Articles Posted in Immigration Reform

courthouse-1223279_1280The federal government has sued the state of Oklahoma in a new lawsuit seeking to block HB 4156 from taking effect, a new anti-immigration law that regulates the entry of noncitizens by detaining and fining migrants who are unlawfully present in the state.

The U.S. government filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on May 21st arguing that HB 4156 is unconstitutional because the federal government maintains exclusive jurisdiction over the subject of immigration and the status of noncitizens under the supremacy clause and foreign commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Oklahoma’s HB 4156 which was slated to take effect July 1st considers the unlawful presence of a noncitizen in the state to be an “impermissible occupation” and directs law enforcement officials to arrest and jail undocumented immigrants.

The law aims to protect the state’s citizens against undocumented immigrants who could “potentially harm” its residents. Under the law, a first conviction would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and a $500 fine. A second conviction would rise to a felony and carry a sentence of up to two years in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

Those convicted would be required to leave the state of Oklahoma within three days of being released from county jail.

In attempting to enforce this law, the Justice Department argues that the state is circumventing established law and constitutional authority by trying to take matters into its own hands.

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The Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department recently announced a new plan to expedite immigration court proceedings for asylum seekers who have recently arrived in the United States without lawful status.

On May 16th senior administration officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department made it known to the public that a new Recent Arrivals (RA) docket process will allow undocumented immigrants to resolve their immigration cases more expeditiously – within a period of 180 days.

Under the RA Docket process, DHS will place certain noncitizen single adults on the RA Docket, and EOIR adjudicators will prioritize the adjudication of these cases.

The RA Docket will operate in five cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Immigration judges will aim to render final decisions within 180 days, although the time to make a decision in any particular case will remain subject to case-specific circumstances and procedural protections, including allowing time for noncitizens to seek representation where needed.

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As the 2024 U.S. presidential elections draw nearer, Biden and Mexico’s President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, have announced joint efforts to combat illegal border crossings.

The two leaders have said that their administrations will take steps to decrease illegal border crossings by ordering their national security teams to cooperate. While specific details were not disclosed, a government official has said that immigration enforcement actions may include a crackdown to prevent railways, buses, and airports from being used for illegal border crossings.

The issue of immigration will likely sway voting age Americans who believe President Biden has not done enough to prevent illegal immigration.

Under intense scrutiny and political pressure, the Biden administration has attempted to appease these voters by getting tougher on immigration. Recently, the Biden administration attempted to include restrictive immigration policies as part of a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Biden called the immigration reform measure the “strongest border security bill this country has ever seen.” If passed, the measure would have given him the authority to turn away migrants at the U.S. Mexico border.

Against political gridlock however, Congress blocked the inclusion of the measure from the bill. This has left the Biden administration to consider the possibility of executive action and internal policy decisions to ramp up its enforcement efforts.

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Ahead of the U.S. presidential election, President Biden is considering the rollout of a set of new executive actions aimed at curbing illegal migration at the U.S. southern border and measures that would create new obstacles for asylum applicants. Individuals speaking on condition of anonymity have said these policies could come as soon as March 7th as part of President Biden’s State of the Union speech.

According to reports by insiders of the Biden administration, the proposals under discussion would use a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to stop migrants from requesting asylum at U.S. ports of entry once a certain number of illegal crossings has been reached.

While the exact details of the executive order are still unclear, the proposal would likely carve out several exceptions for unaccompanied minors and those who meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. A similar proposal was previously discussed in the U.S. Senate as part of a border deal earlier this month.

To further appease conservative voters, the Biden administration is also considering implementing policies that would make it harder for migrants to pass the initial screening of the asylum interview process. Under these proposals, the administration would elevate the “credible fear standard” of the asylum process, thereby narrowing the pool of applicants eligible to seek asylum. Those who cannot meet the elevated standard, would be swiftly deported.

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You have all heard the news. A new House bill has been introduced that if passed would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States without legal status. But what exactly does the bill include? In this blog post we share with you the highlights of the America’s Children Act of 2021 also known as H.R. 4331.


Bill Highlights


Among the highlights of America’s Children Act of 2021 the bill:

  • Provides a pathway to permanent residency for individuals who were brought to the United States at a young age, TPS recipients, individuals under DED status, and essential workers, who have maintained continuous physical presence in the United States since their entry, and/or have graduated from an institution of higher education;
  • Establishes protections for Diversity Visa lottery winners who could not come to the United States from 2017 to present due to COVID-19 related delays;
  • Creates special provisions to recapture unused visas and provides a waiver of numerical limitations for beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions currently waiting for their priority dates to become current

Who would benefit?


The main section of the bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for people in DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status and also people who may not have qualified for DACA. Individuals in Temporary Protected Status and those who received Deferred Enforced Departure would also be eligible. Qualifications differ among these groups and many more changes are expected however the key provisions have been mentioned above. To obtain permanent residence, individuals cannot be disqualified based on grounds of ineligibility and must complete “security and law enforcement background checks” and a medical examination.


Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers


Under the committee print released by the House Judiciary Committee, certain aliens would be eligible to adjust their status to permanent residence within the United States, by paying a supplemental fee of $1,500 and passing criminal checks. To be eligible, an alien would have to show that he or she:

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The fate of nearly 8 million undocumented immigrants now rests in the hands of Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough.

On Friday, September 10, 2021, Democratic Congressmen, and women, met with the Senate staffer in hopes of convincing her to allow a piece of legislation to be introduced in the Democratic party’s upcoming $3.5 trillion spending bill, which would, for the first time in decades set in motion the implementation of comprehensive immigration reform.

The spending bill includes a provision that would carve out a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) that were brought to the United States illegally as children. The bill would also open a door for legalization to recipients of Temporary Protected Status, farmworkers, and certain undocumented workers deemed “essential.” It is estimated that nearly 8 million undocumented immigrants would qualify for permanent residence through this proposal, offering the first big victory for comprehensive immigration reform.

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The news we have all been waiting for is finally here. The Democratic controlled House of Representatives has taken a colossal step toward making comprehensive immigration reform a reality. On Thursday evening, members of the House voted along party lines to approve two legislative proposals that would create a pathway to citizenship for an estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, including Dreamers and farmworkers. These proposals are known as (1) the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 and (2) the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021.


What is the American Dream and Promise Act – H.R. 6?


The American Dream and Promise Act, also known as H.R. 6, creates an earned path to citizenship for more than two million Dreamers who were brought to the United States as children, as well as beneficiaries of certain temporary humanitarian programs including recipients of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This proposal consists of


Title I: Dream Act of 2021


Title I of the Act would allow certain long-term residents who entered the United States as children to apply for conditional permanent resident status. Those who would obtain conditional permanent resident status would be considered lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the law.

Requirements

The American Dream and Promise Act would grant Dreamers conditional permanent resident status for 10 years, and cancel removal proceedings if they:

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Welcome back to Visalawyerblog! We kick off today’s post with very exciting news. Yesterday, February 18, 2021, President Biden unveiled new legislation that will create an 8-year earned path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States who were brought to this country as children.

While the bill faces an uphill battle in Congress, it is the start of the administration’s efforts to create new momentum to push parties on both sides of the aisle to fix our broken immigration system once and for all.


What does the new bill propose?


The new piece of legislation is based on the President’s immigration priorities as outlined during his first day in office.

While President Biden has been in office for less than one month, he is already moving forward with his most ambitious effort yet – introducing viable immigration proposals before Congress, that will counteract the past four years of harmful policies passed by his predecessor.

In a nutshell, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, as it is known, seeks to create (1) an eight-year pathway to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants (2) a shorter process to legal status for agriculture workers and recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and (3) establishes an enforcement plan that includes deploying technology to patrol the Southern border.

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The House of Representatives recently made a bold move that could give undocumented farmworkers a pathway to permanent residence.

Yesterday, December 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165, the House passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a progressive bill that if approved by the Senate, would create several exciting opportunities for undocumented farmworkers as well as U.S. employers.

What does the Bill propose?

The bill would allow existing agricultural workers in the United States to legalize their status through continued agricultural employment and contribution to the United States economy.

Which workers would be eligible for Permanent Resident Status?

Earned Pathway to Legalization

  • Individuals who have worked in agriculture in the U.S. for at least 10 years before enactment of the bill, must continue to work for at least 4 more years in agriculture on Certified Agricultural Worker (CAW) status before being eligible to apply for permanent residence OR
  • Individuals who have worked in agriculture in the U.S. for less than 10 years, must work at least 8 more years in agriculture on CAW status before being eligible to apply for permanent residence
    • Applicants who qualify based on one of these criteria would be required to pay a $1,000 fine

In addition, the bill would:

  • Create a new temporary worker visa program for current unauthorized farmworkers called Certified Agricultural Worker (CAW) status. CAW visas would be renewable and five-and-a-half years in length. The number of CAW visas would be uncapped.
  • Establish eligibility requirements of the CAW visa.Unauthorized immigrants who have spent at least 180 days of the last two years in agricultural employment would be eligible for the Certified Agricultural Worker Visa.
  • With few exceptions, applicants must meet existing work visa admissibility requirements to be eligible and must pass a criminal background check.
  • Felons and those who have been convicted of multiple misdemeanors (two or more offenses of moral turpitude or three offenses in general) would not be eligible.

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On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced a proposal that will change the settlement agreement reached in Flores v. Reno, an agreement that limited the amount of time and conditions under which the U.S. government could detain immigrant children.

Reno v. Flores prevented the government from holding immigrant children in detention for over 20 days. The Trump administration is now seeking to do away with that prohibition and hold undocumented families traveling with children for an indefinite period of time.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, announced the administration’s plans to publish a final rule in the Federal Register to do away with the Flores rule. The rule would become effective 60 days after publication. The proposal however will likely be met with great opposition and result in years long litigation.

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