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Irvine Immigration Law Blog

Census Bureau asks states for records

The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt in 2019 to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The White House now takes a different approach, asking states for drivers’ license information, including birth dates, addresses, race, Hispanic origin, and citizenship status. There was also a request for lists of those who signed up for state-run public programs like food assistance, which is already shared for statistical purposes after it removes personal information.

Civil rights advocates Census officials have cried foul over this records request. Even though this information does not explicitly detail citizenship information, it was prompted by the president’s executive order. Civil rights advocates believe this is a violation of privacy and enables the government to use the information, which can be wrong, to target innocent individuals. Census officials also believe that this type of personal data would skew the accuracy of the census because people would be afraid to fill it out. Finally, there is also concern by the states that shared information regarding millions of citizens, and all this data sharing would make it easy to steal or use for different purposes.

Bad day for Trump immigration policies

A federal judge in Washington rejected on September 27 the Trump administration’s attempt to fast-track deportations. Initially announced in July, the policy would enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly deport anyone who has been in the country for less than two years. It had yet to go into effect elsewhere, but it was used for migrants who were arrested soon after crossing the border illegally.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that “expedited removal” violated the procedural requirements that these migrants are allowed to first by government officials. Other problems with the policy include:

Tips for immigrants for adjusting to life in the United States

Moving to the United States as an immigrant is a big undertaking. Many people need to focus on the process of getting the proper documentation before coming. This is undoubtedly important, and it helps to have a team on your side that knows how to work through the process.

While that process is ongoing, you have to start to plan for making a move. This presents challenges of its own. Fortunately, you can prepare. If you have family in the U.S., they can help you.

New cap on asylum seeker and refugee numbers

The Trump administration seems to mount an attack every week on migrants, asylum seekers and refugees seeking a better way of life. This week is no different. The State Department announced that the number of refugees and asylum seekers for the upcoming fiscal year would be 18,000, which is about 5% of the projected 368,000 applicants. This is the lowest number in 40 years of keeping track and down from the previous record low cap of 30,000, which was set in the previous year by Trump. The Obama administration set its cap in 2016 at 85,000.

The State Department also released a statement that explained why the U.S. is lowering the cap and reallocating budgets:

Migrant kids go to school as they wait

The school year has started for children here in the United States. Now in a happy turn of events, volunteers created a pop-up school on the sidewalk in Matamoros, Mexico. The idea is to provide migrant kids with some of the stability they would typically have.

Matamoros is a border town where tens of thousands of migrant families camp out and wait for the U.S. immigration court to hear their case. Adult migrants and volunteer teachers from the U.S. are holding classes where about 50 children practice their letters, learn their numbers as well as do arts and crafts (they hang these projects from nearby trees).

Skilled immigrant bill rejected in senate

A bi-partisan bill eliminating per-country caps on employment-based green cards was recently shot down in the Senate.

The goal was to get more highly skilled immigrants to come to America and level the playing field as to who could gain access to green cards. Right now, citizens of any one country can only get 7% of all employment and family-based green cards annually.

Conflict at the border poses issues for agents

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection was once considered a low-key organization, but now with controversies at the border front and center, they have become one of the most high-profile agencies in the United States Government.

This shift in public perception is due to significant policy changes under the new administration. These changes have increased the demands of Border Patrol officers as they try to carry out the administration's orders while their practices are thrust into a negative and often divisive spotlight.

Same-sex couple sues State Department over citizenship policy

Despite the legality of gay marriage in California and throughout the United States following a landmark Supreme Court decision, families using surrogacy have continued to face difficulty obtaining U.S. citizenship for their children. One couple has filed a lawsuit challenging the State Department after their daughter was classified as being born "out of wedlock" and denied citizenship. A surrogate in Canada gave birth to the child. The complaint says that her parents were treated as an unmarried couple because they are gay and that she was denied a U.S. passport.

Their case is at least the fourth challenging the State Department's citizenship policy in these cases. The couple calls their approach "state-sponsored discrimination". The family's lawyers said that the policy shows disregard for same-sex marriages. The couple involved in the case are both naturalized citizens originally born in Israel. They married in 2013 in California and had their son with the surrogate in Canada in 2016. Their son received citizenship right away.

5 myths about U.S. immigration law

The president and the administration are famously unorganized and often are not even on the same page when it comes to agenda and objectives. With so much confusion coming from them, it is hard to figure out the difference between what is law and what are political statements not based in reality.

Below is a list of some common misunderstandings people have about U.S. immigration law:

Migrants receiving medical treatment in US to be deported

The current administration recently cut access to sick and disabled migrants and their caretakers, telling them they have 33 days to leave the United States. The "medical deferred action" program has allowed them to remain on American soil while receiving life-saving medical treatment. The move is controversial because U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services cut the program without a moment's notice, potentially leaving some patients on their deathbeds.

It’s one of the current administration’s many efforts to strip legal rights away for migrants and their families. These efforts have been especially harmful to children and those with disabilities.

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber