Sarah E. Hendricks, Ph.D is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Drake University. She completed her doctoral degree in 2013 with the University of Tennessee. Her research broadly focuses on the social consequences of limited mobility, with a specific focus on how transportation limitations affect the experiences of Latino immigrants in the United States.
Washington D.C. –Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they are taking concrete steps to implement existing guidance on prosecutorial discretion across the agency in an attempt to provide relief for low priority immigration cases. DHS also announced the creation of a committee which will review 300,000 immigration cases currently in removal proceedings to determine which cases are low priority and can be administratively closed. One of the factors in determining low priority cases is family relationships and community ties—factors the Administration said yesterday may apply to gay and lesbian families.
There are currently 36,000 same-sex bi-national couples in the United States, many of whom are routinely denied applications for lawful permanent residence and other relief from deportation due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Enacted in 1996, DOMA prevents the federal government—including DHS—from recognizing marriages or civil unions of same-sex couples for purposes of receiving federal benefits. Although the Administration determined that parts of DOMA were unconstitutional, DHS is still denying immigration benefits to same-sex spouses of bi-national couples.
DHS’s recent announcement, however, suggests that the guidelines on prosecutorial discretion may provide temporary relief to gay and lesbian bi-national couples. On a conference call hosted by the Immigration Policy center yesterday, a panel of experts discussed how the new policy may help gay and lesbian bi-national couples:
Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney with the Council’s Legal Action Center, said:Read more...
A perceived weakness of the liberal argument on immigration is over-reliance on the concept of compassion. The perception is reinforced in part by reality, as liberals commonly call upon people to remember the importance of basic human solidarity and concern for others in the debate over immigration.
Washington D.C. - Yesterday, the Legal Action Center (LAC) at the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Between January 2009 and April 2011, CBP managed 662,485 voluntary returns of Mexican nationals. Read more...
A report released yesterday by the Immigration Policy Center states that Latinos, whether legal or illegal immigrants, act as an economic boom to the state. But an immigration critic says supporting immigrants outweighs any benefit. Read more about that below.
Washington D.C. - The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. If approved by a federal judge, this agreement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases. The settlement agreement represents the culmination of years of advocacy by the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) and other groups on behalf of deserving asylum seekers.
The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the LAC and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw. The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.Read more...
The Obama administration will insist on measures to give legal status to illegal immigrants as it pushes early next year for legislation to overhaul the immigration system, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday.
Washington, DC – On Monday, November 4, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ordered the final approval of a nationwide class action settlement agreement. The settlement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases. The changes will commence on December 3, 2013.
The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.
The case, filed on behalf of asylum seekers around the country, alleged that the current system unlawfully denies asylum applicants the opportunity to obtain employment authorization if their asylum applications have been pending for six months or more. Some end up waiting several months or years for the government to make a decision on their asylum applications. Indeed, one plaintiff from China had been waiting nearly 10 years for his case to be resolved.Read more...
WASHINGTON - The head of U.S. immigration enforcement on Monday announced plans for an overhaul of the government's controversial detention system for people who face deportation.
The moves described by John T. Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, address oversight, medical care and tracking of detainees at facilities in Arizona and across the country.