* Dramatization
* Dramatization
Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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).
Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

VisaProgram-300x200Top U.S. lawmakers praised the Trump administration’s decision to decline proposals ending the H-1B non-immigrant visa program, pointing out that holders of the visa make substantial contributions to the American economy and drive innovation in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of skilled foreign workers depend on the H-1B, a special non-immigrant U.S. visa that allows American businesses to hire graduate-level foreigners with considerable skill in highly specialized fields such as accounting, technology, and those “requiring specific theoretical and technical expertise.” These industries also tend to have a shortage of trained domestic employees, hence the concern of companies, particularly in the tech sector, over plans to scrap the visa program.

According to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, “The Trump administration’s decision to back off this counterproductive proposal is a positive step forward. H-1B visa holders, many of whom become small business owners and job creators, drive innovation and help build and strengthen our economy.”

Published on:

Judge-Orders-300x171A California federal judge has issued an injunction forcing the Trump administration to restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an immigration program by Barack Obama enacted through an executive action that protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in America as minors.

Judge William Alsup of the Federal District Court in San Francisco’s argued that the administration was remiss in ending the program, writing that government should instead “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis” while a lawsuit challenging the decision is still in progress.

DACA defers deportation for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children. Under the program, DACA beneficiaries, also known as DREAMers (after a defunct immigration program upon which DACA was fashioned), are allowed to file for temporary work permits and driver’s licenses, allowing them to lead normal lives and contribute to American society.