Articles Posted in Family-Based Immigration

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indian-1158807_640-300x200Over 300,000 immigrant children whose lawful presence in the United States depend on visas nearing termination face forced removal from the country as the clogged immigration system fails to process their applications for other visas on time. This includes children of skilled Indian immigrants in the country on a variety of visas.

The issue dates as far back as 2002, with Congress recognizing that thousands of families would be torn apart as thousands of children grow past the age limitation for their respective visas and cannot acquire green cards on time due to setbacks in the application system.

In response to the problem, then-president George W. Bush enacted the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), giving the affected children time to receive their green cards or seek other viable visas to remain in the country. While the CSPA brought some relief to immigrant families, it was not a perfect solution. As many immigration rights advocates note, the CSPA may have prevent some families from being separated, but some families were definitely not as fortunate.

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prison-370112_1280-300x199The Department of Justice on Thursday appealed to a federal judge to permit the extension of detention periods for immigrant families that entered the country unlawfully, explaining that detaining families for longer than 20 days “would allow immigrant children to stay with their parents.’’

The Justice Department announced earlier this month that it would fully comply with a federal judge’s order to reunite families separated at the border as a result of a new policy that files criminal charges against those who caught crossing the border illegally. Trump sealed the deal with an order effectively ending the practice.

But, in what has been taken to be an attempt to both detain parents and keep immigrant families together, the Department of Justice promptly followed with a request to extend detention for such families beyond the current limit of 20 days.

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child-crying-1735221_1920-300x169As the Trump administration deals with a dramatic increase in the number of child immigration cases, most of which are in a backlog of 8,378 pending cases spanning more than three years, a new zero-tolerance immigration policy imposed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions could cause this backlog to grow even more.

Sessions announced the policy shift in May, which would require Border Patrol agents to hand over all undocumented immigrants caught crossing the border to the Department of Justice for prosecution. This new policy also means that thousands of unaccompanied child aliens (UACs) will have to be separated from their parents as the latter go through the criminal justice system.

“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border,” Sessions said at a conference last month.

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Arrested-Immigrant-300x225A federal judge accused the Department of Homeland Security of ignoring due process and targeting and detaining immigrants who are married or engaged to U.S. citizens without so much as telling them about their right to a hearing or notifying their attorneys.

According to U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf, who berated Justice Department attorney Mary Larakers in court, the DHS violated the law by blatantly ignoring their own rules.

Four immigrant couples brought a class action lawsuit against the U.S. government to federal court, insisting that they have been unjustly targeted by law enforcement. Police apprehended Lucimar de Souza, who would become a plaintiff in the class action suit, in January this year immediately after being interviewed for their I-130 petition (petitioning for alien relatives).

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Supreme CourtAs the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rests on the rulings of three circuit judges, a Texas-filed lawsuit seeking to shut down the immigration program could trigger a legal battle that may force the Supreme Court to finally decide on the matter.

In April this year, judges from the Second and Ninth Circuits ruled that the Trump Administration’s rescission of DACA was arbitrary and capricious, ordering the DHS to reinstate the program and accept DACA renewal applications. A few days later, Judge Bates of the D.C. Circuit likewise found that the Administration failed to adequately explain the legal basis for winding down DACA, ordering the government to continue accepting new applications, but only if it failed to come up with a better justification in 90 days.

Now, a lawsuit filed by the 7-state coalition of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Texas seeking to terminate DACA could finally raise the issue to the Supreme Court. The states are banking on their chances of getting a judge to issue a nationwide order to stop DACA, which would conflict with the existing rulings of the three federal courts.

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5 Facts About How the Government Breaks Up Families at the BorderAmid increased efforts to arrest and detain undocumented immigrants trying to enter the Southwest border, the Justice Department has filed charges of illegal entry against a caravan of 11 asylum seekers from Central America. Four of those facing charges were forcibly separated from their children, who were placed into separate custody. This incident is not the first of its kind, prompting immigration rights activists to accuse the federal government of deliberately separating immigrant families at the border.

Here are a few facts on the matter.

There is No Official Policy…Yet

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arrestThe federal government has filed charges of illegal entry against a group of 11 Central American immigrants suspected to have come to the United States to seek asylum, a few of whom are mothers and children allowed to proceed with their asylum applications.

The group of undocumented immigrants now face criminal charges filed by the Justice Department for allegedly participating in a caravan that coursed through Mexico by both train and on foot—a journey that took a month to complete. The defendants claim to have left their home countries to escape violence.

The arrests were made in separate locations, all within miles of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego, a place where hundreds of Central Americans wait to be processed by immigration agents. According to the complaints, the defendants were arrested in an area known to locals as the “Goat Canyon.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.