Articles Posted in Immigration in the News

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hammer-1707735_640-300x225U.S. District Judge Richard Jones of Seattle, Washington recently ruled to block a federal action prohibiting nonprofits from providing legal assistance to immigrants in detention and facing deportation. The decision would allow organizations like Seattle-based Northwest Immigration Rights Project to resume their efforts to provide legal aid to undocumented immigrants, albeit temporarily, until the Department of Justice can act on the matter.

The Department of Justice sent a cease-and-desist notice to the Northwest Immigration Rights Project, sternly reminding the nonprofit to commit to providing full legal representation for every immigrant they advise or completely halt providing legal aid altogether.

The legal aid group scoffed at the order, calling it a “new and novel” interpretation of a 2008 rule designed to protect detained immigrants from being exploited by people pretending to be attorneys. The group adds the DOJ’s interpretation technically violates the First and 10th Amendment rights of attorneys and restricts legal assistance to immigrants.

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texas-1656861_640-300x196A border town and county are filing a countersuit against the State of Texas for what they allege is an unconstitutional and coercive new immigration law sanctioning “sanctuary cities” that refuse to comply with the federal government’s deportation efforts. This comes on the heels of the state filing a preemptive lawsuit on May 8, imploring the federal court to acknowledge said law as constitutional.

Among those targeted in the preemptive lawsuit include the City of Austin, its city council, mayor, city manager, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund—a Latino legal civil rights organization that has been active in fighting racial injustice in Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went live on Facebook last week to sign Senate Bill 4 into law, which now requires law enforcement agencies at both the state and local government level to honor “detainer” requests from immigration agencies. Criminal penalties stipulated in the new law to ensure compliance among law enforcement officials include up to a year of detention for sheriffs and officers.

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earthquake-1665898_640-300x199Immigration privileges granted to legal Haitian immigrants in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake may be revoked within the next few months. Shortly after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, the U.S. added the Caribbean country to its list of “Temporary Protected Status (TPS)” designated countries. TPS grants Haitians temporary relief from immediate deportation as well as work authorization insofar as the status is effective.

President Donald Trump’s appointees, however, are presently planning the termination of TPS for Haitians who entered the country seeking stability after the calamitous event. It’s estimated that revoking Haiti’s TPS status would affect more than 58,000 Haitians currently legally situated and employed in the United States, not to mention the countless undocumented Haitians seeking refuge in the country.

Among the many distraught legal immigrants is Farah Larrieux, a Haitian national who fears that with the Trump administration’s current crackdown on nearly all forms of immigration (legal, documented, or otherwise), she and the many others who came to the U.S. to find some semblance of normalcy after the earthquake are next on the deportation block.

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gavel-1017953_640-300x200The Emory University School of Law is accusing the Atlanta Immigration Court of failing to uphold ethical standards, alleging that some of the court’s judges have exhibited hostility and discrimination towards immigrants.

In their allegations listed in a letter sent to Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the Emory University School of Law referred to several actions documented by the students during their 7-week observation, which includes distasteful remarks, unfounded allegations, and even open hostility towards immigrants in court. One judge reportedly accused immigrants of attempting to claim asylum after availing of medical care in the U.S.

Some of the alleged actions on the part of the immigration judges include the following:

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new-york-472392_640-300x200According to a Department of Justice attorney, the federal government is not expecting a stay of proceedings of last week’s federal ruling barring the President and federal government’s plan to withhold funds from “sanctuary cities,” but also doesn’t expect that door to remain closed for long. This is the Trump administration’s second court setback when it comes to immigration, following the Ninth Circuit’s ruling against the immigration ban.

President Donald Trump has vowed throughout the campaign and after taking office to enforce a major crackdown on undocumented immigrants and lenient immigration policies.

The result was a so-called Muslim ban against 6 predominantly Muslim countries—which has since been shut down by a Hawaii judge—and another executive order withholding funds from cities and counties for their so-called “sanctuary city” policies, described as a refusal to cooperate with the feds in indefinitely detaining undocumented immigrants.

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immigration-bill-300x199Anis Rabhi, a legal permanent resident of the United States since 1999, has filed a lawsuit against two senior immigration officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for issues concerning his citizenship application.

USCIS is a component office of the Department of Homeland Security—an agency with a central role in President Trump’s immigration crackdown.

Violation of Civil Rights and Federal Law

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pexels-photo-109919-300x169Throughout the campaign period, President Donald Trump has pledged an unprecedented crackdown on immigration, and his subsequent administration has indeed tried to live up to campaign promises.

Since Trump took office, border agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have since doubled in number, and immigration rights activists have reported an increasing number of raids, some of them even happening in courthouses, where detained immigrants were waiting to be released from detention.

Despite these developments, President Trump appears to take a gentler stance on the fate of so-called DREAMers covered by the DACA programs.

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court-0329-300x178The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments by attorneys from the Department of Justice, who are saying that detained immigrant minors do not have the right to a bond hearing. According to DOJ attorney Sarah Fabian, granting children a bond hearing is “just bandaging the wrong leg. Providing a bond hearing is not a solution.”

After the settlement of Flores v. Meese, et al., detained immigrant children have the right to a bond hearing for their release in front of an immigration judge. The landmark stems from a group of minors fleeing torture and abuse in Central America, and later detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), a now-defunct agency whose functions have since been absorbed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

But in 2015, the federal government claimed that legislation passed since 1997 have since revoked this precedent.

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pexels-photo-42384-300x200Florinda Lorenzo first came to the United States without proper immigration documentation some 14 years ago. A native of Guatemala, she has two children, two of which were born in the country and are therefore American citizens. Despite being undocumented, she is not in hiding, and in fact, checks in regularly with federal immigration agents in Baltimore regularly.

Lorenzo is one of the thousands of undocumented immigrants who simply report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a routine manner. They are allowed to stay in the country because previous administrations did not consider them a priority for deportation. Lorenzo was arrested in 2010 on charges that were later dropped, requiring her to make even more visits with an immigration official.

However, with the current administration’s hard-line stance on both illegal and legal immigration, people like Lorenzo have been forced to report with ICE much more frequently. Furthermore, what used to be harmless appointments have now become increasing hostile, with reports of immigrants being detained without warning during such visits.

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courtroom-144091_640-1-224x300“Knock it off,” is what California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in her letter to the Trump administration, this after a recent spate of arrests by immigration officials at multiple courthouses around the country.

Cantil-Sakauye previously accused immigration officials of targeting undocumented immigrants at trial courts, using the courthouses as staging grounds to detain unsuspecting migrants waiting for the results of their hearings.

Most recently, the Cantil-Sakauye fired off a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, pointing out that, “Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.”