The Benach Collopy Asylum Summer Fellowship 2017 I have been so lucky to get to know so many brave, hard-working, family-oriented, and generous people from all over the globe. They all shared one thing in common: a willingness to take a chance to come to the U.S. to be the person they knew they were meant to be. -Ava Benach Description of Fellowship Surging violence against transgender and gender nonconforming communities worldwide continue to force a record number of individuals to seek protection at U.S.
Back in November, we made some predictions about what might occur in a Trump presidency as it relates to immigration. Generally, we were very pessimistic and presumed that almost all areas of immigration would become more difficult and challenging for immigrants, families and communities. This has proven to be true, but not in all of the ways we anticipated. In some areas, such as refugees and admission policies, the administration has been as bad as expected.
Liana Montecinos This post was written by Liana Montecinos. Thirsty, hungry, at the brink of exhaustion, and with fear of violent deaths looming large back home is how many Central American children cross into the U.S. I know this because I have the privilege to work with child refugees in my capacity as paralegal at Benach Collopy and previously as a legal assistant at CAIR Coalition.
On June 30, 2016, over 300 people gathered to celebrate Immigration Judge Paul Wickham Schmidt and to wish him well in his retirement after a truly remarkable career. For nearly fifteen years, Judge Schmidt was one of the giants of our local court in Arlington, VA. Here is his official biography from the Executive Office for Immigration Review and my comments after: Judge Schmidt was appointed as an Immigration Judge in May 2003.
“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.
The Supreme Court is ready to rule on DAPA and expanded DACA soon. Our eyes will be on the Supreme Court today to see if the Supreme Court will issue its decision in U.S. v. Texas, the DAPA/ DACA injunction case. With the Court recessing in less than two weeks, an answer to the question of the legality of DAPA and expanded DACA is forthcoming soon. The Court still has to issue decisions in 13 cases before the end of the term.
Our client of the month for June 2016 is Julia Marquez. Ms. Marquez fled her native Venezuela with her son after suffering systematic and targeted attacks by the Venezuelan government and the government-backed paramilitary groups. Ms. Marquez was targeted in Venezuela because, as a journalist and political activist, she dared to expose the corrupt and discriminatory practices of the Chavez regime and was dedicated to bringing democracy back to Venezuela.
“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.
Justice Scalia 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.
Our Client of the Month for January 2016 is Monique Kagayigayi. A survivor of the Rwandan genocide whose asylum claim was granted in 2004, Monique just received her green card after more than 10 years of waiting. This is the story of a remarkable woman and the legal efforts that were required to secure her status in the United States. On April 6, 1994, Rwanda’s then-president’s plane was shot down, sparking more than three months of terror and killing throughout Rwanda that today seems unthinkable.