* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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hammer-1707721_640-300x225The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of an immigration court to deport Martin Garcia‐Hernandez, a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States in 2000 with no proper documentation. In 2010, he was arrested for violating a domestic protective order filed against him by Talavera, the mother of his children.

Garcia‐Hernandez pled guilty to the violation and was subsequently sentenced to 12 months of supervision. However, he was also found removable from the country under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)(i).

Garcia‐Hernandez contested this order for removal under the provisions of 8 U.S.C.1229b(b), which stipulates that the attorney general may cancel a removal order for certain nonpermanent residents, provided they were continuously present in the United States for not less than 10 years and were of good moral character throughout such a period. Garcia‐Hernandez also argued that his removal would lead to “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien’s spouse, parent, or child, who is a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.”

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kitchen-731351_640-300x200The United States Department of Justice arrived at a settlement with Levy Restaurants, concluding the department’s investigation of a complaint filed by an employment-based immigrant against Levy’s Barclay Center in Brooklyn, accusing its management of violating anti-discrimination polices under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Justice Department found that the chain of sports arena restaurants, formally owned by Levy Premium Foodservice Limited Partnership, had discriminated against two legal permanent residents at its Barclay Center branch. The company had improperly re-verified their eligibility for employment due to their immigrant status; specifically, the department determined that Levy erred in requiring their employees to present certain documents to re-establish their employment eligibility.

Levy suspended the employees when they were unable to provide these documents, prompting one of aggrieved parties to file a lawsuit on the grounds of discrimination based on immigration status. According to the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, employers are prohibited from requiring employees to present any unnecessary documents to fulfill requirements related to their citizenship, immigration status, or country of origin.

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prison-482619_640-1-300x225Last Friday, federal immigration officials in Little Rock, Arkansas arrested Tatiano Jaco, an 18-year-old undocumented immigrant, much to the shock and confusion of local immigration lawyers. The arrest calls to question the recently rescinded 2014 memo on detaining young immigrants and the present protocols for handling such arrests.

Jaco, a minor at the time of her entry into the United States, is currently classified as an unaccompanied minor and a priority alien. She was detained upon reporting to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office Friday morning for a check-in with the agency, and now deals with a pending court case without being charged for a crime. She has not missed a single court appearance. The location of her detention is unknown, even to her legal counsel.

The 2014 memo from the Obama administration stipulates that aliens like Jaco should not be removed until deemed a threat to national security or the integrity of the immigration system. President Trump rescinded the memo upon his inauguration, and ordered the immediate detention of “individuals apprehended on suspicion of violating Federal or State law.” This includes violations to Federal immigration laws, and calls for further proceedings regarding said violations.

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america-1999384_640-300x167In the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, 13 cities around the country have taken legal action against the administration.

The executive order, which has been called a ‘Muslim ban,’ suspends the country’s refugee program for 120 days, with Syrian refugees barred from entering the country indefinitely. It also bars all immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

But the immigration suspension also led to the detention and barring of legitimate visa holders from the 7 Muslim countries. The Trump administration has vehemently denied accusations that the executive order targets Muslims, refusing to call it a ban. Below are some of the cities that filed lawsuits as of January 31.

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aids-1886383_640-300x200A Honduran immigrant received a second chance to seek asylum after a polarized Seventh Circuit ruled that it would be unconstitutional to force him to hide his HIV-positive status to protect himself from homophobia after being deported to his home country.

The case involves 38-year old Rigoberto Velasquez-Banegas, a Honduran native who entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant in 2005, contracting HIV two years later. Upon learning of Velasquez-Banegas’ undocumented status, the Department of Homeland Security proceeded to have him deported in 2014.  However, Velasquez-Banegas argued that returning to Honduras with his illness would most likely expose himself to the danger of violent discrimination.

Velasquez-Banegas presented compelling evidence of many Hondurans believing that any man with HIV or AIDS is also a homosexual. He emphasized how many Honduran gay men have been the victims of hate crimes targeted against homosexuals, with police refusing to investigate such incidents.

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building-1031332_640-300x225Hundreds of thousands of DACA beneficiaries, colloquially known as DREAMers, may see their lives uprooted should the Trump administration end President Obama’s immigration actions, which allow undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children to apply for temporary legal work permits, a driver license, and deportation deferments.

Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is an executive action currently protecting more than 752,000 young immigrants from deportation. Should DACA end, it would put thousands out of work, closing any legal opportunities for them to earn a living.

How Will Trump End DACA?

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barbed-wire-765484_640-300x199The Supreme Court of the United States recently deliberated on the legal definition of a “crime of violence,” also known as an “aggravated felony,” a decision in the immigration case, Lynch v. Dimaya, which could affect the fate of immigrants in the United States.

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), committing a crime of violence serves as an irrevocable grounds for deportation from U.S. soil. The act takes its definition of violent crime from U.S. Code Title 18 Section 16b, contested by Joseph Dimaya’s counsellor as being “unconstitutionally vague” in the pursuit of a “void for vagueness” defense.

Joseph Dimaya is a Filipino immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1992 and later acquired permanent resident status. At present, he faces two aggravated felony charges from two separate counts of burglary occurring in 2007 and 2009, both of which he plead no contest to.

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donald-trump-1541036_640-300x202Throughout the campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised to go after local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, this after government officials in so-called “sanctuary cities” have repeatedly refused orders to hand over undocumented immigrants to the federal government for deportation.

And because jails are operated by counties instead of cities, the former can have more power over the fate of apprehended immigrants.

Federal authorities face the uphill battle of working with local police to enforce immigration policies, as the law does not require local government officials to detain undocumented immigrants upon the request of the feds. In fact, complying with these requests is treated voluntarily, as federal courts have learned.

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new-york-1930656_640-300x200Since being implemented by the Obama administration as an executive order in June 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has saved more than 752,000 immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation. The immigration policy offered undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation, while also allowing them to obtain renewable work permits and seek employment legally.

DACA opened opportunities to undocumented immigrants, who previously had to overcome several barriers to reach their full potential. Thousands have been able to seek work legally, apply for driver’s licenses, and go to university without worrying about their immigration status, which in turn made them better equipped to be contributing members of their respective communities. In other words, they were able to experience the American Dream, or at the very least, enjoy rights many Americans take for granted.

Trump Presidency Poised to Endanger DACA

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startup-593341_640-300x200Council officials in Santa Clara County and San Jose have laid out their plans to resist any attempts by the incoming Trump administration to arrest and remove all undocumented immigrants in Silicon Valley. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, as well as San Jose’s City Council, each passed formal resolutions last week designed to oppose federal immigration programs that target immigrants.

The resolutions go a step further, creating a communications program that will inform immigrants about their rights and options to obtain legal citizenship.

During the City Council meeting, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo emphasized the importance of responding to the incoming immigrant crisis as a community, given how unpredictable immigration policy could be once President-elect Trump takes office on January 20.