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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Amicus Briefs Filed Urging Courts to Allow Pathway to Legal Status

    by , 03-05-2015 at 09:10 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    For Immediate Release

    American Immigration Council Files Amicus Briefs Urging Courts to Broadly Interpret Immigration Law to Allow Pathway to Lawful Status

    March 4, 2015

    Washington, D.C.
    –Last week, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) urged two Courts of Appeals to interpret different provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in accordance with Congress’s intent to provide noncitizens a path to lawful status.

    Scope of the § 212(h) aggravated felony bar

    In Mansfield v. Holder, No. 13-2876 (8th Cir.), the Council urged the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate Roberts v. Holder, 745 F.3d 928 (8th Cir. 2014). Roberts stands alone – out of the ten Circuits to address the issue – in holding that the aggravated felony bar in INA § 212(h) applies to all lawful permanent residents (LPR) regardless of the manner in which they gained LPR status. The nine other courts of appeals have held that Congress intended the bar to apply only to individuals who were admitted to the United States as LPRs and not to those who adjusted to LPR status following their admission. The majority view allows a greater number of LPRs to avoid deportation if they can demonstrate to an immigration judge that their removal will result in extreme hardship to close family members in the United States. Read here for more on this topic.

    Adjustment of status for certain TPS recipients who entered the U.S. without inspection

    In Ramirez v. Dougherty, No. 14-35633, the Council argued that the Ninth Circuit should uphold the decision of the district court and find that a TPS recipient who is otherwise eligible to adjust status may do so even if he entered the United State without inspection. The amicus brief explains that Congress created a legal fiction under which a TPS recipient is “considered” to be in lawful nonimmigrant status for “purposes of adjustment of status.” Because an admission is a necessary prerequisite to lawful immigrant status, the recipient must also be “considered” admitted for purposes of adjustment of status. As such, the admission requirement of INA § 245(a) is satisfied, notwithstanding the individual’s initial entry without inspection. This interpretation has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit and a district court in Pennsylvania. Read here for more about these cases.


    For more information, contact clearinghouse@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7516.

    The American Immigration Council is a non-profit organization established to increase public understanding of immigration law and policy, advocate for the fair and just administration of our immigration laws, protect the legal rights of noncitizens, and educate the public about the enduring contributions of America’s immigrants.
  2. Immigrants Worry They'll Face Deportation After Deferred Action Delay

    by , 03-04-2015 at 10:10 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From NPR:

    "Ayala's lawyer, Bryan Johnson, argued that his client was eligible for Obama's deferred action program for parents, which temporarily protected Ayala from deportation until the Texas court ruling put the program on hold. Now, Johnson says he's not sure what will happen during their next appointment with immigration officials.

    "I'm going to tell ICE that we're waiting for deferred action, and then from there, we'll see what happens," says Johnson, a partner at the immigration law firm Amoachi & Johnson. "But I mean he's not safe because there is no deferred action to apply for."

  3. Immigrant Communities are Facing Deportation as Immigration Remains in Legal Limbo

    by , 03-03-2015 at 10:47 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From my appearance on MSNBC's The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart:

    "José Díaz-Balart talks with immigration attorney Matthew Kolken about the fallout from the continuing legal limbo surrounding the president’s immigration actions."

  4. Complaint: Obama Admin Unlawfully Coerced Mexican Nationals into Self-Deportation

    by , 03-02-2015 at 08:38 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The Obama administration allegedly engaged in "abusive and illegal practices" that coerce citizens of Mexico into abandoning defenses that could prevent their deportation.

    The complaint speaks for itself:

    The immigration enforcement agencies operating in Southern California regularly pressure, deceive, and threaten Mexican nationals who are eligible to reside in the United States lawfully—and have built lives in the United States over decades—into signing their own expulsion orders through misuse of a process known as “voluntary departure.” These abusive and illegal practices rob victims of their right to seek relief from removal. As administered and practiced in Southern California, the “voluntary departure” program has become a regime of unlawful coerced expulsion—one which tears numerous families apart every year.

    Immigration officers’ misstatements and omissions are exacerbated by the fact that they regularly pressure individuals to agree to voluntary departure before they have had any opportunity to speak to an attorney. Immigration enforcement agencies in Southern California expel individuals who have taken voluntary departure as rapidly as logistically possible in many instances, on the same day. This practice violates the agencies’ governing regulations, which require that immigration officers exercise discretion to determine whether to allow an individual who has taken voluntary departure a period of up to 120 days to leave the United States. Thus, individuals who have been in the United States for decades are unlawfully ripped from their families and established lives for up to ten years without having time to consider their other legal options, put their affairs in order, or even say goodbye to family members.

    Click here to read the settlement.

    Updated 03-03-2015 at 02:27 PM by MKolken

  5. DAPA Eligible Father of Four Citizen Children Deported

    by , 02-28-2015 at 04:26 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Courtesy of Houston immigration lawyer Amy Maldonado:

    Texas immigration attorney Norma Sepulveda’s DAPA-eligible client Mr. Henry Alvarado is married to a lawful permanent resident of the United States, and has four U.S. citizen children. Mr. Alvarado had been living in Houston Texas continuously since 2005. Importantly, Mr. Alvarado does not fall under any of the enforcement priorities established in the November 20, 2014 memo. After being pulled over by the police department on his way to Corpus Christi for work (his wife who had lawful status and a driver’s license was driving), U.S. Border Patrol was called and Mr. Alvarado was taken into custody.

    Mr. Alvarado’s attorney requested his release on February 20, 2015, and received a response on February 26, 2015 from the ICE San Antonio Field Office, Enforcement and Removal Operations that her client was removed to Honduras the day prior.

    Mr. Alvarado was deported on February 25, 2015; ironically, the very same day that President Obama gave assurances at the MSNBC town hall on immigration that persons in Mr. Alvarado’s situation are not at risk, and that ICE employees ignoring directives on enforcement priorities would suffer consequences.

    Updated 02-28-2015 at 04:49 PM by MKolken

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