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Legal Victory Brings Hope to Asylum Seekers Turned Away at the Border

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Asylum seekers got a major win in a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) illegal policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. In Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a federal judge decided that the case may proceed as a class action. This decision means that the named plaintiffs—14 individuals,

 

Asylum seekers got a major win in a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) illegal policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. In Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a federal judge decided that the case may proceed as a class action.

This decision means that the named plaintiffs—14 individuals and an organization that assists asylum seekers—can seek relief for both themselves and the thousands of asylum seekers that have been turned away since 2016 or will be turned away in the future. In two ports of entry alone, over 57,640 asylum seekers were turned back in 2018 and 2019.

Asylum seekers’ victory in this case is a welcome development in the face of an otherwise grim situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Expelling Asylum Seekers From the Border

The Trump administration has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to impose a near-complete shutdown of the U.S.-Mexico border. At the same time, the administration has rapidly “expelled” thousands of unaccompanied minors in the name of public health, even when they test negative for COVID-19.

Over 105,000 adults and children have been expelled through July. Hundreds of those who were not expelled have been sent back to Mexico to wait an unknown period of time for their U.S. immigration court hearings under the indefinitely-suspended “Migrant Protection Protocols.”

Metering Asylum Seekers in Mexico

Since 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has turned back asylum seekers at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border with a combination of lies, coercion, physical force, and obstruction, and its “metering” policy.

Under the metering policy, CBP officers claim that ports are “full,” forcing asylum seekers to put their names on waitlists and spend months in dangerous conditions in Mexico.

Metering is one of several current policies that collectively make it nearly impossible to access the asylum process and place people’s lives in danger.

Unlike asylum seekers subject to other policies, CBP officers do not acknowledge asylum seekers’ claims for protection at all under metering. This leaves them in legal limbo and puts them in physical, financial, and emotional distress in Mexico.

Where the Al Otro Lado v. Wolf Case Leaves Asylum Seekers

In the recent decision in Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, the federal judge recognized that plaintiffs’ evidence demonstrates that CBP’s different methods of turning back asylum seekers were all part of an “overarching policy” that furthers the “administration’s objection of restricting asylum access.”

Notably, this decision will not affect those individuals who are being rapidly “expelled” at the border. When the expulsion policy ends, either by court order or a new administration, asylum seekers who get turned away will be for the first time part of a class action lawsuit seeking to ensure their right to seek protection.

Last week’s order is an important step forward in the fight to ensure that the United States continues to be a nation that welcomes asylum seekers.

Source: Legal Victory Brings Hope to Asylum Seekers Turned Away at the Border

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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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