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.
In the past two months, North Korean despot Kim Jung-un disappeared and reappeared. And earlier this week, the U.S. government sought bids on a potential government contract. Both events caused massive speculation but little information regarding critical policy issues. Those who watch the immigration issue with obsessive scrutiny noticed this week that the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service put out a request for bids for a contractor who could provide supplies to produce up to 34 million work permits.
As Facebook is crowded with pictures of kids going back to school, we must face the inevitable end of summer. However, for immigrants, it is possible that the end of summer will bring long-awaited administrative relief from the Obama administration. In June, President Obama went to the Rose Garden to state that, in the absence of legislation from Congress, he was going to use his executive power to address the harshness of U.S.
In a move that will help thousands of immigrants, California governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1310 into law today. This law imposes a maximum sentence of 364 days in prison for those convicted of misdemeanors in California. The law is set to take effect on January 1, 2015. Under current California law, a person convicted of a misdemeanor may be sentenced up to one year, or 365 days, in prison.
Olsi Vrapi is a Friend of Benach Collopy who practices in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He recently found himself on the front line of the battle of how to handle the major influx of refugee children at the Southern Border. In this chilling blogpost entitled “The Artesia Experience,” Olsi describes his experience visiting his client in the new facility in Artesia, New Mexico where the government is detaining Central American children and families.
Media reports over the weekend indicate that the Obama administration is reacting in the worst way possible to the influx of unaccompanied minors along the Southwest Border. As the prospect of comprehensive immigration reform dies and leading House GOP members call for removal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees, the administration, once again, seeks to placate the most anti-immigrant portions of the population. Such a move is consistent with the administration’s long-held, and far too long stuck to, policy of ratcheting up enforcement to appeal to the nativists in the House GOP, hoping that this show of good faith would get them to support CIR.
A couple of months ago, I got to enjoy my fifteen minutes of fame when my client became the poster child for problems caused for immigrants in immigration court by the government shutdown. I wrote a blog piece, wrote another for the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association and, next thing I know, I am speaking to Robert Siegel of NPR’s All Things Considered and people I have not heard from in decades called me to say they heard me on the radio.
The House of Representatives passed the Enforce Act yesterday. This piece of legislation, which is never going to become law, provides a cause of action to Members of Congress to sue the President for failure to enforce the laws as they see fit. The Enforce Act is aimed squarely at the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has given hope to so many young undocumented immigrants.
On this President’s Day, we wish to add a historical perspective to the robust exercise of executive authority. The President routinely tells audiences that he does not have the power to act unilaterally on immigration reform. Frustration and anger have mounted as the toll from deportations rises, and the lost opportunities due to the lack of immigration reform are compiled. The President’s claim of impotency is in direct conflict with how the right wing of the GOP (is there another wing?)
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.