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.
Last week, among the hundreds of American flags raised at Tuesday’s March for Human Dignity and Respect, a few Mexican flags were spotted. That’s right. Mexican citizens carried the Mexican flag in Washington DC, the capital of the United States, of all places. The reaction of the anti-immigrant crowd was predictable- this was akin to General Santa Anna’s troops razing the Alamo, slaughtering the proud Texans within.
Today, May Day, would have been my grandmother, Marta Socarras y San Martin’s 94th birthday. She was born in Havana in 1919 as the world witnessed the violent death of kingly empires and the birth of communism as a state philosophy. How odd it seems that an ideology that gripped workers and soldiers in Europe would one day take hold on a non-industrial island in the Caribbean.
Yesterday, we had some fun noting that Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli had drawn the rhetorical fire of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) due to her failure to serve the two years of service in the IDF required of all Israeli citizens. We offered Ms. Rafaeli a free consultation so she could consider a claim to asylum on account of forced conscription into the Israeli Army. As far as we know, she has not yet availed herself of our very generous offer.
The publication of the rule allowing for processing of provisional waivers for unlawful presence in the United States was another act of administrative rule-making that the President has undertaken to make the immigration laws more humane. Over the past year, the effort at prosecutorial discretion, the introduction of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the provisional waiver have created a much improved immigration system that attempts to solve real immigration problems for families.
One of the burdens I carry is the knowledge that I come from one of the country’s anti-immigrant hotspots. No, I am not from Arizona, Alabama, Postville, Iowa or Hazelton, Pennsylvania. I grew up in Suffolk County on the eastern end of Long Island, New York. While Suffolk County never passed laws like Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 or Alabama’s even more odious HB 56, Suffolk County gained notoriety for an even more loathsome practice– extreme violence against immigrants.
We are starting a new series here at Benach Collopy to introduce our readers to some of our clients who have sought and obtained Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) benefits. We profile these extraordinary young people who make up our community, contribute to its richness and have exemplary talents to offer to demonstrate the many good reasons to support the DREAM Act and common sense immigration reform.
So I went up to the Supreme Court yesterday to hear argument in Chaidez v. United States, No. 11-820. Chaidez concerns the straightforward question whether the Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), applies retroactively – i.e., to defendants whose convictions became final prior to its issuance two years ago. Jeffrey Fisher from Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic argued on behalf of Ms.
Every Tuesday, my children’s school publishes a newsletter that includes a number of advertisers. Tutors, babysitters, coaches all advertise to the parents of the schoolchildren. Last week, I noticed a different ad from all the others. Fencing was being offered and I was happy to see that the coach offering fencing was my old client, Dariusz Gilman. I represented Dariusz a long time ago and was delighted to see that he has opened up his own fencing school in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dariusz Gilman Sabre Fencing.
Last night, the President spoke to the Democratic National Convention about those characteristics that define what it means to be a citizen. It is a word that gets used quite a bit. But, like freedom, love, and beauty, it is a quality that can not be physically embraced, but exists entirely independently in our hearts and minds. U.S. citizenship is not based upon ethnic origin, religion, political opinion, gender, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.