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Coalition Sues DHS Over USCIS Fee Rule

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ILRC, Aug. 21, 2020 “The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) today announced it had joined a coalition of 8 of the nation’s leading immigrants’ rights organizations in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Kenneth Cuccinelli over DHS’s new Fee Rule,

ILRC, Aug. 21, 2020 “The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) today announced it had joined a coalition of 8 of the nation’s leading immigrants’ rights organizations in filing a lawsuit against the

Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

(USCIS), and Kenneth Cuccinelli over DHS’s new Fee Rule increasing application fees for immigration benefits, including citizenship and asylum.

The coalition is seeking a nationwide injunction of the rule to prevent it from going into effect October 2, 2020.
In their lawsuit, the coalition noted that DHS’s new Fee Rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is contrary to law, and constitutes arbitrary and capricious agency action.
The Rule raises application fees for many essential immigration benefits by 30 to 266 percent, while eliminating most fee waivers for qualifying low income immigrants.
DHS justified the rule in part based on what it claims are the costs of processing applications. But during the notice and comment period, many criticized DHS for failing to explain how it calculated its skyrocketing costs and burned through ample cash reserves it had on hand just a few years ago.
“With DHS’s new Fee Rule, the Trump administration has demonstrated its willingness to disregard the rule of law in pursuit of its anti-immigrant and xenophobic agenda,” said Melissa Rodgers, Director of Programs for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center .
By failing to address the rule’s obviously flawed revenue modeling projections, the Trump administration has not only undercut its own legal rationale for finalizing the rule, it has contradicted USCIS’ own leaderships’ statements to Congress about the financial condition of the agency.
Once again, the historic racism and bigotry of this administration is matched only by its staggering incompetence. DHS’s Fee Rule has been widely condemned for its exclusionary impact on vulnerable immigrant families, and particularly people of color.
By raising naturalization fees by an unprecedented 83 percent, DHS has made the cost of obtaining citizenship prohibitively high for millions of eligible permanent residents, effectively imposing the United States’ first ever wealth test for citizenship.
Through establishing the nation’s first-ever fee for asylum seekers, the Trump administration has also made the United States just one of four countries in the world to impose such a fee on people fleeing dangerous situations such as war or political persecution.
In their lawsuit, the coalition noted that the Immigration and Nationality Act prioritizes family unity and diversity. By deliberately making the cost of securing essential immigration benefits unobtainable for millions of immigrant families, the Trump administration’s policy makes family separation inevitable, and violates statutory and constitutional law.
The coalition’s lawsuit also noted that neither Kevin McAleenan nor Chad Wolf, who is currently serving as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, had valid authority to propose or promulgate the Rule under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA).
This makes the rule unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act. On Friday, August 14 the Government Accountability Office issued a decision confirming that Acting Secretaries Wolf and McAleenan were invalidly appointed to their positions.
The coalition argues that their invalid appointments render the Fee Rule void and without effect.”

Source: Blog Post: Coalition Sues DHS Over USCIS Fee Rule

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BREAKING

DOL And DHS Interim Final Rules Halted By Court Order

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Supreme court of california main court house

As noted on Mondaq.com, written by Cheryl J. Gardner , Jason Burritt and Michelle Gergerian  of Seyfarth Shaw LLP

and on this direct link: https://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/employee-rights-labour-relations/1012618/court-order-halts-dol-and-dhs-interim-final-rules

On December 1, 2020, a U.S. Federal District Court in California set aside the two Interim Final Rules announced in October by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).

The DOL rule, which took effect on October 8, 2020, significantly increased prevailing wage levels for H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 programs and the permanent labor certification (PERM) program.

The DHS rule was scheduled to take effect on December 7, 2020 and would have placed further restrictions on the H-1B program, including in particular narrowing the definition of “specialty occupation.”

The Court Order, effective immediately, found that the agencies did not show good cause in bypassing the notice and comment period, required by the Administrative Procedures Act.

For more information, again here’s the direct link:  https://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/employee-rights-labour-relations/1012618/court-order-halts-dol-and-dhs-interim-final-rules

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Federal appeals court overturns ban against immigration arrests at Massachusetts courthouses

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second asylum ban ends

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Tuesday overturned a ban prohibiting US immigration authorities from arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses in Massachusetts. In 2018, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formalized a policy of attempting to arrest undocumented immigrants when they appeared at state courthouses for judicial,

 

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Tuesday overturned a ban prohibiting US immigration authorities from arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses in Massachusetts.

In 2018, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formalized a policy of attempting to arrest undocumented immigrants when they appeared at state courthouses for judicial proceedings. Two Massachusetts district attorneys, the public defender’s office and a non-profit immigrant advocacy organization filed a lawsuit against ICE and asked for a preliminary injunction against the practice. They claimed that ICE was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and lacked authority to make civil arrests at courts. The district court agreed, and granted an injunction last year.

At issue is a claim that the INA implicitly incorporates a common law privilege that protects those attending court from being subject to civil arrest. While nothing in the text of the INA prohibits these types of courthouse arrests, the plaintiffs argued that the law must be read in light of the nonderogation canon, a method of statutory construction that holds that courts must assume Congress is aware of long-standing common law principles and, absent express language to the contrary, intends to keep them.

Judge Bruce Selya wrote Tuesday that “the nonderogation canon does not give courts carte blanche to read a grab bag of common law rules into federal statutes simply to effectuate what those courts may perceive as good policy.” The circuit court held that the nonderogation canon applies if the facts of the common law rule and the statute in question are sufficiently analogous. The common law prohibited civil arrests at court by private litigants, while here the arrests are being carried out by a government agency. The panel vacated the preliminary injunction and remanded the matter back to the district court.

Rachael Rollins, district attorney for Suffolk County and one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement that “this fight is far from over” and that the plaintiffs “are absolutely on the right side of justice here.”

The post Federal appeals court overturns ban against immigration arrests at Massachusetts courthouses appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

Source: Federal appeals court overturns ban against immigration arrests at Massachusetts courthouses

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Searching for Hope Among the Ruins of Our Asylum System

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IMMIGRATION REFORM NEWS ASYLUM IMMIGRANT CARAVAN

If you feel our asylum laws have been gutted, that our nation’s protections for those fleeing persecution and violence have been systematically dismantled, and that the administration is using the façade of health concerns during a pandemic to make it worse, you are not alone. You are not alone in your dread of the next,

If you feel our asylum laws have been gutted, that our nation’s protections for those fleeing persecution and violence have been systematically dismantled, and that the administration is using the façade of health concerns during a pandemic to make it worse, you are not alone.

You are not alone in your dread of the next case certified to the Attorney General, the next BIA published decision, the next proposed rule, the next executive order, the next policy change…and the ensuing scramble to understand how it impacts your clients who have been waiting in the backlog for months or years. You are not alone in feeling like you just can’t keep up with it all.

You are not alone in the justified outrage at how children and families have been treated by the administration. You are not alone in feeling ashamed by the way this country now treats those seeking protection at our borders.

You are not alone in feeling like every immigration court hearing is like pushing back against an ocean of injustice; there is no due process, no fundamental fairness for asylum seekers anymore.

You are not alone in sometimes, perhaps even often, feeling hopeless.

But, you are not alone. There are thousands of others working on these issues, fighting for what’s right. We are a regiment of seasoned asylum practitioners who know the ins and outs of this complex area of law and how to practice it effectively. We are the newcomers to asylum law who may feel uncertain but who know deep in our souls that fighting these battles is what we are called to do. We are the lawyers who take on pro bono asylum cases even when that requires preparing witnesses for their testimony while simultaneously entertaining our toddlers because our offices are now our dining room tables.

We are in this together, and that is what makes me feel inspired and determined, rather than hopeless.

Serving as chair of the upcoming AILA Virtual Asylum Conference and planning the program is one way that I’ve been reminded that we’re not alone, that we are part of a community of talented, passionate attorneys still fighting to keep asylum alive.  Join me as we lay out the sweeping policy changes to the U.S. asylum system and the ever higher hurdles for asylum seekers and their advocates that the administration has implemented. Join me as we work through where litigation and advocacy efforts to combat the administration’s changes stand. Join me in fighting for asylum seekers in this country (and supporting each other in those efforts!). I promise you that you will leave this virtual conference with a solid understanding of where things stand and what that means for your clients, as well as expert guidance on new strategies to employ at the border and in the immigration courts as we continue to fight for asylum seekers and the soul of our nation.

I know this is a tough fight to keep up. I know you feel tired. But we can lift each other up, help each other succeed, and save our clients’ lives.

Source: Searching for Hope Among the Ruins of Our Asylum System

Photo by Adam Smotkin on Unsplash

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