In a development which took the much of the immigration law community by surprise, a Federal trial court in Northern California has issued an injunction against the Executive Branch, breathing new life into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On January 9, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup issued a 49-page decision, ruling as follows:
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We have just learned that the current administration has terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for citizens of El Salvador, effective September 9, 2019. While not surprising in light of the rhetoric and action coming from the White House, the Attorney General, and the Department of Homeland Security, this is a disappointing decision for the citizens of a country ravaged by natural and other disasters, many of whom have been in the United States working, paying taxes, and otherwise living productive, law-abiding lives for years and years.
Moments ago, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly known as DACA. The rescission of DACA has been billed as a necessary way to enforce the "Rule of Law", and has been promoted as an "orderly winding down" of the generally popular program established by President Barack Obama in 2012.
While gift-givers everywhere brave long lines to find and buy presents for their friends, families, co-workers, and others, our thoughts turn to a different sort of line. One that seems to snake endlessly around virtual bureaucratic blocks, and which - for too many people - never move fast enough to make a difference. That would be the "approved visa petition" line, which is a real doozy.
Today marks the legal holiday commemorating the discovery of the "New World" by Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon). Since that historic episode constitutes one of the first recorded instances of undocumented immigration in this land, we thought we would reflect on the state of immigration - and, more specifically, the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform - in the final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign.
On Saturday, February 13th, the United States Supreme Court unexpectedly lost its longest serving Associate Justice. Antonin Scalia was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and was known as a staunchly conservative "originalist" when it came to interpreting the Constitution. By all accounts he was brilliant, combative, funny, and relentlessly ideological. There has been a slew of remembrances of his life and analyses of his judicial career, highlighting his accomplishments and reflecting that his forceful personality resulted in strong opinions about him, across the political and legal spectrum. As we tend to do here, though, we will look briefly at the potential effects of Justice Scalia's passing on immigration jurisprudence.
The United States Supreme Court has just announced that it will accept the Obama Administration's appeal of the pending injunction which has stalled the President's proposed Execution Action known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). Back on November 20, 2014, the President announced his plan to permit some estimated 5 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and/or legal residents to defer their removal/deportation, obtain employment authorization, and otherwise come out of the shadows after years of Congressional inaction on the issue of substantive comprehensive immigratrion reform.
This space is usually reserved for news updates, analysis, and other immigration-related reflections. But, this week, we are remembering our esteemed and beloved colleague James "Jim" Flynn, who died suddenly on Tuesday at 68 years old. A lifelong runner, skier, and ski patrol member, and an avid car enthusiast, Jim was one of the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate people we've ever known. He spent his entire legal career trying to tip the scales of justice back in favor of the people who needed it most. During his time working with us, Jim focused mostly on representing the abused spouses of U.S. citizens who needed help navigating the immigration system on their own. In Jim, clients always found a caring, quietly zealous advocate, who not only became familiar with their legal cases, but would also get to know their families. Jim would regularly be invited to his clients' homes, churches, and life events. Simply stated, he was the best type of lawyer. We miss him terribly, and hope to live up to his values and continue his good work as our way of honoring his professional legacy.
With the gift-giving part of the holiday season having just passed, many of us are enjoying our presents, relaxing with family, and reflecting on the highs and lows of the past year. In the midst of the season of giving and good cheer, however, the federal government's Department of Homeland Security seems to have donned its Grinch hat. As the Washington Post has reported, "The Department of Homeland Security has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year . . . ." For the most part, these families have fled indescribably violent and volatile conditions in Central America, seeking safe haven in the United States. Their plight of some of these families was front-page news, until the unaccompanied minor and Syrian refugee crisis took center-stage, the latter fueled in part by loud rhetoric on the part of some presidential candidates, particularly in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015, U.S. officials have announced some changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP allows citizens of designated countries to travel to the United States as temporary visitors (for up to 90 days) without going through the formal visa application process. VWP travelers are subject to strict conditions on the terms of their U.S. visits, including being ineligible to extend their 90-day stay, being prohibited from changing status, and waiving all rights to challenge removal/deportation if they do violate the conditions of their admission to the U.S. Visa Waiver visitors are also screened in advance via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).