Articles Posted in Immigration in the News

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login-570317_640-300x196United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued announced plans to bring back a modified version of a 2011 proposal that uses an electronic pre-registration system for H-1B visa petitions subject to the cap, as published in the Federal Register on Monday.

The H-1B visa, provided by the Immigration and Nationality Act, is reserved for foreign skilled workers in highly specialized fields including, but not limited to, medicine, biotechnology, physiotherapy, and engineering among several others. At present, only a Bachelor’s degree is necessary to prove one’s expertise in a specific field. USCIS’s proposed rule, however, seeks to increase the number of H-1B recipients with Master’s or higher degrees acquired specifically from a U.S. higher education institution (HEI).

Existing laws state that the issuance of new H-1B visas must be capped at 65,000 annually for those possessing only Bachelor’s degrees (Regular cap) and an additional cap of 20,000 new visas for those with higher degrees from U.S. HEIs (U.S. Masters cap).

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hands-1797401_640-300x200The Ninth Circuit ruled on Tuesday that encouraging undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States is protected by free speech rights, striking down part of a proposed federal law that criminalized the act

Under the law, it is a felony to “encourage” or “induce” a foreign national to either enter or stay in the US while knowing or recklessly disregarding that it would be illegal for that foreigner to do so.

The court, however, pointed out that statements to that effect mostly come from the family members of foreigners. To criminalize these statements, the court claims, would be tantamount to criminalizing “a substantial amount of constitutionally-protected expression” under the First Amendment.

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gavel-3577254_640-300x165The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against threatening the Trump administration’s policy of keeping thousands of undocumented immigrant children in extended periods of detention despite having family in the country.

Over the last few months, the Trump administration has been detaining immigrant children caught illegally crossing the border, separating them from their guardians and using them as traps for family members who are unlawfully present in the U.S. who attempt to pick them up. This policy has already led to the arrest of several individuals who had only come forward to retrieve undocumented migrant children whom they were related to.

Becky Wolozin from the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) claims that this is the government’s way of carrying out a “backdoor family separation agenda,” keeping immigrant children apart from their families and using they as “bait” to lure their family members who have been living in the country for years, albeit without proper documentation.

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statue-of-liberty-267948_640-300x168Immigrants facing removal proceedings for misdemeanor charges can now have their cases decided in jury trials after the New York Court of Appeals ruled 5-2 on Tuesday. The ruling stems from the case of Saylor Suazo, a noncitizen who stayed in the United States even after his visa had already expired. He faced trial for several charges of assault and harassment against the mother of his children, whom he threw to the floor, choked, and beat.

These charges were reduced to class-B misdemeanors, which are punishable by 90-day sentences and can usually be tried without a jury. Suazo, however, still faced deportation—a factor the trial judge did not feel entitled him to a jury trial.

Suazo was found guilty of the assault charge in 2012, a decision that was later affirmed by an appellate panel and then reversed 5-2 at the New York Court of Appeals.

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hammer-620011_640-300x225The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has sent a class action lawsuit back to the Southern California judge who presided over the case after expressing serious doubts about the constitutionality of withholding bond hearings from immigrants who have been in detention for more than six months. The court also preserved a court order that ensures bond hearings for immigrants while the case is under review.

In February this year, the Supreme Court instructed the Ninth Circuit to review the case’s constitutional questions and to determine if it should count as a class action. This directive came as the High Court found that the lower court had “misapplied the canon of constitutional avoidance” when it held that immigrants should get a bond hearing every six months they spend in detention. What this means is that the lower court ruled on a constitutional question when, as dictated by the canon of constitutional avoidance, it should have resolved the case on a non-constitutional basis.

The Trump administration disagreed with placing all detained immigrants in the same class, claiming the existence of several sub-classes of people, including asylum seekers and longtime residents. This, the administration claims, raises the question as to whether the case should proceed as a class action.

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trump-2023751_640-300x213A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the Trump administration’s proposal to prohibit immigrants who enter the country unlawfully, specifically, between ports of entry along the southern border, from seeking asylum. According to Judge Jon S. Tigar of the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the administration’s claims of an imminent migrant crisis, which is the basis for the proposed asylum restrictions, lack a factual foundation.

“To say something is true doesn’t make it true,” Tigar argued.

The decision comes after immigrant rights groups sued the federal government, seeking a court order to block President Trump’s plan to limit asylum eligibility to those who enter the U.S. at official ports of entry. The groups argued that such a policy would leave out numerous asylum seekers attempting to enter the country in between border crossings.

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door-1089560_640-300x200The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced in the Federal Register that it will temporarily honor and extend the validity of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for migrants and asylum seekers from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

Homeland Security had previously announced terminating the TPS status designation for the four countries on separate dates in 2019. This move, however, was challenged in court in the case Ramos v. Nielsen, which resulted in an order by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granting a preliminary injunction on terminating the designations.

In compliance with U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen’s order to maintain the “status quo” for TPS beneficiaries, DHS was compelled to temporarily extend the validity of TPS designation for the four countries through April 2, 2019. Furthermore, DHS has also temporarily extended employment authorization privileges for TPS beneficiaries from Sudan and Nicaragua.

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trump-2815558_640-300x200In the days leading up to the midterm elections, President Trump amped up his anti-immigration rhetoric and announced a number of proposed policies to secure the border and make it harder for undocumented immigrants to enter and stay in the country. While these announcements have helped to rally his base, there are many questions surrounding the legality of these proposals.

Below are a few frequently asked questions about these announcements and whether or not they have a real chance of becoming law or part of immigration policy.

Q: Can the president order the military to shoot incoming immigrants?

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trump-2546104_640-300x103The Trump administration recently asked the United States Supreme Court to allow it to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The President’s request, which comes at the heels of the congressional elections in which his signature anti-immigration rhetoric was a central topic, urged the justices to junk three lower court rulings that have put his campaign to end the Obama-era immigration program in limbo.

DACA protects undocumented immigrants that first entered the United States as minors from immediate deportation. Through the program, beneficiaries, known as “DREAMers”—after a failed immigration bill with the same provisions—may stay in the country for an indefinite period of time and seek legal employment through temporary and renewable work permits. DACA, however, does not offer a path to citizenship for its over 700,000 mostly-Hispanic beneficiaries.

In the court filing, Solicitor General Noel Francisco asserted that the Obama administration introduced the policy “even though existing laws provided them no ability to do so.” According to him, this justifies the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposal to rescind the program.

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new-york-city-559753_640-300x222According to the Wall Street Journal, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order changing a long-standing a policy that will affect the fate of foreign nationals seeking asylum in the United States. Under the proposed immigration policy change, asylum seekers may be required to enter the country through ports of entry to apply for asylum.

Citing sources inside the administration, the Journal reports that Trump may sign the order by Friday, before his scheduled Paris trip. The same officials added that the policy is only temporary, but have provided no definite timeline of its implementation.

President Trump preempted this announcement last week in a speech at the White House days before the midterm elections, claiming that he had a planned policy change that will ensure “the illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into the country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum.”