No right to attorney for credible fear interview, says immigration judge

An immigration judge at the San Antonio Immigration Court took the bold step of explaining, in writing, that a migrant asking for asylum is not entitled to representation during the credible fear interview portion of the asylum request process. The migrant’s attorney, Ala Amoachi has kindly sent me a redacted copy of the judge’s order and granted me permission to post it here. In his order denying a rather mundane motion for a telephonic hearing, Immigration Judge Gary Burkholder wrote: “Respondent is entitled to consultation, not representation.” To provide a bit of context, this case [...]

Ohio students & advocates sue Border Patrol to get immigration policing records

This week students from Ohio State University’s Civil Law Clinic and the Ohio legal services group Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) jointly sued the Border Patrol in a continued attempt to gather documents about the agency’s immigration policing practices in northern Ohio. The students and advocates are concerned about reports of racially biased policing by the Border Patrol’s Sandusky Bay Station. Sandusky is located on the coast of Lake Erie about one hour west of Cleveland. Their suspicion is buttressed by a statistical analysis of three years of apprehension log data done [...]

Executive authority & prosecutorial power in immigration law

Rumors are twirling that President Obama will soon announce his plans for reshaping the immigration law regime through use of his extensive executive authority. The president and high-level administration officials have repeatedly stated that such an announcement will be made before the end of the year, but recent news reports suggest it might happen as early as this week. Much has been written about the extent of the president’s legal authority, including some very well reasoned legal analyses by top-notch scholars. Stephen Legomsky, the former chief counsel at the U.S. Citizenship and [...]

9 Cir: Inconclusive record favors migrant

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed course this week holding that a record of conviction that inconclusively identifies whether a migrant is removable must be viewed as failing to prove removability. Almanza-Arenas v. Holder, No. 09-71415, slip. op. (9th Cir. Nov. 10, 2014). This is a significant change for the Ninth Circuit, but also an important move away from the BIA’s position which it adopted when Almanza-Arenas’s case was before it. Matter of Almanza-Arenas, 24 I&N Dec. 771, 774 (BIA 2009). Here’s how I explain this situation in my forthcoming book [...]

Migration Myths, Detention Realities

Border Patrol agents (FY 1993-2013)

The large number of children and families who came to the United States over the summer months seeking refuge is no longer news. After filling the front pages, taking over the blogosphere, and occupying the minds of what seemed to be every politician in the country, much of that attention has shifted to other matters. Many migrants, however, remain in a legal limbo. They are stuck in the middle-of-nowhere unsure of what the future holds; their home for now a handful of immigration detention centers in New México, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Family immigration detention was almost eradicated in [...]

New family detention center set to open in December

The country’s newest and largest facility in which families, including children, will be detained is scheduled to begin receiving inmates in December, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) announced. CCA, the largest private prison company operating in the United States, holds the contract to build and operate the new facility, formally named the South Texas Family Residential Center, on behalf of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Though news about the Dilley facility was released several weeks ago, this is the first clear statement of an expected opening date that [...]

Election Day 2014

Voters will go to the polls today in a number of states. On the ballot is the usual slate of candidates along with a handful of important ballot questions. Because most people will be focused on that important event today, I’ll keep today’s post short. I’m based in Colorado where many pundits are focused on the very close race between incumbent Senator Mark Udall (Democrat) and his Republican challenger Cory Gardner. Udall has been blasting the local Spanish-language media trumping his support of immigration reform and making special references to his support of Dreamers. It’s worth noting [...]

Naturalizing Immigration Imprisonment

Every day, roughly 33,000 people spend the night imprisoned while waiting to learn whether they will be allowed to remain in the United States. Thousands more are confined on charges of having committed an immigration crime. Others are behind bars because they were already convicted. The substantive law that applies to people in each of these categories differs: civil law governed by the Immigration and Naturalization Act for those in removal proceedings, and criminal law governed by the federal penal code (and, to a smaller degree, its state counterparts). That is largely where the [...]