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Irvine Immigration Law Blog

Trump threatens to dump migrants in sanctuary cities

The current administration’s disregard for the law and protocols is well established at this point. The latest example is the president’s recent threat to “dump” detainees in California’s sanctuary cities and counties. According to the Los Angeles Times, the President has recently tweeted and spoken publicly about this, even though this would be illegal.

“California certainly is always saying, ‘Oh, we want more people,’” Trump told reporters during an unrelated White House event Friday. “And they want more people in their sanctuary cities. Well, we’ll give them more people. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply. Let’s see if they’re so happy.”

Judge says asylum-seekers should not wait in Mexico

The Trump administration suffered another setback in its campaign against asylum-seekers. This time it was a ruling of a judge who blocked the administration’s attempt to require asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until the time of their hearing in the U.S. However, the judge did wait to implement the ruling until the government has a chance to appeal.

District Court Judge Richard Seeborg wrote a 27-page ruling stating the current law does not support the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enact the plan called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which was first announced in December of 2018. The judge added that there was insufficient protection to those applying for asylum to be sent back to Mexico, or “places where they face undue risk to their lives and freedom.”

Kirstjen Nielsen leaving as immigration numbers surge

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is leaving her cabinet post this week. As the primary face of President Trump’s policy regarding immigration issues, Nielsen was responsible for what has happened at the southern border since her appointment in December of 2017. Such low lights include the separation of migrant children from their family.

Despite her attempts to enforce the president’s agenda, the impact has not had the expected results. This is shown by multiple lawsuits by human rights organizations and immigration lawyers. Moreover, the president blamed her for the ineffectiveness of these policies as well as his inability to get Congress to fund his long-promised wall.

Immigration courts now using remote interpreters

Most migrants entering the country either speak English as a second language or not at all. Finding a Spanish to English translator is not a problem here in California, but what about hiring someone who speaks K’iche’ from Central America or Creole from Haiti? The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) answer is to use translators who work via phone. Spanish is the lone exception to this rule, but it applies to all other languages. The DOJ cites budget concerns as the reason for doing this.

Quality is an issue

Young immigrants can seek Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins denied the Trump Administration’s move to dismiss the class action brought by young immigrants abused, abandoned or neglected by their parents. While here in California young immigrants up to age 20 are allowed to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had begun to deny this special status to immigrants as young as 18.

Under SIJS, immigrant children who were abused by parents can apply for lawful permanent residency. The federal law stipulates that the child first receives approval from the state courts before they can seek federal approval.

Lawsuit involving separated families is expanded

A federal judge determined that it is appropriate to widen the class action lawsuit to include those families separated at the border before the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” was officially launched in 2018.

Prompted by a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union regarding the legality of separating families, this greatly increases the number of families impacted and protected by this suit.

Migration numbers way up

There are a variety of trends involving immigration, but one that stands out is the surge in numbers in four of the last five months. According to the New York Times, the Southwest border is at a breaking point as 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, which generally has lower numbers because of the weather. This 2019 number was more than double of February 2018 and the largest February since 2007. This has led Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, to declare in a recent statement that, “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point.”

Avoiding the main points of entry

Who can renew DACA?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been in the news so often that it can be difficult to stay up to date with its current state. It is reasonable for anyone who currently has or has had DACA in the past to be confused.

While those who have never had DACA before are unable to apply, renewals are still acceptable. Who is eligible to renew?

Judge rules both IVF twins are citizens

Twin boys recently made the national news when it was initially ruled that one was a citizen and the other was visitor. According to various news sources, they are the children of a married gay couple where one father was a U.S. citizen and the other was from Israel. The couple used an anonymous egg donor and chose to use the sperm of one father per egg. A surrogate carried both babies, which were born minutes apart. Initially boy with the Israeli father was granted a visitor visa instead of citizenship.

A judge steps in

USCIS reports longer than average processing times

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have released new data about the average processing times per form and petition type from 2014 through 2018. Despite the fact that the average wait has gone up for almost every type of petition, there have been particularly lengthy delays for certain applicants. Notable examples include foreign nationals seeking a green card now have longer waits than other foreign nationals seeking non-immigrant visa petition. The numbers have been particularly noticeable in the last few years since the 2016 elections.

Change in laws listed as reason

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