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  1. Why is Trump Willing to Shut Down Gov't Over Mexican Wall, Despite Damage to Economy and Hardship to Millions of Americans? Roger Algase

    Virtually all leaders in both parties agree that a government shutdown should be avoided at all costs because it would damage the economy (one estimate is to the tune of $24 billion) and cause great hardship to federal employees, veterans, and many other American citizens by interrupting essential government payments and services, as The Guardian reports:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...nment-shutdown

    In view of the fact that apprehensions at the border are down, net migration from Mexico is zero or minus, no terrorist incidents have been reported involving anyone coming into the US from Mexico, and Mexico is one of America's most important trading partners, why is it so important to the president to have Congress provide funding for his Mexican border Wall that he would be willing to risk shutting down the federal government if Congress refuses?

    The answer can only be that it is not the practical consequences of building or not building the Wall that are of primary importance to Donald Trump.

    Rather, it can only be the symbolic meaning of the Wall, as a message to the people of Mexico, and the world, that immigrants from Mexico, Latin America, and the world in general outside Europe will no longer be welcome in America, any more than they were welcome under the 1924 Immigration Act which barred almost all immigration from outside Northern Europe for the following 40 years (although, to be sure, that law did not contain quotas limiting immigration from Mexico or other "Western Hemisphere" countries - not a big factor at that time).

    What is there about the proposed Wall that would constitute such a clear, even though symbolic message, and why would the president be so anxious to put such a message out that he would risk something as destructive as a government shutdown to the people of the country that he was elected to lead?

    I will venture some answers to these questions below.

    First, very possibly most significantly of all, one can begin with Trump's own explanation of the significance of the Wall, as he views it. On June 3, 2016, CNN reported on then candidate Trump's interview with Jake Tapper relating to Trump's claim that Indiana-born Gonzalo Curiel, the presiding Judge in a federal district court lawsuit against Trump personally over Trump University (which has since been settled at a cost to Trump of $25 million) was incapable of deciding the case fairly because of Judge Curiel's "Mexican heritage", as his parents were Mexican immigrants.

    CNN quoted Trump's words verbatim as follows:

    "He's proud of his heritage. I respect him for that."

    Trump then continued:

    "He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico." (Bold added.)

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/03/politi...p-tapper-lead/

    Aside from the small detail that Judge Curiel is an American, not a Mexican, having been born in this country, as provided by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which Trump has since taken an oath as president to defend and protect, the open contempt for Judge Curiel, (whom Trump also called a "hater"),

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/donald-trump-university-judge-gonzalo-curiel-mexican-hispanic-hater


    because of the Judge's ancestry, cannot be explained away, no matter how hard one might try to whitewash it.

    It would be difficult to imagine a clearer illustration of the true significance and purpose of the Mexican Wall, at least as far as Donald Trump is concerned.

    But Trump's open attack on Judge Curiel based on his ethnicity didn't tell America, or the world, anything about his motivation for the Wall with Mexico that was not already obvious from June 16, 2015, the day that Trump announced his campaign for president of the United States and his plan to build a Wall with Mexico in the same speech.

    Just in case there is anyone whose memory doesn't go back to that day, not quite two years ago, here is the way that Trump introduced the Mexican Wall plan, as quoted by Time:

    "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

    http://time.com/3923128/donald-trump...ncement-speech

    This was Trump's only explanation for his promise in the same speech, to build a "great big, beautiful wall" with Mexico (and to humiliate Mexico by making Mexico pay for the Wall).

    Whatever else one may say about Trump, he often speaks in plain, clear language, without legalisms or parsing. There was nothing ambiguous in the above statement. The Wall was necessary, in Trump's view, because Mexicans in general are bad people - inferior to Americans - "criminals" and "rapists" who do not deserve to be in this country.

    2,000 years ago, in his Aeneid, Virgil used the phrase gens invisum - a despised nation - to describe the goddess Juno's opinion of the Trojans - whom she was anxious to keep from coming to Italy by any means possible (and Virgil's great epic poem describes quite a few - this does not mean that I am impugning the slightest knowledge of Virgil or any other great classical literature to Donald Trump - I am not).

    If Virgil were writing today he might well be using the same phrase, gens invisum, to describe the Mexicans whom Donald Trump wants to keep out of the United States, even at the cost of the damage to America's economy and the hardship to millions of Americans that almost everyone on both sides of the aisle in Congress agrees would result from a federal government shutdown.

    However, Trump is far from being the only leader in either ancient or modern history who has tried to use a Wall as a symbol of contempt for a despised group of people whom the leader in question has wanted to keep out of his territory at all costs, no matter what it takes.

    In the 20th century, one thinks of the Berlin Wall, and, even more ominously and tragically, the Wall which the Germans built to separate the doomed Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto from the non-Jewish part of the city during the Holocaust in WW2.

    Going back further in time, both the Great Wall of China, impressive parts of which are still standing today (I have visited this Wall myself), and the Roman Emperor Hadrian's Wall near what is now the dividing line between England and Scotland, were intended to keep out people who were considered inferior and undeserving because of their ethnicity from crossing into the territory of nations, or empires, which considered themselves superior.

    The irony is that what remains of all these ancient and modern walls is now treasured and preserved by historians as mementos of the inhumanity which some groups of people have inflicted on others throughout history.

    For more details, see:

    http://time.com/4652770/donald-trump...walls-history/

    If Trump ever builds his Mexican border Wall, one prediction can be made with absolute certainty. Just as Trump's predecessor, President Ronald Reagan, predicted would happen to the Berlin Wall, and just as has happened to every other such wall throughout history, Donald Trump's Wall will also one day, most likely sooner rather than later, inevitably be torn down.

    There cannot possibly be the slightest doubt about this.

    When it is torn down, let us hope that historians, just as happened with the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Ghetto Wall, and other more ancient walls such as those mentioned above, will be able to preserve a few fragments of them as mementos of man's inhumanity to man and as a warning to future generations.

    If and when this happens, then, and only then, might one be able to say that there was a useful, or rational, purpose to Donald Trump's Mexican border Wall.
    _______________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards, thereby overcoming barriers to their ability to live and work in the United States of America.

    Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 04-23-2017 at 11:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Steve King Threatens Lawsuit Against Trump Over His Refusal to Rescind DACA. Will King Be Satisfied If Trump Shuts Down The Government? Roger Algase

    The following comment has been updated and expanded as of Saturday evening, April 22.

    The Hill reports on April 21 that anti-immigrant hard-liner Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), whose statements that Hispanic immigrants are "drug mules" and other verbal attacks on minority immigrants have aroused a storm of criticism and opposition, is now threatening to sue the Trump administration over the president's refusal to date to rescind President Obama's DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a/k/a DREAMERs.

    According to the report, King is arguing that "Defenders of the Constitution" may need to sue Trump to force him to cancel this program.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/32...-trump-on-daca

    No one who has been reading my blog comments on this site will mistake me for an admirer of the president or a supporter of his immigration policies. But King's threat is at least a small indication that Trump is not totally bad when it comes to immigration.

    One might hope that this could lead to more recognition of reason, reality and humanity in Trump's immigration policies than is apparent from his executive orders as president so far.

    It is time to put respect for the equality of all people on which our nation was founded ahead of the hard line ideology of Steve King, Steven Bannon, Jeff Sessions and others of Trump's key supporters or advisers who want to revert back to America's long and sorry history of prejudice and persecution of immigrants because of their ethnicity, religion or country of origin - the ideology which helped Donald Trump win the presidency in the first place.

    Does Trump have it in him to transcend the narrowness and animosity against immigrants who may look, talk, or pray differently from America's white, Europe-based majority which did so much to put him in the White House?

    One would hope that, for the sake not only of many millions of immigrants to the US from around the world, but for the American people, who treasure this country's most fundamental values and ideals, we might be hearing a lot more threats from Steve King and others like him to launch lawsuits over immigration against Donald Trump.

    Unfortunately, Trump's threat to shut down the government if he does not get his way with Congress for funding for his Mexican border Wall and permission to deny funding to Sanctuary Cities which stand up against attempts to bludgeon them into line in favor of mass deportation, is not a sign that he is ready to put his inflammatory campaign rhetoric and narrow, divisive executive orders against Hispanic, Middle Eastern, African and Asian immigrants behind him. See:

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administ...r-wall-funding

    and

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...n-talks-237435

    See also:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...t-money-237467

    It is not yet clear if Steve King will ever need to sue the president over immigration.
    ______________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants receive work visas and green cards without regard to ethnicity, religion or country of origin. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 04-23-2017 at 05:34 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Immigration Court Post-Trump Cases Show No Increase

    by , 04-21-2017 at 01:22 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:

    The latest available court records through the end of March 2017 reveal little observable change in filings since President Trump assumed office. In fact, the pace of DHS issuances of NTAs (notices to appear) that initiate proceedings in Immigration Court under the Trump Administration remain similar to the pace in earlier months under President Obama. Indeed, the monthly numbers of new NTAs under President Trump continues much the same as the levels that prevailed all through the second half of FY 2016[1].

    However, because of filing and recording delays, any estimate of overall trends must be considered very preliminary in nature[2]. Indeed, just over half of the NTAs filed during the post-Trump period still reflect NTAs initiated under President Obama. These results are based upon the latest case-by-case court records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.


    The court's records reveal that since Trump assumed office, a total of 25,942 cases have been initiated by DHS seeking removal orders. This represents the number of DHS Notices to Appear (NTAs), or comparable forms, dated after January 20, 2017 that had been filed in court as of the end of March 2017. NTAs are the official notification to an individual that DHS is seeking to deport them. NTAs dated after Trump assumed the presidency and that have already been filed and recorded by the court are referred to as "Trump" cases." In contrast, court-recorded NTAs dated during FY 2017 but before Trump assumed office are denoted as "Obama" cases.


    While the pace of filings remains unchanged, there has been a sharp change between Trump and Obama cases in whether individuals are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while their cases are pending. At the time of the court filing the majority (54%) of Obama's cases were not detained. This was true for only a quarter (25%) of Trump's cases. Most of the remaining individuals were still detained. Figure 1 compares the detention status of Obama versus Trump cases as of the end of March 2017.




    Click here for the rest of the report.
  4. In Muslim Ban Case, Sessions Follows Trump's Lead in Making Ethnic Attacks Relating to a Federal Judge. Roger Algase

    During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump earned notoriety by attacking the ethnic background of the federal judge presiding in the lawsuit against Trump personally over the operations of Trump University, a lawsuit which has been since been settled on Trump's agreement to pay the plaintiffs $25 million.

    For those who may have forgotten, Trump called the judge in that case, Gonzalo Curiel, who had issued a ruling unfavorable to Trump, a "hater" who was incapable of reaching a fair decision because of his Mexican "heritage" and Trump's plan to build a wall against Mexico. For Trump's exact quoted words, see

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/03/politi...p-tapper-lead/

    Judge Curiel, who was born in Indiana of Mexican immigrant parents, is now the presiding judge in a lawsuit against the DHS by a Mexican citizen who claims that he was wrongfully deported to Mexico despite having DACA protection.

    http://latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me...420-story.html

    Though Trump himself has not issued any further attacks on Judge Curiel in this latest case, Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is now apparently following in Trump's footsteps by issuing a slur directed against another federal judge, sitting in Hawaii, who issued an injunction against enforcing the latest version of Trump's ban on entry to the US by citizens of six (originally seven) almost 100 percent Muslim countries.

    Sessions did not attack the ethnicity of the (white) judge himself in this case, but instead, issued a transparent attack against the ethnicity of the entire state of Hawaii. Specifically, Sessions said:

    "I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly clearly his statutory and Constitutional power."


    http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/politi...yze/index.html

    For anyone who is familiar with the history of how Southern Senators were active in helping to delay Hawaii's statehood application in the 1950's because of that state's large non-white population, the disparaging reference to Hawaii as only "an island in the Pacific" (a mainly non-white area of the world, as Sessions clearly intends everyone hearing about his remark to keep in mind) by the Attorney General who, as everyone knows, was a Senator from Alabama for many years before assuming his current position, speaks volumes about the real intention of his comment.

    It also tells us a great deal, not only about the history of racial attitudes toward Hawaii by American politicians, especially those from a part of the country where white supremacist segregation laws were still in effect, but about the real reasons for the Trump administration's Muslim ban executive orders today.

    See the following brief but succinct summary of the sorry history of attempts by Southern Senators in particular to prevent Hawaii from becoming a state, which Sessions' statement cannot help but recall:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...300.x/abstract

    As the brief filed by the ABA in the 4th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals referred to in my April 20 Immigration Daily comment, together with a similar one which the ABA is filing with the 9th Circuit Appeals Court (which covers Hawaii) both make clear, there are strong Constitutional arguments, based on both freedom of religion and equal protection of the law for Muslim U.S. citizens and permanent residents (and other Americans who have connections with Muslim immigrants, students and visitors) against upholding the president's latest Muslim ban executive order.

    Anyone who cares about preserving the rule of law in America would hope that Jeff Sessions, the nation's highest law enforcement officer, will henceforth direct his efforts to trying to answer these Constitutional (and statutory) arguments as best he can, rather than engaging in thinly coded racial invective against the people of an entire US state.

    The fact that Sessions resorted to this kind of invective might, conceivably, indicate that he does not see his legal arguments in favor of upholding the president's latest Muslim ban executive order as being very strong.

    In any event, the American people are entitled to decisions in immigration cases, as in every other type of case, based on the law, not on disparaging comments about the ethnic background of an individual judge, as in the case of Donald Trump's attack against Judge Curiel, or about the ethnicity of the people of an entire U.S. state, as in the case of Jeff Sessions' comment quoted above.
    _______________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants receive work visas and green cards without regard to ethnicity, religion or nationality. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 04-22-2017 at 09:43 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Expediting a Case in Immigration Court

    For the last few years, the "hot topic" in asylum has been the backlog--the very long delays caused by too many applicants and too few adjudicators. I recently wrote about the backlog at the Asylum Office and what can be done to expedite a case. One commenter suggested that I write a post about expediting cases in Immigration Court, and since I aim to please, here it is.
    Courts are still wrapping up the last of Justice Marshall's immigration cases.
    The first thing to note is that the backlog in Immigration Court is huge. According to recent data, there are over 542,000 cases pending in court (not all of these cases are asylum). The average wait time for a case in Immigration Court is 677 days. The slowest court is Colorado, where wait times average 994 days. That's a long time, especially if you are separated from family members while your case is pending. For what it's worth, I have previously written about some ideas for reducing the wait time in Immigration Court (you will be shocked to learn that EOIR has not yet contacted me to implement these ideas!).


    Second, advancing a case is not easy. The Immigration Court Practice Manual, page 101, specifically notes that, "Motions to advance are disfavored." The motion should "completely articulate the reasons for the request and the adverse consequences if the hearing date is not advanced." Health problems or separation from family may good reasons to advance. I discuss these and other possible reasons here (the post relates to affirmative asylum cases, but the same logic applies).


    Third, expediting a case in Immigration Court is not as straightforward as expediting a case at the Asylum Office. There are different approaches that you can take, depending on the posture of your case. For advancing a case (and for the case itself), it is very helpful to have the assistance of an attorney. Indeed, according to TRAC Immigration, 91% of unrepresented asylum applicants in Immigration Court have their cases denied (whether they get other relief, like Withholding of Removal, I do not know). If you can afford a lawyer (or find one for free), it will be to your benefit in expediting and winning your asylum case in court.


    OK, before we get to the various approaches for advancing a court case, let's start with a bit of background. A case commences in Immigration Court when the Notice to Appear--or NTA--is filed with the court. The NTA lists the reasons why the U.S. government believes it can deport (or, in the more bowdlerized parlance of our time, "remove") someone from the United States. After the court receives the NTA, it schedules the alien for an initial hearing, called a Master Calendar Hearing ("MCH"). At the MCH, the alien--hopefully with the help of an attorney--tells the Immigration Judge ("IJ") whether the allegations in the NTA are admitted or denied, and whether the alien agrees that he can be deported. In most asylum cases, the alien admits that he is deportable, and then informs the Judge that his defense to deportation is his claim for asylum. The IJ then schedules the alien for a Merits Hearing (also called an Individual Hearing), where the alien can present his application for asylum, and either receive asylum (or some other relief) or be ordered deported from the United States. Depending where in this process your case is, the procedures to expedite vary.


    If you have the NTA, but the MCH is not yet scheduled
    : In some cases, the alien receives an NTA, but then waits many months before the MCH is scheduled. In this case, the delay usually lies with DHS (Department of Homeland Security), which issues the NTAs and files them with the Court, rather than with the Court itself. The Immigration Court has an automated number that you can call to check whether your case is scheduled for a hearing date. The phone number is 1-800-898-7180. Follow the prompts and enter your nine-digit Alien number (also called an "A number"). The system will tell you whether your case is scheduled and the date of the next hearing.


    If the system indicates that your "A-number was not found," this probably means that the NTA has not yet been submitted to the Court. Contact the local DHS/ICE Office of the Chief Counsel and talk to the attorney on duty. Perhaps that person can help get the NTA filed with the Court, so the case can begin.


    If your A-number is in the system, but there is no MCH scheduled, contact the Immigration Court directly to ask the clerk for an update. If the Court has the case, it may be possible to file a motion (a formal request) to schedule the case. However, if an IJ is not yet assigned to the case, such a request may disappear into the void once it is filed. Most lawyers (including me) would generally not file a motion until a Judge is assigned, as it is probably a waste of time, but maybe it is possible to try this, if your lawyer is willing.


    While you are waiting for the Court to docket your case (i.e., give you a court date), you can gather evidence and complete your affidavit. That way, once the case is on the schedule, you will be ready to file your documents and ask to expedite.


    If the MCH is scheduled
    : Sometimes, MCHs are scheduled months--or even years--in the future. If your case is assigned to an IJ and you have a MCH date, there are a couple options for expediting.


    First, you can file a motion to advance the date of the MCH. If the MCH is sooner, the final (Merits) hearing will be sooner as well. Whether the IJ will grant the motion and give you an earlier appointment is anyone's guess. Some IJs (and their clerks) are good about this; others, not so much.


    Second, you can request to do the MCH in writing (in lieu of attending the hearing in-person). Check the Immigration Court Practice Manual, pages 70 to 72, for information about filing written pleadings. If the Judge allows this, you can avoid attending the MCH and go directly to the Merits Hearing. Just be sure that your affidavit and all supporting documents are submitted, so you are ready to go if and when the IJ schedules you for a final hearing.


    Many attorney, including me, do not like filing motions to advance the MCH or motions for a written MCH. The reason is because they often do not work, and so what happens is this: You prepare and file the motion, call the Court several times, and ultimately have to attend the MCH anyway. When lawyers spend time doing extra work, it is fair for them to charge the client additional money. So don't be surprised if your lawyer tells you that filing a motion will cost extra.


    At the MCH
    : Typically, when you go to the MCH, the IJ gives you the first date available on her calendar for a Merits Hearing. But there are a few things you can do to try to get the earliest possible date.


    One thing is to complete the entire case (the affidavit and all supporting documents) and give them to the IJ at the MCH. That way, if there happens to be an early opening, you can take the date (and sometimes, IJs do have early dates--for example, if another case has been cancelled). Many lawyers (again, including me) don't love this because it requires us to do all the work in advance, and it often does not help. Don't be surprised if the lawyer wants to charge extra for getting the work done early (many lawyers--and other humans--prefer to put off until tomorrow what we do not need to do today).


    Second, you (or your lawyer) can try to talk to the DHS attorney prior to the MCH to see whether any issues in the case can be narrowed (usually, it is not possible to talk to DHS about the substance of the case prior to the MCH, as they have not yet reviewed the file). If that happens, maybe you will need less time to present the case, and you can tell the IJ that you expect a relatively short Merits Hearing. It may be easier for the IJ to find a one-hour opening on his calendar than a three hour opening (normally IJs reserve a three-hour time slot for asylum cases), and so you may end up with an earlier date. Even if you cannot talk with the DHS attorney, you can tell the IJ that you expect to complete the case in an hour and try to convince him to give you an earlier date, if he has one.


    Third, if you have a compelling reason for seeking an earlier Merits Hearing, tell the IJ. If you have evidence demonstrating the need for an earlier date, give it to the IJ. Maybe the Judge will not have an earlier date available immediately, but at least he can keep the situation in mind and accommodate you if an earlier date opens up.


    Finally, if you simply arrive early at the MCH and get in line, you may end up with an earlier Merits Hearing date than if you show up late to the MCH since IJs usually give out their earlier dates first.


    After the MCH, but before the Merits Hearing
    : Waiting times between the MCH and the Merits Hearing are very variable, depending on the Immigration Judge's schedule. Assuming that the IJ has given you the first available Merits Hearing date (which is normal - see the previous section), there is not much point in requesting an earlier date immediately after the MCH. Maybe if you wait a few months and if luck is on your side, a spot will open up and your request will be granted. Or--if the Judge has an effective clerk--you can file a motion to advance, and the clerk will save it until a spot opens up for you.


    Another possibility is to talk to the DHS attorney to see whether issues can be narrowed, which might make it more likely that the case can be advance (see the previous section).


    Some words of caution
    : Keep in mind that the Immigration Court system is a mess. Judges come and go. Priorities shift, which sometimes causes cases to be moved. It is quite common for court dates to change. Even if you do nothing, a far-off date may be rescheduled to an earlier day, or an upcoming hearing might be delayed. If you successfully advance your court date, it is possible that the Court will later rescheduled your case to a more distant date (this happened to us once). It is difficult to remain patient (and sane) through it all, but maybe being aware of this reality will somehow help.


    Also, remember to make sure that your biometrics (fingerprints) are up to date. If not, you may arrive at the Merits Hearing only to have it delayed because the background checks were not complete.


    Finally, do not give up. Immigration Judges are human. If they see a compelling reason to expedite a case, most of them will try to help. Explain your situation to the Judge, or let your lawyer explain, and maybe you will end up with an earlier date.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
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