Articles Posted in Immigration Law (General)

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Pile of CasesThe backlog of pending cases awaiting U.S. immigration courts reached a record of half a million this year. According to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), there are a total of 502,976 immigration applications as of July 31, 2016. This essentially makes two years the average waiting time for an immigration court petitioner.

Half a Million Immigration Cases Waiting to Be Heard

Violence and gang warfare in Central America drove up border crossings in the recent years. From October 2013 to July 2015 alone, an estimated 100,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in the U.S. from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Strict border enforcement has also produced higher number of arrests, which in turn require adjudication.

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Statue of justiceThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is taking legal action on behalf of Glenwood Springs attorney Jennifer Smith who was told by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that she could not access her client’s file because the ICE deemed her client a “fugitive” non-U.S. citizen.

FOIA Lawsuit Against the ICE and USCIS

The ACLU and Smith slammed a lawsuit against the ICE and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) because of their refusal to respond to Smith’s request to access her client’s file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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shutterstock_259685657S-300x200In a 28-page order, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered ethics courses for government lawyers who appear in any of the cases involving the 26 states that sued to block President Barack Obama’s immigration plan to give 4 million foreign nationals extended deportation reprieves and expanded work permits.

In addition, the judge also ordered the administration to produce a list of approximately 100,000 immigrants who are participating in a government plan that shields them from deportation.

Judge Accuses Lawyers of Being Intentionally Deceptive

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USA VISAA lawsuit was recently filed by the American Immigration Council (AIC) and American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that questions the lottery process associated with the issuance of H-1B visas. Two companies have also filed a class action allegation complaint regarding the matter.

The H-1B Visa Lottery Process

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are facing lawsuits concerning the H-1B visa, which is the most commonly used work-authorized visa category. Companies use the H-1B process to employ immigrants who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree.

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shutterstock_214570486-300x200The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against immigration officials, claiming that they have denied access to documents requested by a lawyer who is representing a client in immigration court.

Violation of the Freedom of Information Act

ACLU filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, claiming that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to release 18 documents relevant to immigration proceedings.

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MurderThe murder trial of the man accused of killing Kathryn “Kate” Steinle – whose 2015 shooting on a San Francisco waterfront ignited a furious national debate over undocumented immigration and sanctuary city policies – will not go to trial until next year, long after the presidential election.

The Delayed Trial of Kate Steinle’s Shooting

On August 11, a court judge set December 2, 2016 as the date to assign the case for trial against Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a five-time deportee and seven-time convicted felon. The actual start of the trial, however, might only happen in 2017.

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licenseThe Driver Services Department of Georgia has stopped asking immigrants who have federal work permits and who have applied for permanent residence in the U.S. to submit their proof of legal admission, following the settlement of a lawsuit against the state.

A Federal Lawsuit over Driver’s Licenses

The Southern Poverty Law Center – headed by immigration attorney Justin Chaney – sued the State of Georgia in April on behalf of six immigrants who complained that the state illegally discriminated against them by denying them driver’s licenses.

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Arrested ImmigrantThe Southern Poverty Law Center is suing the federal government for the release of records on the arrests of undocumented immigrants in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. The Center alleges that immigration officials detained more than 100 women and children from Central America earlier this year.

The Southern Poverty Law Center Sues DHS and ICE

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Georgia by Southern Poverty Law Center, saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICA) are in violation of public records laws by not releasing information regarding the arrests.

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DrugsThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal for deportation cancellation by one Javier Arellano Hernandez, a legal permanent resident found removable from the country by an immigration court for ‘attempted criminal threats.’ The ruling would later be affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), forcing Arellano Hernandez to make a final appeal with the 9th Circuit.

Arellano Hernandez moved into the U.S. with his parents as a legal permanent in 1967. In March 2009, he was convicted of illegal possession of drug paraphernalia. For pleading guilty, he served only 6 days in prison. Later that same year, however, a jury found Arellano Hernandez guilty for:

  • Attempted criminal threats, a felony in California
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U.S. State Department May Revoke Non-Immigrant Visas Due to DUI ChargesBased on a recently released policy from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), foreign nationals who are visiting or working in Austin, Texas on a non-immigrant visa may face severe consequences if arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The DOS may revoke a foreign national’s visa once it learns that he or she has been charged with DUI, even before there has been any determination of guilt.

The Prudential Revocation Policy

The details of the new prudential revocation policy were released earlier in 2016 through the unclassified content in Volume 9 of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM).  According to Volume 9 of FAM, the DOS “has the authority to prudentially revoke a visa” when it receives notification of “an arrest or conviction of driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, or similar arrests/convictions that occurred within the previous five years.”