* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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hammer-1707735_640-300x225The First Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition of Wescley Fonseca Pereira (“Pereira”), a native and citizen of Brazil, for a review of removal based on the alleged faulty interpretation of the “stop-time” rule by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

INA § 240A(d), or the “stop-time” rule, defines when the continuous residence or continuous physical presence of a non-citizen ends. Under the rule, continuous residence for a migrant ends when that person commits criminal acts or is served with a Notice to Appear (NTA) for deportation proceedings before an Immigration Judge.

In the case of Pereira, who first entered the country in June 2000 as a non-immigrant and overstayed his visa, he was served a notice to appear by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), less than six years after entering the United States.

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pexels-photo-97516-300x200In the wake of President Donald Trump’s aggressive campaign against immigration, undocumented immigrants all over the United States have avoided reporting criminal acts to the authorities and testifying in courts out of fear that their immigration status may be discovered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, who have been reported to prowl courthouses. These immigrants include victims of crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual assault.

According to Michael Kaufman of the ACLU, “Sadly, it appears that [ICE’s] aggressive tactics, including arresting people at courthouses, are having a chilling effect. The result is that more victims will remain in the shadows and more immigrants will be vulnerable to abuse.”

U.S. cities have recognized the safety threat posed by the decline of reported crimes and have moved to adopt new law enforcement policies to encourage noncitizens to come forward with their reports. One such initiative is New York City’s own take on the “U Visa” program, which provides temporary relief from deportation to undocumented immigrants who have been victims of crime.

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gavel-300x178In a momentous ruling against the Trump administration’s immigration policies, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has outlawed the detention of suspected undocumented immigrants without proper criminal charges on the sole basis of a federal immigration detainer.

The ruling involves Cambodian national Sreynuon Lunn, who was set for a failed deportation in 2008 and was charged with unarmed robbery in 2016. While the charge was eventually dropped for lack of evidence, Lunn was kept in detention for immigration concerns as requested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Shortly after Lunn’s case was dismissed earlier this year, ICE took custody of the immigrant, who was held at the time by local enforcement.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Found that cooperation between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local enforcement is lawful insofar as the collaboration is compliant with state laws. However, the court considers it illegal for local enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants without criminal charges for ICE purposes.

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immigration1-300x200United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that premium processing for H-1B applications exempt from the annual cap will resume. The announcement effectively reverses an earlier executive order by President Trump, which put a temporary stop to the H-1B visa program.

In a press release, USCIS, the government agency in charge of lawful immigration into the United States, stated, “The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions effective immediately.”

“The H-1B visa has an annual cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Additionally, there is an annual ‘master’s cap’ of 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher,” the release added.

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businessman-598033_640-300x204It’s no secret that the Trump administration has been on an aggressive campaign against immigration, cracking down on undocumented immigrants by adding more enforcers and increasing the number of deportations. President Trump has made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign, promising action against undocumented immigrants benefiting from social welfare, committing crimes, and “stealing” jobs.

While this narrative has been one of the deciding factors in Trump winning the White House, there’s much more to immigration and its supposed negative effects, particularly on the economy.

Economic Impact of Immigration

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team-spirit-2447163_640-300x243The State Department has outlined new instructions recognizing grandparents and other relatives as “close family,” expanding the definition of close familial relationships (in the context of immigration) and making these family members eligible for visas. The instructions, released to consulates and U.S. embassies, also expands the range of citizens who can apply for visas from the six Muslim-majority countries currently under the Trump administration’s travel ban.

Just a few weeks after being sworn into office, President Trump issued an Executive order banning travel from Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. But the order was quickly blocked by a Seattle court, which filed an injunction against the so-called Muslim ban. The White House issued a revised order, which was blocked yet again by a Hawaii court.

However, last month, the Supreme Court ruled that certain parts of the executive order would be allowed, at least until oral arguments would be formally heard in court. The ruling creates an exemption for travelers from countries with verifiable “bona fide relationships” with a person in the US.

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club-2492011_640-300x166The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to allow Song Lin, a Chinese immigrant escaping his native country’s “coercive population measures,” to reapply for asylum in the United States. The decision overturns the Bureau of Immigration Appeals’ earlier denial of his first application on the grounds of timeliness and “unqualified persecution.”

China has a strict One-Child Policy prohibiting couples from having more than one child, with violators facing severe penalties. After Lin and his wife married and gave birth to a child under the legal age in China, the couple decided to have another baby and sought a doctor’s assistance to remove an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted by the government. A cousin posed as Lin’s wife to clear the required physical exams.

The Chinese government eventually became aware of the situation and forcibly Mrs. Lin after she had delivered the second child. Lin and his wife were also sanctioned for their “early marriage” and the birth of an additional child. They were told to pay hefty fines under threat of having their home destroyed.

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pexels-photo-478967-300x176Anyone trying to immigrate to the United States through the proper channels will know there’s a massive delay in processing caused by a backlog in immigration applications. Other times, applications may be delayed because of visa retrogression, or when a visa that’s current this month, will not be current next month due to the annual limit for applications.

Such delays typically include applications from China, India, and countries in South America, usually running for around 10 years or more.

But there’s actually a way to get around the backlog known only to a few people.

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pexels-photo-143580-300x200Gregory Harvey, a 41-year-old Jamaican-born green card holder, was finally given an endoscopy in 2012 after months of continuous vomiting and numerous of complaints of stomach pains to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. By then, it was too late—it was discovered he had terminal cancer.

He was held in detention at a private prison in Goshen, New York. While waiting for his eventual deportation, he had begun showing signs of failing health—weighing 215 pounds in 2010 and dropping down to 164 pounds in 2012. According to eyewitness accounts, Harvey had vomited every single day in prison.

Despite the graveness of his symptoms, the immigration prison’s medical staff only gave in to Harvey’s persistent complaints 4 months after an off-site doctor recommended an endoscopy in March 2012. The following day, Harvey received his cancer diagnosis was given 6 months to live—his stomach cancer had already metastasized to his liver.

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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.