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Department of Homeland Security Doubles Down on Family Detention

Released on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to close the detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, where it detains mothers and children. Unfortunately, the closure of this facility does not mark the end of a dark chapter in our country’s immigration history. Instead it signifies the government’s decision to double down on its commitment to extended detention of families seeking refuge in the United States. The closure of Artesia comes with the opening of a permanent, drastically larger family detention center in Dilley, Texas. There the government boasts its potential to detain up to 2,400 women and children, while it expedites their removals.

Since last June, DHS has locked up mothers and children at the isolated detention center in Artesia, hours from the nearest major metropolitan area and far from adequate legal services. There, the government has created a deportation mill, carrying out new, strong-arm policies designed to ensure the rapid removals of Central American families. Many of these families fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and came to the United States seeking protection. Yet, in Artesia, they are deprived of a fair opportunity to present their asylum claims. We have no reason to believe anything will be different in Dilley. Read more...

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The Sixth Circuit Joins Growing Majority, Rejects BIA’s Narrow Interpretation of Section 212(h)

Released on Thu, Sep 25, 2014

Washington, D.C.—Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a precedent decision that will allow a greater number of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to avoid deportation if they can demonstrate to an immigration judge that their removal will result in extreme hardship to close family members in the United States. The American Immigration Council, which filed an amicus brief in the case, applauds the ruling and repeats its call for the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to overturn its contrary decision in Matter of Koljenovic, 25 I&N Dec. 219 (2010). Read more...

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Groups Sue U.S. Government over Life-Threatening Deportation Process Against Mothers and Children

Released on Fri, Aug 22, 2014

Washington D.C. — The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and National Immigration Law Center today sued the federal government to challenge its policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety. Read more...

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Artesia Resource Page

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Thousands of women and children fleeing violence and persecution in Central America have arrived at our southern border seeking refuge. In the summer of 2014, the government quickly propped up a family detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, hours away from the nearest metropolitan city. There, they are detaining hundreds of women and children in order to quickly process them for deportation. These families have become the latest collateral damage in an immigration system that lacks sensibility, flexibility and humanity and that fails to provide fair hearings, even for those who face grave danger if they are wrongly deported.

The Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout Brigagliano & Nightingale LLP, and Jenner & Block, filed a lawsuit on behalf of mothers and children locked up in Artesia. The complaint charges the government with enacting a new strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these families to a nearly insurmountable and erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing countless hurdles in front of them.  We are demanding that the expedited deportation process comport with the immigration laws and the Constitution and that each person be afforded a meaningful opportunity to apply for asylum in the United States.  We also have filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking to compel the release of government documents regarding the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained by DHS in Artesia. Read more...

Court Approves Settlement in Duran Gonzalez v. DHS; Webinar Tomorrow

Released on Tue, Jul 29, 2014

Last week, the federal district court issued its final approval of a settlement agreement in a long pending Ninth Circuit-wide class action, Duran Gonzalez v. DHS.  This case involves eligibility for adjustment of status under INA § 245(i) (with an accompanying I-212 waiver application) for individuals who previously were removed and subsequently entered the country without admission.  After nearly eight years of litigation, we are pleased to announce that certain individuals with longstanding ties to the United States will have the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States.  The class is represented by the American Immigration Council, along with co-counsel from Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin, and Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP.

The settlement agreement provides remedies for certain individuals with retroactivity claims who applied for adjustment of status in the Ninth Circuit on or after August 13, 2004 and on or before November 30, 2007, including some class members with reinstatement orders and/or who are outside the United States. Read more...

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LAC's Deputy Legal Director Beth Werlin Discusses Lawsuit on Behalf of Children Facing Deportation

Published on Fri, Jul 11, 2014

Beth Werlin, Deputy Legal Director for the American Immigration Council, discusses the recent nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them with EbruNews.

Watch the clip below.


Published in the EbruNews

Groups Sue Federal Government over Failure to Provide Legal Representation for Children

Released on Wed, Jul 09, 2014

Washington D.C. –  The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.

Each year, the government initiates immigration court proceedings against thousands of children. Some of these youth grew up in the United States and have lived in the country for years, and many have fled violence and persecution in their home countries. The Obama Administration even recently called an influx of children coming across the Southern border a "humanitarian situation." And yet, thousands of children required to appear in immigration court each year do so without an attorney. This case seeks to remedy this unacceptable practice.

"If we believe in due process for children in our country, then we cannot abandon them when they face deportation in our immigration courts," said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "The government pays for a trained prosecutor to advocate for the deportation of every child. It is patently unfair to force children to defend themselves alone."

The plaintiffs in this case include:Read more...

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HoldCBPAccountable.org Launched to Expose Border-Related Abuse and Litigation

Released on Wed, Mar 26, 2014

An alliance of immigration advocacy groups announces the launch of HoldCBPAccountable.org, a website that catalogues lawsuits and administrative complaints brought against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties have joined forces to document litigation that exposes CBP abuses, including unlawful searches and seizures, removals based on coercion and misinformation, and the use of excessive and sometimes deadly force by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers.

Among the cases included on the website:Read more...

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American Immigration Council Urges Court to Rule that TPS Recipient Is Eligible to Adjust Status

Released on Thu, Mar 13, 2014

Last week, the American Immigration Council and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed an amicus curiae brief urging the court to find that noncitizens granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (i.e., adjustment of status), even if they originally entered the United States without being admitted or paroled.  This is because the grant of TPS qualifies a noncitizen as having been “admitted” to the United States—one of the requirements for adjustment of status.  In 2013, the Sixth Circuit found that the grant of TPS permits a person who initially entered without being admitted to become a lawful permanent resident, and amici urge the District Court for the Western District of Washington to reach the same result.

The case is Ramirez v. Dougherty, No. 13-1236-TSZ (W.D. Wash. amicus brief filed March 6, 2014). 

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For more information, email clearinghouse@immcouncil.org.

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LAC Issues Updated Practice Advisory on Stays of Removal in the Courts of Appeals

Released on Fri, Jan 24, 2014

The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) announces the release of an updated practice advisory, Seeking a Judicial Stay of Removal in the Court of Appeals

Filing a petition for review of a removal order does not automatically stay an individual’s removal from the United States. A court of appeals, however, may issue a judicial stay of removal to prevent the government from deporting a person while his or her petition for review is pending before the court. In Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 434 (2009), the Supreme Court instructed courts to adjudicate stay motions by applying the “traditional” standard for a stay. Under this standard, the courts must consider the likelihood of success on the merits, the harm to the applicant absent a stay, whether the issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding, and where the public interest lies.

This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the courts of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeals. A sample stay motion, a sample declaration in support of a stay motion, and sample guidelines to assist families, friends and community members in writing letters in support of stay requests are attached to the advisory.

The LAC issued this advisory jointly with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Boston College Post Deportation Human Rights Project and the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Washington Square Legal Services, New York University School of Law.Read more...

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