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Immigration Blog

Latest DACA Updates: Federal Judge Prohibits Approval of New DACA Requests

July 22, 2021|Contributed by: Luke Niermann

On July 16, 2021, a federal district court judge in Texas, Judge Andrew Hanen, ruled that DACA is illegal, finding that it exceeds the power that Congress has delegated to the executive branch. Judge Hanen stated that there were a number of substantive flaws with the program, and that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when the Department of Homeland Security did not go through a process called “notice and comment rulemaking” when it first instituted the program in 2012.

Department of State and Department of Homeland Security Expand Central American Minors Program

June 29, 2021|Contributed by: Ryland Warner

On June 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement expanding access to the Central American Minors Program (“CAM Program”).
The CAM Program was initially established in 2014 to reunite children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with their parents or legal guardians in the United States. The children would be granted refugee status or temporary parole into the United States. In order to be eligible for the program,

Supreme Court: Crimes Committed Recklessly Not Crimes of Violence

June 24, 2021|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

On June 10, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Borden v. United States, ruling that a criminal offense with a reckless mental state does not qualify as a “violent felony.”  While Borden is not an immigration case, it has major immigration applications.
In 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that a recklessly committed offense could be classified as a crime of violence in United States v. Bettcher, 911 F.3d 1040 (10th Cir.

DHS, DOL Issue Joint Rule Increasing H-2B Visa Cap

May 27, 2021|Contributed by: Kirby Gamblin Joseph, Esq.

Contributed by Kirby Joseph, Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers
The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor (DOL) published a joint temporary final rule making available an additional 22,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural guest worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2021 “to employers who are likely to suffer irreparable harm without these additional workers.” Of the supplemental visas, 6,000 are reserved for workers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala (Northern Triangle).
The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 16,000 visas available only to returning H-2B workers from one of the last three fiscal years (FY 2018,

DHS Withdraws Proposed Rule Expanding Biometrics Collection and Use

May 21, 2021|Contributed by: Ryland Warner

On May 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security withdrew a proposed rule titled “Collection and Use of Biometrics by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” This proposed rule would have greatly expanded the personal data collected for immigration benefits, increasing processing times and costs.
USCIS has the general authority to require and collect biometric information from any applicant, petitioner, sponsor, or beneficiary over the age of 14. The current practice involves collecting fingerprints and photographs,

DHS Announces Closure of Two Detention Facilities

May 21, 2021|Contributed by: Luke Niermann

On May 20, 2021, Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, directed ICE to immediately discontinue the use of an immigration detention facility in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts and prepare to discontinue the use of another detention facility in Ocilla, Georgia. Both facilities have been at the center of controversy in recent months. At the Massachusetts facility, the Massachusetts Attorney General found the sheriff’s office used excessive force, including flash-bang grenades, pepper-ball launchers,

Supreme Court Ruling Opens Eligibility to Relief in Removal Proceedings

April 29, 2021|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Niz-Chavez v. Garland, ruling that where a Notice to Appear does not contain all information required by statute, including the date and time of the initial hearing, it does not trigger the stop-time rule, even when a subsequent notice gives the time and date of the hearing.  This ruling will ensure that tens of thousands of noncitizens in removal proceedings can apply to stay in the United States. 

Changing Tides: ICE & CBP Will Limit Arrests at Courthouses & Stop Using Certain Harmful Language When Referring to Immigrants in the United States

April 29, 2021|Contributed by: Jennifer Howard

On April 27, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS; Department) announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents will no longer be allowed to arrest people in or near courthouses for most immigration violations. This marks a drastic change in policy and attitude from the Department, as the DHS Secretary now explicitly recognizes the “chilling effect” that “civil immigration arrests at courthouses during the prior administration had … on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement.”
Colorado already had a law in place,

USCIS to Return to Policy Granting Deference to Previous Adjudications

April 28, 2021|Contributed by: Zachary New

One of President Biden’s first executive orders was issued February 2nd, 2021, entitle “Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.”  Its goals and directives reflected its title – to identify and remove barriers that impede access to immigration benefits.  Beyond requests for comments from the public on what barriers exist and need to be removed, we have not seen too much in the way of sweeping reform as a result of this order – that is until the announcement on April 27,

ICE Rescinds Existing Fines for Failure to Depart, Will Not Issue Further Fines

April 27, 2021|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

On April 23, the Department of Homeland Security announced the recission of civil penalties for noncitizens who had failed to depart the United States under an order of removal.
Beginning in 2018, ICE had issued fines, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars, to certain noncitizens in the United States with active orders of removal.  While ICE stated that the fines were being assessed on a case-by-case basis, they seemed to be largely targeted at individuals who had sought protection in sanctuary churches.

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