration crackdown.

In July last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would be withholding grant money of up to $385 million from cities and counties that refuse to comply with federal detainer requests. These “requests” require local law enforcement agencies to detain suspected illegal immigrants without local charges, until such time that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents can arrive at the scene and initiate deportation proceedings.

The money in question is siphoned to local jurisdictions through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which helps to pay for local law enforcement expenses, such as body cameras and improved mental health care services with the aim of reducing gun violence and unnecessary incarceration.

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uscis-imageSalvadorians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who wish to maintain their status past the termination date of September 9, 2019 can now re-register and renew their immigration designation, beginning on January 18, 2018 to March 19, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Thursday.

Below are a few reminders for TPS beneficiaries and applicants:

  • Applicants are expected to submit the usual requirements, particularly the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-1821).
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Brazilian-300x225The United States Supreme Court has agreed to review the decision to deport a Brazilian immigrant who has taken residence in the country for over 18 years.

As provided by the Immigration and Nationality Act, a nonpermanent resident alien who has stayed in the United States for at least 10 years can use their continuous physical presence in the country to have their deportation canceled. This provision would have enabled Wescley Fonseca Pereira, a Brazilian national who first entered the country in 2000 with a nonimmigrant visa, to prevent his removal from the country.

Pereira, however, received a notice to appear before the Department of Homeland Security in May 2006.

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Propose-Bill-to-Replace-300x200Two congressmen have arrived at a bipartisan solution that will finally decide the fate of immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while providing a compromise to the Trump administration’s concerns about border security.

As Congress continues to debate over possible legislation to replace DACA, representatives Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D-California) have convened to come up with their own bipartisan solution, presenting it as a discussion draft to the legislative body. The pair of lawmakers is hoping their collaboration across party lines accelerates the legislative process to come up with a law for DREAMers before March 5—the final day of DACA.

Their proposal is largely derivative of other proposed bills designed to replace DACA but failed to garner enough congressional support, an intentional decision the two congressmen believe will fast-track the legislative process as it leans on language that has already been approved by the body.