Congress Struggles to Reach Agreement on Plan for Unaccompanied Migrant Children

Originally posted on cltimmigration:

Immigration Blog on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.

The Washington Post reports today that a total of 30,340 unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, who have been apprehended at the southern border since October of last year, have now been released into the United States to live with relatives or other caregivers while they await their immigration court hearings.  All the while, temporary housing facilities at the border continue to overflow as child migrants fleeing desperate poverty and brutal violence in their home countries continue to seek refuge in the United States.

On July 25, 2014 Charlotte Immigration Law Firm’s attorney Benjamin Snyder addressed this matter during an interview with Jenna Deery of WSOCTV

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If GOP Refuse To Act This Summer, Administration Should Move on Deportation, Detention

Originally posted on Immigration in America:

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Dem Senator: Obama Shouldn’t Use ‘Carte Blanche Authority To Sidestep Congress When He Doesn’t Get His Way’


What do you think?

Originally posted on CBS DC:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is facing potential rifts with members of his own party in tough re-election contests as he barrels toward a fall fight with Republicans over his ability to change immigration policies.

If Obama takes the broadest action under consideration — removing the threat of deportation for millions of people in this country illegally — the short-term risks appear greatest for Senate Democrats in conservative-leaning states. Weeks before the November vote, they could find themselves on the hot seat for their views not only on immigration but also on Obama’s use of his presidential powers.

Wary of what could be coming, some of those lawmakers have said Obama should act with caution.

“This is an issue that I believe should be addressed legislatively and not through executive order,” said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., one of the top targets for Republicans trying to retake control of the…

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Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police

Originally posted on TIME:

The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation.

If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.

The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.

The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.

Glenn Reynolds, in Popular Mechanics, recognized the increasing militarization of the police five years ago. In 2009 he wrote:

Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward…

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Young Albanian Women May Qualify for Asylum as a Particular Social Group

The Board of Immigration Appeals issued two precedent decisions clarifying the terms “particular social group” for immigration purposes. An applicant for asylum could qualify for asylum is she proves that she was targeted because of her membership in a specific group that is targeted based on particular characteristics. 

The Second Circuit ruled this week that Albanian women between 15 and 25, who are victims of sex trafficking, might qualify for asylum if they prove that they were targeted because of these traits.  The court relied on the Board’s decision in M-E-V-G- which defined a  ”particular social group” as any group  (1) composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic,
(2) defined with particularity, and (3) socially distinct within the society in question”,  to reach such decision. 26 I. & N. Dec. at 237.

The court remanded the case to the Board to clarify if these women could qualify for such classification. The problem with such groups is that they lack “particularity”, or being too broad. I have represented several individuals who qualified under such groups. I applaud the court for the decision, which could help several individuals who deserve protection under our laws. 

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Board Limits Testimony Admissible in VAWA Cancellation of Removal Cases

The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled last week that the immigration judge could not consider evidence older than three years in special rule Cancellation of Removal cases. In M-L-M-A, the Respondent was a native of Mexico who filed for special Rule Cancellation of Removal in removal proceedings. She had filed an application for Cancellation of Removal for battered spouses but the immigration judge denied the application based on an alleged misrepresentation in her testimony and for filing an asylum application in 1997. The BIA had remanded the case for further consideration and the immigration judge still denied her application for misrepresentation.

In reversing the immigration judge’s decision the Board reasoned that the immigration judge erred in considering the testimony in her false asylum application in 1997 since it was given more than three years before her application for special rule Cancellation of Removal. The Board also ruled that she deserved the favorable exercise of discretion since she had several favorable equities, including her residence in the United States for a very long time.

As you may recall, an applicant for special rule Cancellation of Removal must show that she has been a person of good moral character for three years before her application. I applaud the Board for issuing a precedent decision that will help these deserving applicant.

First Circuit Rules that Conduct After Marriage is Relevant in Removal of Conditions Petitions

Ever wondered about the burden an applicant for removal of conditions on permanent residence should meet? According to the First Circuit an adjudicator could use post-marriage conduct in determining whether a marriage was bona fide to remove the conditions on her permanent residence.

The applicant in Lin v. Holder petitioner the First Circuit for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of her application to remove the conditions on her residence. She was married to a US citizen in 2000 and upon her entry into the United States in 2002 was granted conditional permanent residence.

Lin hardly lived with her husband. She did not know what he did. The only thing that they had jointly was two tax returns they filed together. Lin then moved to New York and started an extramarital affair, during which she got pregnant. They visited each other a total of three times after they lived separately.

In 2004, after visiting Lin, her husband found out about the affair and filed for divorce. Before the separation, Lin and her husband filed a joined petition to remove the conditions on her residence. Her petition was denied and her case was referred to the immigration judge, who denied her waiver petition, and the Board upheld.
The First Circuit upheld the Board’s decision to deny the removal of conditions. The court reasoned that the couple’s conduct after marriage was indicative of a relationship that was not bona fide. The court underscored the extramarital affair and the lack of evidence to show a bona fide relationship warranted a denial of the Petition for Review.
I maintain that these Petitions for Review in removal of conditions cases are among the hardest cases in immigration law. Please let me know what you think about the case and whether you believe the Petition for Review should have been filed.

Seventh Circuit Rules that a Lengthy Record of Traffic Violation Precludes a Finding of Good Moral Character

The Seventh Circuit recently ruled that a lengthy record of traffic violation, which included several “aggravated offenses”, was enough to deny Cancellation of Removal. Jose Ortiz-Astrada came to the United States 1996 and fathered five children in the United States. An applicant must show that he has lived in the United States for more than ten years, posses good moral character and his removal would lead to extreme hardship to qualify for non-lawful permanent resident Cancellation of Removal. The Seventh Circuit improperly stated these requirements to include the first two. The third requirement was not at issue in the case.

The only issue in the case was whether Astrada deserved the exercise of discretion since he is a person of good moral character. Astrada had a lengthy traffic record which included several DUIs, with one pending at the time of trial, and several aggravated traffic offenses. He moved to continue his individual hearing because of the pending DUI charge. The immigration judge continued the hearing several times but denied the last one since, in his opinion, Astrada did not meet the good moral character requirements because of his lengthy record. He appealed arguing that the immigration judge’s denial of the continuance violated his due process rights.

The Seventh Circuit ruled that the denial of the motion to continue was not a violation of his due process rights because even with the continuance, the Respondent would not have been eligible for relief because of his record.

I hear the word “ten years green card” a lot in my practice. I explain to everyone that it is not automatic and proving these cases is very hard. This case is one of these where the case should not have been filed with the immigration judge. Please let me know what you think.


Charlotte Mayor Backs Municipal ID Card for Undocumented Immigrants – immigration lawyers in Charlotte NC

Originally posted on cltimmigration:

On June 26, 2014 Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter told the Charlotte Immigrant Integration Task Force—a committee of local community leaders charged by the city council to put together a list of recommendations to help Charlotte “maximize immigrants’ economic and civic contributions to the city of Charlotte”—that he supported the idea of creating a municipal ID card to help undocumented immigrants identify themselves in traffic stops and when picking their children up from school.

As the Charlotte Observer reports, Charlotte’s municipal ID program would follow the lead of cities across the country that have created similar IDs in order for local law enforcement to easily check the identity of city residents. The Greensboro Police Department, for example, in an agreement with the local nonprofit Faith Action International House began accepting similar unofficial ID cards last summer. The main objective of the municipal ID program in Charlotte would be to make it…

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To Warn or Not to Warn: Why You Should Not File a Frivolous Asylum Application

I always tell clients that they should not lie on any governmental applications; the same is true when it comes to asylum applications, where lying could lead to a statutory bar against future relief from removal. The Eleventh Circuit recently ruled on the issue in Ruga v. U.S. Atty. Gen.

Ruga was an Albanian citizen who came to the United States in 2001 and filed for asylum in 2004. The application, however, was frivolous, and Ruga did not even challenge that determination. She was placed in removal proceedings and did not appear for her initial hearing. She filed a motion to reopen and the immigration judge granted it. The immigration judge ordered her removal since her previous application was frivolous. Ruga objected as to the order since she did not receive a new warning from the immigration judge regarding the consequences of filing such application, even though she received such warning when she filed her application before the Service.

Applicants for asylum must sign their applications and acknowledge the following warning when they do so:

WARNING: Applicants who are in the United States illegally are  subject to removal if their asylum or withholding claims are not  granted by an Asylum Officer or an Immigration Judge. Any  information provided in completing this application may be used as  the basis for the institution of, or as evidence in, removal proceedings  even if the application is later withdrawn. Applicants determined to  have knowingly made a frivolous application for asylum will be permanently ineligible for any benefits under the Immigration and  Nationality Act. See 208(d)(6) of the Act and 8 CFR § 208.20.

Ruga appealed to the Board, and the latter upheld the immigration judge’s decision. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the decisions since nothing in the statute obligates the immigration judge to issue the same warning in removal proceedings. The court joined other circuits that previously ruled that the written warnings do not have to be reissued.

As I mentioned in previous posts, this type of cases should not have been filed, and should not have been appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. Please leave me a comment and consider following me on Google+, twitter, or linkedin.


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