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  1. Asylum Seekers File Class Action Suit to be Reunited with their Children

    by , 06-26-2018 at 08:35 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    For Immediate Release

    June 25th, 2018
    Matt Adams, Legal Director, NWIRP

    Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director, NWIRP

    Seattle, WA – Three women who were forcibly separated from their children by immigration officials when they entered the United States to seek asylum filed a lawsuit today in Seattle, Washington, on behalf of themselves and dozens of other separated families. The lawsuit seeks an order requiring immigration officials to immediately reunite the separated children with their parents and also challenges the government’s failure to move forward with their asylum claims. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed the suit in federal district court on behalf of the separated families.

    The three women are part of a group of over two hundred asylum-seekers who were transferred from immigration detention centers in Texas to a prison in Washington State while waiting for immigration officials to begin processing their claims. Around fifty of the group originally arrived with children who were taken away from them by immigration officials without any explanation. They have not seen their children in over a month and some have not even been able to talk to their children by phone.

    The three women have also yet to have a “credible fear interview,” the first stage of review for their asylum claims, despite the fact that each of them has already been detained by immigration officials for over a month.

    The President issued an Executive Order on June 20, purporting to end his family separation policy, but this Executive Order does not address the families that have already been separated and instead directs immigration officials to detain any families that now enter the United States seeking asylum.

    The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include:

    Ibis Guzman, who fled Honduras with her five-year-old son after receiving death threats. She was separated from her child in Texas after asking to apply for asylum. Ms. Guzman’s son was sent to a facility in San Antonio, Texas, and she has not been able to see or talk to him for more than a month.

    Blanca Orantes, who escaped El Salvador after threats to her eight-year-old son, only to have Border Patrol take her boy away from her when she approached them asking to apply for asylum. Ms. Orantes’s son was sent to a facility in Kingston, New York, and she has not seen him for over a month, and has only recently been provided a phone number to reach him.

    Yolany Padilla, who left Honduras with her six-year-old son to seek protection in the United States. She was separated from him by immigration officials in Texas, despite informing them they were afraid to return to their home country. The immigration officials sent the boy to a facility in New York, and Ms. Padilla has not seen him since. She has only been able to talk to him once, about a month after their separation.

    The suit was filed on behalf of these three women but they will be asking the court for permission to represent all parents separated from their children who are detained in Washington State.

    “My son is all that I have,” said Blanca Orantes. “Every day I am not with him, I feel that I am dying inside. I need to be reunited with him immediately.”

    “The executive order falsely claims that Congress is required to change the law to avoid tearing children apart from their parents, but it is indisputable that this abomination was created by the President,” said Matt Adams, legal director for NWIRP. “The Trump administration’s policy on family separation blatantly violates fundamental constitutional rights as well as the most basic principles of human dignity.”

    The three plaintiffs are currently being detained either at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) in SeaTac, Washington, or the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington.

    To see a copy of the complaint filed in federal court, click here.
  2. Trump's Family Separation (Faintly) Echoed Holocaust and Made Children Hostages to White Supremacist Immigration Legislative Agenda. Roger Algase

    Donald Trump's vicious and nhuman Child Separation policy did not involve killing any immigrants or their children, though it can be blamed for at least one death - that of a Honduran man who killed himself in detention after being separated from his child.

    But this policy has nevertheless given rise to comparisons between Trump's child separation agenda carried out against Central American immigrants whom he despises and vilifies as "criminals" "invaders" and even animals and vermin who are "infesting" and "invading" the US, and the Holocaust.

    Jonathan Freedland, for example, in a June 22 article in The Guardian, raises some very disturbing questions about the deeper significance of the Trump-Sessions-Miller administration's cruelty and abuse toward non-white immigrant families.


    Inspired by Trump, the world could be heading back toward the 1930's

    Freedland writes:

    "So yes, when Donald Trump ordered US government agents on the Southern border to separate migrant children from their parents, to tear screaming toddlers from their fathers and even to pull a baby from its mother's breast, he was not re-enacting the Holocaust. He was not ordering the eradication of an entire people or sending millions to their deaths. But there were echoes. And we must hear them."

    Freedland continues:

    "The parents ripped from those 2,300 children on the Mexican border were not led off to be murdered. But there are grounds to believe they may never again see their sons or daughters, some of whom were sent thousands of miles away. "

    And more:

    "But the echoes don't end there. The wire cages. The guards telling weeping children they are forbidden from hugging each other. And then this chilling detail, reported by the Texas Monthly. It turns out that US border guards don't always tell parents they're taking their children away."

    Freedland also writes:

    "And if the mechanics of this operation strike a familiar note, so too does the rhetoric and propaganda deployed by those behind it and defending it. You don't have to go to 1930's Germany to know that the first step toward catastrophe is the dehumanization of a reviled group. It happened that way in Rwanda and in the Balkans in the 1990's, and it's happening in today's United States."

    He explains further:

    "'These aren't people, these are animals,' the US president said last month. They want to 'pour into and infest our country', he tweeted this week. 'infest' is a word reserved for rats and insects. This is the language of those seeking to choke off human sympathy by suggesting that those suffering are not even human."

    Trump's suggestion that Central American and other non-white immigrants are like rats or vermin undeniably resembles Hitler's similar verbal attacks against the Jews.

    But while there are undeniably at least faint echoes of the same kind of thinking that ultimately led to Hitler's Final Solution in Trump's attacks on brown immigrants as being less than human, and in the deliberate cruelty, amounting to sadism, of his border child separation, there is also evidence that this inhuman policy was designed for a strategic purpose.

    The purpose was to force Congress to pass extreme right wing legislative proposals which would take America back to the 1920's era when our immigration system was openly based on white supremacist ideology. Even Adolf Hitler, writing in Mein Kampf, praised America's infamous "Nordics-only" 1924 "National Origins" immigration act which cut off immigration almost entirely from Asia, Africa and the Middles East, as well as Eastern and Southern Europe, where most of Europe's Jews and Catholics lived.

    Recent events show that it is no coincidence that Jeff Sessions, overseer and main spokesman for Trump's infamous child separation policy, also praised the same racist 1924 immigration law in a January, 2015 immigration "Handbook" that he authored) as a Senator.

    As Jodi Jacobson sums it up succinctly in (June 20):

    "For at least 15 years, hard right members of the GOP have tried but failed to pass legislation profoundly restricting immigration to the United States. Now, the Trump administration believes it has found a way to achieve that goal: Separating the children of unauthorized immigrants from their parents and holding them for ransom."

    She continues

    "The price? Passage of one of two bills thst would sharply limit legal immigration to the United States,, make the range of countries from which immigrants can obtain visas or apply for citizenship narrower and whiter, criminalize and prioritize for deportation virtually all undocumented persons now residing in the country and further militarize the US borders."


    Trump's Ransom: Trading Child Hostages for White Supremacist Immigration Policy

    More details are available in this article.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 06-26-2018 at 10:21 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. IER Settles with Setpoint Systems Over Discrimination Against Non-Citizens

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

    The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), a Division of the Justice Department, has reached a settlement with Setpoint Systems Inc., an Ogden, Utah, engineering company. The settlement resolves an investigation into whether the company engaged in hiring discrimination against non-U.S. citizens protected under the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision.

    The investigation found that from 2015 to 2017, Setpoint Systems had an unlawful policy of hiring only U.S. citizens for professional positions and refusing to consider otherwise qualified non-U.S. citizens based on the company’s erroneous understanding of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). ITAR regulates specific exports of defense articles and services and limits the access of certain sensitive information to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees, and refugees. ITAR does not authorize employers to only hire U.S. citizens. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual in the recruitment and hiring process based on citizenship status, unless authorized by law.

    Under the settlement agreement, Setpoint Systems will pay $17,475 in civil penalties to the United States for the alleged unfair immigration-related employment practices; train its Human Resources personnel on their legal obligations to not discriminate by viewing a free online IER webinar presentation; review and revise, if necessary, any existing employment policies that relate to nondiscrimination based on non-U.S. citizenship status; ensure all job advertisements have been reviewed by legal counsel or an employee who is trained on anti-discrimination laws; post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision; and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for three years.

    This settlement is another indication that the federal government is serious about cracking down on discrimination based on whether one is or is not a U.S. citizen. For answers to many other questions related to the IER and immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and is available at

    by , 06-25-2018 at 09:57 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    Because of two recent USCIS interpretive changes, Musillo Unkenholt LLC (MU Law) advises that STEM OPT workers do not work at third-party worksites under their SETM OPT work authorization until the USCIS issues better and clearer guidance on the issue.

    Working and training at third-party worksites is probably legal. However, by working at the third-party worksite the STEM OPT trainee puts himself at risk for enormous negative immigration consequences, including a ten-year bar from entering or living in the United States.


    Earlier this year, and without any warning or notice, the USCIS changed its webpage to include this key change:

    the training experience may not take place at the place of business or worksite of the employer’s clients or customers because ICE would lack authority to visit such sites.

    The USCIS’ justification for the third-party worksite prohibition is, apparently, because ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) would lack the authority to investigate at the third-party worksite.

    Curiously, ICE has not produced any guidance on this point. ICE likely would be surprised to learn that they do not have the authority to investigate a worksite where it believed immigration fraud was being committed.

    The website change alone is probably not good law. There has been no regulatory change. There has been no notice and comment period, something required for regulatory change. The “ICE lacks investigative authority” justification for the prohibition against third-party worksites is weak.

    If the only thing that USCIS had done was updated their webpage, then MU Law’s position might be that STEM workers could continue to work at third-party worksites, provided that the other qualifications of the program were being met, however, this is not the only change for F-1 students.


    A brand new USCIS policy, effective August 9, 2018, says that F-1 students including STEM OPTs will now accrue “unlawful presence” “the day after he or she engages in an unauthorized activity.” Accordingly, after August 9, 2018, the USCIS is expected to find that STEM OPTs working at third-party worksites are engaging in “unauthorized activity” and are therefore “unlawfully present”.

    Even worse, a USCIS official can retroactively find that an F-1 student engaged in “unauthorized activity”. A number of leading university administrators have made this point directly to USCIS Director James Cissna.

    This is a massive change in long-standing USCIS policy. Under the prior interpretation, an F-1 student or OPT did not accrue unlawful presence until an immigration judge said so. Engaging in “unauthorized activity” meant that an F-1 worker “failed to maintain status,” which is a lesser finding.

    The distinction between “failing to maintain status” and “unlawful presence” is enormous:

    • When someone fails to “maintain status” they must immediately leave the US but can ordinarily immediately reenter the US.
    • When someone is “unlawfully present” for more than 180 days, they must immediately leave the US and are barred from reentering the US for 3 years. When someone is “unlawfully present” for more than 365 days, they must immediately leave the US and are barred from reentering the US for 10 years.

    Consider this hypothetical scenario:

    August 9, 2018 – STEM OPT continues to work at a third-party worksite

    April 1, 2019 – STEM OPT worker files an H-1B cap petition

    May 1, 2019 – STEM OPT worker’s H-1B cap cases is selected in the H-1B lottery

    August 10, 2019 – STEM OPT worker receives an RFE from USCIS asking for proof that he has only engaged in authorized activity.

    September 20, 2019 - H-1B is denied. USCIS finds that STEM OPT worker’s third-party work was “unauthorized activity”. USCIS also finds that the STEM OPT worker was “unlawfully present” from August 9, 2018 until September 20, 2019, a period of more than 365 days. Consequently, the STEM OPT worker must immediately leave the US and cannot reenter the US for 10 years.


    At this time, MU Law recommends that STEM OPT workers are not placed at third party worksites unless comprehensive analysis is done regarding the viability of the assignment. STEM OPT workers at third party worksites run the risk of 3 and 10 year bars from reentry into the US. It is our hope that USCIS provides greatly clarity on these points and engages the public on the issue, rather than creating law by fiat.

    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at and You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinknedIn.
  5. Letters of the Week: June 25 - June 29

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