February 23, 2015
On February 23, 2015, the United States filed its notice of appeal and request for a stay of the district court’s order in State of Texas v. United States, the lawsuit that the states brought against its planned use of immigration executive action. Those documents are available below:
- Fifth Circuit decision denying federal government’s request to stay preliminary injunction (May 26, 2015)
- Oral argument before Fifth Circuit (April 17, 2015)
- District court’s denial of federal government’s motion to stay (April 7, 2015)
- Letter from Fifth Circuit’s clerk notifying states of deadline to respond to Justice Department’s emergency expedited motion for stay (5th Circuit)
- Federal government’s emergency expedited motion for stay pending appeal (5th Circuit)
- District court’s Order regarding states’ motion for early discovery
- Federal government’s Advisory of March 3, 2015
- Notice of Appeal
- Declaration of ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña
- Declaration of CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske
- States’ opposition to federal government’s motion to stay
For my analysis of the lawsuit when initially filed, see here.
November 20, 2014
Here’s the copy of White House press release leaked by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance.
And here’s info distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, reportedly also coming from the White House.
May 2, 2014
The sheriff of Skagit County, Washington announced that his office will no longer enforce immigration detainers.
May 1, 2014
The Denver County sheriff reportedly announced yesterday that his office would no longer enforce immigration detainers. Here’s an article from the Denver Post and another from the Associated Press via Colorado Public Radio.
April 29, 2014
The Sheriff of San Miguel County in Colorado announced today that it will no longer enforce immigration detainers. The Sheriff’s Office press release in which this policy change was announced explained that the change comes as a result of the Third Circuit’s decision in Galarza. San Miguel County includes Telluride.
The Sheriff of Boulder County made a similar announcement in an email to the Associated Press.
March 24, 2014
ICE says detainers are requests: In a letter to several members of Congress, ICE acknowledges that detainers are mere requests. The letter explicitly states that “they are not mandatory as a matter of law.” This is a potentially significant turn of events as it makes it much more difficult for local officials to claim that detainers are mandatory, as they sometimes do in response to activists’ calls to limit compliance with detainers.
January 30, 2014
Fifth Circuit Rejects Silva-Treviño: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of Silva-Treviño, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008), allowing immigration judge’s to go beyond the record of conviction when determining whether a conviction constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude. Silva-Treviño v. Holder, No. 11-60464, slip op. (5th Cir. Jan. 30, 2014). In doing so, the Fifth Circuit joined the Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits in rejecting the AG’s approach. A detailed analysis of the Fifth Circuit’s decision is to follow on crImmigration.com next week.
January 27, 2014
USCIS Guidance Regarding Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers: The USCIS issued a two-page document instructing field officers about how to handle applications for provisional unlawful presence waivers when an applicant has a conviction other than for a minor traffic offense. Specifically, this document requires field officers to continue processing the application if a conviction appears to fall within the petty offense exception or youthful offender exception of INA 212(a)(2)(A)(ii) or if it appears that the offense is not a CIMT.
January 23, 2014
Mistaken deportation: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit released an opinion today indicating the following: 1) an LPR on active duty in the Marines was convicted of using his government computer to watch child porn; 2) ICE launched removal proceedings, claiming this crime constituted an aggravated felony; 3) the immigration judge and Board of Immigration Appeals agreed; 4) the court issued a stay of removal while it considered the Marine’s appeal; 5) ICE “mistakenly” (the court’s language not mine) deported him despite the existence of the stay of removal; 6) it turns out the crime isn’t an aggravated felony which likely means he’s not deportable. Aguilar-Turcios v. Holder, No. 06-73451, slip op. (9th Cir. Jan. 23, 2014).
January 22, 2014
Latest news on use of immigration detainers: ICE issued about 23% fewer immigration detainers during fiscal year 2012 than in previous years, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reported. That said, ICE continued to issue about 19,000 detainers each month. Except for two months for which TRAC could not obtain data, the fewest number of detainers issued during FY 2012 came in June 2013 when 16,899 detainers were issued. The largest number during this period was 21,031 issued in October 2012. During the 2013 calendar year, ICE issued, on average, 17,691 detainers each month. The greatest number of detainers issued during FY 2012 came from the Los Angeles ICE area office which issued 3,167 on average each month. Because of the LA office, California led the states in the number of detainers issued.
Especially interesting was the breakdown of detainers issued by detention facility. Most of the 10 named facilities whose inmates received detainers were not surprising–places like the Los Angeles, Maricopa, or Harris County Jail. These are jails in huge metropolitan areas with large immigrant populations. I was, however, surprised to see the Hidalgo County (Texas) Jail listed as number 6 (5,334 detainers issued between October 2011 and August 2013) given that Hidalgo County does not count a population that is anywhere near the size of most of the other areas in the top 10.
January 15, 2014
Prosecutorial discretion’s use in immigration courts: A rising number of immigration court cases are being closed due to immigrant-favorable exercises of prosecutorial discretion, data newly analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse shows. TRAC, Once Intended to Reduce Immigration Court Backlog, Prosecutorial Discretion Closures Continue Unabated (Jan. 15, 2014). According to TRAC’s report, 7.0% of all immigration court cases closed thus far in the 2014 fiscal year resulted from PD exercises. Such closures were especially prominent in Seattle, Tucscon, LA, Omaha, and Phoenix, all of which saw more than 20% of closures result from favorable uses of ICE’s PD authority. In contrast, immigration courts in Houston (1.7%), New York City (3.7%), and Chicago (5.0%) saw few favorable exercises of PD. Overall, 6.6% of immigration court cases closed nationwide since the courts announced a PD initiative have cited PD as the basis for closure.
December 12, 2013
HIV treatment in UK immigration prisons: A new report documents how immigration prisons in the United Kingdom (termed “immigration removal centres”) deal with inmates who have HIV. National AIDS Trust & British HIV Association, HIV Care in Immigration Removal Centres (December 2013). Overall, the report concludes that there is significant variation in the quality of monitoring and treatment of HIV-positive detainees. This, the report adds, is in large part because government regulations do not reflect best practices for treating HIV-positive detainees.
December 11, 2013
Crime is decreasingly frequent basis of removal: According to data newly analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, DHS is initiating removal proceedings on the basis of criminal activity less often. So far in fiscal year 2014, 13.5% of new removal cases have been based on criminal activity. TRAC, Nature of Charge in New Filings Seeking Removal Orders Through November 2013 (updated December 11, 2013). This is down from 14.2% in the whole of FY 2013 and 15.5% in FY 2012. Interestingly, 42.69% of removal proceedings initiated thus far in FY 2014 were based on alleged entry without inspection, while only 3.6% were based on a claimed conviction for an aggravated felony.
November 22, 2013
Forensic anthropology pairs dead migrants with surviving relatives: The radio program Here and Now released a well-done story about forensic anthropologist Lori Baker from Baylor University and her work trying to identify the remains of migrants who died making their way into the United States and returning them to their surviving family members. This story, “Anthropologist Works to Return Migrants’ Remains” (November 21, 2013), is well worth listening to.
November 13, 2013
Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress Related to CBP Actions: The American Immigration Council has released another in a series of practice advisories about motions to suppress in removal proceedings. AIC, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings: Fighting Back Against Unlawful Conduct By U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This advisory is specifically focused on potentially unconstitutional actions performed by Customs and Border Protection agents. According to the announcement that accompanied release of this advisory, “The LAC’s new practice advisory discusses some of the factual scenarios that may give rise to successful motions to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully by CBP officers, including CBP inspectors stationed at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents, who operate between ports of entry. It also addresses some of the legal issues specific to motions to suppress evidence obtained at and near the border. If successful, a motion to suppress can prevent the government from using unlawfully obtained evidence to prove alienage, which may result in the termination of removal proceedings.”
November 12, 2013
Frequency and timeliness of relief in immigration courts: New data analyzed by TRAC indicates that immigration judges granted some form of relief from removal 27,783 cases during FY 2013, 27,783. The organization expects that number to rise this year. Other data indicate that immigration judges situated in Nebraska took longest (1,349 days on average) to decide cases where relief was ultimately granted. Nebraska judges were followed by immigration judges in Oregon (1,178 days), then Illinois (1,149 days). Nationwide, it took immigration judges 898 days to decide cases where relief was granted thus far in FY 2014.
November 11, 2013
Special journal issue on immigration detention: The European Journal of Criminology released a special issue on immigration detention recently. Contributions focus on France, Norway, Greece, and Italy. I’m excited to review these articles because in some ways Europe is following in the footsteps of the United States, while in other ways it appears to have taken a drastically different approach when it comes to using detention as a means of enforcing immigration law.
Critical Report on Greek Migration Controls: The German NGO Pro Asyl recently released a report that takes a harsh look at border control measures that Greece has implemented along its border with Turkey and along its coastal border. Pushed Back: Systematic Human Rights Violations Against Refugees in the Aegean Sea and at the Greek-Turkish Land Border. According to the report, “The
finding of our
is that illegal
from Greek sea
rights violations before.
shocking. Masked Special Forces officers
apprehension, detaining them
Greek soil and then
back to Turkey, in
zones where refugees
Given Greece’s geographic position at the edge of the EU, its recent political move to the right, and its upcoming ascendancy to the EU presidency (beginning in January 2014), staying up on what is happening in Greece is worthwhile.
November 5, 2013
CCA To Announce Latest Earnings: On the heels of a similar announcement by the GEO Group (see November 4, 2013), the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison operator in the USA, plans to announce its third quarter earnings on Thursday, November 7 at 11:00 am EST. Information about how to join a conference call on which the announcement will occur is available on CCA’s web site here
November 4, 2013
GEO Group To Announce Latest Earnings: The second largest private prison operator in the United States, the GEO Group, plans to announce its third quarter 2013 earnings by conference call on Wednesday, November 6 at 11:00 am EST. Information about how to participate in the call is available on GEO’s web site here. The company recently announced that it will pay a quarterly cash dividend of $0.55 per share in late November. According to a company press release, this “represents a ten percent increase from our previous regular dividend and is indicative of our company’s continued growth and commitment to return value to our shareholders.”
Naturalization Trends: The Migration Policy Institute reports that 757,434 people were naturailzed in the United States during the 2012 fiscal year. This is a 9% increase from FY 2011. Another 65,874 naturalization applications were denied in FY 2012. Meanwhile, there were approximately 390,000 naturalization applications pending at the end of FY 2012. The largest contingent of people who naturalized in FY 2012 were born in México (13.5%) followed by the Philippines (5.9%) and India (5.7%).
October 25, 2013
Immigration court backlog grows: An analysis of EOIR data released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse indicates that the immigration court backlog continues to grow. Currently, TRAC’s analysis indicates, there are 344,230 cases pending in immigration courts nationwide. The largest number of these cases are in California (77,246), New York (50,818), and Texas (48,626) immigration courts. Across the country, it is currently taking an average of 562 days to adjudicate an immigration case.
October 17, 2013
Immigration courts back on schedule tomorrow: The EOIR announced today that the immigration courts will resume normal operations tomorrow, Friday, October 18, 2013. Detained cases scheduled for today (Thursday, October 17) will go on as scheduled, but non-detained hearings will be rescheduled as they were during the government shutdown.
October 15, 2013
TRAC: Drop in number of removal filings based on crime: According to a new analysis of filings in immigration courts, about 14.4% of deportation cases filed were based on the noncitizen’s alleged involvement in criminal activity. This is a smaller percentage than every year since 2007. In FY 2012, for example, about 15.5% of filings were based on criminal involvement. The bulk of deportation proceedings initiated in FY 2013–51.49%–were based on alleged entry without inspection. Another 30.37% were based on some other claimed immigration activity. Only 4.07% were based on allegations that a noncitizen was convicted of an aggravated felony and 10.36% on a claim that the noncitizen was involved in another type of crime. TRAC’s report is available here.
October 9, 2013
Post-Departure Victory: The Post-Deportation Human Rights Project at Boston College along with the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard claimed a wonderful victory recently when they successfully vacated a conviction based on faulty evidence, then used that win to convince DHS to join a motion to reopen removal proceedings despite the fact that the noncitizen had already been removed. An immigration judge subsequently granted the joint motion and later dismissed the removal allegations. More information is available in this press release.
September 9, 2013
GEO Group announces new 400-bed facility: The GEO Group, the country’s second largest private prison operator, announced that it won a contract with ICE to build and operate a new 400-bed transfer facility in Alexandria, Louisiana. According to the company’s press release, “GEO will finance, develop and manage the $20.0 million company-owned Center, which is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2014. GEO’s contract with ICE is expected to generate approximately $8.5 million in annualized revenues.”
September 6, 2013
ICE Policy on Segregated Detention: After much criticism for its use of segregated confinement, ICE issued a policy that standardizes use of this contested practice. The policy explains that “placement in administrative segregation due to a special vulnerability should be used only as a last resort and when no other viable housing options exist.” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Review of the Use of Segregation for ICE Detainees (September 4, 2013). This limitation does not apply to “disciplinary segregation,” which the policy explains can be “authorized only pursuant to the order of a facility disciplinary panel, following a hearing in which the detainee is determined to have committed serious misconduct in violation of a facility rule, and only consistent with the Disciplinary Severity Scale from the applicable ICE detention standards, and only when alternative dispositions would inadequately regulate detainee behavior.” Detainees placed in administrative segregation “because he or she was alleged to have been a victim of sexual assault, ensure the detainee is not held in administrative segregation on that basis for more than five days, except in highly unusual circumstances or at the detainee’s request.”
August 16, 2013
Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress: The American Immigration Council released a practice advisory yesterday on suppressing illegally obtained evidence in removal proceedings. According to the advisory, “When state and local law enforcement officers have violated the Fourth Amendment, a noncitizen may move to suppress evidence obtained through that violation. If successful, such a motion would prevent the evidence from being used in removal proceedings against the noncitizen and, in some cases, may result in the termination of proceedings. In INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984), the Supreme Court limited the exclusion of evidence in immigration proceedings to “egregious” or “widespread” violations of the Fourth Amendment by federal immigration officers. Id. at 1050-51. However, as discussed herein, there are compelling
arguments that evidence obtained through any constitutional violation by state or local officers should be suppressed in removal proceedings and that the limitations in Lopez-Mendoza should be reconsidered.”
July 25, 2013
ICE Issuing Fewer Detainers: Averages 18,427 Per Month: Data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University indicate that ICE issued fewer detainers during the first four months of the 2013 fiscal year (October-December 2012 and January 2013) than in previous fiscal years. TRAC reported that, on average, ICE issued 18,427 detainers per month during that period, down from 22,832, on average, per month of the FY 2012. The largest number of detainers were issued through ICE’s Criminal Alien Program followed by the 287(g) program.
June 13, 2013
CCA Loses Three Contracts: The Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private prison operator, announced that it lost contracts on three facilities–two in Texas and one in Mississippi. Combined, the three prisons contain about 5,319 beds. According to CCA, the Texas prisons were shut down due to state “budget reductions.” It added that it was “not selected for the continued management” of the Mississippi facility.
June 10, 2013
House Judiciary Committee Hearing: On June 13 at 2:00 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on H.R. 2278, the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act” (The SAFE Act). The SAFE Act is sponsored by Republican Trey Gowdy (South Carolina) and cosponsored by 19 other Republican members of the House.
Border Patrol Apprehensions of Unaccompanied Kids Go Up: Border Patrol data indicate that 24,481 unaccompanied children (between ages 0 and 17) were apprehended in fiscal year 2012. This is an increase from 16,056 apprehended in FY 11; 18,634 in FY 10; 19,668 in FY 09; and 8,041 in FY 08. Most of the children apprehended in FY 2012 were from México (13,974), with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras following far behind. The Pew Charitable Trusts Stateline News Service distributed an informative article about this trend.
June 7, 2013
TRAC Reports Over 100,000 Removals: The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University reported today that 107,538 removal orders have been issued by immigration judges thus far in FY 2013 and that the immigration courts are on track to issue 189,267 removal orders this year. According to TRAC, “The top five nationalities against which removal orders were being sought were: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and China.”
Practice Advisory on ICE Detainer Guidelines: The National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center issued a practice advisory for interpreting the detainer guidelines ICE distributed in December 2012. According to the Practice Advisory, ” This practice advisory analyzes the new guidance, including who is and is not likely to be subject to ICE detainers under the new policy, the
significance of these changes, and what problems remain.”
June 6, 2013
Updated Immigration Court Practice Manual: The EOIR updated the Immigration Court Practice Manual to reflect the new eRegistry requirement that kicks in June 10, 2013 and new page numbering. (More about the eRegistry is available in the May 14, 2013 post below.) The updated manual is available on the EOIR’s web site. Specific provisions changed in this version are listed here.
May 20, 2013
Scholars Denounce Grassley Amendment 53 as Unconstitutional: I was proud to join about 65 other immigration law scholars in urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Amendment 53 offered by Senator Grassley. The amendment would authorize long-term detention pending removal proceedings and indefinite detention after a removal order has been issued. Both provisions clash with Supreme Court precedent, as explained in the letter. I wrote an op-ed in opposition to a similar amendment that Republican members of the House of Representatives promoted in 2011.
Updated DACA Statistics
USCIS issued updated statistics on DACA applications, approvals, and denials current through April 30, 2013. According to the data, there have been 497,960 applications accepted; 2,352 denied; and 291,859 approved. There were approximately 10,000 fewer applications approved in April 2013 than in March 2013.
May 14, 2013
Attorney Registration Requirement: The EOIR announced today that it will require attorneys and accredited representatives appearing before the immigration courts or BIA to register with the EOIR beginning June 10, 2013. Attorneys and accredited reps must be registered with the EOIR to appear before immigration courts or the BIA after December 10, 2013. Registration will be free and done through a web-based form. According to the final rule published in the Federal Register, “EOIR intends to require all
attorneys and accredited representatives
who practice before immigration judges
or the Board to register online. EOIR
will require that attorneys and
accredited representatives provide the
following information when registering:
full name; date of birth; business
address(es); business telephone
number(s); email address; bar admission
information (for attorneys);
recognized organization (for accredited
As noted above, EOIR will require an
attorney or accredited representative to
create a unique UserID and password for
online access to the registry.” More information, including registration instructions, are available on the EOIR’s web site here.
May 10, 2013
TRAC: Federal Criminal Immigration Prosecutions At Record Pace: Here’s the latest from the Transactional Access Records Clearinghouse at Syrcause University: “Very timely Justice Department data show that during the first six months of FY 2013, the rate of federal criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses is up 9.8 percent over the previous year, with 50,468 such prosecutions reported as of the end of March. If this pace continues, more individuals will have faced criminal immigration charges this year than at any other time in United States history. Regionally, the Southern District of Texas (Houston) now leads the nation with 17,022 immigration prosecutions so far this year. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) is in second place with 13,379 prosecutions. Arizona, the district with the most immigration prosecutions in FY 2012, has slipped to third place with 11,476. Arizona is also recording the largest decline — 22 percent — of any district in the nation.”
May 7, 2013
New Immigration Judges: Attorney General Eric Holder appointed five new immigration judges this week. Four will be posted at the Los Angeles immigration court and the other at the Tacoma, Washington immigration court. Notably, three judges have experience in the immigrants’ advocacy community. Biographies are available here.
May 6, 2013
Removal Orders Down: According to a new report issued by Syracuse University’s TRAC, immigration judges are issuing removal orders 18% less often than last year and 35% less often than two years ago. If IJs maintain the pace they’ve set during the first 7 months of of the 2013 fiscal year, fewer removal orders will be issued this year than in any year since at least 1998 (as far back as TRAC’s data goes). It’s entirely possible that people are being removed from the USA through other means–for example, reinstatement of removal or increased use of returns, but TRAC’s report only addresses removal orders.
May 3, 2013
Moncrieffe Practice Advisory: The American Immigration Council released a practice advisory on the Supreme Court’s decision in Moncrieffe v. Holder, No. 11-702, slip op. (U.S. April 23, 2013). crImmigration.com hosted an online symposium on Moncrieffe that provides extensive analysis of the arguments and decision.
May 1, 2013
Apparent suicide in immigration prison: ICE reported that a woman in its custody at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona died from an apparent suicide on Sunday, April 28, 2013.
April 22, 2013
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: The Committee is holding a hearing on the immigration legislation released last week and streaming it live here.
British Report on Immigration Detention: The British organization Bail for Immigration Detainees recently released a report detailing the impact of detention on children. Among other things, “[t]he BID report makes a number of specific recommendations, including calling for a time limit to be placed on immigration detention in part so that prolonged periods of separation from families cannot occur, and for the best interests of children to be a primary consideration in decisions which affect them. The bigger message from the report is that children should not be separated from their parents as a result of immigration controls.”
April 18, 2013
House Hearing on DHS Budget
The House Committee on Homeland Security is holding a hearing on the president’s budget request for FY 2014 at 9:00 am EST on April 18. Video is available here.
April 17, 2013
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on immigration law reform on April 19, 2013, at 10:00 am EST. More information is available here.
Comparison of 2006, 2007, and 2013 immigration proposals
The MPI released a helpful side-by-side comparison of the immigration legislation proposed in 2006, 2007, and 2013.
April 15, 2013
Updated DACA Statistics
USCIS issued updated statistics on DACA applications, approvals, and denials current through March 31, 2013. According to the data, there have been 472,004 applications accepted, 1,377 denied, and 268,361 granted.
April 5, 2013
ICE Revises Investigation Procedure
In response to a lawsuit brought by LatinoJustice and the Center for Constitutional Rights, ICE agreed to revise its procedure for searching homes. According to the district court’s order in Aguilar v. ICE, the agency’s personnel will be required to seek consent to search from residents of a targeted home in a language they understand, where “feasible” to do so; refrain from entering a home’s curtilage or other area in which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy; and engage in protective sweeps of a home only where there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion of danger. Aguilar v. ICE, No. 1:07-CV-08224, slip op. at 5-6 (S.D.N.Y. April 4, 2013) (Forrest, J.). A New York Times article about this settlement appeared on April 5, 2013.
April 4, 2013
TPS Renewed for Nicaragua and Honduras
MPI Report: Mexican Migration to the United States
A pair of economists issued a report under the auspices of the Migration Policy Institute about projected Mexican migration to the USA. Here’s part of the MPI’s description: “The baseline scenario in the report — which assumes overall US economic growth of 2.5 percent, prerecession growth rates in wages, and a lower supply of Mexican labor due to strong economic performance in Mexico — suggests that net inflows from Mexico to the United States through 2017 could be on the order of 260,000 yearly. This figure — which includes legal and unauthorized migrants, workers of all skill levels, and those not in the labor force — is similar to the net inflow of 280,000 Mexicans per year during 2000-07, but is significantly lower than the net inflows recorded during 1990-2000, which amounted to around 466,000 annually.”
March 26, 2013
UK immigration detention stats:
The UK’s Home Office released statistics on its immigration detention population recently. According to its data, 28,909 people were in detention in the 2012 calendar year. This was an increase from the previous year’s 27,089. More stats on migration and asylum are available here.
March 19, 2013
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
The Senate Judiciary Committee will continue its ongoing series of hearings on immigration law tomorrow (March 20, 2013) at 2:00 pm. The hearing will be webcast live on the committee’s web site.
House Judiciary Committee
The March 19, 2013 House Judiciary Committee hearing on the release of individuals kept in immigration prisons is available here
Updated DACA Statistics
According to USCIS, between August 15, 2012 and March 14, 2013 there were 453,589 DACA applications accepted for processing, 442,041 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 245,493 requests approved. Another 15,941 were rejected. Tanya Golash-Boza wrote a short insightful analysis of these latest figures on her blog Social Scientists on Immigration Policy.
March 18, 2013
Immigration Court Backlog Grows
The backlog of immigration court cases has grown from where it stood when ICE began its prosecutorial discretion initiative in FY 2011. According to TRAC, “[a]s of the end of February 2013, the backlog has reached a new all-time high of 325,296. According to the very latest data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), that total rose by 1,571 just during February. The court backlog is now 9.3 percent higher than it was at the end of FY 2011 when ICE Director John Morton announced a review of cases designed to reduce both the backlog and wait times. Instead, the backlog has increased, and the average time cases have been waiting to be heard has jumped to 553 days, compared with 489 days at the end of FY 2011 when the review began.” TRAC’s data is available here.
March 13, 2013
The Office of Management and Budget distributed this document providing the funding amounts that each of the federal government’s agencies is slated to lose due to sequestration. According to the document, Customs and Border Protection will lose $512 million (page 28), ICE $294 million (page 28), CIS will have to do with $151 million less (page 27), and the U.S. Attorneys’ Office will lose $99 million (page 38). CBP released more specific information on this web site.
March 5, 2013
Rep. Luis Gutierrez Podcast
AILA Advocacy Director Greg Chen and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) appear on this podcast discussing immigration reform prospects.
March 4, 2013
USCIS Begins Accepting Provisional Waiver Applications
USCIS began accepting applications for the provisional waiver of unlawful presence today. This process does not change the requirements for obtaining a waiver–extreme hardship to a United States citizen spouse or parent is still required. This new process simply adjudicates applications while the applicant is in the USA. More information is available from USCIS here.
February 20, 2013:
USCIS: Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Process Teleconference
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State invite you to participate in a joint stakeholder teleconference to discuss the final rule establishing a new process for certain individuals to apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers while they are still in the United States. The final rule published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2013 and will be effective on March 4, 2013.
The new process allows certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, who are physically present in the United States and are seeking permanent residence, to apply for and receive provisional unlawful presence waivers before departing the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications abroad. This process change will reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members go through the immigrant visa process to become lawful permanent residents.
The teleconference will provide an overview of the provisional unlawful presence waiver eligibility criteria and process. Representatives from USCIS and the Department of State will respond to questions related to procedural and operational matters.
Please note that this new process will not be effective until March 4, 2013, and USCIS will not accept any applications until the effective date. This final rule is separate and distinct from the Form I-601 centralization process.
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, at 1:00 pm EST
To Join the Session: Please use the information below to join the session. We recommend calling in 15 minutes before the start of the teleconference.
Toll Free Call-In Number: 1-800-369-2065
Toll Number for Outside the U.S.: 1-212-547-0425
January 30, 2013:
Call for Papers: “Mexico-NY: Thirty Years of Migration”
Call for papers:
The CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies invites abstracts for our annual conference
on Mexican studies. The 2013 conference focus is on “Mexico-NY: Thirty Years of
Migration”. Abstracts of 250 words along with a 150 word bio are invited in all
disciplines. Abstract submission deadline is Feb. 15, 2013. Please email abstract to
email@example.com. As many as ten abstracts will be selected for
participation and other presenters will be invited to participate. Selected
participants will be notified by February 28, 2013 and will be expected to submit
finished manuscripts of conference papers by April 15, 2013. Please specify if work
is eligible for publication (original research, not previously published). Limited
funding for travel and accommodations may be available.
Friday May 10, 2013
Organized by the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies
Hosted at John Jay College/CUNY
524 W 59th St New York, NY 10019
The CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies will host a one-day conference on May 10,
2013, “Mexico-NY: Thirty Years of Migration.” This conference will be a major
gathering of scholars from Mexico and the United States to disseminate research on
three decades of migration between Mexico and New York. The proceedings will be
simultaneously available on the web and then will be archived and available on the
Institute of Mexican Studies website. Additionally, an edited volume of selected
papers will be prepared and published to further disseminate the results of the
The conference will build on the accomplishments of the 2012-2013 yearlong
Mexico-NY interactive web based seminar, or Virtual Seminar Series the CUNY
Institute of Mexican Studies is coordinating between Benemérita Universidad
Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) and the City University of New York (CUNY).
Our primary goal is to promote a dialogue on research related to diverse aspects of
transnational migration between Mexico and New York by creating a forum where
US and Mexican academics can engage with one another. Mexican migration to New
York originated three decades ago and this conference will be a landmark event,
reflecting on the growth of a community, its contributions to New York, and
challenges that persist. While scholars in Mexico and the US have studied this
population, to date there has been no academic conference that has deliberately
sought to draw together the pioneering and emerging scholars who have worked
specifically on Mexico-NY migration in a binational dialogue.
The Need for Dialogue on Migration between Mexico and New York and information
on the Institute of Mexican Studies. To more fully understand migration issues between Mexico and New York, a
transnational perspective needs to be employed since communities are changing on
both sides of the border.
Mexicans constitute the fastest growing national sub-group in New York City, due
to high rates of immigration and high births. If these rates remain the same, the
Mexican population will surpass that of other Latino groups in New York City by the
year 2024. The number of Mexicans living in New York City has grown 57.7% in
the last decade. The Mexican population in New York City is 319, 126 according to
U.S. Census data for the most recent year available, 2010. 2 However, due to
undercounting, the population is much greater.
The newly created CUNY-wide Institute of Mexican Studies at Lehman College
(launched Spring 2012) serves to bridge scholarly networks in Mexico and the
United States who share related research agendas.
Dissemination of Results
Video and audio of the conference proceedings will be broadcast live via web and
then be archived on the CUNY Institute for Mexican Studies website.
Additionally, a volume of selected papers from the conference will be published.
Alyshia Gálvez, Ph.D.
Director of the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies
Leslie A. Martino-Velez
Associate Director, CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies
With conference planning team: Isabel Martínez, David Badillo, Jesús Pérez,
With support from Lehman College, John Jay College, and Senior Vice Chancellor for
University Relations, Jay Hershenson
January 22, 2013:
Immigration Law & Border Enforcement Course: Hofstra University is hosting its 3rd annual Immigration Law and Border Enforcement Program from Sunday-Sunday, May 19-26, 2013 in El Paso. The faculty running this are great and one of my students participated last year and hasn’t stopped raving about it.
January 15, 2013:
January 14, 2013:
Napolitano to Remain DHS Secretary: DHS announced today that Janet Napolitano will stay on as secretary of the department charged with primary enforcement of immigration law. The National Day Laborers Organizing Network, a leading activist group, criticized this decision.
January 9, 2013
Practice Advisory on Post-Departure Returns: Several organizations teamed up to release a practice advisory to help attorneys whose clients have won a motion to reopen or reconsider but are no longer in the USA.
USCIS Policy Manual: The USCIS issued a Policy Manual volume on citizenship and naturalization. Eventually the Policy Manual will replace the Adjudicators’ Field Manual.
December 28, 2012
Immigrant dies in ICE custody:An immigrant detained at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona died on December 23, ICE announced this week. According to one news report, more than 125 individuals have died while in immigration prisons since 2003.
December 27, 2012
ICE Detainer Policy Guidance: The Director of ICE, John Morton, issued a memo instructing ICE officers about when they should issue an ICE detainer. The memo provides 8 conditions that the agency deems sufficient basis for issuing a detainer, mostly related to crime-related activity. The memo is titled Civil lmmigration Enforcement: Guidance on the Use of Detainers in the Federal, State, Local, and Tribal Criminal Justice Systems and was issued December 21, 2012.
MPI Event on Immigration Enforcement: The Migration Policy Institute is hosting what sounds to be an interesting event titled “Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery” on January 7 in DC. More information is available on MPI’s web site.
December 20, 2012:
Justice Dept Sues North Carolina Sheriff: Today the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced that it has sued the Alamance County (NC) Sheriff’s Office. According to DOJ’s press release, “The Justice Department today filed a civil rights lawsuit against Terry
S. Johnson, in his official capacity as head of the Alamance County
Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) in North Carolina.The complaint alleges that ACSO routinely discriminates against
and targets Latinos for enforcement action, in violation of the U.S.
Constitution and Section 14141 of the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act of 1994.” The complaint is available here.
AILA Blog on Exclusionary Rule in Removal Proceedings: AILA’s Slip Opinion blog has a nice piece on the need for the Supreme Court to consider it’s longstanding–and antiquated–position that the exclusionary rule has no place in removal proceedings. Definitely worth reading.
December 18, 2012:
Latest DACA Stats: The latest statistics released by DHS about its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals indicate that 102,965 applications have been approved as of December 13, 2012. Another 157,151 remain under review.
Medical Repatriation Study: “The Center for Social Justice (CSJ) at Seton Hall University School of Law and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) released a report documenting an alarming number of cases in which U.S. hospitals have forcibly repatriated vulnerable undocumented patients, who are ineligible for public insurance as a result of their immigration status, in an effort to cut costs. This practice is inherently risky and often results in significant deterioration of a patient’s health, or even death. The report asserts that such actions are in violation of basic human rights, in particular the right to due process and the right to life. According to the report, the U.S. is responsible for this situation by failing to appropriately reform immigration and health care laws and protect those within its borders from human rights abuses. The report argues that medical deportations will likely increase as safety net hospitals, which provide the majority of care to undocumented and un- or underinsured patients, encounter tremendous financial pressure resulting from dramatic funding cutbacks under the Affordable Care Act.” The CSJ and NYLPI also launched a web site for advocates.
December 17, 2012:
Interim Policy Memo on U Visa Age-Outs: The USCIS released an interim policy memo regarding age-out protections for derivative U visa holders. According to the memo, “This policy memorandum (PM) provides guidance relating to certain U-3 derivative nonimmigrant
petitions that are being held for final adjudication or have had their prior approvals limited in time due to the derivative aging-out. This PM also authorizes the approval of U-3 derivative nonimmigrant petitions for the full eligibility period of four years, allowing the U-3 derivative to remain in U nonimmigrant status past his or her 21st birthday, if necessary.”
Draft Policy Memo on VAWA Employment Eligibility: USCIS released a draft policy memo regarding employment eligibility for VAWA self-petitioners and battered spouses of certain nonimmigrants.
December 13, 2012:
Global Trends in Migration-Related Detention: Chicago’s NPR station, WBEZ, aired a very informative program about worldwide immigration detention practices.
December 11, 2012:
How Immigration Enforcement Affects Families, Schools, and Workplaces: The Center for American Progress is hosting a panel discussion on the effects of immigration enforcement today at noon in Washington, DC. The event will be streamed online live. For more information, visit the CAP’s web site.
December 10, 2012:
Immigration Damages Litigation CLE: The National Lawyers Guild and the University of Miami’s Immigration Law Clinic are hosting a CLE on immigration damages litigation. This one-day training will focus on using litigation as a tool to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct and abuse committed against noncitizens in detention facilities, on the border, and during vehicle stops and raids. Topics will include: Litigation under the Federal Tort Claims Act, Bivens, § 1983, and motion and discovery practice. The event is scheduled for Friday, January 11, 2013, from 8:45AM – 5:00PM, at the University of Miami School of Law, 1311 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146. More information is available here.
December 8, 2012:
ABA Civil Immigration Detention Standards: The ABA has published its Civil Immigration Detention Standards in book form and updated its web site to include audio and video of a November 14 “dialogue” on civil immigration detention. Mark Noferi (Brooklyn Law) published an outstanding analysis of the ABA’s standards on crImmigration.com in August that’s available here.
December 6, 2012:
California Attorney General-Secure Communities is Optional: Here is the California Attorney General’s “information bulletin” explaining that participation in Secure Communities is not required.
December 5, 2012:
Comparative Analysis of Immigration Detention: The Migration Policy Institute issued a short summary of how several countries, including the USA, are dealing with immigration imprisonment.
December 4, 2012:
USCIS: Immigration Relief for Victims of Human Trafficking: The USCIS is running a web-based training session about relief available to victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence and human trafficking. More information is available on the USCIS web site.
December 3, 2012:
Practice Advisory on Exclusionary Rule in Removal Proceedings: The NYU Immigrants Rights Clinic has put together a helpful practice guide on the Third Circuit’s recent decision applying the exclusionary rule in removal proceedings, Oliva-Ramos v. Attorney General (which I blogged about here).
November 15, 2012:
Immigration Court Backlog Drops: The Transactional Access Records Clearinghouse at Syracuse University reports that the backlog of cases in the immigration courts dropped by 1% in October 2012 from the previous month to 321,633 cases. This is the first drop in years, TRAC added. October’s figure remains “8.1 percent higher than it was at the end of September 2011, and 22.4 percent higher than at the end of September 2010.”
September 19, 2012:
AILA argues prostitution isn’t CIMT: In an amicus brief submitted to the BIA, AILA urged the Board to conclude that engaging in prostitution is not a crime involving moral turpitude.
Racial profiling in Alamance County, North Carolina: The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has found that the Alamance County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing targeting Latina/os. Alamance County has a 287(g) agreement with the Department of Homeland Security.
September 17, 2012:
Call for Papers: The Forced Migration Review has issued a call for papers related to sexual orientation and gender identity and the protection of forced migrants. More information is available from the journal’s web site.
August 31, 2012:
USCIS reports U visas max out but T visas don’t come close: A new statistical compilation produced by USCIS indicates that the federal government already granted the statutory maximum U visas during the 2012 fiscal year. In contrast, only a small percentage of available T visas have thus far been granted.
U visas are granted to some noncitizen crime victims and T visas are available to some noncitizen victims of human trafficking. The INA caps annual U visas at 10,000; 10,088 were approved. INA § 214(p)(A). The statute caps the annual number of T visas at 5,000 and 489 had been approved as of June 2012 when the USCIS data ended. INA § 214(o)(2). In fairness, USCIS reports having received only 689 T visa applications.
July 25, 2012:
New Report on Immigration Imprisonment and Deportation in New York: Three outstanding organizations–the Immigrant Defense Project, Families for Freedom, and NYU Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic–teamed up to produce a new report, “Insecure Communities, Devastated Families,” about the impact of immigration imprisonment and deportation on New Yorkers. According to the report, between October 2005 and December 2010, ICE apprehended 34,000 New Yorkers, 91% of whom were eventually deported. Most of these individuals (77%) were apprehended through the Criminal Alien Program. After imprisonment, ICE transferred 18,000 New Yorkers to immigration prison outside of New York or New Jersey. A full 94.5% of transferred New Yorkers were later deported.
July 23, 2012:
New Data on Prosecutorial Discretion: A new report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University indicates that 1.9% (5684) of immigration court cases pending at the end of September 2011 were closed through a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The number has steadily increased and in March, April, May, and June 2012 the government closed approximately 1,000 cases through prosecutorial discretion. Less than 2% (72) of 5,684 cases involved individuals who were charged with removal for a crime-based reason.
July 11, 2012:
New Report on Federal Criminal Prosecutions of Immigration: The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University reports that 8,766 new prosecutions for immigration crimes in April 2012. This was a 16.4% increase over the previous month, but 0.4% less than April 2011. “Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are up 123.4 percent from levels reported in 2007.”
July 6, 2012:
Daniel Kanstroom Interview: Daniel Kanstroom, a professor at Boston College Law School and author of the newly-released “Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora,” speaks about current immigration policy in this interview on Public Radio International’s The Takeaway. He makes the important point that the 400,000 deportations per year that’s frequently mentioned (including by me) is actually a gross undercount. The number is closer to 1 million when we account for expedited removal and other “informal” mechanisms.
July 5, 2012:
New Report on Alternatives to Detention: The Immigrants Rights Clinic at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark and the American Friends Service Committee released a report on alternatives to detention in the immigration context, “Freed But Not Free” (web site available here). Here’s how the executive summary describes the report’s content:
Despite the proven effectiveness of many alternatives to detention, as this report makes clear, the capacity of the current ATD system is insufficient. At present, many individuals who are released from detention are placed on an Order of Release on Recognizance (ROR) or an Order of Supervision (OSUP), under which participants are required to check in periodically with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), among other requirements. Some of those individuals are subject to the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), which includes an electronic monitoring component and is administered by a private company.
This report attempts to examine the use, enforcement, restrictions, and human impact of the existing ATD programs in New Jersey and nationally. For the thousands of individuals that ICE places on supervisory programs—many of whom have been determined to be neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community—ATD programs can be both liberating and debilitating. This report highlights the economic, psychological, emotional, and physical toll faced by individuals under ATD programs and proposes some recommendations for reform.
June 28, 2012:
Deferred Action Practice Guide: The Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Counsel and the American Immigration Lawyers Association have jointly produced a practice guide for attorneys representing clients who may be eligible for deferred action under the Obama Administration’s recent policy initiative. The guide includes a section on crime-based ineligibility issues (on pages 6-7).
June 27, 2012:
Inspector General’s Report on CBP Unmanned Aircraft: The DHS Inspector General issued a report, CBP’s Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the Nation’s Border Security, on the Custom and Border Protection agency’s use of its nine $18 million unmanned aircraft.
June 19, 2012:
Prosecutorial Discretion Update: The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, the best source of statistical information about immigration actions, reports that only 1.5% of cases pending in immigration courts nationwide were closed due to exercises of the federal government’s prosecutorial discretion. This amounts to 4,585 cases.
June 5, 2012:
S-Comm Update: ICE reports that Secure Communities is active in 97% of jurisdictions nationwide (3,070 of 3,181) as of May 30, 2012.
May 29, 2012:
A group of immigration law professors, including me, wrote to President Obama explaining the Executive Branch’s authority to grant administrative relief for DREAMers. Here’s a short description of the letter’s contents:
In assessing the options that may be available to the Executive Branch, the threshold question is whether there is executive authority to grant administrative relief. This is the question addressed in this letter. Though your Administration has considered various forms of prosecutorial discretion for individual DREAM-eligible applicants, this letter highlights the administrative authority that is available to potential DREAM Act beneficiaries as a group. We offer no views on the policy dimensions of a decision to exercise or to not exercise this authority. We write only to explain that there is clear executive authority for several forms of administrative relief for DREAM Act beneficiaries: deferred action, parole–in–place, and deferred enforced departure.
May 23, 2012:
VAWA Immigration Provisions: A new report by the Congressional Research Service summarizes key features of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2011 which is being debated in Congress. The report also points out competing concerns. Here are a few paragraphs from the report’s summary:
S. 1925 contains key provisions that would expand protections and eligibility to foreign national victims of domestic abuse. Among other provisions included in the bill, it would allow children to continue to apply for protections and legal status under VAWA in the case of the death of their self-petitioner parent, a protection currently afforded only to child applicants for lawful permanent status under family-based immigration provisions of the INA. It would exempt VAWA self-petitioners, U visa petitioners, and battered foreign nationals from removal proceedings if their financial circumstances classified them as inadmissible. It would provide foreign nationals with expanded background information on their sponsoring U.S. citizen and LPR spouses. It would also expand the annual number of U visas issued from 10,000 to 15,000 for a limited period.
Two potential concerns for Congress have been emphasized regarding the immigration provisions of VAWA. The first is whether the proposed VAWA reauthorization provides sufficient relief to foreign nationals abused by their U.S. citizen or LPR sponsoring relatives. Advocates for battered immigrants suggest that additional provisions are needed to assist this population in obtaining legal and economic footing independently of their original sponsors for legal immigrant status. Critics of expanding immigration, however, question the extent to which these provisions may increase the number of legal immigrants and cost the U.S. taxpayers.
The second related concern is the degree to which VAWA provisions might unintentionally facilitate marriage fraud. This may occur through what some perceive as relatively lenient standards of evidence to demonstrate abuse; as the unintended result of processing procedures between the District Offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which adjudicate most immigration applications, and the USCIS Vermont Service Center, which adjudicates VAWA petitions; or as an unintended consequence of the structure of current law. While some suggest that VAWA provides opportunities for dishonest and enterprising immigrants to circumvent U.S. immigration laws, reliable empirical support for these assertions is limited.
May 22, 2012:
S-Comm Update: ICE reports that Secure Communities is active in 91% of jurisdictions nationwide (2,915 of 3,181), as of May 15, 2012. Notably, this now includes all of Massachusetts and New York.
September 29, 2011:
United States v. State of Alabama, No. 2:11-CV-2746-SLB (N.D. Ala. Sept. 28, 2011) (Blackburn, J.) (issuing a preliminary injunction regarding sections 11(a), 13, 16, and 17 of Alabama’s House Bill 56 on the basis that these provisions are preempted by federal law).
Orosco v. Napolitano, No. 09-40004, slip op. at 3 (5th Cir. March 2, 2009) (holding that a law enforcement agency’s decision to issue a Law Enforcement Certification required for submission of a U visa application is within the law enforcement agency’s discretion).
Nken v. Holder, No. 08-1813, slip op. at 6 (4th Cir. Oct. 30, 2009) (Motz, King, and Davis) (holding that remand is appropriate “when a BIA order does not demonstrate that the agency has considered an issue”).
Prakash v. Holder, No. 07-72831, slip op. at 11790 (9th Cir. Aug. 26, 2009) (Silverman, Clifton, and Smith) (holding that California convictions for solicitation to commit rape by force, Cal. Penal Code § 653f(c), and solicitation to commit assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, Cal. Penal Code § 653f(a), are crimes of violence).
Uppal v. Holder, No. 07-72614, slip op. at 10863 (9th Cir. Aug. 11, 2009) (Thompson, Berzon, and Smith) (holding that aggravated assault under § 268(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude).
Fregozo v. Holder, No. 05-71268, slip op. (9th Cir. Aug. 12, 2009) (Thompson, Berzon, and Smith) (holding that misdemeanor child endangerment in California, Cal. Penal Code § 273a(b), is not categorically a crime of child abuse under INA § 237(a)(2)(E)(i)).