LAC News Room
The Legal Action Center puts out press releases about ongoing developments in immigration law, posts on the Immigration Impact blog, the Immigration Slip Opinion blog, and we also compile links to news clips that feature Legal Action Center staff.
LAC Releases Practice Advisory on Moncrieffe v. Holder and its Implications for Drug Charges and Other Issues Involving the Categorical Approach
May 3, 2013: The LAC announces a new practice advisory, Moncrieffe v. Holder: Implications for Drug Charges and Other Issues Involving the Categorical Approach. This practice advisory discusses the Supreme Court's holding on Moncrieffe v. Holder, the decision’s potentially broader implications, strategies for representing noncitizen criminal defendants, and steps that lawyers should take immediately in pending or already concluded removal proceedings affected by Moncrieffe. Read More...
LAC Issues Practice Advisory on Reinstatement of Removal
April 30, 2013: The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the issuance of a new practice advisory, Reinstatement of Removal. This Practice Advisory provides an overview of the reinstatement statute and implementing regulations. It also addresses federal court review of reinstatement orders and potential arguments to challenge the legality of reinstatement orders, including challenges to the underlying removal order. Read More...
Eleventh Circuit Holds that Filing Limitations on Motions to Reopen Are Subject to Equitable Tolling
April 23, 2013: Over the last two weeks, the Eleventh Circuit issued two decisions holding that the time and numerical limitations on motions to reopen are subject to equitable tolling. Noncitizens ordered removed in the Eleventh Circuit now may seek, under certain circumstances, to reopen their cases even if they already have filed a motion to reopen or the applicable deadline for filing motions has passed. Read More...
Agreement Reached in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers
April 15, 2013: The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. If approved by a federal judge, this agreement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases. Read More...
Two Systems of Justice: How the Immigration System Falls Short of American Ideals of Justice
March 19, 2013: The American Immigration Council issued Two Systems of Justice: How the Immigration System Falls Short of American Ideals of Justice. This new report explores how the justice system for immigrants falls far short of the American values of due process and fundamental fairness. In fact, the immigration system lacks nearly all the procedural safeguards we expect in the U.S. criminal justice system. Read More...
LAC Files Complaints Against the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Alleging a Pattern of Abuse
March 13, 2013: The Legal Action Center and an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic announce the filing of complaints targeting abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across the country. Ten damages cases have been filed alleging unlawful CBP conduct in northern and southern border states. These cases are the latest illustrations of an ongoing pattern of rampant misconduct against both immigrants and U.S. citizens in these states. Read More...
LAC Releases Two Practice Advisories Relating to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
January 30, 2013: The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to release two new practice advisories relating to issues faced by DACA applicants. "Brief, Casual and Innocent" Absences from the United States discusses the “brief, casual and innocent” standard under existing case law and Inspection and Entry at a Port of EntryL Where is There an Admission? discusses entries in three common situations. Read More...
LAC Issues Practice Advisory on Returning to the United States After Prevailing in Litigation; Challenges “Departure Bar” in the First Circuit
January 8, 2013: The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the issuance of a new practice advisory, Return to the United States After Prevailing on a Petition for Review or a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider. The practice advisory offers practical and legal advice for individuals seeking to return to the United States after they have won a petition for review or a motion to reopen or reconsider. Read More...
The American Immigration Council Welcomes Customs and Border Protection’s New Guidance on Interpretation
December 14, 2012: The American Immigration Council (AIC) welcomes U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) decision, announced on December 16th , to stop providing interpretation assistance to other law enforcement agencies. This decision, which is set forth in new agency guidance, reportedly directs CBP personnel to refer requests for language translation to a list of private regional and state interpreter associations. Read More...
Federal Judge Orders USCIS to Release Records on Access to Counsel
November 29, 2012: This week, a federal district court issued an opinion highly critical of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) handling of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by the American Immigration Council (AIC) for records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel. The Court ordered USCIS to turn over records that it previously had refused to produce. Read More...
AIC Challenges Denial of Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained Through Unlawful Police Conduct
November 28, 2012: the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center argued that local police violated the Fourth Amendment by unnecessarily prolonging an individual’s detention based solely on the suspicion that he was not lawfully present in the United States. Read More...
LAC Wins Release of H-1B Fraud Documents for AILA
November 19, 2012: USCIS released in full the four remaining contested documents in a FOIA lawsuit brought by the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) and Steptoe & Johnson LLP on behalf of AILA. The documents plainly describe - in more detail than documents previously released in this lawsuit - “fraud indicators” that result in greater scrutiny of certain H-1B applications. Read More...
American Immigration Council Commends Latest Ruling Allowing Immigration Judges to Consider Evidence of Hardship
November 13, 2012: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a unanimous ruling that will allow Immigration Judges to exercise discretion in cases involving lawful permanent residents (LPRs) whose removal would cause extreme hardship to family members in the United States. The ruling is the latest opinion from a federal appellate court to reject a contrary decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Read More...
LAC Issues Practice Advisory on Warrantless Arrests and the Timing of Right to Counsel Advisals
November 2, 2012: This practice advisory highlights flaws in the Matter of E-R-M-F- & A-S-M- decision and suggests strategies for challenging the BIA’s reading of § 287.3(c) and moving to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the regulation. Read More...
LAC Releases Updated Practice Advisory on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
October 25, 2012: This practice advisory incorporates recent DHS guidance regarding fraudulent Social Security numbers, required evidence, and travel considerations for individuals who are requesting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It also offers strategic advice for attorneys representing individuals who may qualify for DACA. Read More...
LAC Practice Advisory on Employment Authorization and Asylum: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Asylum Clock
October 17, 2012: This Practice Advisory provides an overview of the work authorization process for asylum applicants, addresses the operation of the “asylum clock,” which is used to track the 180-day waiting period during which an applicant cannot apply for work authorization, and discusses possible solutions to several common asylum clock problems. Read More...
Fifth Circuit Joins Other Courts in Holding That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States
October 1, 2012: Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the government’s ongoing attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking reopening and reconsideration of their cases from outside the United States. Ruling in two companion cases, the court found that the “departure bar”—a regulation barring noncitizens from pursuing their cases after departure or deportation— is unlawful. Read more...
Legal Action Center Welcomes Ninth Circuit’s Decision on Child Status Protection Act
September 28, 2012: An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of young adults who, due to long delays caused by visa backlogs, lost the opportunity to obtain their green cards before they turned 21. In accordance with arguments made in an amicus brief submitted by the Legal Action Center and the National Immigrant Justice Center, the court held that Congress specifically remedied this problem in the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) of 2002. Read more...
American Immigration Council Applauds Ruling Allowing Immigration Judges to Consider Evidence of Hardship
September 17, 2012: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a unanimous ruling that will allow immigration judges to exercise discretion in cases involving lawful permanent residents (LPRs) whose removal would cause extreme hardship to family members in the United States. The ruling marks the fourth opinion from a federal appellate court to reject a contrary decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Read more...
LAC Practice Advisory on Dent v. Holder and Obtaining Documents from the Government While in Removal Proceedings
June 13, 2012: This Practice Advisory discusses Dent v. Holder, requiring the government to turn over copies of documents in an A-file where removability is contested, and offers strategies for making document requests pursuant to the INA and due process. Read More...
Immigration Groups Seek Information on Customs and Border Protection’s “Translation” Activities in Northern Border States
June 4, 2012: Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The FOIA requests seek information regarding CBP policies on providing translation assistance to other law enforcement agencies and on participating in 911 dispatch activities. Read more...
AIC Reveals Government’s Interference with Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel
May 31, 2012: Today the LAC filed a lawsuit against ICE and DHS to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before ICE. In addition, the AIC published the report Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel that descripes restrictions on access to legal representation before DHS and offers recommendations designed to combat these harmful practices. Read more...
Seeking a Judicial Stay of Removal in the Court of Appeals
May 25, 2012: This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the courts of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who win their appeals. Read more...
Border Patrol Agents Abusing Role as Interpreters
May 1, 2012: Read this Immigration Impact blog about Border Patol agents along the northern border "assisting" local law enforcement officers as translators and participating in 911 dispatch activities. The results are condoning racial profiling and deterring immigrants from reporting crimes.
American Immigration Council Challenges BIA Decision Denying Miranda-like Warnings to Immigrants Under Arrest
April 23, 2012: On Friday, the American Immigration Council challenged a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruling that immigrants who are arrested without a warrant do not need to receive certain Miranda-like warnings before being interrogated. Read more...
Appellate Court Hears Arguments in Case Challenging DOMA, Bi-National Married Couples File New Suit
April 10, 2012: Read this Immigration Impact blog about two recent developments-- oral arguments in the court of appeals on the constitutionality of DOMA and a new lawsuit challenging DOMA in immigration cases-- that are bringing gay and lesbian couples one step closer to immigration equality.
Vartelas v. Holder: Implications for LPRs Who Take Brief Trips Abroad and Other Potential Favorable Impacts
April 5, 2012: This Practice Advisory describes the Court’s decision and offers strategies for LPRs who are affected by it. Of particularly note, some LPRs with final orders may want to consider filing motions to reconsider within 30 days of the Court’s March 28 decision. Read more...
Advocates File Suit Against DHS for Refusal to Disclose Records on Massive Immigration Enforcement Program
March 12, 2012: Last week, an alliance of national immigration advocacy organizations filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seeking to compel the release of documents concerning the agency’s Criminal Alien Program (CAP). Read more...
Northern, Southern Border Residents Unite in Detroit
Feb. 24, 2012: A few days ago I wrote a blog about life along the border since 9/11, calling it a “Constitution-free zone”—a term coined by the ACLU. Life in the “Zone”—defined as a 100-mile wide area that wraps around the external boundary of the United States—is like living in an occupied zone, border residents tell me. Where the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects Americans from arbitrary stops and searches, doesn’t always apply. Read more...
En Banc Court Reverses Adverse Holding, Says Immigrants Can Pursue Cases from Outside the United States
Jan. 30, 2012: Today, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking to reopen their cases from outside the United States. This is the seventh appellate court to find the “departure bar”—a regulation barring noncitizens from pursuing their cases after departure or deportation—unlawful and is a step forward in protecting the right to a fair immigration hearing. Read more...
It's Time to Improve Noncitizens' Access to Legal Counsel
Jan. 23, 2012: Read this Immigration Impact blog about USCIS immediate response to AILA and the American Immigration Council in changing to its policies to help ensure a meaningful role for lawyers in the immigration process.
USCIS Takes Steps to Improve Noncitizens' Access to Legal Counsel
Jan. 19, 2012: During its nine-year history, issues have arisen with respect to restrictions on counsel by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration agencies. Tuesday, in response to calls from the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued immediate, comprehensive changes to their policies to ensure an appropriate role for attorneys in the immigration process. Read more...
American Immigration Council and Partners Sue U.S. Immigration Agencies Over Asylum “Clock”
Dec. 20, 2011: Last week, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in federal court in Seattle. The lawsuit alleges widespread problems with the asylum “clock”—the system that the government uses to determine when immigrants with pending asylum applications become eligible to obtain work authorization in the United States. The class certification motion describes the nationwide impact of these policies. Read more . . .
Supreme Court Issues Favorable Decision on § 212(c) Relief: Practice Advisory for Assisting Those with Cases Affected by the Decision
Dec. 16, 2011: This Practice Advisory describes the Supreme Court’s decision in Judulang v. Holder, which rejected the BIA's "comparable grounds" test for § 212(c) relief, and offers strategies for lawful permanent residents and others who may be affected by it. Read more . . .
LAC Urges Fifth Circuit to Permit Removal Cases to Continue from Outside the United States
Dec. 15, 2011: The LAC, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), filed an amicus brief yesterday urging the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the departure bar, a regulation that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) interprets as barring it from reviewing cases after a person has left the United States. Read more . . .
Supreme Court to Weigh in on Injunctions against Arizona SB 1070
Dec. 12, 2011: Read this Immigration Impact blog about the Supreme Court announcing that they will have the final word on the validity of the injunctions entered shortly after Arizona SB 1070 was enacted last year.
LAC Issues Updated Practice Advisory on DHS’s Plan to Review Removal Cases for Prosecutorial Discretion
Dec. 12, 2011: This updated Practice Advisory addresses the implementation of DHS's prosecutorial discretion guidelines and provides detail about how DHS's new joint working group will determine low priority immigration cases. Read more . . .
New Practice Advisory on Representing Clients with Mental Competency Issues
Nov. 30, 2011: This Practice Advisory provides a detailed analysis of the BIA's precedent decision in Matter of M-A-M- and offers strategic advice on how to address issues that may arise in the context of representing noncitizens with mental competency issues. Read more . . .
New Asylum Clock Policies Provide No Significant Systemic Change
Nov. 21, 2011: Last week, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued new guidance addressing the “asylum clock.” While the new guidance provides some much-needed clarity, it ultimately fails to resolve more systemic problems. Read more . . .
Report Reveals Disturbing Truths Behind Border Patrol Transportation Raids
Nov. 16, 2011: Read this Immigration Impact blog about the Border Patrol scaling back raids on trains and buses near the northern border.
Lawsuits Filed Against Department of Homeland Security Seek Greater Transparency
Nov. 9, 2011: The LAC filed two lawsuits this week against DHS to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before USCIS and CBP. The LAC pursued disclosure of these records, as well as records from ICE, through FOIA requests filed in March 2010. To date, USCIS has failed to turn over any documents, and CBP has turned over only a few excerpts from its practice manuals. ICE has informed the LAC that it conducted a search for records, but that it is “unable to locate or identify any responsive records.” The LAC has filed an administrative appeal of ICE’s determination and will pursue litigation if necessary. Dorsey & Whitney LLP is co-counsel with the LAC on these FOIA cases. Read more . . .
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses…But Don’t Let Them Work?
Sept. 21, 2011: LAC Director Melissa Crow authored an Immigration Impact blog about the “Employment Authorization Document (EAD) asylum clock”— a clock that measures the number of days after an applicant files an asylum application before the applicant is eligible for work authorization. Read more . . .
LAC Issues Practice Advisory on DHS’s Plan to Review all Removal Cases for Prosecutorial Discretion
Sept. 9, 2011: The Legal Action Center is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory: “DHS Review of Low Priority Cases for Prosecutorial Discretion.” Read more . . .
Hoping They're 'Low Priority'
Aug. 29, 2011: The Los Angeles Times quotes Melissa Crow, director of the Legal Action Center, on her reaction to the Obama administration's release of prosecutorial discretion. She urged "caution and patience until more is known about the review process." Read More...
Will “Prosecutorial Discretion” Change Deportation Trend?
Aug. 23, 2011: The Obama Administration recently announced important changes to its current enforcement of immigration law. New guidelines on "prosecutorial discretion" grant law-enforcement agents the ability to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether an undocumented immigrant ought to be deported. Listen to Legal Action Center Director Melissa Crow on the new guidelines in a clip from KPBS Radio in San Diego.
DHS: Prioritizing Enforcement and Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion
Aug. 22, 2011: Today, the American Immigration Council hosted a briefing to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement last week that it would issue agency-wide guidance to make certain that prosecutorial discretion is exercised in a manner that ensures the agency's enforcement resources are used to remove those who pose the greatest risk to public safety. Read more . . .
Board of Immigration Appeals Guts Legal Protections for Immigrants Under Arrest
Aug. 15, 2011: The American Immigration Council strongly condemns last week’s ruling from the Board of Immigration Appeals holding that immigrants arrested without a warrant are not entitled to certain Miranda-like warnings prior to questioning by immigration officers. In a precedent decision, the Board held that noncitizens need not be informed of their right to counsel or warned that their statements can be used against them until after they have been placed in formal deportation proceedings. Read more...
Another Court Upholds Immigrants' Right to Pursue Case From Outside the U.S.
Aug. 3, 2011: On August 3rd, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the growing list of courts to reject the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking reopening or reconsideration of their cases from outside the United States. The LAC and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, which filed a joint amicus brief in the case and argued before the court, applaud the court’s ruling. Read more . . .
AIC Applauds DOJ for Responding to Alabama’s Punitive Anti-Immigrant Law
Aug. 2, 2011: On Aug. 1, the Department of Justice filed suit against the state of Alabama to block the implementation of HB 56, which is set to take effect September 1. HB 56 is similar to but far more punitive than Arizona’s SB 1070. The law includes provisions that require local school districts to check and report on the immigration status of all children enrolling in public schools. It also transforms local police into federal immigration officers, and creates criminal consequences for anyone who provides housing, transportation, or employment to undocumented immigrants. Read more . . .
LAC Urges Eighth Circuit to Reject Departure Bar to Review
July 25, 2011: The LAC, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), filed an amicus brief last week urging the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the departure bar, a regulation that bars the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) from reviewing cases after a person has left the United States. Read more . . .
BIA Sets Favorable Precedent for Children of Fiancées (K-2 Visa Holders)
June 29, 2011: The LAC applauds the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) for advancing family unity in its June 23, 2011 decision, Matter of Le. The Board’s long-awaited ruling favorably resolves the issue of whether the child of a fiancée of a U.S. citizen (a K-2 visa holder), who legally entered the U.S. when under age 21, is eligible for adjustment of status even after turning age 21. Read more . . .
LAC Issues Updated Practice Advisory on Prosecutorial Discretion Discussing June 17, 2011 Morton Memoranda
June 28, 2011: The LAC is pleased to announce the release of an updated practice advisory: Prosecutorial Discretion: How to Advocate for Your Client. On June 17, 2011, John Morton, Director of ICE, issued two new memoranda encouraging the expanded use of prosecutorial discretion by ICE officers, agents, and attorneys in all phases of civil immigration enforcement. Read more . . .
LAC Issues Practice Advisory on Immigration Cases Implicating DOMA
June 13, 2011: The LAC, in conjunction with Immigration Equality, is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory titled Protecting and Preserving the Rights of LGBT Families: DOMA, Dorman, and Immigration Strategies. Please read this practice advisory; our Immigration Impact blog post on this topic; and our press release.
AIC joins with LGBT organizations in letter to DHS
June 8, 2011: The American Immigration Council joined a broad group of national LGBT rights and immigrant rights organizations to express serious concerns about the systemic mistreatment and abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and people with HIV in immigration detention facilities and to support the civil rights litigation recently filed by the National Immigrant Justice Center. This effort was spearheaded by Lambda Legal. Read more . . .
Backlog of immigration cases continues to grow, report says
June 7, 2011: Legal Action Center Director Melissa Crow is quoted in this National Law Journal article about the number of pending cases in federal immigration courts. This article requires free registration. Read more . . .
LAC Issues Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings
May 31, 2011: The LAC is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory: “Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings: A General Overview.” Long used in criminal trials, motions to suppress seek to exclude evidence obtained by government agents in violation of an individual’s constitutional or other legal rights. Read more . . .
SCOTUS E-Verify Ruling No Bellwether for Fate of SB1070
May 26, 2011: Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, and Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center, jointly authored this Immigration Impact blog post about the May 26th Supreme Court decision upholding Arizona’s law requiring employers to use E-verify or risk losing their business licenses. The American Immigration Council has also issued "Talking Points on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting."
CIS Report Marred by ‘Deception and Disorder’
May 24, 2011: LAC intern Anam Rahman authored this Immigration Impact blog post about a report issued on May 24, 2011 by the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). CIS took aim at problems facing the U.S. immigration court system—a topic worthy of serious discussion. Unfortunately, as with many of CIS’ publications, today’s report combines dramatic rhetoric and unsubstantiated data with ill-conceived solutions. While it is unlikely the report will gain traction in Congress or the media, a few of its—and its author’s—shortcomings remain worth pointing out.
Advocates Hail Deportation Rule
May 23, 2011: LAC Director Melissa Crow is quoted in this CQ Weekly article about the recent Board of Immigration Appeals decision in M-A-M, which addressed the need for procedural safeguards in removal proceedings for noncitizens who lack mental competency.
Obama Administration Seeks Balance Between Labor and Immigration Law Enforcement
May 19, 2011: Last week President Obama issued a blueprint for a twenty-first century immigration policy that highlighted, among other things, the need to promote accountability for employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers. The Administration’s recommendations for achieving this goal include a better employment verification system, more comprehensive anti-retaliation protections for workers, and a legalization program that requires the current undocumented population to get right with the law. Read more . . .
Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Key Hearing on Challenges Facing Immigration Courts
May 18, 2011: The LAC commends Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for convening today’s hearing on “Improving Efficiency and Ensuring Justice in the Immigration Court System.” Immigration courts have long suffered from crushing backlogs that can delay the scheduling of hearings for years at a time. Additionally, immigrants who appear before these courts enjoy fewer legal protections than most Americans expect from any fair system of justice. With the dramatic and rapid escalation of immigration enforcement policies and resources, too little attention has been paid to the many challenges that face our immigration court system. Read our testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, our press release and our Immigration Impact blog post on this topic. To view a webcast of the hearing, click here.
Another Study Highlights Need for Legal Representation in Immigration Court
May 12, 2011: LAC Deputy Director Beth Werlin wrote this ImmigrationImpact blog about the findings released last week by the New York Immigration Representation Study. These findings reveal what immigration advocates long have said: whether a person has legal representation is a critical factor in obtaining a favorable result in immigration court.
BIA Provides Important But Incomplete Guidance on Mental Competency Issues
May 9, 2011: The LAC cautiously applauds last week’s decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals concerning the rights of immigrants with mental disabilities in removal proceedings. Echoing concerns expressed in amicus briefs filed by the LAC in other Board cases, the decision acknowledged the need for a framework to ensure that immigrants with mental competency issues are not deported without fair hearings. Read more . . .
LAC Issues Practice Advisories on Federal Court Litigation
May 2, 2011: The Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of one new and two updated Practice Advisories focusing on federal court litigation. These practice advisories provide in depth discussion and analysis of federal court issues to assist attorneys seeking relief for their clients from adverse immigration-related decisions. Read more . . .
Court Protects Immigrants' Right To Reopen Cases From Outside the U.S.
April 14, 2011: A federal appellate court recently reversed a Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) decision that would have prevented noncitizens from presenting new evidence in their removal cases – evidence that potentially could change the outcome – because they are outside the United States. As the Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild argued in an amicus brief, Congress enacted laws that allow noncitizens to pursue their cases from outside the U.S. The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is the latest in a series of decisions rejecting the government's position that immigration judges and the BIA lack jurisdiction over such cases. LAC Deputy Director Beth Werlin is also quoted in this Bilingual Weekly article on this issue. Read more . . .
American Immigration Council Urges DHS to Undertake Regulatory Reform
April 13, 2011: In response to the Department of Homeland Security’s request for comments in connection with a review of its existing regulations, the American Immigration Council highlighted several issues of concern. We urge the Department to: (1) promulgate additional regulations to clarify that the right to counsel applies in all DHS proceedings; (2) expand existing regulations to clarify the types of delays that justify stopping the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) asylum clock and distinguish the EAD asylum clock from EOIR’s asylum adjudication clock; and (3) promulgate new regulations that ensure more effective oversight over the issuance of detainers and better protect those subject to detainers. Our letter describes these three requests and provides additional details regarding the need for regulatory reform. Read more . . .
Federal Court Decision Protects H-1B Employees from Wrongful Arrest
April 13, 2011: A recent ruling from a federal judge in Connecticut confirmed that—as the American Immigration Council (AIC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) argued in an amicus brief—the government may not arrest H-1B employees for whom timely-filed extension applications remain pending. The decision in El Badrawi v. United States, by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall, correctly recognized that a federal regulation allows H-1B employees to continue working for 240 days pending the adjudication of their extension applications, and that “work authorization is part and parcel of their authorization to be in the country, not a separate matter.” Permitting the initiation of removal proceedings during this period would thus be unfair to employees and employers alike, according to the decision. Read more . . .
American Immigration Council Hails Decision Enjoining Enforcement of Arizona’s SB 1070
April 12, 2011: The American Immigration Council applauds the April 11, 2011 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding a preliminary injunction against the key provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070. As the court correctly recognized, Arizona’s misguided attempt to drive immigrants from the state interferes with the federal government’s exclusive authority to enforce immigration law, has negatively impacted U.S. foreign relations, and reflects the dangers of allowing states to enact a patchwork of conflicting regulations. Read our press release and our Immigration Impact blog post on this topic.
Defense of Marriage Act letters to DHS, EOIR and OIL
April 6, 2011: AILA and AIC, joined by dozens of other organizations, submitted letters to DHS, EOIR and OIL urging the adoption of interim measures in immigration cases involving same-sex marriages pending final judicial or legislative resolution regarding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Among the interim measures proposed, the letters ask the agencies to hold in abeyance all petitions and applications that are based upon a same-sex marriage and to administratively close or otherwise continue all removal cases in which relief may be available based upon a same-sex marriage.
AILA/AIC Letter to Secretary Napolitano on DHS' Use of Prosecutorial Discretion
April 6, 2011: AILA and AIC submitted a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concerns and offering assistance and perspective with respect to implementing a well-balanced policy on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
American Immigration Council Urges DOJ to Undertake Regulatory Reform
March 31, 2011: In response to the Department of Justice’s request for comments regarding a review of its existing regulations, the American Immigration Council highlighted several issues we previously have brought to the attention of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. We urge the Department to: (1) withdraw the departure bar to motions to reopen; (2) issue clear yet flexible rules governing ineffective assistance of counsel claims; (3) initiate a rulemaking process to establish fair removal procedures for noncitizens with mental disabilities; and (4) consider regulatory amendments that would remedy Employment Authorization Document asylum clock problems. Our letter describes these four requests and provides accompanying information detailing the need for regulatory reform.
Legal Action Center Pursues Campaign to Protect Judicial Review
March 30, 2011: In a continuing effort to protect the right to judicial review and promote greater federal court oversight of immigration decisions, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) recently submitted an amicus brief in another case involving a sua sponte motion to reopen. A three-judge panel in this case, Salado-Alva v. Holder, No. 10-73142 (9th Cir.), said that the Board of Immigration Appeals' denial of the sua sponte motion was not reviewable. The panel relied on prior cases holding that decisions on sua sponte motions "are committed to agency discretion." The LAC is urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case en banc. Read more . . .
Motion to Reopen Process Provides Aliens With Protections on Par With Habeas Review
March 22, 2011: LAC Deputy Director Beth Werlin is quoted in this Law Week article regarding post departure motions to reopen. Reproduced with permission from The United States Law Week, 79 U.S.L.W. 2229 (Mar.22, 2011). Copyright 2011 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com. Read more . . .
IJs Should Exercise Authority to Halt Proceedings against Noncitizens with Serious Mental Disabilities
March 17, 2011: The LAC and Texas Appleseed filed an amicus brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) supporting Immigration Judges' authority to terminate removal proceedings against noncitizens with serious mental disabilities where a full and fair hearing would be impossible. Because immigration courts lack many of the due process protections that exist in other areas of our judicial system, more specific safeguards are necessary to protect the most vulnerable populations. Read more . . .
LAC Urges Court to Strike Down Regulation Barring Post-Departure Motions to Reopen
March 11, 2011: This week, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center, joined by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted an amicus brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Contreras-Bocanegra v. Holder, urging the court to strike down the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) regulation barring review of motions to reopen filed by noncitizens outside the United States. The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the BIA to abandon its misguided regulation. Read more . . .
Board of Immigration Appeals Overturns Previous Ruling, Narrows Grounds for Deportation
February 4, 2011: On Thursday, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) modified its much-criticized interpretation of a law which wrongly expanded the number of immigrants subject to removal from the United States. The BIA's modification partially adopts the position of the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center, which argued in an amicus brief that a prior BIA decision ignored the intent of Congress when it interpreted the law to cover longtime U.S residents in addition to more recent arrivals. Read more . . .
Federal Court Upholds Immigrants' Right To Reopen Cases From Outside the U.S.
February 3, 2011: A federal appellate court chastised the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for preventing noncitizens from reopening their cases from outside the United States. This important ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit repudiates the government's view that immigration judges and the BIA lack "jurisdiction" over such cases. Read more . . .
Despite Limits, How Padilla v. Kentucky Will Endure
January 27, 2011: Immigrant advocates rejoiced last spring when the Supreme Court made clear in Padilla v. Kentucky that criminal defense lawyers must inform noncitizen clients if pleading guilty to a particular crime could result in their deportation. Since then, the Court’s ruling has provided much-needed relief for many immigrants whose lawyers failed to properly advise them. At the same time, however, the immigrants’ rights community is realizing that the decision has its limits and will not help all noncitizens whose lawyers failed to give such advice in the past. Read more . . .
Immigration Champions Brace for Republican House Plans
January 11, 2011: LAC Director Melissa Crow is quoted in this Center for Investigative Reporting article on the looming battles in the courts, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. Read more . . .
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