Immigration

  • November 13, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Debbie Smith, Associate General Counsel for Immigration Law, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

    Even as the newest Muslim ban works its way through the courts, President Trump has initiated another assault against immigrants by terminating a program providing humanitarian relief to immigrants fleeing civil war and natural disasters. Despite 30 years of Democratic and Republican administrations’ recognition of the importance of continuing this protection, unless Congress intervenes or the administration changes its mind, it is about to end.

    Last Monday, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 2,500 Nicaraguans and left in limbo the fate of 57,000 Hondurans who have lived and worked legally in the United States for decades. On Thanksgiving Day, DHS will decide the destiny of 50,000 Haitians who fled the earthquake that decimated their island. In January, DHS will consider whether 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S., many for over 20 years, can remain. By the end of 2018, the approximately 350,000 hardworking current TPS beneficiaries will be forced into the shadows and subject to expulsion from the U.S.

  • October 26, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Amy Myrick, Staff Attorney for Judicial Strategy, Center for Reproductive Rights 

    It had to happen: an administration seeking to remake the Constitution into a rubber stamp for rights violations found the place where abortion and immigration converge.  In a federally contracted shelter in Texas, an unaccompanied 17-year-old immigrant who did not want to be pregnant waited over a month while federal officials relentlessly blocked her from receiving an abortion.  Jane Doe was forced to endure what ultimately became a grueling spectacle and multiple court hearings before she could access what has long been a protected constitutional right in the United States.

    The government’s argument in this recent case, Garza v. Hargan, is glaringly unconstitutional. Under a line of cases starting with Roe v. Wade (1973), and ending with Whole Woman’s Heath v. Hellerstedt (2016), it’s settled law that the Constitution protects the right to access abortion, and the government cannot place a “substantial obstacle” in the path of a woman - adult or minor - seeking to exercise that right.  Whether claiming to advance the government’s preference for childbirth or its view of what is in a pregnant minor’s “best interests,” or both, the government has no authority to unilaterally block a woman’s access to abortion.  But in the Garza case, the government did just that.

  • October 20, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Ryan J. Suto, J.D., Government Relations Manager, Arab American Institute

    Two federal court rulings this week constitute a third strike for the Trump administration’s attempt at enforcing a Muslim ban. The Administration issued an indefinite Muslim ban late last month, Proclamation 9645, prompting the Supreme Court to rule moot litigation regarding the previous, temporary version of the ban. However, hours before the new ban was set to take effect on October 18, US District Courts in Hawai‘i and Maryland halted a majority of the policy from taking effect, largely arguing that the new indefinite ban does not avoid the statutory and Constitutional infirmaries of its temporary predecessors.

    Rulings on the Latest Muslim Ban

    On Tuesday Judge Watson in Hawai‘i ruled against the government in Hawai‘i v. Trump, granting a temporary restraining order against the policy with respect to the ban’s listed Muslim-majority countries. Early Monday morning Judge Chuang in Maryland entered a preliminary injunction for same countries in favor of plaintiffs in IRAP et. al v. Trump.

  • October 18, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Pratheepan Gulasekaram, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University

    Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a “last chance” warning to several “sanctuary cities.” The letters - sent to Cook County, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – informed local officials that their policies regarding investigation of an individual’s immigration status, or their reporting of the same, may be in violation of federal law. Further, if they do not provide additional assurances that they are in compliance with the specified federal law by October 27th, they risk losing certain law enforcement grants (Byrne/JAG funds) that the Department of Justice (DOJ) administers to localities to augment their policing, equipment, prosecution, corrections, drug treatment plans, victim or witness programs, or other related efforts. 

    These ominous letters, with accompany rhetoric from the Attorney General, continue the Trump Administration’s months-long campaign against cities that have exercised their constitutionally-protected prerogative to decline participation in federal immigration enforcement efforts. As has become routine for Sessions, this latest round includes the same misrepresentations linking immigrants and criminality that he and the President have consistently spewed, with the Attorney General repeating the falsehood that sanctuary policies make cities more dangerous.

  • October 10, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Ryan J. Suto, J.D., Government Relations Manager, Arab American InstitutePhoto: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Rhododendrites

    The Trump Administration’s consolidated Muslim Ban cases, Trump v. IRAP and Trump v. Hawaii, were set for oral arguments today, October 10. However, the president released a Proclamation late last month to replace the challenged Executive Order, prompting the Supreme Court to remove the case from the argument calendar and request briefs on October 5 detailing whether litigation surrounding the now overridden and expired Executive Order is moot and thus should be denied further consideration.