Articles Posted in Family-Based Immigration

Published on:

detentionThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts filed a class action lawsuit against the Trump administration on Tuesday, claiming a trend of detaining immigrants seeking legal immigration through marriage to U.S. citizens.

The lawsuit comes amid increased calls by President Trump to crack down on illegal and legal immigration, particularly chain migration, or the practice of seeking legal immigration status by sponsoring extended family members seeking legal entry into the United States. These new immigrants, upon legalization, carry on the practice, resulting in a familial “chain” of immigrants entering the country.

The proposed class action, filed in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, alleges that immigration officials have been deliberately detaining noncitizen spouses of U.S. residents seeking lawful immigration status, forcibly breaking families apart.

Published on:

licenseSeveral immigrant rights advocacy groups have raised concerns over a number of state bills recently introduced in Michigan, which require drivers’ licenses for legal immigrants to bear distinguishing visual markers and the expiration date of their legal status, claiming that such a measure will lead to racial profiling and discrimination.

Two Michigan House bills were proposed last month by Pamela Hornberger(R-Chesterfield Township) and Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), mandating to have driver’s licenses and state identification cards of noncitizens clearly indicate when the license holder’s legal status is set to expire. Both bills will be discussed in a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing set on Tuesday.

According to Michigan Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), chair of the committee considering the legislation, the two bills are likely to “not have a great deal of resistance in the committee,”and will “come out fairly quickly once we can get the hearing process over.”

Published on:

trumpAn immigration proposal currently being considered by the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would penalize immigrants who accept almost any type of public benefits, including a popular tax credit, which could result in the rejection of their legal U.S. residency application.

Under a draft proposal obtained by The Washington Post, the DHS would expand the definition of “public benefit” to include health insurance, federal housing subsidies, and the earned income tax credit, which benefits low- and moderate-income employees. This would allow immigration caseworkers to include a wider range of factors when determining whether immigrants and/or their citizen children are using any public benefits or may be likely to use them.

At present, the law penalizes immigrants who receive welfare payments, labeling them a “public charge.” Under the DHS’s proposal, changes would apply to anyone seeking immigration visas or legal permanent residency, such as foreign nationals with expiring work visas.

Published on:

ACLU Takes ICE Field Offices to Court for Illegal Detention of Asylum SeekersThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), together with other groups, has filed a federal lawsuit against five U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field offices for detaining asylum seekers without cause.Foreigners seeking asylum in the United States are procedurally required to submit themselves to initial “credible fear” exams to determine the legitimacy of their reasons for attempting to enter the country. According to the ACLU, all the asylum seekers in question, who now serve as plaintiffs to the case, had passed their exams but are nonetheless being kept in detention.

In the suit, the ACLU notes that the asylum seekers in question have ready and able sponsors in the U.S.willing to provide housing. Despite this fact, they claim the federal government insisted on detaining them instead of granting them access into the country.

The ICE field offices named in the suit include Detroit, El Paso (which covers West Texas and New Mexico), Los Angeles, Newark, and Philadelphia. The ACLU alleges that more than 1,000asylum seekers have been unjustly detained by these offices since the beginning of the Trump administration. And according to Borderland Immigration Council, an El Paso-based “coalition consisting of local immigration attorneys and advocacy groups,” the success of the case may mean relief for at least 2,000 more asylum seekers detained in El Paso and Sierra Blanca.

Published on:

detainedU.S.immigration enforcement officials have detained a Brazilian mother and child in separate detention centers, a move that signals a sharp turn in the agency’s enforcement approach.

In the past, immigration enforcement agencies that manage to arrest immigrant families illegally entering the country made it a practice to detain parents together with their children in the same detention facility. This, however, was not the case for a Brazilian mother hiding under the pseudonym “Jocelyn” and her 14-year-old child.

Jocelyn entered the United States along with her son in August last year, having left Brazil to flee from both domestic and gang violence. They had hoped to apply for asylum given their circumstances. Jocelyn is now being held in a Texas detention center while her son was placed in a shelter in Illinois.

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:

Mexican Children27-year-old Azucena Macias was only 1 when she and her family crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into California. Her parents, however, were eventually deported in 2005, forcing Azucena and her siblings to live under the care of their older sister. Although Azucena would reunite with her mother 10 years later, it was under unfortunate circumstances—her mother had developed stage 2 breast cancer. Her mother’s illness, however, would also allow Azucena to apply for a little-used immigration rule, one that would fast track her way to permanent legal resident status, and eventually, full citizenship.

Understanding DACA and Advance Parole

The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) contains a little-known provision called Advance Parole, which allows undocumented immigrants to re-enter the U.S. and erase records of their unlawful entry, as well as all penalties associated with it.

Published on:

Eligibility for Provisional Waiver ProcessThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently announced its final rule that expands eligibility for provisional waivers of inadmissibility, which affects individuals who have to travel from the U.S. to another country to obtain immigrant visas.

The Provisional Waiver Process

The provisional waiver allows certain individuals who are presently in the U.S. to process a request from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and receive a decision before departing from the country.

Published on:

Advance ParoleThrough a little-known provision in U.S. immigration law, undocumented immigrants like 27-year-old Fresno resident Azucena Macias have left the country and returned legally through a process called “advance parole.”

Macias was only a year old when her family travelled across the border from Mexico to California. In 2005, her parents were deported, leaving her and her sisters to grow up in the U.S. Ten years later, Macias found out her mother had been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. This prompted her to apply for advance parole which allowed her to go to Mexico, return to the country, and speed up her path to legal residency.

Advance Parole and The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Published on:

immigration kidIn a ruling earlier this week, a federal appeals court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to immediately release undocumented immigrant children held under detention for crossing the border unlawfully. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that detaining migrant children for extended periods violates a 19-year-old legal settlement, which ordered immediate release after processing. Government lawyers responded by arguing that the settlement applied only to immigrant children who had crossed into the United States without being accompanied by adult relatives.

However, the ruling also states that immigration officials are not required to release migrant parents detained with their children, a reversal of an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee.

Advocates of tighter immigration policies hailed the decision, and hoped it would discourage adults from crossing into the country unlawfully and using their children to avoid being detained. Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, and a staunch proponent of stricter border controls, believes that allowing parents to escape custody may have encouraged a wave of migrant adults to enter the U.S. with their children. With the ruling, he hopes it makes using children a “less attractive” option.