Articles Posted in Immigration Law (General)

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transport-3369756_1280-300x189Officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety apprehended dozens of undocumented immigrants packed in a truck trailer Tuesday night in South Texas, nearly 50 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. The officers counted 86 people, ranging from as young as 3-years old to 59; four were minors who crossed the border without guardians.

The immigrants were found in the refrigerated trailer of an 18-wheeler truck “packed like sardines,” as described by Frank Torres, emergency medical services manager for Willacy County.

Police began tailing the truck when it passed Donna, a border town a few miles north of the Rio Grande, after receiving a call that it likely contained undocumented immigrants and eventually made their move on the highway.

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usdhs-300x168As expected, Sec. Kirstjen M. Nielsen of the Department of Homeland Security announced this month that the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) granted to Honduran immigrants would finally end by January 5, 2020.

After Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998, killing an estimated 10,000 people in Honduras alone, the United States government decided to open its doors to Honduran refugees, granting more than 57,000 Hondurans a designation known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Congress created the Temporary Protected Status designation in 1990 into an effort to aid people from countries afflicted by civil turmoil or severe destruction caused by natural disasters like Hurricane Mitch. In turn, the TPS designation has protected Honduran nationals, as well as Nicaraguans, in the country from deportation for decades.

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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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California Passes Bill to Limit Disclosure of Immigrant Status in CourtAs part of their continued pushback against the federal government’s tough stance on undocumented immigration, California lawmakers have approved Senate Bill 785, placing strict limits on how and when a person’s immigration status can be revealed in court.

The bill is just one of the handful of measures the so-called sanctuary state is using to resist the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. Although nothing is official until it gets Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, the legislation is nevertheless a welcome relief for the thousands of undocumented immigrants in California.

Response to Courtroom Arrests

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California Passes Bill to Limit Disclosure of Immigrant Status in Court
As part of their continued pushback against the federal government’s tough stance on undocumented immigration, California lawmakers have approved Senate Bill 785, placing strict limits on how and when a person’s immigration status can be revealed in court.

The bill is just one of the handful of measures the so-called sanctuary state is using to resist the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. Although nothing is official until it gets Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, the legislation is nevertheless a welcome relief for the thousands of undocumented immigrants in California.

Response to Courtroom Arrests

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lawTexas is leading a seven-state coalition claiming that former President Barack Obama exceeded the authority of his office when he issued the executive order creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. This comes after Texas officials promised to take legal action against the polarizing immigration program.

DACA grants immigrants who entered the country as children(colloquially known as DREAMers, after the DREAM Act, a similar but failed immigration law) relief from deportation, allowing them to apply for temporary work permits and driver’s licenses every two years. It is estimated that there are at least 125,000 DACA recipients reside in Texas alone.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking an injunction to prevent the government from further issuing or renewing permits under the immigration program. He is joined by the attorneys general of other Republican-controlled states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

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migration-3130767_1920The Justice Department recently reached a settlement with Themesoft Inc (Themesoft), a Texas-based technology consulting and staffing company.  After an extensive investigation of the company’s refusal to refer a work-authorized immigrant to a client, the company was found to have violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A former worker of Themesoft accused management of discriminating against him because of his citizen status as an asylum seeker.

According to the complaint, Themesoft refused to refer the asylum seeker’s application to one of their clients, citing his lack of a lawful permanent resident status, U.S. citizenship, and H-1B visa. The US government, however, grants asylum seekers work authorization, allowing them to find employment just as any lawful permanent resident and U.S. citizen is able to.

Themesoft was also found to have violated the INA’s anti-discrimination provision by demanding specific immigration documentation from the asylum seeker due to his immigration status. Under the provision, employers are strictly prohibited from requiring documents from immigrant workers pertaining to their citizenship, immigration statuses, or country of origin beyond those specified by law.

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statue-of-liberty-164294_1280In a serious blow to immigrants facing deportation without legal representation, the U.S. Justice Department has issued an indefinite suspension on the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), effective April 30, in an effort to assess the program’s effectiveness. The LOP provides immigrants facing deportation with basic legal education, helping them make informed decisions throughout the deportation proceedings, the better to ensure that due process is observed. Judges, immigration attorneys, and even Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have praised the program, claiming that it has saved taxpayer money by expediting the court process.

While immigrants are entitled to an attorney to represent them as they go through the immigration court proceedings, the government is not required to provide lawyers to those who cannot afford them. In fact, according to a recent report by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), an independent and nonpartisan research organization at Syracuse University, the vast majority of Texas immigrants went through their deportation proceedings without legal representation.

In the absence of an attorney, the next best thing immigrants have is the LOP.

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trumpAs the Trump administration carries on with its crackdown on illegal immigration, detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants by the thousands, one report shows that Texas immigrants are not only most likely to be deported, they are also the least likely to go through the deportation proceedings with the help of a legal professional.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), an independent and nonpartisan research organization at Syracuse University, released a report showing that between October 2000 and February 2018 in Texas, only 213,197 out of 733,125 immigrants—less than 30 percent—went through their deportation proceedings with adequate legal representation. Texas trails behind only Louisiana and Arizona in this respect.

Furthermore, 68 percent of Texas deportation cases in the study’s sample resulted in a removal (i.e. deportation) order. In New York, on the other hand, 74 percent of immigrant defendants were represented by an attorney, leading to only 27% of cases ending with a removal order.