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Irvine Immigration Law Blog

Trump and ICE expand plans for detaining children

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced plans to take money from other programs to further expand ICE resources and its capacity to enforce and detain immigrants. This shift also includes the dismantling of the Flores agreement created in 1997 after the Flores v. Reno court case that provides basic protections to children of detained immigrants, including a 20-day limit for holding all minors. The says that DHS could even detain families indefinitely, arguing it is the only way to deter undocumented immigrants from entering the country.

This administration’s treatment of immigrant children has caused an outcry of criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike over the last two years, yet the administration continues to move forward with it. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, this latest policy shift will face immediate legal challenges.

Visas and green cards now tied to income

The Trump administration continues its open assault on those who wish to enter the country and work. The recent ICE raid on poultry processing plants in Mississippi involved the arrest of 700 unregistered workers. The administration followed that up with new regulation that examines the applicant’s ability to earn income, rejecting those with little education or a likelihood of a low income.

According to CNN, the administration has determined that these low-income migrants were more likely to use such benefits as Medicaid, housing vouchers, food stamps, or other government benefits.

Real ID requirements affect millions of immigrants

Starting on October 1, 2020, all U.S. citizens will need a Real ID card or a passport to board a flight or enter secure federal buildings or military bases. Congress mandated Real ID in 2005 as part of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

Real ID cards aren’t much different than driver’s licenses, except for safeguards designed to keep them from being illegally copied. The concerns are over the application process. Civil rights groups objected to the notion of a national ID card, but in July of 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the October 2020 deadline for states to comply. California was declared compliant by DHS earlier this year.

Can I still apply for DACA in 2019?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been batted around by the courts in recent years. While different rulings and challenges have threatened the program’s existence, as of July 2019, DACA is in a relatively stable place.

Instituted by a previous White House administration in 2012, DACA allows some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children – referred to as Dreamers – to receive protection from deportation, as well as a work permit, if they meet certain criteria. So, with how things currently stand, what are those criteria? And who can apply for deferred action?

White house announces detailed new immigration bill

The president seems to make announcements or write Tweets about changes to the immigration system on a daily or weekly basis. This happens amid other controversial comments regarding political enemies, perceived slights and other topics. Such is the case this week – he aggressively Tweeted about four liberal freshmen congresswomen (and allowed a racist chant about them at a political rally), the administration has also announced that it has drafted a new immigration bill.

A bill that all Republicans can support

Traveling through other countries makes immigrants ineligible

The current administration continues to create new barriers and hurdles for many asylum seekers. The administration has now published a tough new rule for the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice that goes into effect on July 16.

It says any “alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States is ineligible for asylum.”

What to know if you or a loved one is facing deportation

Deportation is a constant threat in this current climate, hanging over not just individuals but their family, friends and other loved ones. An arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not just disruptive. It is emotionally challenging, requiring time, energy and perseverance to get through.

Considering these realities, it is important to be prepared in the event ICE agents arrest you, a family member, a close friend or trusted colleague.

Visa applicants must now provide social media identifiers

The U.S. Department of State recently updated its work visa forms to now include a social media question on Form DS-160 non-immigrant visa and Form DS-260 immigrant visa applications. The question is: “Do you have a social media presence?” Applicants are expected to provide a list of platforms (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter) and usernames used in the previous five years. Passwords are not to be provided. There will be a long pulldown menu for the platforms, and then a field to enter the information.

What to expect

Drug use can lead to visa denials

The current administration is using many different reasons to prevent visitors from entering the U.S. One that has not gotten a lot of coverage is casual drug use. According to one recent report, a visitor from Britain arriving at LAX was denied entry after 24 hours of questioning and a search that yielded a two-year-old phone text that mentioned cocaine. The visitor who had planned the trip of a lifetime, spending one month in Los Angeles and one in New York City was sent home after admitting to drug use.

Lawbreaking is a premise for denial

Good news -- U.S. has lifted the cap on H1-B visas

We spend a lot of time writing about problems with the immigration system. So it is a nice change of pace to share some good news. Reuters is reporting from the State Department that the Trump administration has no plans to cap H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store their data here in the U.S. The H-1B is used for skilled foreign workers in such fields as science, engineering, information technology, teaching, and accounting.

This is an update from previous reports that indicated that the administration had told India that it was considering restricting the H-1B visa programs for those foreign businesses with data storage equipment.

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