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  1. Asylum claims of unaccompanied alien children contribute to backlog crisis in our immigration courts. By Nolan Rappaport

    The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 required screening unaccompanied alien for possible trafficking risks and asylum claims. When former President George W. Bush signed TVPRA into law on December 23, 2008, he observed that it was intended to enhance measures to combat human trafficking. It is very unlikely that anyone anticipated that it would be used to require asylum hearings for tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children from Central America.

    The immigration courts always have had big backlogs, and the backlogs have continued to grow. The number of cases awaiting resolution before immigration judges as of the end of June 2016, reached a new high of 496,704, and 69,278 of these cases were for unaccompanied alien children. To put this in perspective, this was an average of 1,819 cases for each of the 273 immigration judges. It would take approximately 2.5 years to clear up this backlog even if there were no new cases being filed. But instead of giving priority to removing criminal aliens who pose a threat to our country, the Executive Office for Immigration Review hasprioritized the applications from the unaccompanied alien children.

    I respect the Administration’s efforts to help the children from Central America, but I do not think that the United States should assume sole responsibility for their welfare. In an article I wrote in July of 2014, I pointed out that their plight is an international problem and asserted that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should be involved in helping them. UNHCR was established on December 14, 1950, by the United Nations General Assembly. Its objective is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. UNHCR has helped tens of millions of people to restart their lives. When I wrote my article, UNHCR had a staff of some 7,685 people in more than 125 countries. They were helping 14.7 million internally displaced persons, 10.5 million refugees, 3.1 million returnees, 3.5 million stateless people, more than 837,000 asylum seekers, and more than 1.3 million other persons of concern.

    Moreover, UNHCR had developed a Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration 10-Point Plan of Action which addressed the plight of unaccompanied alien children. It is described in their report, “Children on the Run.” The plan includes methods for recognizing newly merging forms of displacement in Central America and the emergence of international protection issues; ways to strengthen and harmonize regional and national frameworks for ensuring international protection; and measures for addressing root causes.
    I pointed out that Congress could save unaccompanied alien children from the perils of the dangerous trip to the United States by making it possible for unaccompanied alien children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to benefit from the 10-Point Plan with a bill that would exempt them from the removal-hearing requirement in TVPRA and remove any other obstacles to moving them out of the United States. The children could then be moved to temporary locations outside of the United States, which could be chosen by agreement between the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the United States. When the children are safely placed at these locations, UNHCR could screen them to see which ones are eligible for refugee status. The rest of the children could be returned to their native countries when arrangements have been with the governments of those countries to provide safe environments for them.

    I do not know whether my proposal had anything to do with it, but in September 2014, the Obama Administration announced a new Central American Minors(CAM) Refugee Program:
    We are establishing in-country refugee processing to provide a safe, legal and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that children are currently undertaking to join relatives in the United States.... These programs will not be a pathway for children to join undocumented relatives in the United States.

    I applaud the Administration’s efforts to address this problem, but if the Administration had fully developed the CAM refugee program, as I think it should have, we would not have 69,278 unaccompanied alien children waiting for asylum hearings in the United States, with thousands more on their way, and our immigration courts would not have a 496,704-case backlog. And I worry about the unaccompanied children who made the trip with them who did not reach the United States. What became of them?

    This article is reprinted with permission from the author. It was originally published by the author on Huffington Post.

    About The Author
    Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years; he subsequently served as the immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for twenty years. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing and Collaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice as an immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.

    Updated 09-16-2016 at 01:01 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. OSC Settles with Staffing Company Who Required U.S. Birth Certificate

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) reached a settlement agreement with Cumberland Staffing Inc., doing business as AtWork Cumberland Staffing (ACS), a temporary staffing agency located in Cookeville, Tennessee, to resolve an allegation that ACS engaged in citizenship discrimination by requiring a U.S. birth certificate in order to be considered for employment. This requirement discriminated against work-authorized immigrants and naturalized U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

    The OSC initiated its investigation after a Tennessee resident notified it of an ACS job posting that included a U.S. birth certificate requirement. The investigation found that between December 2015 and February 2016, ACS created and published a job posting stating that applicants for machine operator positions at a client company must present a U.S. birth certificate. The discriminatory posting was published on several job search engine websites during this time period.

    In the absence of a legal basis to do so, such as a law, regulation or government contract that requires U.S. citizenship restrictions, employers, recruiters and referrers for a fee may not limit job opportunities or otherwise impose barriers to obtaining employment based on an individual’s citizenship, immigration status or national origin. By requiring a U.S. birth certificate – a document that only non-naturalized U.S. citizens possess – to be considered for an employment opportunity, ACS’s job posting created a discriminatory barrier for work-authorized individuals, such as naturalized U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees.

    Under the settlement agreement, ACS will pay a civil penalty of $1,200, remove all specific document requirements from its job postings except where required by law, train staff on proper employment verification and reverification procedures, including attendance at a OSC webinar on anti-discrimination, and ensure that trained staff or legal counsel review future job advertisements.
    The takeaway from this settlement is do not require certain documentation, such as a U.S. birth certificate, that will discriminate against other work-authorized indiduals
  3. Former Mexican President Calls Trump a False Prophet

    by , 09-13-2016 at 11:38 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    File this in the 'for what it's worth' category.

    Via The Washington Post:

    Former Mexican president Vicente Fox said Donald Trump is "a false prophet" in the model of 20th-century Latin American dictators and charged that the Republican presidential nominee was a messianic figure trying to dupe U.S. voters by playing to their fears and worst instincts.

    "Wake up, America!" Fox implored repeatedly in a wide-ranging interview Monday at The Washington Post's headquarters. "I want to warn people here in the United States to watch out for this false prophet that promised gold, that promised paradise, that promised everything."

    Updated 09-13-2016 at 11:43 AM by MKolken

  4. Immigrant Mother and Son Both Celebrate Birthdays in Deportation Jail

    by , 09-13-2016 at 10:44 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via immigration lawyer Carol Anne Mauer Donohoe:

    SEND A BIRTHDAY MESSAGE: Today an unbelievably courageous and strong young mother turns 23 years old in detention. She and her 6 year old son have been held in detention now for 380 days and counting. Her son already had a birthday in detention. With no party, no piñata, no photos to commemorate entering into his 6th year. Only a birthday cake that could only be bought through the county for which they charged Karen $70.00.

    Because she is vocal, the government labeled Karen 'disruptive' and took the unprecedented step of trying to transfer her and her son to yet another detention center in Karnes, TX in order to isolate them. Thankfully, the judge denied that request.

    I have set up an email account for those who want to send Karen Happy Birthday messages. It is Oh and it can be in English or Spanish because she has learned English too.

    Please let her know you are thinking of her and that you will be vocal in demanding that she, her son, and all of the other Madres Berks get released and no one has to spend another birthday in prison!
    Tags: detention, karnes Add / Edit Tags
  5. Is Hillary Clinton Really Responsible For Enacting or Supporting IIRIRA? Roger Algase

    In his September 12 Immigration Daily blogging post, Attorney Nolan Rappaport, a distinguished immigration law expert and former Congressional immigrant staffer who was active in the subsequent effort to remedy some of the harsher and more draconian anti-immigrant provisions of the 1996 Republican - originated immigration law IIRIRA (Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act), tries to connect Hillary Clinton with that statute on the basis of the fact that it was signed by her husband, then president Bill Clinton.

    In his comment posted in response to someone else's comment on his post, Nolan goes ever further in trying to tie both Clinton's to approval of, if not endorsement of a bill which Nolan himself accurately calls a one-sided Republican immigration law in the same article.

    Specifically, quotes statements by both Bill Clinton and his chief of staff, Leon Panetta, as signifying approval of the immigration enforcement aspects of the bill. In his comment on his own article, he then elaborates as follows

    "Hillary talks about Trump breaking up American families by deporting undocumented aliens, but I don't hear her talking about families being broken up by aggravated felony removals for offenses that weren't aggravated felonies when they were committed. " [an obvious reference to one of the harshest and most unfair immigration enforcement provision of IIRIRA]

    In the same comment on his own article, Nolan also writes:

    "Isn't it interesting that Bill Clinton signed the bill that had IIRIRA in it? Apparently he liked the Republicans' get tough on illegal immigration approach. If he expressed the same opinion today, he would be called a bigot, a racist, and who knows what else."

    The obvious implications are that a) Bill Clinton signed IIRIRA voluntarily because he agreed with this harsh Republican immigrant bill;, and, b) Hillary Clinton, whose husband signed this law 20 years ago, is allegedly reluctant to criticize one of its worst and most notorious provisions, namely that making deportation mandatory for lawful permanent residents who have, even before the law was enacted (think ex post facto) committed "aggravated felonies" (a term which can also include relatively minor misdemeanors in certain instances).

    Nolan must be given credit for his ingenuity in devising an attack on Hillary Clinton's alleged immigration policies from the left for what he suggests is her implied support for IIRIRA, signed by her husband 20 years ago, or at least her alleged reluctance to criticize one ot is worst and most draconian provisions. But there us only one problem with Nolan's thesis:

    His above suggestions are not supported either by the history of how IIRIRA came to be enacted into law, or by anything that Hillary Clinton has said or proposed.

    To begin with the obvious, there is not the slightest shred of evidence that Hillary Clinton, who was First Lady in 1996 and had not yet begun her own political career, had anything whatsoever to do with the enactment of IIRIRA. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has she ever done or said anything which could possibly be interpreted as indicating support for IIRIRA's notorious "aggravated felony" mandatory removal provision.

    Her only possible connection to IIRIRA as that she was married to the president who signed it.

    Therefore, we have to look at the question whether Bill Clinton signed IIRIRA because he really thought it was a good bill, or whether he did so because he had no choice - that IIRIRA was, in effect, a Republican gun pointed at his head, in the form of a rider attached to an omnibus government appropriations bill with important funding for government agencies, anti-terrorist, anti-crime, pro-education and other essential government activities that were not directly related to immigration policy and had nothing to do with IIRIRA.

    As Nolan points out in his article, IIRIRA was part of a larger bill. Indeed it was part of a much larger bill - one that was virtually veto-proof, reaching President Clinton's desk just a little over a month before the 1996 presidential election.

    For a fuller description of the many other, non-immigration related issues covered in this large appropriations bill, vetoing which might even, conceivably, have led to a partial government shutdown just befrore the election, see the statement of Bill Clinton's Chiof Staff, Leon Panetta:

    Yes, Bill Clinton and Leon Panetta may have tried to put a favorable gloss on some of the enforcement provisions of IIRIRA, while at the same time taking credit for weakening or watering down the bill.

    But did Bill Clinton sign IIRIRA because he enthusiastically supported it, as Nolan suggests? Or was it because Hillary's husband had little or no choice but to sign it?
    Roger Algase is New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skillied and professional immigrants obrain work visas and green cards.Roger's email address is

    Updated 09-14-2016 at 12:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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