U.S. Supreme Court Reject Trump request to block DACA – DACA Renewals will Continue

(CNN) February 26,2018 – The Supreme Court announced it will stay out of the dispute concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for now, meaning the Trump administration may not be able to end the program March 5 as planned.

In an order, the justices declined a request from the Trump administration to review a lower court opinion that temporarily blocked the government’s effort to end the program.

The court’s order means the case will continue in the lower courts and DACA renewals can continue. (more…)

Immigration Filing Fees by Credit Card

February 14, 2018 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will now accept filing fees by credit card payments for filing most of its forms.  The new payment option is available for the 41 fee-based forms processed at USCIS Lockbox facilities.  CLICK HERE TO SEE LIST OF FORMS THAT CAN BE PAID BY CREDIT CARD

Paying filing fees by credit card for commonly filed immigration petitions will be a major incentive for many who seeking immigration benefits but simply do not have $725 for citizenship and nearly $1300 to apply for a green card.  To pay by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover, applicants will need to use Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction (PDF, 260 KB)s.  USCIS will enter credit card data into the Pay.gov system, (more…)

DACA Deportation – Federal Judge Rules Trump Cannot End #DACA

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A federal judge in New York ruled Tuesday that the government must fully restart the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty and accept brand new applicants as well as renewals, throwing a potential wrench in the ongoing debate over the fate of “Dreamers” on Capitol Hill.

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said the administration does have the power to revoke DACA, but it must give a sound reason for doing so — and the Homeland Security Department’s September 2017 rationale fell far short of what is required in that regard.

He becomes the second judge to rule President Trump’s aides bungled the phaseout — but his decision is the most wide-ranging, ordering the government to not only allow those already in the program to renew their applications but also ordering the government to accept new applications.

“The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so,” wrote Judge Garaufis, a Clinton appointee to the court. “Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”

The judge said the Trump administration can still rescind the program in the future if it does it the right way.

And he said the administration doesn’t have to approve any specific DACA applications. But it must begin to process applications again.

DACA – The Fight & Uncertainty for Young Immigrants

#DACA was slated to end on March 5, 2018 but the U.S. District Court recently issued an injunction to prevent #DACA termination.  Nearly 700,000 young immigrants who have no legal status in the U.S. benefit from #DACA and have valid employment cards so they can work and attend college.  All DACA recipients have no criminal history and are law abiding young immigrants who entered the U.S. under the age of 15.

The Trump administration announced on September 5, 2017 the orderly phase out of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that was initiated by President Obama. The Trump administration has indicated a willingness to provide some protection to young immigrants but in exchange he wants to end #ChainMigration (or legal family immigration filed for brother/sister, parents and children over age 21).  To date, no legislation has been introduced or passed extending DACA or ending chain migration.

However, as of January 13, 2018, due to a U.S. District Court decision, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under #DACA.  Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal (more…)

ICE Tracking License Plates

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has gained access to a nationwide license plate recognition database from Vigilant Solutions.  The system gives ICE access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking for vehicles owned by individuals ICE is seeking to apprehend.

The result is a massive vehicle-tracking network generating as many as 100 million sightings per month, each tagged with a date, time, and GPS coordinates of the sighting.  ICE agents would be able to query that database in two ways. A historical search would turn up every place a given license plate has been spotted in the last five years, a detailed record of the target’s movements. That data could be used to find a given subject’s residence or even identify associates if a given car is regularly spotted in a specific parking lot.

ICE agents can also receive instantaneous email alerts whenever a new record of a particular plate is found — a system known internally as a “hot list.” (The same alerts can also be funneled to the Vigilant’s iOS app.) This is particularly troubling given ICE’s recent move to expand deportations beyond criminal offenders, fueling concerns of politically motivated enforcement. In California, state officials have braced for rumored deportation sweeps targeted at sanctuary cities. In New York, community leaders say they’ve been specifically targeted for deportation as a result of their activism. With automated license plate recognition, that targeting would only grow more powerful. (more…)

Trump Immigration Framework = End Chain Migration + End Visa Lottery + Border Wall + Legal Status for DACA

No bill or legislation has been introduced by the Trump administration and no legislation has been signed into law.  All you have heard is a whole lot of talk on immigration.  The one page outline introduced by the Trump administration proposed a long path to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA (or young immigrants who entered the U.S. before age 15) in exchange for a massive border package, cut to chain migration, and complete elimination of the diversity visa.  The language in this one page outline is very vague and gives very few details.

Border Wall

The one page outline proposes massive increases in enforcement dollars including a $25 billion “trust fund” for a “border wall system,” as well as additional funds for the Department of Homeland Security’s other enforcement activities. The bill would also expand the use of a fast-track deportation process, known as expedited removal, to remove those who overstay their visas.

Visa Lottery

Secondly, the framework criticizes and eliminates the diversity visa lottery program, claiming it is a program “riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest.” Although the framework states that it would reallocate those visas to reduce the lengthy backlogs in the family-based and high-skilled employment-based categories, it is unclear how exactly it would be done.

End Chain Migration (aka Family Immigration)

The framework also proposes drastic cuts to legal immigration, in what could be a 50 percent decrease in green cards issued annually. These cuts to legal immigration are accomplished in two ways. First, it redefines the nuclear family by only allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor only their spouse and minor children, ending the visa categories that allow them to reunite with adult children, siblings, and parents.

In other words, U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents would no longer be able to file an immigration petition for brother/sister, adult children (over age 21) or parents under Trump immigration framework.

The issue really comes down to is restricting immigration. Immigration restrictionists want to see lower total numbers of immigrants coming in to the U.S. – even if that means targeting legal immigration vehicles like the family visa programs. Currently, family-sponsored immigration tools account for 65% of new legal immigrants to the U.S. every year, so restricting use of the tool would dramatically reduce immigration numbers.

The reality is that 2018 is a mid-term election year and Republicans will NOT be on-board to grant 1.8 million DACA immigrants legal status even if it means cutting chain migration (family immigration).  Again, immigration is FEDERAL LAW and laws start out as proposed bills that get introduced into Congress and must pass by majority vote and then get signed into law by a President. None of the above has happened – no bill, no legislation, no voting, no signing. (more…)

Asylum Backlog – Recent Filings Interviewed FIRST Ahead of Older Filings

American flag, US constitution and a judge’s gavel symbolizing the American justice system or the Judicial Branch of government ( Judiciary )

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will schedule asylum interviews for recent applications ahead of older filings, in an attempt to stem the growth of the agency’s asylum backlog.  Returning to a “last in, first out” interview schedule will allow USCIS to identify frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum claims earlier and place those individuals into removal proceedings.

In some cases, immigrants file asylum applications, knowing it is a 3-6 year backlog for an interview and in the meanwhile, they get employment authorization.  “Delays in the timely processing of asylum applications are detrimental to legitimate asylum seekers,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “Lingering backlogs can be exploited and used to undermine national security and the integrity of the asylum system.”

The agency currently faces a crisis-level backlog of 311,000 pending asylum cases as of Jan. 21, 2018, making the asylum system increasingly vulnerable to fraud and abuse. This backlog has grown by more than 1750 percent over the last five years, and the rate of new asylum applications has more than tripled. (more…)

Immigration Court Backlog Tops 650,000

“During the first two months of FY 2018 (October-November 2017), the Immigration Court number of pending cases climbed by an additional 30,000. According to the latest case-by-case court records, the backlog at the end of November 2017 had reached 658,728, up from 629,051 at the end of September 2017. Despite the hiring of many additional immigration judges, there has been no apparent slackening in the growth of this backlog. The rate of growth during the first two months of FY 2018 was in fact greater than the pace of growth during FY 2017.

California leads the country with the largest Immigration Court backlog of 123,217 cases. Texas is second with 103,384 pending cases as of the end of November 2017, followed by New York with 89,489 cases. (more…)

DACA Recipients Can Renew Work Permit

Jan. 13, 2018, Update:  Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.  Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017. 

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal by filing Form I-821D (PDF)Form I-765 (PDF), and Form I-765 Worksheet (PDF), with the appropriate fee or approved fee exemption request, at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with the instructions to the Form I-821D (PDF) and Form I-765 (PDF).  USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.  USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients. 

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.  Please list the date your prior DACA ended in the appropriate box on Part 1 of the Form I-821D.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or your DACA was previously terminated at any time, you cannot request DACA as a renewal (because renewal requests typically must be submitted within one year of the expiration date of your last period of deferred action approved under DACA), but may nonetheless file a new initial DACA request in accordance with the Form I-821D and Form I-765 instructions. To assist USCIS with reviewing your DACA request for acceptance, if you are filing a new initial DACA request because your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or because it was terminated at any time, please list the date your prior DACA expired or was terminated on Part 1 of the Form I-821D, if available.

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer a removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.  Further, deferred action under DACA does not confer legal status upon an individual and may be terminated at any time, with or without a Notice of Intent to Terminate, at DHS’s discretion.  DACA requests will be adjudicated under the guidelines set forth in the June 15, 2012 DACA memo (PDF) (more…)

Trump is a racist

Why should the U.S. welcome #immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti and Africa and not from countries like Norway – this is the question #Trump asked lawmakers at the White House. #GailLaw responds we are a nation that welcomes the world’s wretched refuse, a nation built by #immigrants, a nation whose very motto is “E Pluribus Unum” — Out of Many, One.  (more…)