On Thursday, May 25, 2017, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia upheld the block of Trump’s travel and refugee ban to prevent it from being implemented. The executive order in question, issued in late January by the newly-instated head of state, resulted in hundreds of people being detained in airports by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and prevented others from boarding flights outright and, if permitted to take effect, would result in immigrants from 6 Muslim-majority countries being banned from entering or applying for admission to the United States. Immediately following the court of appeals decision on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced its decision to seek Supreme Court review of the matter.
In related news, also on Thursday, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (AIC) filed a petition requesting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State issue new regulations that would guarantee access to counsel for all immigrants in secondary and deferred inspection and in overseas consular interviews. This joint petition follows U.S. Senate and House bills that were introduced in February in response to the travel ban, above, issued by the current administration. If passed, these bills and any accompanying or subsequent regulations would guarantee access to counsel for all persons held or detained at a port of entry, such as an airport, or at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facility.
Currently, attorneys are generally permitted to attend green card and citizenship interviews with their clients, to accompany clients to deportation proceedings in court, and to visit with clients being held in detention facilities. However, whether an attorney is allowed to go with a client to a visa interview, to proceedings at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or to secondary or deferred inspection processes is up to the immigration officer overseeing the case; and more often than not, the answer is a hard ‘no.’ The exclusion of counsel in these cases often results in misinterpretations and misunderstandings of complex legal issues, improper rulings and denials, unnecessary procedural delays, and wasted government resources.
Indeed, U.S. immigration law is a complex system with rules and regulations that are always changing. As a result, immigration officers are often underequipped in experience and/or training to review and decide complicated legal issues in proper fashion, and clients often lack the specialized knowledge required to present their own claims before immigration officers and officials. Thus, access to counsel is critical not only for fair and just application but also for quality and efficiency of decision-making across the board, as well as for reducing workload strain and backlog for government employees.
If you have questions about your immigration status or about gaining access to counsel to help you work through immigration-related issues, and you are not already represented by Joseph & Hall P.C., please contact our office at (303) 297-9171 or click here to schedule a consultation so we can review your case and your options. If you are already a client of Joseph & Hall P.C. and have questions about your case, please contact your attorney to discuss your particular case.
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