* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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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.

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aeroplane-1867209_640-300x200The block on President Donald Trump’s infamous executive order enacting a travel or immigration ban on six predominantly Muslim countries has been upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. All judges from the Fourth gathered and voted 10-3 in an en banc ruling, making it the first appeals court to rule on the ban.

Previous efforts had been made by the Trump administration to block immigrants from majority-Muslim countries including Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya, spurring widespread protests at both foreign and local airports.

Compelled by the legal urgency of the time, the judicial branch stepped in and blocked the executive order and its succeeding permutation with a federal judge putting the travel ban on hold and the Ninth Circuit refusing to reinstate the order.

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city-1124507_640-300x225In a majority decision, the Supreme Court recently ruled to allow 29-year-old Mexican immigrant Juan Esquivel-Quintana to return to the United States after being deported from Michigan in 2015. The incident happened after he was caught having sexual relations with a minor, which immigration officials erroneously found to be grounds for deportation.

Esquivel-Quintana first entered the U.S. with his family at the age of 12. He later applied for legal permanent residence, got approved, and became a resident of California.

California law forbids legal adults from engaging in consensual sexual activity with underage partners if the age gap exceeds three years. Unfortunately for Esquivel-Quintana, he was 21 at the time he was caught having sex with his then-16-year-old girlfriend. He claims to have ceased any romantic and sexual relations with the woman since 2010.

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driver-1149997_640-300x200Texas is leading a 14-state coalition petitioning the federal government to allow Arizona to deny undocumented immigrants the right to acquire a driver’s license. The group of states includes Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Mississippi.

During the Obama Administration, the White House enacted an executive action called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors from deportation. DACA allows eligible immigrants to file for renewable two-year periods of deferred action and makes them eligible to file for legal work permits and driver’s licenses.

Citing these DACA provisions, the 9th Circuit ruled to require Arizona to allow undocumented immigrants to acquire driver’s licenses using federal work permits. Texas, however, believes this decision removes authority and sovereignty from individual states over their own ability to grant state-issued official documents.

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travelator-1209281_640-300x199The attorneys of Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez, a young immigrant believed to be the first “DREAMer” to be deported under the Trump administration, presented an amended federal complaint demanding for the 23-year-old’s return to the United States. Montes-Bojorquez was deported despite being protected by his DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status.

The first federal complaint, filed on April 18, appealed to the Freedom of Information Act for the release of documents related to his surprise arrest and questionable deportation. The amended complaint filed recently makes similar demands in rendering the February 20 expedited removal order invalid, stating “Mr. Montes must be returned to the United States, and his DACA status must be restored forthwith as there was no legal basis for his expulsion from the United States.”

The amended complaint also emphasizes that Montes-Bojorquez’s deportation was not only unconstitutional, it also violated an existing agreement between Mexico and the U.S. The agreement, made in February 2016, protects deportees from returning to Mexico during “unsafe times” and enacts a rule prohibiting deportations between 10 pm to 6 am.

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police-1072636_640-300x199Diocelina Lopez-Flores, an immigrant single mother and a U Nonimmigrant Visa holder, is suing Custom and Border Protection after being arrested and forcibly returned to Mexico by CBP agents. The arrest and deportation happened despite her protected status under the U nonimmigrant program, her federal lawsuit states.

The incident began when Lopez-Flores’s then-14-year-old daughter ran away from home in 2015 to a border town in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Determined to retrieve her daughter, Lopez-Flores asked a friend across the border to drop the child off at the Rio Grande City Port of Entry, where mother and daughter agreed to reunite.

At the border, however, she was barred by Customs and Border Protection agents from meeting with her daughter. She attempted to describe her situation to the agents, and even presented them with work permits and immigration papers for both her and her daughter.

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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.