This week, President Obama concluded that the House would not act on immigration reform this year, leading him to announce that he would use his executive authority to fix what he could of the immigration system on his own. This is a welcome decision, although details of his plans are unlikely to unfold until later in the summer, following consultation with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder. There are no shortage of suggestions, however, about how the president can improve the current system, starting with a revision of current enforcement policies and expanding to include more permanent and temporary relief from removal. A timely new analysis from the Center for American Progress makes the case that the president should “go big,” implementing policies and programs that help the maximum number of people.
The CAP report delves into the background and legal authority for using executive branch authority in the context of immigration enforcement, noting that we have been down this road before. “As the Congressional Research Service has illustrated, categorical grants of affirmative relief to non-citizens have been made 21 times by six presidents protecting millions of immigrants just since 1976. What’s more, in many instances, Congress was actively considering legislation that would have provided relief to the groups of people protected by the executive action. That, of course, is precisely the case today.” Continue reading
June 5, 2014
Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council welcomes last week’s ruling by the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, which held that a noncitizen’s grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) qualifies as “inspection and admission” into the United States. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, inspection and admission are eligibility requirements for lawful permanent residence (LPR). Jesus Ramirez, the plaintiff in Ramirez v Dougherty, was granted TPS in 2001 following the devastating earthquake in El Salvador, his home country, and has renewed this status ever since. He now seeks to become an LPR on the basis of his marriage to a United States citizen. The American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, and subsequently NWIRP became counsel for the plaintiff.
The court based its decision on the language of the TPS statute. However, the court also noted important policy reasons supporting its interpretation, stressing that Mr. Ramirez had been in the United States for approximately fifteen years, had established roots here, and “has waited his turn for an independent, legal, and legitimate pathway to citizenship, through the immediate relative visa application.” Relying on a decision from the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the court found that the government’s solution – which would require Mr. Ramirez to leave the country, be readmitted, and then go through the immigration process all over again – was a “waste of energy, time, government resources, and will have negative effects on his family.”
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(Reuters) – U.S. immigration authorities cannot detain without a bail hearing California immigrants who have been convicted of certain crimes unless the immigrants are transferred to their custody directly from jail, a judge has ruled.
Under federal law, immigrants who commit crimes including drug offenses and assault can be deported, even if they are in the country legally.
The class-action lawsuit is challenging an element of the practice of mandatory detention, under which prisoners are not given an opportunity to argue before a judge that they should be released or allowed to post bond while fighting deportation.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote in an opinion released Thursday that unless the immigrants are transferred directly from jail or prison, they must be allowed such a hearing to see whether they should be held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or allowed to live in the community.
The ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California was part of a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and others in San Francisco. The civil rights organization has filed similar cases in Washington State and Massachusetts.
“What Immigration and Customs enforcement has been doing is picking them up based on criminal convictions from long, long ago,” said Julia Mass, an attorney with the ACLU in San Francisco. “Our lawsuit said the statute only allows mandatory detention when somebody is brought directly into immigration custody from criminal custody.”
The ruling applies only to cases in California, Mass said.
ICE and its attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
In adjudicating cases involving the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-248, 120 Stat. 587, the Board of Immigration Appeals lacks jurisdiction to review a “no risk” determination by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, including the appropriate standard of proof to be applied.
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(1) In a visa petition case involving the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-248, 120 Stat. 587, the petitioner bears the burden of proving that he has not been convicted of a “specified offense against a minor.”
(2) In assessing whether a petitioner has been convicted of a “specified offense against a minor,” adjudicators may apply the “circumstance-specific” approach, which permits an inquiry into the facts and conduct underlying the conviction to determine if it is for a disqualifying offense.
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Section 402(a)(2) of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-248, 120 Stat. 587, 622, which bars the approval of a family-based visa petition filed by a petitioner who has been convicted of a “specified offense against a minor” and has not shown that he poses “no risk” to the beneficiary, does not have an impermissible retroactive effect when applied to convictions that occurred before its enactment.
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