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Immigration Blog

AG Barr’s Proposed Changes to Immigration Appeals Will Backfire

June 19, 2019|Contributed by: Alexander D. McShiras, Esq.

Recently, Attorney General William Barr announced changes to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in a stated effort to reduce the huge backlog in immigration courts (approaching 1 million pending cases).  There are two main changes. First, it allows the BIA to issue decisions without explanation (called an AWO) in many more cases than it does currently. Second, it allows the BIA to set precedent decisions (which are binding on the whole Immigration Court system) if two of the three panel Judges agree to make it precedent.

Colorado Legislative Update: Increased Protections for Vulnerable Immigrant Youth, Reduced Criminal Penalties for Certain Low-Level Crimes, and A Check on Federal Immigration Enforcement by Local and State Law Enforcement Officers

June 10, 2019|Contributed by: Jennifer Howard

June 5, 2019 | Contributed by: Jennifer M. Howard, Esq.
Colorado’s 72nd General Assembly has been no stranger to addressing pertinent, and often sensitive, issues affecting Colorado’s estimated half-million and growing immigrant population. In the last three months, the Colorado legislature passed seven pro-immigrant bills and sent them to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. Of those seven, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed four into law, to date:

HB19-1148: Signed into law on 3/28/2019,

ICE Checkpoints – Myths vs Facts

May 29, 2019|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

On Tuesday, May 28, 2019, a Facebook post was being shared that claimed an ICE Checkpoint had been set up in southwest Denver. Similar stories of ICE Checkpoints in Colorado have been shared with more frequency over the past few years, and when you or someone you know is undocumented or unsure of your rights, these rumors can cause fear and anxiety.
However, there is no legal authority for ICE to set up checkpoints like this in Colorado.

Another Victory for Colorado!

May 29, 2019|Contributed by: Erin Williams

Governor Polis has signed another bill into law that is good for Colorado’s undocumented children. There are over $160 million dollars available in financial aid each year that previously was unavailable to college students without valid immigration status. HB19-1196 changed that and now students without legal status are immediately eligible to request financial aid and assistance.
In order to request and receive funding, students must have attended a Colorado high school for three years before graduating or completing the general equivalency exam (GED),

Attorney General Barr Self-Refers Cases on Postconviction Relief

May 29, 2019|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

On May 28, Attorney General William Barr used his authority to self-refer the cases of Matter of Thomas and Matter of Thompson, 27 I&N Dec. 556 (A.G. 2019), for the issuance of a decision which will bind all immigration adjudicators.  In the less than 2.5 years of the Trump presidency, this marks the 11th time the Attorney General has self-referred a case for a precedential decision (8 under Sessions, 2 under Whitaker,

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Update for Honduras and Nepal

May 14, 2019|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

USCIS announced that it will not be implementing or enforcing the decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras or Nepal pending resolution of the federal lawsuits against the U.S. government.
For beneficiaries of TPS from Nepal, this decision means TPS-based work authorization will be automatically extended through March 24, 2020. For beneficiaries of TPS from Honduras, this decision means the TPS designation will remain in effect through January 5, 2020.
USCIS intends to issue subsequent notices with further information as the lawsuits progress.

More Proposed Changes to Asylum Process

May 1, 2019|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

President Trump issued a memo to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security on April 29, 2019 proposing additional changes to the asylum process in the U.S.
Currently applicants for asylum are not required to pay a filing fee to USCIS in order to submit an application for asylum, nor are they required to pay a filing fee for their first work permit application. However, they are not allowed to file an application for a work permit until their applications for asylum have been pending for 150 days,

MARIJUANA FOR NON-CITIZENS: IT IS NOT WORTH THE RISK

April 22, 2019|Contributed by: Alexander D. McShiras, Esq.

Under federal law, it has long been illegal to possess, purchase, sell, or use marijuana. Over the past 6 years, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. This is causing confusion and havoc in the immigrant community. The Trump administration has made it a priority to punish anyone with even a tangential relationship to the marijuana industry.
Today, USCIS made a formal revision to their field manual that prohibits a finding of good moral character for any person who cannot prove that they did not commit a controlled substance offense (including marijuana) during the statutory period (usually five years before submitting your application).

FOIA Results: EOIR’s “Acceptance Guidelines for Notices to Appear”

April 16, 2019|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

On December 21, 2018, EOIR Director McHenry published PM 19-08, “Acceptance of Notices to Appear and Use of the Interactive Scheduling System.” That memo instructed immigration courts to “reject any NTA in which the time or date of the scheduled hearing is facially incorrect—e.g. a hearing scheduled on a weekend or holiday or at a time when the court is not open.”
Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we requested supplemental guidance on when immigration courts were supposed to reject NTAs as facially incorrect.

Trump’s Threat to Close the Southern Border

April 2, 2019|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

President Trump has threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border as early as this week if Mexico does not do more to control migrants coming across into the U.S. without authorization. His threat describes two different situations, though. Trump wants to stop all individuals from crossing the border without authorization, but the only way he can realistically close the border is to close the ports of entry where individuals either cross with visas or other authorization or come to the port of entry to seek asylum,

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