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Protesters In Oregon Impede Immigration Enforcement

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It is expected that sanctuary jurisdictions will impede immigration enforcement officers’ efforts to arrest or detain criminal aliens.  However, law enforcement officials do not generally expect social justice warriors to engage in a standoff to try to prevent the officials from doing their jobs.  The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) mission is to protect,

It is expected that sanctuary jurisdictions will impede immigration enforcement officers’ efforts to arrest or detain criminal aliens.  However, law enforcement officials do not generally expect social justice warriors to engage in a standoff to try to prevent the officials from doing their jobs.  The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) mission is to protect America from cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threatens national security and public safety. Unfortunately, protesters in Bend, Oregon, are taking extreme measures to try and keep them from reaching that goal.

Hundreds of protesters surrounded an unmarked ICE bus for about 12 hours on July 12 to prevent immigration officials from deporting two criminal aliens, Josué Arturo Cruz Sanchez and Marco Zeferino.  After additional federal officers arrived at the scene, the criminal aliens were removed from the bus and taken to a facility in Tacoma, Washington.

It appears that some Oregonians believe their status as a sanctuary state negates ICE’s duty to enforce immigration laws in the state. Central Oregon Peacekeepers President Luke Richter claimed, “If they’re going to take people from a sanctuary city, they need to have proper documentation of that.” As the first sanctuary state in the nation, Oregon has not allowed law enforcement to cooperate with immigration officials since 1987.  In 2017, it expanded its law to make it applicable to all state and local officials, in addition to making it even more difficult for law enforcement officers to work with ICE.  State leaders continue to try to obstruct immigration enforcement, and in 2019, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a ruling that ICE could not make arrests in Oregon courthouses or their “environs.”

However, Oregon’s sanctuary status will not keep ICE from enforcing immigration laws and performing its essential job of protecting the American public. The federal Immigration and Nationality Act gives ICE and other federal immigration agencies the authority to make immigration arrests,  with or without warrants, anywhere in the country.

A sanctuary jurisdiction does, nonetheless, make it much more dangerous for ICE agents.  By not cooperating with ICE, or obstructing the agency’s lawful enforcement activities, it places officer safety and the public at risk by forcing ICE to arrest criminal aliens in the communities, instead of in jails where they would not be armed or able to flee.

Both Sanchez and Zeferino were targeted by ICE because they had previous criminal convictions.  According to Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, “the law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon, was part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street.”

He further added, “While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties. ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”

While Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz had been alerted that ICE would be conducting enforcement activity in the area, his office was not provided details. “The Bend police are not involved with ICE operations,” Police Chief Krantz said, “We do not use funds or personnel or equipment to enforce federal immigration laws or to detain people based on immigration status. This is consistent with Oregon law and department policies.” According to ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman, ICE does not openly discuss planned operations to help ensure officer safety.

While the protest was happening, Innovation Lab filed an emergency motion in federal court in an attempt to prevent ICE from transporting the criminal aliens to a detention facility outside of the state.  U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut denied the request to keep Sanchez and Zeferino in Oregon, ruling, “The plaintiff has not satisfied its burden to show that defendants did something wrong, or even out of the ordinary honestly. … I wouldn’t typically micromanage where they would take individual undocumented immigrants.” She did, however, set a hearing date for the first week in September for the other issues presented.

Unsurprisingly Governor Kate Brown opposed the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws saying, “I am appalled by the callous actions of the Trump Administration in Bend to target immigrant communities and forcefully disperse a crowd of concerned community members and clergy who for hours held the line against injustice.” Obviously the laws of United States (or even the state of Oregon, given what is going on in Portland) mean little to the highest elected official in the state when pushing her political agenda.

The incident in Bend is not an isolated one and it appears to be a growing movement by open-borders advocates.  In July 2019, in Tennessee, an alien’s neighbors prevented ICE from detaining him by surrounding his car and bringing him supplies to stay inside.  These standoffs with ICE are likely to continue as open-borders advocates give instructions to those illegally in the country on what to do if ICE tries to detain them.

Source: Protesters In Oregon Impede Immigration Enforcement

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The Green Card Process Through the Lens of a DMV Visit

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As an immigration attorney, I try to provide clients with a basic, yet insightful, understanding of various aspects of a complex immigration system. It’s not always easy, but I often find analogies to something commonplace can be helpful.  One analogy I’ve found to work well to explain the green card process beyond describing its mere,

As an immigration attorney, I try to provide clients with a basic, yet insightful, understanding of various aspects of a complex immigration system. It’s not always easy, but I often find analogies to something commonplace can be helpful.  One analogy I’ve found to work well to explain the green card process beyond describing its mere sequence of form filings likens the process to a visit to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

In my practice area of business immigration law, green card processes are mostly employment-based and involve the successive filing of a labor certification application, immigrant petition, and adjustment of status application (with the first not always required and the latter two sometimes eligible for concurrent filing). So I’ll refer to these types of filings in describing the analogy here.  But variations of the analogy may be equally applicable to other types of green card processes, such as those in which the aspiring permanent resident will apply for an immigrant visa overseas rather than adjustment of status within the United States, as well as those based on family relationships and those available to asylees and refugees.

The trappings of a visit to the DMV, no matter the state, may be familiar to you: the issuance of a waiting number determining your place in a queue, followed by a long wait for your number to be called at one of several counters to file required paperwork, followed yet again by a lengthy wait for your paperwork to be processed, and eventually – hopefully – approved without issue.  The counter at which you’ll be called, and the length of the corresponding queue (or maybe in some fortunate instances, the absence of one altogether), often depends on specific factors, such as the type of service you’re seeking.

Just as you’re issued a waiting number upon entry into a DMV office, aspiring permanent residents are issued a priority date when the first major filing in their green card process (either the labor certification application or immigrant petition) is submitted.  The priority date is the date this first filing is submitted and determines, once the immigrant petition is approved, the aspiring permanent resident’s place in any existing queue to apply for adjustment of status.

Similar to how you wait at the DMV for your number to be called to file your paperwork at the appropriate counter, aspiring permanent residents face varying wait times for their priority date to be “called” at a designated “counter” to apply for adjustment of status.  The “counter” in the green card process at which aspiring permanent residents must apply for adjustment of status is based on a combination of two main factors: their immigrant classification (which, when speaking with clients, I refer to as their “green card category”) and their country of chargeability (which I refer to as their country of birth).  Aside from some significant exceptions outside of the employment-based green card process,[1] the law limits the supply of green cards available each fiscal year.  Because the law allocates this limited supply based on a combination of both immigrant classification and country of chargeability, queues form at “counters” where the demand for green cards exceeds the available supply.  And the more severely demand exceeds supply, the longer the queue will be. This analogy helps to show why EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in India and China are often confronted with waits lasting many years for their priority date to be “called” at their designated counters,[2] while EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in most other countries often face no such queue.  In technical terms, the existence of a queue at a given “counter” means the availability of green cards associated with that counter’s classification and chargeability combination is “retrogressed.”  If there’s no queue, green card availability at that counter is “current.”

A visit to the DMV often entails a wait of several hours sitting and keeping watch of your designated counter at it serves the visitors who arrived before you until your own number is finally called.  Likewise, many aspiring permanent residents monitor the often plodding, month-to-month movement of “cut-off dates” in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ monthly Visa Bulletins for the designated “counter” at which they must apply for adjustment of status.[3]  The Visa Bulletin for a given month contains various charts showing whether a queue for filing an adjustment of status application exists for any classification and chargeability combination, and if so, how long the queue is.  Combinations for which there is no queue are assigned a “C” notation, indicating that green card availability is current and that the adjustment of status application can thus be filed at any time that month, including in concurrence with an immigrant petition if it has not already been approved, and assuming any prerequisite labor certification has been granted. Combinations for which there is a queue, and for which green card availability is thus retrogressed, are denoted by a “cut-off date,” with older dates reflecting longer queues.  Aspiring permanent residents seeking to adjust status at a “counter” at which green card availability is retrogressed can track their place in the queue by comparing their priority date with the applicable cut-off date each month.  Priority dates that fall before the applicable cut-off date in a given month are those that have been “called,” indicating that much like counters at which green card availability is current, an adjustment of status application can be filed at any time that month, including in concurrence with an immigrant petition if it has not already been approved, and assuming again that any prerequisite labor certification has been granted.

Like processing of paperwork filed at a counter at the DMV, processing of an adjustment of status application may take a long time.  But eventually – hopefully – the application is approved without issue.  And unlike a visit to the DMV, having qualified counsel during the green card process can make all the difference in one’s chance of success.

[1] For example, “immediate relatives” (spouses and children of US citizens, and parents of US citizens if the citizen is at least 21 years old) are exempt from annual numerical limits on green card availability. INA 201(b)(2)(A)(i).
[2] Aspiring permanent residents for whom the queue for applying for adjustment of status involves a wait of several years, such as EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in India and China, commonly change jobs or employers in the course of their wait. Such a change can require a restart of the green card process since employment-based green card processes are generally job and employer specific.  But to allow aspiring permanents residents who change jobs or employers to keep their place in queue, the law permits them to retain their priority date under certain conditions if they are the beneficiary of a previously approved EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant petition, and likewise become the beneficiary of an approved EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant petition based on their new job or employer. 8 CFR 204.5(e). 
[3] US Citizenship and Immigration Service also publishes monthly updates indicating whether to use the Visa Bulletin’s Dates for Filing charts or its Final Action Dates charts, to determine whether an adjustment of status application may be filed.

Source: The Green Card Process Through the Lens of a DMV Visit

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