What a year! 2017 will go down as one of the weirdest years we can remember. And for all the terrible news, we will remember this year as one of tremendous change and growth. On December 22, 2017, we will officially occupy our new office space at 4530 Wisconsin Avenue. While it is hard to leave downtown Washington DC, driving past the White House has lost nearly all of its charm this year.
The future of President Obama’s program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is the subject of intense speculation and even more significant anxiety. Worry over the fate of the program increased significantly this week after Secretary of Homeland Security General John Kelly told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that it was not clear that DACA could survive a court challenge being threatened by ten states against the program.
I have heard from a lot of people expressing outrage over the fate of Adam Crapser, the Korean adoptee who was ordered deported earlier this week. I get and share the outrage and would like to help channel the outrage into an increased awareness of the many failures this case represents. If you have not seen the adorable photos of Adam as a young boy or holding his infant child, a brief summary.
“We live in the age of the refugee, the age of the exile.” Ariel Dorfman (Argentine-Chilean playwright, academic and human rights activist) By Satsita Muradova If someone asked me what was the most difficult decision I have made in my lifetime, I would respond – seeking asylum in the United States. I know from personal experience that no one would leave their country of origin, their home, loved ones (often without a chance of seeing them again) and the life that they were accustomed to unless that place had become a living hell.
“The judgement is affirmed by an equally divided court.” With one sentence, the Supreme Court refused to engage in the question of the President’s authority to extend deferred action to the parents of U.S. citizens (DAPA) and additional young people who entered the U.S. as children (expanded DACA). By affirming the judgement, the Court let the injunction against DAPA and expanded DACA stand, dashing the hopes of millions that there would be the ability to work legally in the U.S.
Even as the Obama administration takes steps to protect transgender children in schools and provide access to health care for trans people, the President’s illiberal approach to immigration continues to affect trans women in predictable and violent ways. As accolades were heaped on the administration from transgender advocates, the administration announced the creation of a new detention facility designed to hold trans detainees in Alvarado, Texas. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a 36 bed enclave in the 700 bed facility that will be dedicated to trans detainees and will, in the words of ICE, operate along the most advanced lines of transgender care.
The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has created turmoil in Washington DC and on the Presidential campaign trail. Republicans are uniformly calling on the President to refrain from nominating anyone to fill the vacancy due to the upcoming Presidential election. Within hours of the news of the Justice’s death, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader and the man who controls the Senate’s agenda, stated that the “vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” The President has stated that he intends to nominate someone to fill the vacancy, setting up a battle with Senate Republicans over whether the nominee will ever get a hearing or approved by the Senate.
We get a lot of questions about what it is like to be an immigration lawyer in Washington DC. After all, immigration is a federal matter and Congress and the executive branch are just blocks from our office. In addition to the White House and Capitol Hill, there are the headquarters of the Citizenship & Immigration Service, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Customs & Border Protection, and the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
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.
It has been a whirlwind month for immigration as this country continues on its indecisive course on immigration law and policy. We try to make sense of the goings-on: What is the status of Judge Hanen’s ruling? As you recall, on February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court of Brownsville, Texas issued a nationwide injunction stopping the Obama administration from implementing executive action reforms, DAPA and expanded DACA.