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Norcross Immigration Law Blog

Trumps continuing battle with sanctuary cities

Donald Trump's stance on immigration law has been made clear since the early days of his campaign, but now that he's President, he's finally attempting to make the changes he so vehemently declared needed to happen. With promises of constructing a wall expanding across the North American and Mexican border to threats of deporting illegal immigrants, it's no surprise that he's threatening to withhold money from the so-called "sanctuary cities" and jurisdictions that actively push back against his immigration policies.

As these new warnings are unveiled, it's important to understand the significance of a sanctuary city and why the Trump administration seeks to punish them by withholding funding. There isn't a clear legal definition of what a sanctuary city is, but it can be defined by what it does -- or doesn't do, in this case. Sanctuary cities are not actual cities, but counties. Most of these counties challenge changes in law and federal requests that require local law enforcement to enforce immigration law. These are jurisdictions that don't fully cooperate with federal immigration officials. This can look like a police officer not using local resources to detain an illegal immigrant or not reporting undocumented immigrants. According to a statement made at the White House, Congress states "a city that prohibits its officials from providing information to federal immigration authorities — a sanctuary city — is violating the law."

9th Circuit: Much of Trump travel ban can now take effect

In late September, the Trump administration announced a permanent ban on travel by some or all nationals of Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Chad, Venezuela and North Korea.

This was a replacement for a previous travel ban which had been challenged, more or less successfully, in federal court. The U.S. Supreme Court had been set to rule on the previous ban, but those plans were put on hold after the new ban replaced it.

Temporary Protected Status to end for Nicaraguans, perhaps others

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has announced the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for citizens of Nicaragua. To allow an orderly transition, the program will not actually end until Jan. 5, 2019.

At the same time, Duke announced that more information is needed before the TPS program for citizens of Honduras will be ended. As a result, the program was automatically extended for six months, to July 5, 2018.

Trump calls for ending the U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa program

The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) program allows people to immigrate to the U.S. from countries traditionally under-represented in U.S. immigration. Each year, up to 50,000 immigrant visas are available through the program. The recipients are randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants, which averages around 16 million each year. Recipients are eligible for lawful permanent residency (green card status).

The program was passed in 1990 after a bipartisan effort and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. The eligibility requirements are spelled out in federal law and include, generally:

  • Being born in one of the countries included in the program, which are nations with historically low rates of immigration into the United States
  • Have a high school education or its equivalent OR have completed qualifying work experience
  • Being admissible to the United States, which means passing a criminal background check and security check

New plan allows refugee entries to resume except from 11 nations

President Trump recently signed a new executive order allowing refugee admissions into the U.S. to resume. He had ordered a halt to refugee admissions in an order signed shortly after he took office. That order has now expired.

The new order, however, adds "enhanced vetting" requirements before any refugee can be admitted. It also sharply limits refugees from 11 countries. Officials have refused to name the 11 countries. They have said that refugees from the unnamed nations will only be admitted on a case-by-case basis.

Army halts green card holders' enlistment in Reserve, Nat'l Guard

A new policy implemented last week by the U.S. Army has put a halt on lawful permanent residents (green card holders) joining the Army Reserve or National Guard. Green card holders can still enlist in the active-duty Army, but with stricter background checks. These recruits will not be allowed to begin basic training until the background checks have been completed. The delay could last up to a year.

A major reason lawful permanent residents join the armed services is expedited U.S. citizenship. All green card holders are generally eligible for citizenship. However, the armed services offer expedited citizenship for service members and the spouses and children of deployed service members, among other immigration and non-immigration benefits. The offer of expedited citizenship for military service is one perk that private employers can't offer.

Poll: Vast majority of Americans don't want to deport Dreamers

A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 1 in 5 Americans want to see Dreamers deported. Moreover, 60 percent of the nation favors allowing Dreamers to remain in the country legally.

Dreamers are people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. They are considered unauthorized immigrants but this is through no fault of their own.

Supreme Court hears case about deportation and crime

Permanent residency allows non-citizens the right to live and work in the United States. While permanent is right there in the name, there are exceptions for deportation. One of those reasons is when a permanent resident breaks the law-under certain conditions.

Asylum seekers sue ICE after being held for nearly 2 years

Five asylum seekers are suing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They claim they have been imprisoned in violation of U.S. treaties and without due process -- some for as long as 20 months. They allege that the Trump administration is intentionally trying to deter legitimate asylum requests.

The U.S. signed the U.N. Convention on the Status of Refugees, and is therefore required to have laws in keeping with that treaty. Therefore, the Refugee Act of 1980 requires the U.S. to give safe haven to people who have a credible fear of certain types of persecution in their home nations. People in that situation can legally come to any U.S. port of entry to apply for asylum. When they do, they are to be sent immediately to an asylum officer for a preliminary interview about their credible fear of persecution.

Trump Admin. announces new, permanent travel ban for 8 countries

The Trump administration announced a permanent replacement for its controversial travel ban on Sunday, and this one restricts entry from eight countries: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Chad, Venezuela and North Korea. Sudan, which was included in both previous versions of the ban, was excluded from the new ban.

Unlike the previous ban, this one tailors restrictions to each country. They are based on whether the country was able to meet a baseline that would allow the U.S. to effectively vet the proposed traveler. That baseline, according to the Atlantic, is the country's ability to verify travelers' identities, access their criminal histories and perform risk assessments.

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