“Social Group” Victory in Martinez v. Holder

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit issued its decision in Martinez v. Holder, a case that has been discussed at various times on this blog for its relevance in defining the contours of the protected ground of “particular social group.” Asylum may be granted to an individual who can demonstrate that he or she has suffered persecution or has a well-founded fear of persecution in his or her home country on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. 

Lifted Lamp’s Top Ten Blog Posts for 2013 & Poll for Topics for 2014

Lifted Lamp's Top Ten Blog Posts for 2013 & Poll for Topics for 2014 Looking back on what turned out to be a disappointing 2013 for the lack of progress on meaningful immigration reform and on the continuing pace of removals, we have tried to figure out what articles and stories most appealed to our readers.  Turns out that our readers were not as interested in the minute-by-minute accounts of progress, but rather came to Lifted Lamp for information about developments in the law that had a real impact upon their lives. 

The 212(h) Aggravated Felony Bar: The BIA versus the Courts

The 212(h) Aggravated Felony Bar: The BIA versus the Courts This article was written by Thomas K. Ragland and he will present it to the South Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual Continuing Legal Education Conference in February 2014. Among the most hotly litigated immigration law issues in recent years centers on the meaning and scope of the so-called “aggravated felony bar” in section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). A number of federal courts – including the U.S.

Does the President Have the Power to Stop All/Most Removals?

Does the President Have the Power to Stop All/Most Removals? As official Washington administers last rites to immigration reform for 2013 only to have it pop up again with a barely detectable pulse, undocumented immigrants and their allies continue to press the President to use his power as the executive to suspend removals.  Marches, sit-ins, hunger strikes, and social media combat for #notonemore deportation have reached a fever pitch as the House seems to be putting the last nail in the coffin for the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in June. 

Two Big Asylum Cases at 4th Circuit This Week

Two Big Asylum Cases at 4th Circuit This Week This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the federal appellate court which sets federal law in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas, will hear two cases regarding U.S. asylum law.  In Temu v. Holder and Martinez v. Holder, the court will consider the contours of the protected ground of “particular social group.”  The decisions in these cases will determine whether asylum law will be more inclusive or whether the law will shut many deserving applicants out of the protection of asylum.

Board of Immigration Appeals Affirms Same-Sex Marriage

Earlier this week, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the sweeping-change in immigration law that the Windsor decision ushered in.  In Matter of Zeleniak, 26 I.&N. Dec. 158 (BIA 2013), the Board recognized that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Windsor, was not an impediment to recognition of same-sex marriage by immigration authorities.   In Zeleniak, U.S.

Thomas Ragland to be Honored at National Immigration Lawyers Conference

Thomas Ragland to be Honored at National Immigration Lawyers Conference On Thursday, June 27, 2013, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will bestow its highest annual honor, the Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for excellence in advancing the practice of immigration law, to our very own Thomas Ragland.  AILA is the most comprehensive and significant professional organization of immigration lawyers, comprising more than 11,000 lawyers practicing U.S. immigration law around the globe.  For the past 22 years, AILA has awarded the Lowenstein award to the lawyer who has most positively impacted impacted immigration law over the past year. 

Arizona loses again, but its citizens win

Arizona loses again, but its citizens win Today, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that the state of Arizona cannot separately require an individual to prove he is a citizen in order to register to vote beyond the regulations set forth by the federal government.  This decision stated that Arizona’s additional “proof of citizenship” form was contrary to the National Voter Registration Act, the federal law establishing a specific form for Voter Registration. 

Prerna Lal on CSPA and de Osorio Update

Despite being on leave from Benach Collopy to study for the California bar, Prerna Lal continues to provide valuable insight on the status of the de Osorio case.  De Osorio is the 9th Circuit case in which the court held that the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service had interpreted the Child Status Protection Act wrongly in a way that excluded thousands of young people from the opportunity to obtain status with their families. 

Will the Courts Invalidate Deferred Action?

Will the Courts Invalidate Deferred Action? There is much hue and cry over a federal district court judge possibly blocking the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In a lawsuit filed by Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, on behalf of ICE Union head, Christopher Crane, challenging the DACA program, Judge Reed O’Connor (Northern District of Texas) has indicated that he is likely to find that the program violates federal law. Previously, Judge O’ Connor had ruled that agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement had standing to bring suit as the prosecutorial discretion directive urged them to violate federal law, and the agents believed that by not following the directive, they would be subject to discipline and other adverse employment consequences.