Articles Tagged with immigrants

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justice-471888_640A Texas federal judge hearing a lawsuit that challenges an immigration executive order by the Obama administration announced this week that he would postpone a decision ordering government lawyers to attend an ethics course from taking effect until August 22.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen had ordered the Justice Department lawyers last month to take ethics training after concluding that they had misled him on the question if the White House had begun executing one of the measures in the immigration initiative.

After President Obama first announced an executive order granting deportation relief to millions of immigrants in 2014, a coalition of 26 Republican-controlled states—led by Texas—filed a lawsuit against the federal government to block the program.

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driving-691751_640A group of undocumented Mexican immigrants is filing a lawsuit against Oregon, requesting the state repeal a 2014 ballot measure that prevents them from applying for driver’s licenses. The lawsuit, filed by five foreign nationals, comes in the heels of Oregon voters defeating Measure 88 in 2014. Two-thirds of voters voted to deny the initiative. Out of thirty-six counties in Oregon, thirty-five were in favor of denying licenses to undocumented immigrants. All congressional districts, represented mostly by Democrats, also voted to withhold licenses to undocumented immigrants, suggesting a strong bipartisan backing of the issue.

Measure 88 Unconstitutional

The only problem is that the rejection of Measure 88 can be deemed as unconstitutional, as it arbitrarily denies driving privileges “to Plaintiffs and others based on their membership in a disfavored minority group.”

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flag-677901_640Ever since the Cold War, immigrants from Cuba have only had to step on US soil to begin the journey to legal residency here, due to an agreement between the two countries that used to protect refugees fleeing the communist regime.

However, now that Cuba and the United States have started repairing ties, potential Cuban immigrants are worried that they will be treated like every other undocumented person who tries to cross the border, so they’re starting to come in droves in order to avoid the risk of being turned away.

The Cuban Adjustment Act, as the agreement is called, has started to face mounting pressure from Congress, with members like Arizona representative Paul Gosar attempting to introduce bills to repeal it. Said Gosar, “If President Obama has normalized relations with Cuba, why would we treat illegal immigrants from that nation any different than those from other countries?”

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2H43Z0W1PSLegislation proposed to create harsher punishments for undocumented immigrants was blocked on Wednesday by Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid.

The legislation was put forward by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who tried to get unanimous consent on its passing, saying that Congress needs “leadership” on the issue. Cruz’s proposed legislation targets immigrants who re-enter the United States after being deported, and it has been referred to as “Kate’s Law” – after Kathryn Steinle, the San Francisco woman who was shot and killed by a man recently released from jail, and who had allegedly re-entered the US five times.

Under the law, undocumented immigrants would face additional prison time if they were caught re-entering the US after deportation, as well as a minimum five-year sentence if they were previously convicted of an aggravated felony or of illegally re-entering the country twice.

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gavelImmigrants who are facing removal proceedings could attempt to dodge deportation by invoking certain rights. One way for removal proceedings to be held in abeyance would be for a petitioner to invoke the Violence Against Women Act. Under the Violence Against Women Act, battered immigrants could petition for legal status without having to rely on their abusive U.S. spouse or relative to sponsor their Adjustment of Status applications. In spite of the label, the Violence Against Women Act is not exclusively limited to women. Men who have abusive spouses could also petition for legal resident status under the Violence Against Women Act.

One case involving a Nigerian citizen sees the Violence Against Women Act come into play during removal proceedings. Eugene Joseph entered the United States in 1991 and was placed under removal proceedings after he was convicted of theft in Illinois and committing bank fraud. During the proceedings, Joseph did admit to his undocumented status but sought to adjust it into a permanent legal resident status by stating that he was married to a U.S. citizen. During the legal proceedings, Joseph also asked for a waiver of inadmissibility in an attempt to address consequences that came as a result of his criminal activities. Joseph stated that deportation would cause his family to experience “extreme hardship.”

During the hearing, Joseph’s wife came forward and testified on his behalf. Joseph’s wife stated that his deportation would take a financial and emotional toll on their marriage as well as causing an undue amount of suffering to their asthmatic sons. The immigration judge that presided over Joseph’s case concluded that the suffering that would be brought about by his deportation would not be considered excessive when compared against the cases of children whose parents were to be deported from U.S. territory. The Board of Immigration appeals agreed with the immigration judge and upheld the decision.

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landing-735299_1280In the United States, there are a number of issues that surround the topic of immigration. Undocumented immigrants constantly worry about scenarios that involve removal proceedings. Lately, the anxiety levels of the immigrant community in the United States have spiked. One of the forces that influence this growing sense of anxiety is the perceived negative portrayal of immigrants in the media. Criminal incidents that involve immigrants do nothing to improve the plight of the greater U.S. immigrant community. Recently, an incident involving an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco has immigrants in the U.S. bracing for a possible backlash from political pundits and media outlets.

The recent killing of Kati Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 41 is bad enough but the incident takes on an added dimension given the involvement of an undocumented immigrant. Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant who had been removed from the country numerous times. Sanchez killed Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 41 and the incident is adding fuel to the growing issues surrounding the U.S. immigrant’s plight. The conservative sector has been extremely vocal when it comes to the topic of establishing more stringent immigration policies. Donald Trump, in particular, has gained a great deal of media attention from some of his more recent statements concerning the issue of immigration.

Trump has leveraged the incident involving Sanchez to fuel his stance on enforcing stricter immigration policies. Trump’s opinions regarding the U.S. immigration community have been extremely controversial. Trump particularly singled out undocumented immigrants who hail from Mexico, calling them “rapists” and “killers.” Trump’s statements and considerable media presence have fueled the debacle on immigration policy to uncomfortable levels and immigrants are feeling the pressure. The biggest concern that immigrants harbor is that these incidents may push U.S. authorities to enforce a more aggressive approach towards deportations.

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escalator-828621_640Immigrants who hail from different parts of the world come to the United States to pursue their idea of the American Dream. It isn’t difficult to encounter immigrant stories involving some form of persecution or extreme cases of poverty. For a lot of undocumented immigrants, residence in the United States can be the best way for them to carve out some form of reprieve from their challenging backgrounds. Tunde Wey joins the swarm of immigrants who come to the United States each year to realize their dreams. Wey’s story isn’t different from that of other immigrants but his experiences capture the challenges and unexpected rewards of being an undocumented immigrant in the United States.

Tunde Wey’s story starts in Nigeria. At the age of 16, Wey’s parents send him to the United States in hopes that Wey will become a doctor. Wey takes up science but the academic life proves to be far from rewarding for him. 15 years after he arrived in the United States and a string of college majors later, Wey realizes that his life’s calling is to be a cook. Wey abandons his academic career to pursue his ambitions of being a cook. Devoid of any formal training in the culinary arts, Wey begins to develop a cooking style culled from YouTube videos, experiences shared with his family in Nigeria, and a home grown gusto for well prepared Nigerian food.

Wey’s journey led him to a brief professional stint in a Detroit restaurant called Revolver. While his time in Revolver was fleeting, he was able to develop the idea of putting up a series of Nigerian pop-up eating events during his tenure. Emboldened by this idea, Wey hopped on a greyhound bus and began cooking his way through a good portion of the East Coast. The dinner events that Wey puts up in each place that he visits is named after his birthplace in Nigeria, Lagos. Wey began to gradually build a reputation in the various food circles of the East Coast. Now, each Lagos event is packed with diners eager to get a taste of Wey’s distinctive way of preparing West African dishes.

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hearingThe future of thousands of immigrants remains unresolved following the cancellation of cases by the US court system. Due to the delay in hearings, immigration activists fear that many cases might not be cleared until 2019 – or later. The increase in cancellation of court hearings started last summer, heightening the risk of deportation for many immigrants.  Most of the cases involve mothers from Central America who have entered the United States with their children.

Lawyers specializing in immigration law fear that the delay may result in other problems as well. The verdicts of some cases could be affected when the evidence becomes outdated. With so many cancellations, there is also the possibility that witnesses may disappear or relatives sponsoring the individual may die. Unless the cases are cleared in court, basic necessities like green cards and work permits remain unattainable and families will have to wait longer to reunite with their loved ones.

The bulk of the cases are being handled by law firms in Denver, New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio. The Executive Office for Immigration Review recently said that the cases of over 415,000 immigrants are still waiting to be cleared in courts. David Simmons, a reputed immigration lawyer in Denver, said he has never seen so many cancellations during his 30 year career. He added, “There is no manoeuvrability. It’s as if we have no court at all.”