Articles Posted in Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Stop!.jpgUndocumented immigrants who believe they may qualify for the new DREAM deferred action immigration policy recently announced by the Obama Administration should beware of notario scams. “Notarios” are so-called immigration experts who may use the recently announced deferred action plan as an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting foreign nationals by deceiving them into paying expensive fees for their assistance.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on June 15 of the new DREAM Deferred Action Process for Young People policy that would allow young undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States and get work authorization if they meet certain criteria. Secretary Napolitano said that the USCIS would have 60 days to create an application process to accept requests, and she urged people not to submit requests yet until a process is ready. There is no process set up at the present time Continue reading

360px-Curly3.jpgImmigrants and advocates for immigrants’ employment rights have had several victories in recent weeks, with many challenges remaining. First, the Obama administration announced a policy of “deferred action” for young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children and meet certain criteria for education or military service. Qualifying immigrants may obtain work authorization if the government approves an application for deferred action. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Arizona v. United States last week overturning several employment provisions in Arizona’s immigration law. One provision struck down by the court would have made it a state crime for an immigrant to work without authorization. The court held that this infringed on the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration. Now, a recent study suggests that the state of Ohio lags behind the rest of the country in its immigrant workforce, but that the state could benefit from more immigration. At the same time, some surveys suggest that public opinion is turning against further immigration.

A recent survey of immigration and employment statistics by the Dayton Daily News reportedly found that the rate of growth of immigrant groups in Ohio is slower than in other states. The rate of growth appears explosive over the past twenty years, with the total number of immigrant workers in the state doubling and an increase of over sixty percent in the number of immigrants owning small businesses. The rate of growth of the immigrant worker population, however, places Ohio in forty-second place nationally. Between 1990 and 2010, immigrant workers went from 2.5 percent of Ohio’s workforce to 4.7 percent, but the national average is sixteen percent. In terms of immigrant small business owners, Ohio’s growth rate puts it in thirty-seventh place among the thirty-nine states with available data.
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477966_commerce_acts_books.jpgMany undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children have graduated from US law schools, passed bar exams, and are seeking to practice law in the US as attorneys. Yet because they are undocumented immigrants, they are forbidden by the state bars from being admitted as attorneys to legally practice law.

Sergio Garcia was brought to the United States illegally by his parents when he was just a baby. He has since graduated from Cal Northern School of Law and passed the California state bar exam in 2009. The state bar told him he was ineligible to join the state bar because he was in the country illegally. The California Supreme Court is currently reviewing Garcia’s case to decide whether the state bar must admit him as an attorney.
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1038827_u_s__supreme_court_1.jpgUndocumented immigrants should be breathing a sigh of relief after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on the controversial Arizona immigration law, yet news media have been bombarding us with news stories that would probably scare them instead.

The Court issued its decision last Monday about the four-part Arizona law, in which the Court struck down the strongest three parts of the law and left only one part standing, the weakest part. Yet this does not seem to be what the news media is reporting. Many of these stories are incorrectly reporting the Court’s decision for what may be political purposes to get Latino voters riled up in an election year.
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382px-Flag_map_of_Indiana.svg.pngThe ink is still drying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, where the Court invalidated several parts of the law while upholding one of the challenged provisions. The decision is already having an impact around the country. An immigration law passed in Indiana in 2011, and modeled on Arizona’s law, is currently the subject of federal litigation. The Indiana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued on behalf of three immigrants challenging the law’s constitutionality. Much like in Arizona, a judge enjoined enforcement of parts of the law last year.

The decision in Arizona v. United States struck down three of the four challenged provisions in Arizona’s law. It affirmed the constitutionality of the provision requiring police to inquire into a person’s immigration status during a legal stop if they have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is undocumented. The Court put limitations on how the state may enforce the provision, holding, for example, that police cannot engage in racial profiling or otherwise violate the equal protection provisions of the Constitution. Whether the state will abide by that part of the ruling remains to be seen.
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flickr-3430916640-original_mod.jpgIn what both major sides of the national immigration debate are calling a victory, the Supreme Court ruled on the case challenging Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The court struck down three of the four challenged provisions, but affirmed the constitutionality of the provision requiring state and local law enforcement to investigate a person’s immigration status if, during a legal stop, the officer has probable to cause to suspect that the person lacks legal status. This provision, along with the other three, raised questions about whether the state was infringing on areas of federal government authority. In striking down three of the questionable provisions of the law, the Supreme Court has mostly affirmed that the federal government has authority over matters pertaining to immigration law and policy. The provision that they upheld may cause problems for immigrants, immigration attorneys, and law enforcement for some time.

The Obama administration’s lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of Arizona’s SB 1070, the comprehensive immigration law it passed in the summer of 2010. The provisions of the law reviewed by the Supreme Court have never gone into effect because of various court orders. The four challenged provisions would:
– Make it a state crime for an undocumented immigrant to seek employment;
– Make it a state crime for any immigrant to not carry immigration documents;
– Allow police to arrest, without a warrant, someone they believe to have committed an offense that would render them deportable under federal immigration law; and – Require police to investigate suspects’ immigration status.
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320px-White_House_from_South.jpgThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new policy towards certain undocumented immigrants, giving them an opportunity to obtain employment authorization and relief from deportation. The policy addresses many of the benefits that would have been available to young immigrants under the DREAM Act,. Critics say the policy oversteps the executive branch’s authority, while supporters say it is a vital step in creating a sensible immigration system and improving the economy. The policy only exists at the executive level, enacted through “prosecutorial discretion.” A future administration, or even this one, could change the policy again with little public input. It is a step in the right direction for thousands of immigrants, but it may not be a long-lasting solution.

The new policy, announced on June 15, 2012, creates a process of “deferred action” for qualifying immigrants. This means that, for so long as individual immigrants meet the policy’s criteria, the government will not seek to deport them. Deferrals are available for two-year periods, with possible renewal. People receiving deferrals may also obtain employment authorization during the deferral period. The policy could affect up to 800,000 immigrants.
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1375670_54250678.jpgThe United States Department of Justice (DOJ), through its Civil Rights Division, filed a federal lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in Arizona and its sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Arpaio and the MCSO have been the subject of controversy for years, with numerous allegations of blatant racial profiling against Latinos, mistreatment Latinos in MCSO custody, harassment of the office’s critics, and more.

This is far from the first legal action against Arpaio and the MCSO, but it is the first large-scale civil rights lawsuit brought by the federal government. The alleged tactics of the MCSO have a profound impact on immigrant communities in Arizona, regardless of whether they have documented immigration status, which affects immigrants around the nation.
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253947_buried_alive.jpgAttorneys who represent foreign national clients facing deportation may file a Freedom of Information Act request in order to obtain documentation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that may be critical to preparing a defense. The problem is that one never knows when a FOIA request will be answered. It can be difficult to competently formulate a defense without having access to all the evidence. FOIA requests have taken so long to get through the backlog, in some cases, that the request is not answered until long after the person has been deported.

The law requires federal agencies to respond to FOIA requests within 20 days, and this may be extended to 30 days under unusual circumstances. The USCIS says that it responds to FOIA requests on a first-in first-out basis. It gets about 100,000 FOIA requests annually and has reduced the backlog within the last five years. However, delays still do exist.
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