“Ok, I’d be willing to stipulate to humanitarian asylum.” We were approximately 30 minutes into the recess the Immigration Judge took, during which we were supposed to negotiate a favorable solution for our client, when DHS said the words we had been waiting to hear since we first met our client in October. We both thought, “Oh my gosh, really???” but when Professor Michelle Mendez leaned over and whispered to our client in Spanish that she was going to get asylum, we knew this was really happening—our client was going to be safe.
BN was born in Manhattan, New York while her parents were serving as Diplomats in the U.S. as part of the Angolan Mission to the United Nations. As a result of her parents’ diplomatic status, BN was one of the few people born in the U.S. who do not receive birthright citizenship. Although BN was born and raised in the United States, she was also not eligible for DACA because her parent’s diplomatic status expired after DACA was offered.
Benach Collopy often turns this space over to law students and other friends to discuss their cases. Malissa Tucker and Alexandra Early are law students at the Catholic University Law School, where they are part of the immigration law clinic taught by Dree Collopy and Michelle Mendez. We met our client Muhammad shortly after the fall semester began. We were so nervous to meet this stranger who we knew desperately needed our help that all we could do was scribble down some extra notes about what we wanted to ask him and prepare steaming hot Styrofoam cups of mint tea – our way of saying “we are here to take care of you.” Little did we know, our relationship with Muhammad would come to revolve around these little tokens of kindness and blind faith in each other, eventually blossoming into a life-long friendship.
Once a year immigration attorneys from all over the country march to Washington, D.C. to meet with their elected officials and to encourage them to take action toward fixing this country’s broken immigration system. The event is organized by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is appropriately called the National Day of Action. This year, one of the issues we put on the list of things to discuss is family detention.
Artesia. Karnes. Dilley. Before the administration decided it would be a great idea to lock up Central American women and children fleeing from persecution, these towns were unknown. Artesia was the hometown of our government’s rejuvenation of family detention. The makeshift facility, warmly referred to by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) as the Artesia Family Residential Center, was the hub of so many human rights violations that it was ultimately shut down.
At a time of year when we honor togetherness and fresh starts, we are comforted to know that Benach Collopy clients, Kira and her four-year-old son Ricky, have finally been granted asylum and are reunited with their husband/father, Andre, here in the United States.* This family of faith was torn apart by targeted and systematic violence at the hands of the M-18 gang, the de facto government in Guatemala, all because they preached about peace and encouraged non-violence in their community – in the eyes of the M-18, a message of disloyalty and dissidence that needed to be eradicated.
Nearly two years since the announcement of the provisional waiver of inadmissibility, known as the I-601A extreme hardship waiver, we have learned quite a bit about the people that need this waiver and the way the government is processing them. Here are the top five things we have learned: The process has transformed lives. We have witnessed families emerge from desperation and hopelessness to seize the opportunity to take charge of their lives.
On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a decision in Castañeda v. Souza that greatly limits the ability of Immigration & Customs Enforcement to subject individuals to mandatory detention during their removal proceedings. In Castañeda, the First Circuit interpreted the not very confusing language “when the alien is released” and rejected the Board of Immigration Appeals’ formulation, articulated in Matter of Rojas that the “when released” means “any time after release.
Great news right out of our own backyard. Montgomery County, Maryland, the county that surrounds most of Northwest Washington DC and the most populous county in Maryland, announced today that its jails would no longer honor detainers issued by Immigration & Customs Enforcement except under very specific circumstances. This decision places a vice grip on one of the region’s most reliable ICE enforcement pipelines and is further evidence that local municipalities are rejecting the damage done to communities by the heavy-handed enforcement activities of the current administration.
In a major victory for immigrants, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled yesterday that women who are unable to leave domestic violence caused by their husbands may qualify as a particular social group for asylum purposes. This decision brings to an end a lengthy period of uncertainty regarding the viability of claims to asylum by women fleeing domestic violence. The Board’s decision in Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I.&N.