The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to a California law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates, a decision that gave a boost to supporters of a similar law approved this year in Maryland.
California’s 2001 law, which grants in-state college rates to students who attended a California high school for three years and graduate, was challenged by a conservative immigration group that argued the provision conflicted with federal law. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case and did not comment on that decision.
A California court had previously upheld the law.
The law is similar to one signed in May by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Opponents of Maryland’s law are attempting to gather 56,000 signatures to suspend its provisions and put it on the ballot so that voters can decide its fate next year. Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin have comparable tuition laws.
Opponents said last week they had cleared an early hurdle in the petition drive, securing more than the 18,500 signatures initially needed to keep the effort alive. Del. Patrick L. McDonough, has said he expects opponents will also file a lawsuit to stop the law. McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican, was not immediately available for comment.
Those in favor of the law cheered the court’s decision.
The state law "is absolutely lawful under federal law and the California decision is just one more in a litany of court finding making that declaration," said Kim Propeack with the immigration advocacy group CASA de Maryland.Read more...
Under 8 CFR. § 287.7, an “authorized immigration officer” may issue Form I-247, Immigration Detainer – Notice of Action, to a law enforcement agency (LEA) that has custody of an alleged noncitizen. A detainer is a request that an LEA notify ICE prior to releasing the individual so that ICE may make arrangements to assume custody within 48 hours after the person would otherwise have been released.
In June 2011, ICE released a new detainer form. According to ICE, the new form more clearly indicates that state and local authorities may not detain an individual for more than 48 hours; that local law enforcement authorities are required to provide arrestees with a copy of the detainer form, which has a phone number to call if the subject of the detainer believes his or her civil rights have been violated; and that ICE has flexibility to issue a detainer contingent on conviction. It remains to be seen whether changes to the form will resolve longstanding problems with detainers that increasingly have resulted in litigation.
Lawsuits generally have challenged local law enforcement authorities’ unlawful practice of holding noncitizens on expired detainers. Below is a non-exhaustive list of cases that have addressed immigration detainer issues.
Roy v. Los Angeles County, No. 12-9012 (C.D. Cal. filed October 19, 2012)Read more...
The Exchange Visitor Program is proud to announce Ana Catalina “Caty” Santos as April’s Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...
Gay and lesbian married bi-national couples like San Francisco’s Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk may get some relief from the threat of deportation under the Defense of Marriage Act, thanks to action by the Obama administration today.
In a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said a new working group will be established to identify low-priority cases for immigrant deportation. The administration will exercise prosecutorial discretion, widely practiced by all law enforcement officers, to identify which low-priority deportation cases to ignore. The policy is also posted on the White House website.
Napolitano cited a memorandum issued last June by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which contains a long list of mitigating factors to weigh in deciding whether to pursue deportation. These include whether the immigrant is married to a U.S. citizen, as Makk is, as well as whether the immigrant is the primary caregiver of a citizen, which Makk also is. Other factors include such things as length of lawful stay in the United States, criminal record and the like.
Sexual orientation is not specifically mentioned, but Mary Kenney, a senior staff attorney with the Legal Action Center arm of the Immigration Policy Center said the administration has indicated that same-sex marriages are included in the definition of family for the purposes of the enforcement memo. She called the move “very encouraging.”
Napolitano said President Obama asked her to respond on his behalf, having said that “it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases.” She said the June memo is now “being implemented.”
Wells and Makk have gotten huge media attention, including a spot on CNN, since the Chronicle’s second story on their case this month. You read about their case first in the Chronicle last June.Read more...
Vartelas v. Holder, 565 U.S. __, 132 S. Ct. 1479 (2012)
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that INA § 101(a)(13)(C)(v) -- which states that lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are regarded as seeking "admission" to the United States if they previously committed certain criminal offenses -- does not apply retroactively to guilty pleas that were entered before the law took effect. In so doing, the Court overturned a lower court decision holding the law applied to convictions occurring prior to the law's 1997 effective date, when LPRs possessed the right to take temporary trips abroad without fear of being denied rentry upon return. The Legal Action Center has issued a Practice Advisory offering strategies for LPRs affected by the decision.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been beaten up in recent GOP presidential primary debates over his signing of a bill in 2001 giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrant kids in Texas. Look for the issue to come up again at tonight’s debate in New Hampshire.
In a free society, so-called DREAM Act legislation would be unnecessary. Opportunities for legal immigration would be open wide enough that illegal immigration would decline dramatically. And higher education would be provided in a competitive market without state and federal subsidies. But that is not yet the world we live in.
On the federal level, the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would offer permanent legal status to illegal immigrant children who graduate from high school and then complete at least two years of college or serve in the U.S. military. Legal status would allow them to qualify for in-state tuition in the states where they reside, and would eventually lead to citizenship.
Those who respond that such a law would amount to “amnesty” for illegal immigrants should keep a couple of points in mind.
First, kids eligible under the DREAM Act came to the United States when they were still minors, many of them at a very young age. They were only obeying their parents, something we should generally encourage young children to do.
Second, these kids are a low-risk, high-return bet for legalization. Because they came of age in the United States, they are almost all fluent in English and identify with America as their home (for many the only one they have ever known). “Assimilation” will not be an issue.Read more...
The American Immigration Council offices will be closed starting on Christmas Day, December 25, 2013 and will reopen on January 2, 2014. During this closing, it is important that you know how to reach the International Exchange Center staff in the event of an urgent situation:
If you have an urgent concern during the holiday break, you may contact Lois Magee (Responsible Officer) at (202) 329-3690. We will be checking the J1Program@immcouncil.org email inbox daily, so we will attempt to reply to the urgent emails that we receive during the break.
During that week, we will not be processing J-1 applications, signing documents, performing site visits, or responding to inquiries, except for those urgent issues that come from our J-1 Participants.
The POLITICO article “Obama: We Can’t Wait on Immigration” (Jan. 6) suggests that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announcement of streamlined processing for certain immigration waivers is part of a “war on GOP members of Congress.”
This is an unfortunate characterization of a long-overdue regulatory change. It is designed to correct a decade-long problem that has unnecessarily separated families and caused undue hardship to thousands of U.S. citizens and their loved ones.
The proposed rule would permit “in-country processing” of family unity waivers. This changes regulations that now require applicants to leave the country before they can apply for a waiver.
The current system has become increasingly burdensome, because of processing backlogs, uncertainty of outcomes and violence in key U.S. consulates, such as the one in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It creates unnecessary hardship for applicants who are eligible to receive a legal status but must first obtain a family unity waiver.
This waiver can now only be obtained abroad. But leaving the U.S. may trigger a bar of three years to 10 years if the applicant has been unlawfully present.
Many applicants fear that they might be permanently separated from their families and so never apply to become lawful permanent residents. Though applicants would still have to depart the U.S., under the new proposal they would do so knowing that their waiver had been provisionally approved — reducing waiting time and hardship for all.
All members of Congress — Republican or Democrat — have likely seen the compelling cases raised by the three year-to-10 year bar problem. Resolving it is not a partisan issue. It is instead an example of immigration service acting responsibly to address a problem of its own regulatory making.