Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) cautiously applauds last week’s decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals concerning the rights of immigrants with mental disabilities in removal proceedings. Echoing concerns expressed in amicusbriefsfiled by the LAC in other Board cases, the decision acknowledged the need for a framework to ensure that immigrants with mental competency issues are not deported without fair hearings.
“While the Board’s decision is a welcome first step, more comprehensive guidance will be necessary to protect the due process rights of immigrants who lack mental competency,” said Melissa Crow, director of the Legal Action Center (LAC). “A rulemaking process, with outreach to a broad spectrum of stakeholders and an opportunity for discussion and formal comments, would be the ideal mechanism for establishing procedures in this context.”Read more...
Immigrants offset population decline and aging workforce in Midwest metropolitan areas. A June 25 piece for Immigration Impact highlights a new report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs exploring immigration’s impact on changing populations in the Midwest. “The metropolitan areas of Midwestern states are experiencing slow rates of growth and even declining populations,” the report said. “The arrival of immigrants over the past decade has helped to reverse these trends.” Furthermore, “immigrants play a key role in the Midwest economy because the Midwest’s Baby Boomers are moving into retirement and the native-born population as a whole is aging.”Read more...
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit against the state of Utah to block the implementation of HB 497, which mandates that local police enforce immigration laws. Several provisions of the law have already been enjoined as a result of previous legal challenges from immigrant rights groups. The DOJ claims that HB 497 violates the Constitution, and the suit is consistent with its other challenges in Alabama, Arizona and South Carolina. Utah's HB 497 is similar to Arizona's SB1070, however Utah state legislators attempted to couple the enforcement bill with a state-level guest-worker program. The guest-worker program is not yet being challenged by DOJ, as it does not go into effect until 2013.
The DOJ continues to appropriately exercise its obligation to preserve the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate immigration and its responsibility to take a stand against laws that will result in profiling, discrimination and the violation of fundamental constitutional rights. As noted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, these types of state immigration laws will overload the federal government with referrals and divert scarce resources from the agency’s highest priorities—national security and public safety.Read more...
Anyone who thinks the fight to overhaul health care and the fight to overhaul immigration laws are unrelated hasn't been paying much attention -- at least not to the fact that many of those who oppose one oppose the other. It's one more problem for those seeking to fix health care.
Immigration Groups Seek Information on Customs and Border Protection’s “Translation” Activities in Northern Border States
Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The FOIA requests seek information regarding CBP poliies on providingc translation assistance to other law enforcement agencies and on participating in 911 dispatch activities. The filing coincided with a federal agency decision finding the U.S. Forest Service’s policy of using Border Patrol agents as interpreters to be discriminatory. The alliance is seeking documents explaining the relevant legal authority, applicable procedural guidance, training materials, statistical data, and complaints filed with the government as a result of CBP's practices.
Over the past year, advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving as Spanish-English interpreters and participating in 911 dispatch activities. Capitalizing on their access to noncitizens, Border Patrol agents often use these opportunities to question individuals about their immigration status and, in many cases, initiate removal proceedings.Read more...
Washington, D.C.—The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the issuance of a new practice advisory, Reinstatement of Removal. A person who has been removed and illegally reenters the United States may be subject to reinstatement of removal under INA § 241(a)(5). This Practice Advisory provides an overview of the reinstatement statute and implementing regulations. It also addresses federal court review of reinstatement orders and potential arguments to challenge the legality of reinstatement orders, including challenges to the underlying removal order.
This practice advisory includes a sample reinstatement order, a sample letter to DHS requesting a copy of the reinstatement order, a checklist for potential challenges to reinstatement orders, and an appendix of published reinstatement decisions. The LAC issued this advisory jointly with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
U.S. immigration officials put an unprecedented 1,000 businesses — including 42 in the Houston metro area — on notice Thursday that their paperwork would be inspected to make sure they don't employ illegal immigrants.
Since 9/11, Congressional appropriations for border security have skyrocketed. This influx of resources to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has corresponded with increased reports of pretextual arrests, racial profiling, excessive use of force, and coercive tactics to aid immigration enforcement along both borders. Although these enforcement practices often violate the constitutional, statutory or regulatory framework governing the conduct of CBP officers, they are rarely challenged in immigration court.
The LAC’s new practice advisory discusses some of the factual scenarios that may give rise to successful motions to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully by CBP officers, including CBP inspectors stationed at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents, who operate between ports of entry. It also addresses some of the legal issues specific to motions to suppress evidence obtained at and near the border. If successful, a motion to suppress can prevent the government from using unlawfully obtained evidence to prove alienage, which may result in the termination of removal proceedings. Read more...
Congress has a 41st Republican senator, but Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is challenging that notion. Yes, Graham does gain a new Republican colleague on Capitol Hill very soon (Senator-elect Scott Brown, of Massachusetts). In response to that, though, Graham announced on Friday his “willingness to tackle tough issues, including immigration” by breaking from partisan politics and finding a way to cooperate with the Democrats.
Of the Senator’s announcement, Immigration Impact’s Travis Packer quoted Graham as saying:
“Is the message that Democrats shouldn’t take on anything controversial and is the message that we should not work with them on anything controversial? … How much risk aversion does it create in the United States Senate to deal with tough issues like energy independence, climate change and immigration? … I hope that’s not the message. It’s not the message to me. The real reason we’re all here is to govern the country and do hard things.”