A Second Chance at Asylum?

boy in fencing, immigration attorneyUnder an agreement, asylum seekers who were separated from their families at the border earlier in 2018 and who were did not pass the credible fear test may now reapply for asylum. The agreement was reached between the federal government and immigration attorneys who sued on behalf of the asylum seekers, and it might affect immigrants in Illinois and elsewhere in the U.S. In the lawsuit, the lawyers had argued that the parents were not given adequate time to prepare their cases and were unable to talk about the dangers they faced in their home countries because of concerns that they had about the whereabouts of their children. The agreement makes it possible for some of these parents and children to be granted refugee status, allowing them to remain in the U.S.

Family Separations and Asylum Hearings

In April 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the federal government was implementing a zero-tolerance policy at the border and would separate parents from their children. Over the next month, a few thousand children were separated from their parents and sent to centers across the nation. Many parents had no idea where their children were located. In the midst of this trauma and chaos, parents were rushed through the asylum process without legal representation. They were expected to pass the credible fear test, which is the first test in the asylum process. This test requires immigrants to demonstrate that they have a credible fear of serious harm or death if they return to their home countries. The immigration attorneys for the separated parents also claimed that many parents were coerced into signing documents which stated that they waived their right to asylum.

What the Agreement States

After the families filed a lawsuit, the case has wended its way through federal court. The government reached an agreement with the separated families that may give 1,000 parents the right to reapply for asylum. Under the agreement, the deportation proceedings against the parents will be halted so they can have a chance to have second interviews with immigration officers. They will also be allowed to have attorneys represent them during their interviews and will be given time to prepare. Parents who are denied asylum will be allowed to stay in the U.S. until their children’s cases are decided.

Plan to Restart Deportation Cases Impacts Hundreds of Thousands

us embassy, immigration lawyer chicagoSome Illinois immigrants who have had their previous deportation cases administratively suspended might now face having them reopened because of the Trump administration’s stance on immigration. The cases were administratively closed by administrative law judges to help their dockets move more quickly and because Immigrations and Customs Enforcement lawyers used prosecutorial discretion to decide not to move forward with them. The push to reopen the administratively suspended cases could impact hundreds of thousands of immigrants across the U.S.

Effort to Reopen Deportation Proceedings

Under the Obama administration, the government took the approach of prioritizing deportation cases of people who were convicted of certain crimes. The government deemed other cases to be low priority and allowed prosecutors to exercise discretion and request that they were administratively suspended. When a case is administratively suspended, it is taken off the immigration judge’s docket. No further proceedings happen so that the case is functionally closed. Prosecutors are able to request that the cases are placed back on the courts’ dockets. In the last two years of Obama’s administration, prosecutors made 3,551 requests in 2015 and 4,847 in 2016. During Trump’s first year in office, prosecutors made 8,400 requests. So far in 2018, almost 8.000 cases have been reopened.

Currently, there are 355,000 immigration cases that have been administratively closed. Internal documents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed plans to reopen almost all of them, potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of people. Many people who may have continued living in the U.S. for years could now face a future that is uncertain.

The prosecutors have been given orders to prioritize the administratively closed cases in a certain order. Cases with the highest priority are those in which the immigrants are jailed and those that involve people with criminal records. ICE will then work on cases in which motions to recalendar have been denied. Finally, they will work on the remaining cases.

What Can People Do?

People who have deportation cases that have been administratively closed might want to look for alternative ways that they can legally remain in the U.S. Some immigrants may be eligible for different types of visas or refugee status. People may want to explore their options to learn whether they might be able to benefit from one of the legal ways to remain in the U.S. so that they do not have to live in fear.

ICE Conspiracy: Here’s What You Need to Know

gavel with America flag, immigration lawyerThe American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against ICE and the USCIS on behalf of 13 undocumented immigrants claiming the two agencies conspired to call people in for interviews at the USCIS so that ICE could arrest them for deportation. The undocumented immigrants had final orders of removal and were participating in a process through which they could eventually receive green cards. Instead of allowing them to comply with the program, the USCIS instead allegedly scheduled their appointments around the schedules of ICE agents so that they could be arrested while they were at the office.

The Alleged Conspiracy

According to court documents, undocumented immigrants who had final removal orders but who were taking advantage of the provisional waiver regulations from 2016 were called into USCIS offices for interviews. USCIS was reportedly notifying ICE of when the appointments were scheduled so that agents could arrest the immigrants. The provisional waiver regulations provide that people who have final removal orders but whose deportations would cause hardship for their families can have their deportations waived while they go through a process to obtain green cards. Without the waiver provisions, people would have to remain outside of the U.S. for 10 years before they would be able to legally enter the country again.

In one case, a woman who was brought to the U.S. when she was three years old received her removal order at age 15 when her father lost his status as a refugee. She remained in the U.S. and later married a U.S. citizen, with whom she had two children. She was told by the USCIS that she needed to come into the office so that they could verify the validity of her marriage. When she arrived with her marriage certificate and the birth certificates of her children, ICE agents showed up, arrested her and deported her to Guatemala.

The government has filed a motion to dismiss the ACLU’s lawsuit and has denied that a conspiracy exists. However, the ACLU has emails that demonstrate coordination between ICE and the USCIS for the arrest of undocumented immigrants in the USCIS offices. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction prohibiting further coordination between the agencies.


Immigration Policies Are Making It Tough On American Companies

business people with contract paper, immigration lawyer chicagoSince the Trump administration’s implementation of hardline immigration policies, companies in Illinois have been having trouble filling their open positions. Trump’s policies have focused on reducing both legal and illegal immigration. Many companies rely on legal immigrants to fill positions for which they have exhausted their searches. Additional changes are scheduled to come into effect and could harm the economy even more.

Harder to Get Work Visas

Employers that have positions that require highly skilled workers often struggle to find employees to fill them. They frequently turn to foreign workers who have the skills they need and seek to obtain H-1B visas for them. However, the process has become much more difficult since Trump took office. The Migration Policy Institute reports that the administration has made changes to the procedures for processing visa applications, regulations, and the administrative guidelines. All of the changes have been made to curb legal immigration with work visas.

At the same time, unemployment fell below 4 percent. In the middle of 2018, there were 6 million jobs that were vacant in the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Immigration Services is also denying and challenging H-1B visa applications. During the first eight months of 2017, employers that had applied for H-1B visas received 45 percent more requests for evidence forms, which require employers to prove that they really need the foreign workers.

Likely to Become More Difficult

Some additional changes to the immigration regulations and administrative guidelines could soon make it even more difficult for businesses to get visas for the workers that they need. One change will allow adjudicators with the USCIS to deny applications and petitions outright without having to send requests for evidence or notices of their intent to deny. This means that the USCIS could begin deportation and removal proceedings when H-1B visas expire even if the workers are waiting for their extension applications to be adjudicated.

The impact of immigration policies may include slowed economic growth and less innovation. Some companies that are unable to fill positions may be unable to grow or may be forced to close.

These Immigrants Have Left Their Mark in America

visa page, immigration lawyerThe successive waves of immigration to the United States have accelerated the course of progress in all aspects of American life including technology, science, books, movies, architecture, and economic productivity.

Albert Einstein

The father of modern physics, Albert Einstein was born in Germany in 1879. He was Jewish and immigrated to the U.S. for safety as the Nazis rose to power. Einstein is recognized as the greatest physicist in the world in the 20th century and was responsible for the theory of relativity and the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Sergey Brin

The co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin has had a major impact on modern life. Brin was born in Moscow in the former Soviet Union. Brin came from a Russian-Jewish family that decided to flee the USSR because of rising anti-Semitism when he was four years old. He met Larry Page while studying for his doctorate at Stanford. Together, they formed Google, which is the most popular search engine in the world.

Dikembe Mutombo

This famous retired NBA star was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and originally came to the U.S. to study medicine at Georgetown University on an academic scholarship. While he was at Georgetown, he tried out for the school’s basketball team and eventually landed in the NBA. Today, Mutombo serves as a humanitarian ambassador and does work around the globe to better the circumstances of people who live in poverty.

Ieoh Ming Pei

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Guangzhou, China and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 17 years old to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Pei grew to become one of the world’s best-known architects and was responsible for designing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

These are just a few of the many immigrants whose contributions have made the U.S. into the country it is today. Countless other immigrants have also made their mark even if they are not as well known.