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Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Failures of CBP to Respond to FOIA Requests

Released on Fri, Mar 13, 2015

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, a class action lawsuit was filed by three immigration attorneys and eleven noncitizens challenging U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for case information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA gives an individual the right to access information that the federal government possesses about him or her within 20 business days of making the request. CBP routinely fails to provide requested documents within 20 days, but instead takes months—and in many cases more than a year—to provide documents. Plaintiffs and others like them are forced to delay filing applications for lawful permanent residence while they wait for necessary documents from their own case files. By bringing this case as a class action, the plaintiffs seek to remedy CBP’s system-wide failures in its management of FOIA requests. The case was filed by the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the American Immigration Council.

The complaint in Brown et al. v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection alleges that such routine and excessive delays are unjustified from CBP, the agency with the largest budget within the Department of Homeland Security. The lawsuit was filed on Friday, March 13, in federal court in San Francisco.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are asking the Court to issue a nationwide injunction ordering CBP to respond to pending FOIA requests within 60 business days of the Court’s order and to respond to future FOIA requests within the statutory period. Read more...

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Migrant filing of taxes up, Illegal immigrants can file returns with ITINs

Published on Sat, Apr 10, 2010

Alondra Velasco is part of the underground economy, but she's a legitimate taxpayer in the eyes of Uncle Sam.

The 22-year-old Rialto resident works at a Mexican restaurant. She gets paid in cash because she's in the country illegally and doesn't have a Social Security number.

Like millions of Americans, Velasco will file a tax return this year, reporting her income and earnings to the Internal Revenue Service.

Published in the Contra Costa Times

CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project Succeeds in Winning Stays of Deportation of 12

Released on Wed, Jan 06, 2016

Washington D.C. – Last night, the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project succeeded in halting the deportation of four Central American families apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over the weekend, who had been scheduled for deportation this morning. Based on interviews with the families, who are currently detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, the CARA Project appealed their asylum cases to the Board of Immigration Appeals and requested emergency stays of deportation.  

“Our interviews revealed that these families have bona fide asylum claims, but were deprived of a meaningful opportunity to present them at their hearings in immigration court,” said Katie Shepherd, Managing Attorney for the CARA Project. She continued, “It’s beyond shameful that these families, who risked everything to seek protection in the United States, were being forcibly returned to the violence and turmoil they fled in Central America.”

Thus far, the CARA project volunteers and staff have met with eight families held in Dilley. The circumstances of each family vary, but the following trends have become clear:Read more...

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US immigration: Flagged up

Published on Sun, May 02, 2010

Brandon Hernandez is a typical American teenage boy. Clad in sneakers and baggy sweatshirt, the ninth-grade student is standing outside Central High School in Phoenix with a friend, flirting in vain with groups of girls passing by.

School has finished for the day and Brandon, who was born in Arizona to Hispanic parents, should be looking forward to the weekend. But the 14-year-old is worried: the state’s new immigration law could make him a target of police searching for illegal immigrants, he says.

Published in the The Financial Times

Issues in Immigration: A Debate

Issues in Immigration: A Debate explores conflicts, myths and facts about immigration and immigrants. This lesson plan increases student awareness about immigration issues through the art debate.

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Is immigration enforcement a waste of money?

Published on Wed, May 26, 2010

The United States has spent billions to try to stop illegal immigration over two decades, yet the population of unauthorized foreign residents has grown dramatically.

Those who back other ways to deal with the problem raised this point on Wednesday while President Obama and Congress prepare to send additional personnel to the borders and spend millions more for detention, technology and enforcement.

“All of this attention on resources for the border ignores the fact that border enforcement alone is not going to resolve the underlying problems with our broken immigration system,” says the Immigration Policy Center, an advocacy group that favors comprehensive reform.

Published in the Sun Sentinel

The Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine: FOIA and Petitions for Review

The fugitive disentitlement doctrine arises in the immigration context when courts of appeals use the doctrine to dismiss petitions for review and when government agencies invoke the doctrine to deny FOIA requests. This Practice Advisory examines how the courts and the agencies apply the doctrine in these contexts.

Published On: Monday, April 29, 2013 | Download File

The Urban Institute

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

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Immigrant Cycle Familiar To United States

Published on Sat, Jul 03, 2010

"When we look at history, you see that immigration goes up in times of economic prosperity and down when the economy is not doing so well," said Michele Waslin, senior policy analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center. The influx spurred opposition from many citizens, who said Irish immigrants were taking Americans' jobs and opposed the immigrants' religion. Politicians demanded laws to make it harder for foreigners to become U.S. citizens.

In 1875, the U.S. passed its first restrictive immigration law. It prevented prostitutes and convicts from entering the country.

"Throughout history, it is the laws that really define who is legal and who is illegal," Waslin said. "At different parts of U.S. history, different groups have been illegal depending on what law there was at the time."

Published in the Arizona Republic

Warrantless Arrests and the Timing of Right to Counsel Advisals

In Matter of E-R-M-F- & A-S-M-, 25 I. & N. Dec. 580 (BIA 2011), the Board of Immigration Appeals severely undermined the protections provided by 8 C.F.R. § 287.3(c), holding that certain noncitizens arrested without a warrant need not be advised of their rights, including the right to counsel, prior to post-arrest examinations. This practice advisory highlights flaws in the E-R-M-F- decision and suggests strategies for challenging the BIA’s reading of § 287.3(c) and moving to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the regulation.

The Legal Action Center encourages attorneys with ongoing cases involving the timing of the 8 C.F.R. § 287.3(c) advisals to contact clearinghouse@immcouncil.org for further information.

Published On: Friday, November 2, 2012 | Download File