Articles Posted in Immigration in the News

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military-men-departing-service-uniform-40820-300x199The Pentagon is reportedly considering canning a military/immigration program that enlists immigrant soldiers with specialized skills in exchange for naturalization assistance.

Founded in 2009 by retired Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program was designed to reach out to immigrants with valuable skills, offering them U.S. citizenship in return for military service and rendering their unique skill set to the military. In particular, the program sought to recruit those with medical training and/or language skills (e.g. ability to speak Arabic), allowing them to skip parts of the green card application process.

Now, almost 10,000 immigrants, many of whom are either visa holders, asylees, or refugees, are counting on the program for their US citizenship.

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pexels-photo-492558-300x200Twenty-one cities, many of which have been branded as so-called “sanctuary cities,” promised on Independence Day to naturalize over a million immigrants before 2018 through the Naturalize NOW campaign. Among the many cities supporting the immigration initiative include New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Jersey City, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Tucson.

Naturalize NOW was initiated by immigration rights advocates, progressive groups, and elected officials with the goal of protecting the millions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants from the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration crackdown. It seeks to embrace “the diversity and innovation immigrants bring to the United States by assisting eligible legal residents through the naturalization process.”

Its central mission, according to its Flag Day press release, is to encourage community members to participate in the country’s democracy and to protect themselves as well as their families. The pledge comes on the heels of two Republican-sponsored immigration bills, “Kate’s Law” and the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” which would increase sanctions against deportees who re-enter American soil and pressure local governments into complying with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

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flag-1544223_640-300x219Attorneys representing Texas state and the plaintiff coalition of Texas cities, counties, social justice groups, and local officials took to court to begin oral arguments on the constitutionality of Texas State Senate Bill 4 (SB4). Meanwhile, outside the courthouse, hundreds of protesters gathered to express their dissent against the new immigration law.

Texas SB4 is a law intended to stop so-called “sanctuary” cities—those that refuse to cooperate with the federal government’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants—and prevent new ones from forming within the state. Several questionable provisions within the bill would be employed to coerce cooperation towards this end, including economic sanctions for local governments as well as potential jail time for sheriffs and public officials refusing to comply with the feds’ anti-immigrant efforts.

Among its most concerning effects are faulty law enforcement and racial profiling. Upon the law’s implementation, immigration rights advocates predict that law enforcement officials would practice arbitrary immigration status check-ups and arrests largely based on skin color. This, sheriffs and police officers themselves claim, would create an environment of distrust for law enforcement – ultimately leading to a degeneration of peace and security in the community.

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airport-2370854_640-300x225Michigan Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled on Monday to temporarily stop the deportation of 1,400 Iraqi immigrants, expanding a ruling that initially applied only to Detroit.

The decision comes as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was preparing to deport over a thousand Iraqi nationals found guilty of crimes in the U.S., some of which happened decades ago. Despite their criminal records, the Iraqi immigrants were allowed to stay in the country, which they had done so for years without incident.

In June, Goldsmith granted temporary restraining orders to more than 100 Iraqi detainees being held by ACE, with the American Civil Liberties Union (representing the plaintiffs) requesting the TRO to cover all the other Iraqi nationals in question.

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narendra-modi-2112081_640-300x300India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit the United States on June 25 and 26. One of the issues many expect to be brought up in his meeting with President Donald Trump is the problematic domestic IT industry and the H-1B visa program. The visit comes in the middle of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” strategy, an executive order geared towards immigration reform and includes a review of the H-1B program.

The H-1B visa is a special non-immigrant visa that allows the employment of non-Americans with technical and theoretical expertise in highly-specialized fields recognized by Section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. As a non-immigrant visa, H-1B requires visa holders to apply for another non-immigrant visa or find another U.S. employer upon termination, otherwise they must leave the country.

H-1B is of primary concern for India, whose citizens are the top beneficiaries of one of the United States’ most popular visas. The country accounts for roughly 70 percent of all H-1B visas awarded each year, most of which go to professionals from India’s fast-growing IT industry.

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coffee-2351437_640-300x225In a June 15 news release on its website, The Department of Homeland Security announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has protected countless immigrants from deportation, will be allowed to continue until further notice.

DACA, first established under the Obama Administration, protects undocumented immigrants brought into the country as minors from deportation, placing them as low-priority targets. The program also allows beneficiaries to apply for renewable work permits.

According to Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ immigrant rights organization, deferred action “is a discretionary, limited immigration benefit [that] can be granted to individuals who are in removal proceedings, who have final orders of removal, or who have never been in removal proceedings. Individuals who have deferred action status can apply for employment authorization and are in the US under color of law.”

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gavel-1017953_640-300x200Iowa’s high court recently ruled 4-3 against continuing the prosecution of a DACA-protected immigrant charged with forgery and identity fraud.

Martha Martinez is a mother of four who’s lived in the country since she arrived without documentation several years ago. To provide for her children, Martinez worked at a food service sanitation company in Muscatine County, Iowa.

However, acquiring employment required that she break a few laws in the process.

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pexels-photo-185384-225x300San Antonio and several legal groups are suing Texas and state government officials for alleged violations of federal immigration law, demanding that Texas Senate Bill 4 be declared unconstitutional and that the state provide for whatever relief the federal court allows.

Texas Senate Bill 4, now a recently-signed law, fines and even threatens to remove sheriffs, public officials, and other local government authorities who don’t comply with federal immigration crackdown efforts.

The City of San Antonio and Council member Rey Saldan have teamed up with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), La Union Del Pueblo Entero, the Workers Defense Project, and the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education in filing the complaint against the state.

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courthouse-1223279_640-1-300x200A Dilley-based legal group, with the support of several other organizations, recently filed a complaint against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), alleging that the agency deliberately interfered with client representation with its new policy.

The recently formulated ICE policy makes agency approval a necessity for acquiring proper mental health examinations for detainees, adding another hurdle for attorneys to serve their clients. According to the plaintiffs, the policy in question places the government in a position of greater control over immigration proceedings, pointing out that ICE may choose to take weeks before responding to requests, and may even not reply with an affirmative.

It’s worth noting that getting mental health examinations was once a routine procedure.

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skyline-2294682_640-300x227El Cenizo, a small Texas city at the U.S. and Mexico border, populated almost entirely by immigrants, is leading the opposition against the nationwide immigration crackdown in its own remarkable way.

A new Texas immigration law requiring police to detain criminal suspects for possible deportation will be taking effect on September 1, 2017. El Cenizo, despite its size and equivalently inconsequential influence, has nonetheless decided to combat the measure, and the Republican Party behind it, with a lawsuit, pitting its mayor against Texas’ strong conservative base.

“People have been posting that they should make an example out of me and that they should lock me up,” says 34-year-old El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes in a City Hall interview.