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06/30/14 | New Practice Advisory Regarding Notices to Appear

The American Immigration Council, ABA Commission on Immigration and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights are pleased to announce the release of the practice advisory, Notices to Appear:  Legal Challenges and Strategies.

The Notice to Appear is the charging document used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to notify a noncitizen about immigration charges and a future immigration court hearing. Filing a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) with the immigration court places an individual in a removal proceeding before a judge and is a significant step in the removal process. Various officials within the three major immigration-related components of the Department of Homeland Security — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — are empowered to issue NTAs, which trigger removal proceedings in immigration court. At various points after an NTA is issued, an attorney may negotiate with DHS to obtain a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. DHS has discretion either to file the NTA with the court, thus going forward with removal proceedings, to drop or revise certain charges, or to cancel the NTA and thus end the removal proceedings. After the NTA is filed, DHS can exercise discretion through a joint motion asking the judge to administratively close or terminate proceedings. The decisions made by DHS about Notices to Appear are not just ministerial, but can impact the lives of noncitizens and their families in significant ways.

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06/30/14 | America Must Uphold Its Obligations to Protect Children and Families Fleeing Persecution

Washington D.C. - As the numbers of unaccompanied minors and mothers with children crossing our southern border grows, the U.S. government faces a critical test of its historic commitment to protect those fleeing violence and persecution. How we respond will signal to the world whether our commitment to due process and the protection of refugees is real or illusory, and it could have a profound effect on how other countries around the world respond to our call to deal fairly and humanely to refugee crises in places like Syria and the Sudan.

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06/05/14 | District Court Rules Grant of TPS Is an Admission for Adjustment of Status Purposes

Washington, D.C.The American Immigration Council welcomes last week’s ruling by the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, which held that a noncitizen’s grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) qualifies as “inspection and admission” into the United States. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, inspection and admission are eligibility requirements for lawful permanent residence (LPR). Jesus Ramirez, the plaintiff in Ramirez v Dougherty, was granted TPS in 2001 following the devastating earthquake in El Salvador, his home country, and has renewed this status ever since. He now seeks to become an LPR on the basis of his marriage to a United States citizen. The American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, and subsequently NWIRP became counsel for the plaintiff.

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05/30/14 | Customs and Border Protection Releases Long-Awaited Review and Use-of-Force Policy

Washington D.C. - Today, after numerous formal and informal requests from border advocates and a lawsuit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a 2013 report by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a nonprofit research organization, analyzing the agency’s use-of-force policies and practices. CBP commissioned the report after receiving inquiries from sixteen Members of Congress following a series of deaths during encounters with CBP personnel. CBP also released its new Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook. 

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05/22/14 | Immigration Council Urges Broad Interpretation of § 212(h) Hardship Waiver

On May 19, 2014, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to rehear Roberts v. Holder, 745 F.3d 928 (8th Cir. 2014). In that case, the court narrowly interpreted the hardship waiver found in INA § 212(h), thus depriving many lawful permanent residents (LPR) of the opportunity to apply for this waiver.  The Immigration Council and AILA urge the court to withdraw this decision and instead, to join the six other courts of appeals which have interpreted the waiver more broadly.  In doing so, the court would ensure that the class of deserving LPRs whom Congress intended to benefit are able to apply – and be considered – for the waiver.  Read more about the Immigration Council’s work on this issue here.

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For more information, email clearinghouse@immcouncil.org

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05/15/14 | Understanding ICE’s Release of Immigrants with Criminal Convictions

Washington D.C. - Understanding the complexities of immigration law and its intersection with criminal law is not easy. Over the past month, a flood of reports about enforcement policies and deportation data have compounded the confusion. Some of these reports were clearly designed to derail genuine and productive conversations around immigration policy reform. Case in point, this week the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) issued a paper that claims over 36,000 “criminal aliens” were released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.  

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05/06/14 | No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council releases No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse, by Daniel E. Martinez, Ph.D., Guillermo Cantor, Ph.D., and Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D., a report that analyzes complaints filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection between 2009 and 2012. The analysis is based on information received through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation. The report examines one of the few avenues available for people to report mistreatment by Border Patrol agents - namely, the complaint system. For a long time, advocates and legal providers on the border have highlighted the flaws in the complaint system. This report is the first systematic attempt to document the problem in a rigorous way. In addition, a coalition of immigrants' rights groups has developed and released recommendations to DHS to address the CBP Complaint Process.

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03/31/14 | New Report from Center for Immigration Studies on Deportation Data Misleads and Misinforms

Washington D.C. – Today the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a new report that makes a range of false claims about deportation data.  Following is a statement from Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, in response to “Catch and Release: Interior Immigration Enforcement in 2013”

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03/26/14 | HoldCBPAccountable.org Launched to Expose Border-Related Abuse and Litigation

An alliance of immigration advocacy groups announces the launch of HoldCBPAccountable.org, a website that catalogues lawsuits and administrative complaints brought against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties have joined forces to document litigation that exposes CBP abuses, including unlawful searches and seizures, removals based on coercion and misinformation, and the use of excessive and sometimes deadly force by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers.

Among the cases included on the website:

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03/13/14 | American Immigration Council Urges Court to Rule that TPS Recipient Is Eligible to Adjust Status

Last week, the American Immigration Council and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed an amicus curiae brief urging the court to find that noncitizens granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (i.e., adjustment of status), even if they originally entered the United States without being admitted or paroled.  This is because the grant of TPS qualifies a noncitizen as having been “admitted” to the United States—one of the requirements for adjustment of status.  In 2013, the Sixth Circuit found that the grant of TPS permits a person who initially entered without being admitted to become a lawful permanent resident, and amici urge the District Court for the Western District of Washington to reach the same result.

The case is Ramirez v. Dougherty, No. 13-1236-TSZ (W.D. Wash. amicus brief filed March 6, 2014). 

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For more information, email clearinghouse@immcouncil.org.

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