Washington D.C. - This week, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center, joined by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted an amicus brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Contreras-Bocanegra v. Holder, urging the court to strike down the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) regulation barring review of motions to reopen filed by noncitizens outside the United States. The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the BIA to abandon its misguided regulation.
Federal law gives noncitizens the right to file motions to submit new evidence after their removal orders become final. For many years, the BIA has wrongly determined that it cannot consider such a motion if a foreign national is outside the United States. This policy gives the government a perverse incentive to remove noncitizens from the country before they have an opportunity to submit evidence that could change the outcome of their cases. Moreover, the policy is at odds with provisions of a harsh 1996 immigration law that resulted in a dramatic reduction in due process rights and expansion of expedited removal but that made it clear that noncitizens had the opportunity to seek review of unfavorable decisions from outside the United States.
Washington D.C. - Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement will hold a hearing on the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act” (HALT Act), a bill that would suspend discretionary forms of immigration relief until January 21, 2013—the day after the next Presidential inauguration.
Today, the Immigration Policy Center held a briefing to describe how the HALT Act systematically attacks many of the discretionary forms of relief available to immigrants. Immigration policy experts described the implications of limiting the Administration’s discretion in prosecuting immigration cases, as well as the impetus behind the bill.
Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, said:
“The HALT Act seeks to disable or suspend a number of immigration provisions that provide any discretionary relief to immigrants in order to chastise the Administration for a series of policy memos that contemplate using executive branch authority to improve current laws. Its authors seek to discourage the Administration from interpreting the law in ways that are more streamlined or benefit more individuals.”
Beth Werlin, Deputy Director of the Legal Action Center, further explained:
“By taking away the power to grant deferred action, the HALT Act is basically interfering with the Administration’s ability to prioritize its removal cases and focus its resources on serious criminals and those who pose a true security risk.”
Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, commented on the impetus behind the bill:Read more...
Washington, D.C.—Last week, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Vartelas v. Holder, holding that the Fleuti doctrine still applies to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with pre-IIRIRA convictions. This means that LPRs with convictions before April 1, 1997 who travel abroad do not, upon their return, face inadmissibility if their trip was brief, casual and innocent.
Today, the Legal Action Center, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild are issuing a Practice Advisory, Vartelas v. Holder: Implications for LPRs Who Take Brief Trips Abroad and Other Potential Favorable Impacts, which describes the Court’s decision and offers strategies for LPRs who are affected by it. Of particularly note, some LPRs with final orders may want to consider filing motions to reconsider within 30 days of the Court’s March 28 decision. The advisory also discusses some of the other potential favorable impacts of the decision, including support for challenging the retroactive application of other immigration provisions and support for a broad reading of the criminal defense lawyer’s duty under Padilla v. Kentucky.
“Brief, casual and innocent” absences from the United States do not interrupt continuous residence for purposes of DACA eligibility. This practice advisory discusses the “brief, casual and innocent” standard under existing case law. Though such case law may inform USCIS’s review of absences from the United States, DACA adjudicators are not bound by these decisions. Courts have often adopted generous interpretations of the “brief, casual and innocent” standard, and it is hoped that USCIS will do the same in the DACA context.
The second practice advisory – which applies beyond the DACA context – discusses entries in three common situations: where a noncitizen is “waved” through a port of entry with no questions asked; where entry is gained by fraud or misrepresentation; and where there is a false claim to U.S. citizenship. With respect to each situation, the practice advisory explores whether an “admission” has occurred, the individual’s immigration status upon entry, and the immigration consequences of the action. It also discusses the impact of these three types of entries on a DACA application.
Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory, Immigration Benefits and Pitfalls for LGBT Families in a Post-DOMA World. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in United States v. Windsor, holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. With the end of DOMA, married LGBT binational couples can access the panoply of marriage-based immigration benefits and relief from removal. This practice advisory provides an overview of the agencies’ initial responses to Windsor and highlights some of the issues LGBT families will face in a post-DOMA world. The LAC issued this advisory jointly with Immigration Equality.
For a complete list of the LAC’s Practice Advisories, please visit our website.
Legalizing undocumented workers via comprehensive immigration reform would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over a ten year period, generate billions in additional tax revenue and consumer spending, as well as create hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to a groundbreaking new study by Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda from the University of California.
Washington D.C. - The humanitarian challenge posed by the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied children and young families at our southern border has once again ignited passions over the role immigration plays in our country. Rather than respond to the arrival of children and young families as refugees fleeing violence and crime, and appropriately fund our ability to prioritize the health and well-being of these individuals, Washington has yet again become mired in anti-immigration rhetoric. As the Senate and House take up supplemental funding bills, this debate is likely to involve numerous attacks on existing protections for children, including rolling back the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), accelerating court proceedings to limit the due process available to children, and other measures that will in essence blame the children for needing protection.
During the course of this debate, it bears constant repeating that neither the TVPRA nor providing access to immigration court proceedings is the problem. Some have argued that existing measures designed to screen Central American children to determine whether they might be eligible for asylum, protection as trafficking victims, or some other form of relief is hindering the rapid removal of children, and without speedy removal there is no deterrent effect. Others have argued that the court process itself is too slow or that providing counsel to children is too burdensome. All of these arguments ignore the fundamental fact that the TVPRA is not a barrier to efficiently and effectively deciding the cases of unaccompanied children.Read more...