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CLINIC’s Advocacy Guide: How We Can Help You

 

CLINIC's Advocacy Guide

CLINIC wants to remind members of how its Advocacy Section can provide support and assistance.  This document outlines the advocacy related services CLINIC can provide as well as the channels through which CLINIC works with officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve individual case and systemic problems. 

CLINIC relies on input from its affiliates to help identify problematic trends and policies of the federal government.  Please remember to share individual case stories and reports of inappropriate or problematic policies that you encounter in your work.  Bring issues to the attention of CLINIC’s Advocacy Director, Allison Posner at aposner@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4831, at any time. Information from you is crucial to CLINIC’s ability to advocate for improvements that benefit the individuals served by CLINIC’s network.

 

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION: HOW CLINIC’S ADVOCACY SECTION CAN HELP                            

USCIS ISSUES AND CASES                                                                                                  

  • Systemic or General Policy Issues                                                                              
  • Inquiries on Cases Pending at USCIS Service Centers                                                

ICE AND CBP ISSUES AND CASES                                                                                     

  • Enforcement-Related Problems                                                                                              
  • Alternatives to Detention                                                                                            
  • ICE Detention Standard Violations                                                                             
  • Other DHS Enforcement Issues                                                                                              
  • Documenting Cases/Violations to Raise with ICE/CBP                                                           

MEDIA ADVOCACY                                                                                                            

SUPPORT ON STATE/LOCAL IMMIGRATION MEASURES                                                            

LITIGATION                                                                                                                          

 

 

 

Programs: 

Tips for Contacting Consulates and the Visa Office

Contacting Consular Posts Directly

Contact information should be available on the embassy or consulate website. A full listing of posts can be found here. When contacting a post via email, the l communication should include the following information:

  • Subject line that identifies the client with date of birth and the purpose for the communication
  • The applicant’s full name and case number
    • For immigrant visas, reference the NVC case number
    • For nonimmigrant visas, reference the applicant’s passport number and USCIS receipt number
  • The applicant’s date of birth
  • Brief description of the inquiry (case status, procedural question, etc.)
  • Representative’s full name and contact information

If you have presented a factual, procedural or case status inquiry and have not received a response from the Consular post after two attempts, you may follow-up with the NVC or KCC

 

Contacting the Visa Office

If you have presented a legal question to the Consulate and have not received a response after two attempts and thirty days have passed since the last contact or if the response is incorrect as a matter of law, you may send an email to LegalNet@state.gov. LegalNet may also be used at any time to submit legal questions about specific cases involving T, U, Diversity Visas, adoption cases, CSPA and VAWA. Be sure to include the following information in your email to LegalNet:

  • Subject line that identifies the purpose for the communication and urgency
  • The applicant’s full name, date and country of birth
  • Applicant’s visa classification
  • Location of the Consular Post
  • Applicant’s case number and Refusal Code (if applicable)
    • For immigrant visas, reference the NVC case number
    • For nonimmigrant visas, reference the applicant’s passport number and USCIS receipt number
  • Brief legal argument including legal citations (FAM)
  • Representative’s full name and contact information
  • Attached a scanned copy of the G-28 and previous emails evidencing contact with the Consular Post
Programs: 

State and Local Advocate Spotlight: Dana Davenport reflects on the 2016 legislative session and how she is driven by her faith

In just over a year, Dana Davenport has emerged as a standout immigration advocate in Maryland. Driven pointedly by her faith and her genuine desire to help others, Davenport reflects on the 2016 legislative session, specifically highlighting which strategies worked best and how support from CLINIC led to many successes.

How would you describe your state’s sentiment toward immigrants and why do you think it is this way?

Maryland is a mixed bag. Different regions across the state have their own sentiments towards immigrants largely based on the types of interactions people and businesses have with them.

What immigration-related measures did you address during the 2016 legislative session?

A significant success during the 2016 legislative session was the passage of a bill that clarifies the extortion statute to codify that it is illegal to use actual or threatened use of law enforcement regarding someone’s undocumented status in exchange for something of value. That legislation passed with bipartisan support, was signed by the governor in May, and will go into effect on October 1st. Another success was the passage of legislation that requires state government websites to become multilingual.

What are some advocacy strategies you believe were most persuasive?

  • I think that being led by faith is essential. Faith helps me represent the Maryland Bishops before the state legislature and pushes me forward in both the easiest and most challenging advocacy efforts. I focused on Catholic Social Teaching because it is rich in its relevance to immigrants – namely the “life and dignity of the human person” because all of the other pillars of CST rest on that.
  • Relationship-building is essential to my advocacy work – both with fellow advocates and legislators. By being a part of a network of advocates, we alert one another about bills that are introduced, organize panels of people to testify at hearings, and divide up the advocacy tasks based on our relationships with key legislators. Good relationships with legislators are essential because sometimes the relationship may speak greater volumes than the facts you’re bringing to the table, or the relationship with one legislator can help you gain the trust of other legislators
  • Educating constituents about immigration issues and encouraging them to take action to build grassroots support for immigrants.

Did you contact CLINIC for assistance in your advocacy efforts?

During session, I contacted CLINIC for assistance in developing talking points for my written testimony and advocacy efforts on a few pieces of legislation. The information was very useful because I didn’t have expertise on those specific issue areas, so it was helpful to have CLINIC as a resource in my advocacy. I’m glad I have a relationship with CLINIC so we can share information with one another as we need it.

Programs: 

State and Local Legislative Updates July 2016

With only 12 states in regular session, positive legislative trends related to education and professional licensing have emerged in recent months. North Carolina proposed the Tuition Fairness Act (HB 1081) that would offer in-state tuition rates to students that have either completed three years of high school or obtained high school diploma in the state. Connecticut proposed a bill (SB 147) to assist undocumented students pay for college by allowing them to apply for and receive institutional financial assistance at public universities and colleges. Nebraska recently passed a bill (LB 947) to allow legally present immigrants to obtain professional licenses.

The end of many states’ legislative sessions resulted in movement on immigration enforcement legislation. Proposed bills that would have prohibited cities from adopting sanctuary cities policies failed in Virginia (HB 481) and in Louisiana (HB1148).  Through a collaborative effort with Bishop Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson and local faith leaders, CLINIC also assisted in defeating Mississippi’s anti-sanctuary city bill (SB 2306). North Carolina’s immigration compliance bills (HB 100 and HB 868) which would have withheld state funds from cities for violating the state’s law on immigration also did not pass the state legislature.

Other legislation that would have a negative impact on immigrant populations are pending in states such as Pennsylvania, which has proposed anti-sanctuary city bill (HB 1885) that would ban sanctuary city policies and impose civil liability on cities for damages resulting from unlawful actions of undocumented immigrants.

Has your state recently proposed legislation that would affect immigrants in your area? Please tell us.

Programs: 

National Visa Center’s New Electronic Immigrant Visa (IV) Processing Pilot

The National Visa Center (NVC) recently offered a preview of the NVC’s new Online IV Module to CLINIC affiliates. In a special session at Convening, participants had the opportunity preview the pages of the online module, learn how an applicant may establish an account, pay fees, and see how civil documents may be uploaded, tracked and submitted to NVC.

The Online IV Module is the second of a total of 11 pilot programs associated with the Department of State and DHS’s initiatives to transition to electronic processing for immigration applications. The first stage of the modernized immigrant visa (MIV) pilot involves email documentation submission to six key posts abroad and will expand to include additional embassies this fall. From this stage, State reported positive outcomes including a 30% decrease in 221(g) rates. The second stage, which will begin this fall, involves online document submission through a new customer portal in the Consular Electronic Application Center. This pilot will initially be available for applicants for IV processing in Buenos Aires, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, and Sydney this fall. The third phase of the pilot, which is expected in 2017, will be available to IV applicants in Addis Ababa, Baghdad, Guatemala City, Kiev, Monrovia, and Tegucigalpa.

The system is dynamic, tailoring applicant requirements based upon Form DS-260 responses, and provides feedback on the sufficiency of submitted documents, allowing the applicant to make corrections. CLINIC commends State on these initiatives. We will continue to provide updates on the pilots and monitor implementation. 

Programs: 

CARA Assists Families Targeted in May Enforcement Actions and Thwarts New Family Detention Efforts

In late May- early June, the CARA Pro Bono Project assisted 21 families who were picked up by DHS in the latest round of enforcement actions targeting Central American women the children. The stories of the 21 families and the due process obstacles they have encountered were captured in a report produced by the CARA project. The report documents inappropriate enforcement conduct and due process concerns that the families endured. Since the publication of the report, several families have been released and no new families have been identified by CARA at the family detention facilities.

Despite constant pressure from advocates, DHS continues to double down on its support of family detention. This effort includes searching for new prospective family detention facility locations in Texas. Two recent efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to reach an agreement for a new family detention facility have been stymied in part by the assistance of the local community and by the dioceses of Corpus Christi and Laredo. In both public hearings, the Bishops’ statements along with critiques by community leaders, lead to local government leaders voting to not move forward with plans for the facilities.

As DHS continues to look for new communities to detain immigrant families, we urge you to contact us if you hear any information about your community engaging DHS to do so.

Programs: 

Supreme Court Decision in U.S. v. Texas Impedes Implementation of DAPA, Expanded DACA

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its tie (4-4) decision in the United States v. Texas litigation.  The Court’s split decision means that the preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court in Texas remains in effect and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) remain on hold while the case is returned to the lower court. The decision does not set a precedent in this case nor does it impact other initiatives under the President’s November 2014 Executive Actions, including the Enforcement Priorities, nor does the decision effect the existing DACA program from 2012. The split decision does not become final until for 25 days from the ruling, July 18th. During that time either the U.S. Department of Justice or the intervenors may file a Motion for Rehearing which would occur once the seat left by Justice Scalia’s death is filled.  Despite many calls for rehearing due to the vacancy on the Supreme Court, it is highly unlikely that the vacancy will be addressed until after the Presidential elections are decided in November. If the Motion for Rehearing is not filed, the case will return to the U.S. District Court in Texas to proceed with the merits. United States v. Texas could appear before the Supreme Court again.

In the meantime, advocates expressed their disappointment with the decision and continued to push for comprehensive immigration reform and urge for the Administration to halt deportations on DACA and DAPA eligible individuals. Following the Court’s decision, CLINIC hosted a webinar for its affiliates and posted materials on the website. In addition, the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI) released rapid response materials and a webinar, as did the Justice for Immigrants coalition. CIRI’s Advocacy Working Group have provided recommendations on immediate steps the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may take to address fear and confusion in the wake of the decision.  Further, in response to the decision, CIRI’s Advocacy Working Group is releasing a report on specific, concrete steps that DHS can take to enhance and improve implementation of DACA 2012. If you would like to receive a copy as soon as it is released, email us.

CLINIC would like to hear from your organization about the impact of the Court’s decision on your community, your outreach efforts and plans to continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. Please share your thoughts and experiences with our Advocacy team via email

Programs: 

Tips for Processing Cases with the National Visa Center

What is the National Visa Center? The National Visa Center (NVC) functions as the centralized processing agent before an immigrant visa application is processed by a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Specifically, NVC handles the following petitions: I-130; I-140; I-730; I-129F; I-600/A; I-800; I-360; and I-526.

 

Expected NVC Timeline: Once USCIS approves an immigrant petition, it can take up to six weeks for NVC to receive the file from USCIS. Upon receipt, NVC enters the case into its system, which can take up to three weeks. NVC will send the applicant a letter providing their NVC case number. If the case is not “current,” NVC will store the file and monitor the priority date.

 

NVC Processing Steps:

Over ninety percent of CLINIC affiliates provide family-based immigration services and regularly interact with the NVC. Below you will find important tips when assisting a client with cases at the NVC as well as helpful tips on contacting the NVC.

 

NVC Case Processing Case Tips

  • Send All Documents to NVC in A Single Package - After collecting your client’s Affidavit of Support form(s) and financial evidence (Step 4), and all required civil documents (Step 5), submit all forms, financial evidence and photocopies of original civil documents in ONE package to NVC. Your client’s case may be significantly delayed if you fail to submit all of your documents in one package.
  • Avoid Termination for Failure to Act – By law, a visa petition will be terminated if the applicant or representative has not communicated with NVC for more than one year. If you believe your case was terminated in error, send an email to NVCAttorney@state.gov. Your email should include evidence of contact, including dates, within the relevant period of time.
  • Report Address Changes – NVC does not receive change of address information filed through the USCIS AR-11 process. Changes of address should be made directly with NVC by calling NVC’s Customer Assistance Center at 1-603-334-0700. Alternatively, you may email NVCAttorney@state.gov or use the NVC’s online inquiry form to request a change of address. It is also recommended to inform NVC of any phone number or email address changes. NVC prefers to provide instructions via email, so please make sure you and your clients have provided email addresses to NVC.
  • Monitor Visa Retrogression – The DOS is responsible for publishing the Visa Bulletin. All representatives who provide family-based immigration services should monitor the Visa Bulletin. You can subscribe to receive the Bulletin via email. Learn more about immigrant visa numerical limitations and allotments here and CLINIC’s guidance on reading the two-chart, Visa Bulletin here. NVC stores cases and monitors priority dates. When the availability of a visa number can be foreseen within a reasonable time period, NVC will reach out to the applicant to instruct him/her to start NVC’s six-step process, which you can find on its website. NVC also monitors age-out cases and whether the applicant would be protected under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). NVC will pull cases that are not protected under CSPA 120 days in advance of age-out for expedited processing. If you wish to ask for a case to be flagged for expedited processing, you may send a request to NVCExpedite@state.gov.

 

NVC Contact Tips

By phone:

  • Representatives inquiring about immigrant visa cases may call the NVC at +1 603-334-0700, Monday through Friday from 7am – 12am midnight EST.
  • Note that Wednesdays - Fridays are lowest volume call days.

By email :

  • Representatives who are listed on the case as either Agent of Record or Attorney may contact NVC visa email at NVCAttorney@state.gov
  • Any organization that isn’t listed as Agent or Attorney of Record should use the online public inquiry form
  • Refer to only one case per email and consolidate all queries regarding that case in a single email
  • For each inquiry, include the NVC case number or receipt number as the subject line to the email
  • Include the following information in the body of the email:
    • NVC case number (in subject line and in body of email)
    • Principal applicant’s full name and date of birth
    • Petitioner’s name
    • Representative’s full name and contact info (if a paralegal is sending the email, they should include their name along with the representative’s name)
  • If you do not receive a response after 15 days, or if a response is received that does not address the inquiry, send a follow-up email to NVC
  • If15 days have passed since sending the follow-up email and there has been no response or a non-responsive reply is received from NVC, send a third email to NVC using the following subject line, “Attention PI Supervisor.”  A supervisor should respond to your email within 5 – 7 business days. The email to the supervisor should include the previous email chain.

For more information, check out NVC’s Tips for Community Based Organizations.

Programs: 

USCIS proposes new fee schedule: Changes include partial fee waiver for certain naturalization applicants

Infographic about fee changes

Fees for more than three dozen immigration and naturalization applications or related services are proposed to increase by as little as $15 to as much as hundreds of dollars for some common categories.

The Department of Homeland Security released its proposed changes to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule on May 4, 2016, affecting its fees for services. The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register (81 FR 26904, 5/4/16) and is open for comment. Comments are due by July 5, 2016. The proposed changes are likely to go into effect this fall.

Fees would increase, for instance, by $45 for an application for naturalization and by $195 for an application for a fiancé visa. The rules also include one new fee of $3,035 to recover the full cost of processing the Employment Based Immigrant Visa, Fifth Preference (EB-5) Annual Certification of Regional Center, Form I-924A. In addition, the DHS proposal would clarify that people who apply for a benefit may be required to appear for biometrics services or an interview and to pay the biometrics services fee, among other changes

What will change under the proposed rule:

Naturalization

USCIS has proposed a three-level fee for the Application for Naturalization (N-400). Under the proposed rule, the standard filing fee for Form N-400 would increase by 8 percent (from $595 to $640). A welcomed change is a new proposed partial fee waiver for naturalization applicants, for those with household incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Applicants for the partial fee waiver would use a proposed new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee, that would be filed with the N-400 and the reduced fee of $320 (with the biometrics fee, the total fees would be $405). USCIS estimated 11 percent of average annual Form N-400 filings would be likely to quality for the lower fee.

Citizenship

Among the more substantial increases proposed is for Forms N-600 and N-600K, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. The current fee is $600 and DHS proposes raising it to $1,170 (a 95 percent increase). While the Certificate of Citizenship may be considered an optional form, it may be required when someone applies for certain other benefits, including, but not limited to: Social Security benefits; state issued ID including a driver’s license or learning permit; financial aid; employment; and passport renewal. Eligible applicants for Forms N-600 and N-600K may apply for a fee waiver.

Family–Based Residency

The proposed rule increases the fees for Forms I-130 by 27 percent and I-485 by 16 percent. Under the current fee schedule, the total of filing fees for a one-step, concurrent filing of Form I-130, Form I-485, Form I-765 and Form I-131 is $1,490. Under the proposed fee schedule, the total fees would be $1,760. USCIS also proposes an increased fee of $750 for a child under age 14 when filing Form I-485 concurrently with the application of a parent seeking classification as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, a family-sponsored preference immigration or a family member accompanying or following to join a spouse or parent. The current fee is $635.

Nonimmigrant Workers, including Religious Workers

USCIS proposes to increase the fee for Form I-129 from $325 to $460, a 42 percent increase. This is the first significant increase to this application since 2007.

Advance Parole

Another significant increase under the proposal is for Form I-131, Application for Advance Parole not filed concurrently or subsequent to filing Form I-485. Among CLINIC affiliates, such stand-alone applications for Advance Parole are most commonly filed by recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status. The current filing fee is $360. The proposed fee is $575, a 60 percent increase. The form is not eligible for fee waiver. The fee for refugee travel documents will remain the same.

Employment Authorization Documents

USCIS proposes to increase the fee for Form I-765 from $380 to $410, an 8 percent increase. This increase affects applicants for work authorization, including foreign students approved for Optional Practical Training, spouses of certain nonimmigrant visa holders, recipients of DACA and TPS applicants.

Replacing Permanent Resident Cards

The fee for Form I-90 is proposed to increase from $365 to $455, a 25 percent increase. USCIS still can waive this fee for those who demonstrate inability to pay. Low-income applicants who qualify for naturalization and the respective fee waivers may choose to apply for naturalization rather than replace permanent resident cards.

What will stay the same under the proposed rule:

    • Biometrics services fee remains $85
    • Refugee Travel Documents fee remains $135 for adults and $105 for children under 16
    • Forms I-821 ($50) and I-821D ($0) remain the same
    • Premium processing fee remains $1,225
    • Interim filings, (concurrently filed Forms I-131 and I-765 with Form I-485) will continue to pay only the I-485 fee
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

Updates from USCIS Southeast Region

New USCIS field offices coming soon in the southeast region

After more than 15 years of lobbying by CLINIC and its affiliates, USCIS has announced plans to open additional field offices in the Southeast. Currently, there are only a couple of USCIS offices in the Southeast: Memphis, Tennessee; Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida.

These offices are spread far apart and still leave large parts of the Southeast with limited access to USCIS offices. For example, people who live in Nashville must travel more than 200 miles (3.5 hours) to reach the USCIS Field Office in Memphis. For those living in Knoxville, Tennessee, the drive is approximately 400 miles (6 hours) These substantial travel times are costly and disruptive to work and school schedules, particularly for low-income immigrants. Applicants with morning appointments often have to bear the additional cost of a hotel room to ensure they arrive at the Memphis Field Office on time for their appointment.

USCIS has advised that the following field offices are planned:

  • Ft Meyers, Florida -- Expected to open this summer.
  • Montgomery, Alabama -- Expected to open in early 2017
  • Nashville, Tennessee -- Expected to open in mid-2017

The projected openings are estimates subject to change due to construction, staffing, etc. USCIS will publicize openings closer to opening dates.

New Community Relations Officer for USCIS New Orleans District

After months with a vacancy, USCIS has selected a new Community Relations Officer for the New Orleans District. The new staffer was expected to start work in late April and was expected to travel with Tim Haugh, USCIS Regional Lead for Community Relations Southeast Region, to Louisiana and Mississippi for stakeholder meetings in May.

USICS’ Community Relations and Engagement Division is responsible for developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with community-based organizations, faith-based and advocacy groups. Click here to learn more about the Community Relations and Engagement Division. 

Programs: 

Ready America

Nearly 200 immigration reform advocates from 27 states gathered outside of Washington Feb. 3-5 for the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI)’s second Ready America Conference. The advocates came from 27 states, representing immigration legal service providers, labor unions, community organizers, consulates, philanthropy and social service providers.  CLINIC co-chaired the five-track conference, which included a plenary session with USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez and six open forum sessions organized by CIRI’s Advocacy Working Group.

The advocacy open forum sessions included:

  • Lessons from DACA -- Advocates and officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the Embassy of Mexico and Montgomery County, Maryland, local government discussed lessons learned from implementation of DACA that may be applied to future administrative relief.
  • Supporting Your Case! Researchers Listening Session -- Experts from the Center for Migration Studies, the Migration Policy Institute and Pew Research Center  who shared research on eligible populations for administrative relief and how data may be incorporated into advocacy strategies.
  • DACA Education and Outreach Open Forum -- Representatives from USCIS, the Department of Education and education advocates, who shared resources and best practices on their initiatives to help educators support undocumented students.
  • The United States v State of Texas Litigation -- Organizations leading amicus brief initiatives provided strategic updates on the litigation and tips on how grassroots organizations can contribute to their efforts.

In addition to the advocacy track, the conference offered sessions on substantive immigration law, service delivery models, communications and community outreach and effective strategies and practices.

See photos from the event:

Approximately 200 participants from 26 states attended the Ready America Conference to become "readier" than ever for...

Posted by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) on Friday, February 5, 2016
Programs: 

Family Detention

March marked the one year anniversary of the CARA Pro Bono Representation Family Detention Project, which focuses on ending family detention and ensuring representation for immigrant families who are processed through the family detention facilities.

Nearly 8,000 families had a CARA volunteer attorney help them start the process of seeking asylum. More than 700 volunteers from all over the country -- lawyers, paralegals, translators, social workers, medical professionals, teachers and more -- put their lives on hold for a week or more and traveled to Texas to help protect families. Combined, they contributed more than $6.75 million in volunteer hours.

To mark the anniversary week, CLINIC worked with its CARA Partners to:

  • Organize and lead an interfaith peaceful demonstration against family detention on Easter Monday in front of the White House.
  • Organize and participate in congressional briefings about the importance of access to counsel for unaccompanied children and immigrant families
  • Submit a complaint to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties about the continued trauma that families face in detention. 
Programs: 

President’s enforcement actions against immigrant families and children

In early January, the Department of Homeland Security began targeting for removal Central American families and unaccompanied children who had turned 18. CLINIC engaged in extensive national and local advocacy, with staff from the Advocacy and TLS offices participating in national webinars about the actions.

The CLINIC advocacy team conducted webinars for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, and provided advocacy support for communities in Arkansas, California, Ohio and Virginia. DHS continues to target immigrant families and unaccompanied children who have turned 18 while in the United States.

In early March, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the agency had taken 336 individuals into custody through its Operation Border Guardian. CLINIC has voiced its concern with these actions and will continue to advocate for the end of such practices.

As the enforcement actions continue, serious questions remain related to whether ICE can conduct activities in certain sensitive locations such as places of worship, schools and hospitals. While there is an existing policy memo, it is long, technical and in English only.

In an effort to help CLINIC affiliates engage with communities better as to what constitutes a sensitive location, CLINIC Advocacy and Communications created a graphic of the memo in both English and Spanish. The graphic has been well received in immigrant communities and by the government. CLINIC Advocacy shared the memo with the Department of Education, DHS and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. CLINIC is working with DHS on updates to the sensitive locations memo.

Programs: 

United States of America v. State of Texas, et al.

Leading up to the Supreme Court’s April 18 oral argument in U.S. v. Texas, CLINIC was one of more than 325 immigrant-serving agencies joining an amicus (friend of the court) brief.

Selected stories highlighting the benefits of permitting implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA were featured in the brief filed March 8 by CLINIC and civil rights, labor and social service organizations. The brief urged the court to uphold the Obama administration’s executive actions.

From the outset and throughout the progression of the case through the courts, CLINIC has vigorously spoken out against the Texas litigation and in support of the programs that could benefit an estimated 5 million people. CLINIC requested case examples of individuals in either of the categories listed below and who have achieved personal success and/or have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them.

  1. Individuals who have benefitted from similar immigration-related executive action in the past (e.g., relief provided under the Reagan/Bush era Family Unity Program or Executive Order 12711 issued on April 11, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989).
  2. Individuals who arrived in the United States without documents or subsequently became undocumented, but ultimately obtained lawful status.

To date, 18 additional briefs have been filed by faith-based organizations, mayors, former USCIS/INS directors, 225 current and former members of Congress, child advocacy groups, etc., underlining the widespread support for the programs.
 
A decision is expected by the end of June. While the outcome of the case is pending, CLINIC recommends that qualified legal immigration practitioners continue client screenings to assist those eligible for other immigration benefits. Please see CLINIC’s useful timeline on the President’s Executive Action on Immigration.

Programs: 

Family Detention

Family Detention

CLINIC continues to fight against the government’s practice of detaining immigrant mothers and their children. CLINIC, through its work in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project has been especially active in the national fight to eliminate large scale family detention centers. CLINIC and CARA have been leading advocacy efforts to challenge unlawful asylum, detention, and deportation policies of DHS. Such advocacy activities have included submitting a complaint to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) regarding inadequate language access for indigenous language speakers and filing a letter to high-level DHS officials about glaring due process violations that have occurred since the court order of October 23rd.

 

Hearing on the Licensing of Family Detention Facilities in Texas

On December 9th, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) held a hearing in Austin, Texas regarding emergency licensing provisions for the family detention facilities in Dilley and Karnes, Texas. The hearing was in response to a temporary injunction filed to prevent the state from licensing the family detention facilities under emergency provisions. In addition to the hearing, the DFPS gave opportunity for formal comments on the licensing until December 14th. CLINIC, the only Catholic and faith-based partner in the CARA Pro Bono Detention Project, was instrumental in organizing advocacy efforts around the hearing and the licensing effort.  CLINIC worked with the Texas Catholic Conference to draft a statement for the hearing. The Texas Catholic Conference also testified at the hearing. In addition, CLINIC drafted letters for Texas women and men religious to submit in objection to the licensing. Over 100 letters were submitted by Catholic partners and three women religious were able to testify at the December 9th hearing as well. The Commissioner has not issued a ruling at this time.

 

Family Case Management Program

In late September 2015, DHS announced that the alternative to detention pilot program contract, the Family Case Management Pilot Program (FCMP) had been won by GEO Cares, a subsidiary of the GEO Corporation, the private for-profit company that runs many of the federal immigration detention facilities nationally.  In an effort to oversee GEO Cares work with the FCMP and demand greater accountability of DHS and GEO Cares in its administration of this program, CLINIC has accepted a seat on the GEO Care Community Resource Committee (CRC). The CRC is to provide guidance and technical expertise to GEO Cares. Executive Director Jeanne Atkinson spoke to GEO Cares management in Boca Raton in November 2015 about the need for legal services for the formerly detained women and children that will be enrolled in the FCMP pilot program. CLINIC also participated in the first meeting of the CRC which was convened in January 2015. Going forward, we will work to ensure maximum accountability of GEO Cares and meaningful access to legal services for the families enrolled in the program.

The family detention landscape continues to change. Moving forward, CLINIC will continue to work to end family detention and see immigrant women and children receive meaningful access to justice. Part of this work on the ground will largely be through our partnership in the CARA Pro Bono Project. For more information about CLINIC’s Family Detention Project, please see new resources posted at cliniclegal.org/CARA. Please consider volunteering your time or other resources to the CARA Pro Bono Project. For more information about volunteering please visit cliniclegal.org/CARA .

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Texas v. U.S. and the President’s Executive Action on Immigration Action

The Obama Administration appealed the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruling from Texas v. U.S. to the Supreme Court on November 20, 2015.  Twenty-six states, initiated the legal challenge to stop the President’s 2014 administrative actions on immigration. The states opposing the administrative action argue that implementing the administrative action would pose an economic burden on states. The Supreme Court announced on January 19th, that it will take up the case which will likely be argued in April and decided by the last week in June.

While the outcome of the case is pending, CLINIC recommends that qualified legal immigration practitioners continue client screenings to assist those eligible for other immigration benefits. Please see CLINIC’s useful timeline on the President’s Executive Action on Immigration.

Please lets us know what advocacy and implementation planning is occurring in your community.

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Discussion of Enforcement Actions

From January 2nd- 4th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted enforcement actions targeting immigrants who arrived to the United States after January 1, 2014, and had final orders of removal. DHS picked up 121 individuals in local communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. The individuals were identified by DHS as removal priorities according to the new Priority Enforcement Program, which was initiated by DHS Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum.

While the individuals picked up by DHS had deportation orders, serious due process concerns have been expressed about these cases. CLINIC, through its partnership with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, was able to help receive stays of deportation from the Board of Immigration Appeals in twelve cases, affecting thirty-three women and children. The work of the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project has provided nationally recognized data and advocacy demonstrating the access to justice and process issues.

In response to the actions, CLINIC and USCCB wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, condemning the targeting of Central American women and children and urging an end to the practice. CLINIC staff attended meetings with DHS Secretary Johnson, DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to advocate against future enforcement actions. There is concern and fear in communities about this enforcement action and future actions. CLINIC has put together a backgrounder explaining the recent actions and what to do in your community.

Please contact us with stories of local advocacy on this issue or stories of individuals affected by these actions in your community.

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Advocate’s Corner: Tips for Contacting USCIS

Jill Marie Bussey

Calling USCIS’s National Customer Service Center (NCSC) can be time consuming. Here are some tips on making your communications with the NCSC more productive.

Tip #1 - Check the USCIS online case status system and processing time reports before you call. Most calls to the NCSC are about delays in case processing. Before you call USCIS, use the USCIS Case Status Online tool to check that status of your case. All you need is the USCIS Receipt Number for the case. If you sign-up for an account, you may choose to receive updated case status information via email. 

Tip #2Check the USCIS processing times reports to see if your case is beyond processing time. USCIS publishes information about the processing times for its Service Centers and field offices. The processing time reports can be found on the USCIS website.

Tip #3 – Consider submitting your case inquiry online. USCIS offers an online, e-request system for submitting queries about cases that are beyond processing time. The system also permits you to report when USCIS correspondence has sent, including receipt notices and cards, but has not been received.  The online form requires several data points, including the type of case (form type), the address of the petitioner/applicant/beneficiary, date of birth, etc.  Responses to online queries are sent by email and typically received in seven to ten working days.

Tip #4 – If you decide to call USCIS, be advised of the following pointers for making a Service Request Management Tool (SRMT):

  • Make sure the caller is a representative with a G-28 on file or paralegal
  • Have key biographical data and case information ready
  • Prepare to be on hold for a long time or consider the call-back option
  • Be prepared to take notes, including the name and Agent ID of the Officer you speak with, the Service Request Confirmation Number, date/time/duration of the call, outcome and next steps

Download a sample sheet you can use.

Tip #5 – Hopefully, your first call to USCIS will lead to case resolution. If not, you may need to follow-up by contacting the NCSC. When following up, be sure to reference the Service Request Confirmation Number, USCIS receipt number, date of filing and communications, etc.

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What would you ask the National Visa Center?

CLINIC’s team regularly meets with the DHS, USCIS, ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other related agencies to address problems faced by low-income immigrants and their representatives by resolving policy issues. As opportunities arise, CLINIC facilitates public engagement with key agencies. 

On October 7, 2015, CLINIC, in partnership with DePaul University’s College of Law, hosted a special engagement with Phillip Slattery, the Director of the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC is part of the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and handles the pre-processing of immigrant visa petitions before applicants are interviewed at a U.S. Embassy overseas.  Mr. Slattery briefed attendees on the NVC’s responsibilities and processes, recent and upcoming procedural changes, and customer services. A summary of this meeting will be shared with affiliates soon. Mr. Slattery and his team remain interested in feedback on how the NVC may better communicate with your offices and clients.  If you would like to raise a questions or provide input to the NVC, please contact CLINIC’s Advocacy team with an email entitled “NVC” at: advocacy@cliniclegal.org.  CLINIC looks forward to hosting additional engagements with the NVC and will advise local affiliates of opportunities in their area in the future. 

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Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program Extended Until December 11, 2015

Ashley Feasley

On September 30, 2015, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR), a stop-gap measure which continues funding the government at current levels and keeps the government open until December 11, 2015. The continuing resolution reauthorized the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program as well as three other immigration-related programs, the Conrad 30 Program, the EB-5 Program, and the E-Verify Program for the same period of time as the resolution. The continuing resolution passed easily by large majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program, created in 1990, allows non-ministers or other lay religious workers to come to the United States as lawful permanent residents. Currently there is a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would make the program permanent with no changes. On September 28th Representative Mike Honda introduced a companion bill to the Senate bill in the House of Representatives.

Finding a more permanent extension for the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program remains an ongoing issue for CLINIC Advocacy. CLINIC is working with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other advocates to find a more permanent extension.

Please share individual success stories relating to the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program with CLINIC so that case examples may be shared with Congressional members. We are interested in hearing from actual visa recipients as well as from parish and diocese staff who have benefitted from the program. Please see our draft letter template as a guide to your letter writing. Feel free to send letters of support and contact CLINIC’s Advocacy team via email entitled “Religious Worker Visa Impact Example” at: advocacy@cliniclegal.org.

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New and Proposed Rules and Policy Guidance

Fee Waivers (Form I-912)

On July 9, 2015, CLINIC submitted a second round of comments concerning revisions to Form I-912 (initial comments were submitted in May). On August 6, 2015, USCIS met with advocates to discuss further. At that time, USCIS indicated that it had received sufficient feedback on the proposed revision and no further comments were to be collected. Although Form I-912 indicates that it expired May 31, 2015, the May 10, 2013 version or other previous versions may be used until a new version is issued.

Expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program

On July 22, 2015. USCIS published a proposed rule that would expand the current provisional waiver program in two significant ways: (1) allowing other immigrant visa applicants and (2) allowing Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) parents and spouses to be “qualifying relatives”. At the present time, only U.S. citizen parents and spouses qualify. (For more information, read our article.) 

In preparing its comments to the proposed rule, CLINIC collected feedback from affiliates representing all regions of the United States. CLINIC submitted comments on September 18, 2015. CLINIC will continue to monitor the progress of this initiative and is now preparing for the release of policy memoranda that would define the extreme hardship standard.

Board of Immigration Appeals Recognition & Accreditation

On September 17, 2015 the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced a new proposed rule governing recognition and accreditation (R&A).  It also issued two final rules, each addressing various aspects of legal representation. The proposed rule is titled Recognition of Organizations and Accreditation of Non-Attorney Representatives. The two final rules are titled List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers for Individuals in Immigration Proceedings and Separate Representation for Custody and Bond Proceedings.

On September 21, CLINIC staff hosted a webinar in which it presented each proposed change and explained the implications for nonprofit organizations. CLINIC is soliciting comments for each of the key areas of proposed change and is working actively with its network of affiliates and other national organizations to provide formal written comments to EOIR by the November 30th deadline.  CLINIC chairs the BIA R&A liaison group, a forum to discuss comments on the proposed rules. Please submit comments here.

USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

On Monday, September 28, USCIS announced the extension of a comment request period for proposed revisions to Form N-400. USCIS is requesting comments on its proposed updates to Form N-400, Form N-400 Instructions, Public-facing guidance, and USCIS's proposed online N-400 form.  Comments are due by November 12, 2015. (80 FR 58292, 9/28/15). 

Draft Extreme Hardship Policy Guidance for Waiver Applications

On October 7, 2015, USCIS circulated draft guidance interpreting the term “extreme hardship” and explaining how it should be applied to waiver applications. The proposed policy guidance is in draft form only and has not yet gone into effect.

The guidance would set forth, in greater detail and specificity, how adjudicators should weigh various hardship factors in a waiver application. For example, applicants would only have to establish extreme hardship to the qualifying relative if that family member were to relocate with the applicant or remain in the United States separated from the applicant, depending on which is more reasonably foreseeable.  Currently, the waiver applicant has to establish extreme hardship under both scenarios. 

In addition, the guidance lists five special circumstances that strongly suggest the existence of extreme hardship. One of the listed special circumstances is when the State Department has issued a travel warning with respect to a country or a region of a country.

Comments on the draft guidance are due on November 23, 2015. CLINIC will be preparing model comments and circulating them to affiliates. Please see the link below from USCIS to access the text of the draft guidance and contact us at advocacy@cliniclegal.org if you have any specific questions or comments.

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Administrative Advocacy

Jill Marie Bussey

DACA 3-Year Recall

In connection with the State of Texas v. U.S. litigation, USCIS recalled over 2,600 grants of Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) and work authorization in May 2015. USCIS increased its recall efforts dramatically following a Court Order issued on July 7, 2015. CLINIC’s response to the recall was comprehensive and collaborative, utilizing resources and the expertise of six departments: Advocacy, Capacity Building, Communications, Legalization, Operations and Training and Legal Support (T&LS). CLINIC efforts included creating a special webpage with recall resource materials; conducting a comprehensive webinar; establishing a special email address for affiliate queries; developing public outreach flyers in English and Spanish; sending over 8 email blasts to affiliates with updated recall information; coordinating with affiliates in impacted communities; providing individual case support; and engaging in direct public outreach through social media and other communications outlets.

CLINIC opposed the recall and any resulting terminations. Acknowledging the inevitability of the recall due to the Court Order, CLINIC focused its advocacy efforts on providing DHS and USCIS officials with constructive feedback on the implementation of the recall, providing information and support to affiliates, and outreach to the community. Over the course of three months, CLINIC worked closely with officials at DHS and USCIS to offer tangible feedback on the implementation of the recall with solid case examples that supported requests for recall process change and refinement. CLINIC took a lead role in each of the sixteen stakeholder calls held during the recall process.

Further, as co-chair of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI) Advocacy Working Group, CLINIC’s Advocacy team led coordination efforts and communications to help inform, enhance and align advocacy efforts among CIRI. CLINIC worked closely with affiliates to support, advise, and assist them and their clients to understand and take necessary actions as well as to responsibly spread the word in the community.

CLINIC and its affiliates’ efforts throughout the summer helped result in 99.2 percent compliance with the recall. Of the 22 terminations of status issued, 12 were reinstated. As of today, all 3-year DACA grants and work authorization cards that were subject to the recall have been accounted for.

Enforcement Priorities

On June 17, 2015, DHS issued a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the new immigration enforcement priorities memo issued by the Obama Administration on November 20, 2014. Since the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) was established on January 5, 2015, CLINIC’s Advocacy team and its partners have advocated for consistent implementation of these new enforcement priorities. In April, CLINIC joined over 100 immigrant advocates in sending a letter to DHS Secretary Johnson summarizing concerns based on lessons learned from the 2011 prosecutorial discretion initiative, providing examples of inconsistent application of the priorities, and offering recommendations.

Following the release of the FAQ, CLINIC provided a detailed analysis of the guidance and held a webinar for affiliates. While the FAQs clarify several key terms in the memo, notable issues remain unclear.

Please continue to share individual cases where ICE has failed to exercise prosecutorial discretion with CLINIC’s Advocacy team. If you have a case example of inconsistent application of prosecutorial discretion, please contact CLINIC’s Advocacy team with an email entitled “Prosecutorial Discretion Example” at: advocacy@cliniclegal.org.

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Family Detention Update

Ashley Feasley

Despite efforts by immigrant advocates to end family detention, the government’s practice of detaining immigrant mothers and their children continues. CLINIC has been especially active in the national fight to eliminate large scale family detention centers built in response to the increase of Central American families seeking refuge at the U.S./Mexico border during the summer of 2014. In late March 2015, CLINIC partnered to form the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Representation and Advocacy Project with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), American Immigration Council (AIC), and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Service (RAICES). As part of the CARA Project, CLINIC has two contract lawyers on the ground at the South Texas Family Residential Facility (“Dilley”) located in Dilley, Texas. CLINIC, through the CARA Project, has been providing legal services and running a pro bono project for detained families within Dilley. CLINIC and CARA also train lawyers and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representatives, and lead advocacy and litigation efforts to challenge unlawful asylum, detention, and deportation policies.

Such advocacy activities have included submitting complaints to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) regarding inadequate medical care for detained mothers and children and access to counsel issues, and meeting with Jeh Johnson, DHS Secretary in a private meeting to discuss family detention concerns. CLINIC continues to advocate for an end to the inhumane practice of family detention with government stakeholders, participating in monthly White House Access to Legal Counsel meetings, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) NGO Working Group meetings, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Asylum Working Group meetings, and DHS CRCL meetings.

On the ground, CLINIC staff members have had an extremely meaningful impact, serving approximately 5,000 women in preparation for their credible and reasonable fear interviews, in partnership with our CARA Pro Bono Project partners. Various CLINIC staff members have also travelled to Dilley to work in assisting the CARA Pro Bono Project.

Coupling the work of CLINIC and the CARA Pro Bono Project have been litigation efforts to end family detention by national advocates. In February 2015 advocates filed a motion to enforce the Flores Settlement on behalf of detained mothers and children in the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California. In April 2015, the U.S. District court issued at tentative ruling that family detention policies violate Flores. In July 2015, the U.S. District Court issued a court order requiring children no longer be detained long-term within the detention facilities.

In August 2015, the government argued that family detention was still necessary and the U.S. District Court responded that children must be released from family detention facilities and that the government must comply with the order by October 23, 2015. Currently, the government continues to imprison mothers and children, and the detained population has increased in Dilley since the issuance of the order from the U.S. District Court.

The family detention landscape continues to change. Moving forward, CLINIC will continue to work for an end to family detention and see that immigrant women and children receive meaningful access to justice. Part of this work on the ground will largely be through our partnership in the CARA Project. For more information about CLINIC’s family detention project, please visit our website. Consider volunteering your time or making a donation to support vulnerable mothers and children through the CARA Project.

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CLINIC welcomes Jill Marie Bussey as Advocacy Attorney. Her efforts will engage CLINIC affiliates, other advocates, and government agencies to guide the implementation of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Jill focuses on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), enforcement priorities, and other topics.

 

How have you been involved in immigration advocacy?

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Why are state and local policymakers increasingly taking immigration matters into their own hands?

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Bradley Jenkins

I recently participated in trips to two of the family detention centers currently managed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): the Artesia Temporary Facility for Adults with Children in New Mexico and the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Riddle

Last December, at CLINIC’s Southeast Legalization Planning Conference in Atlanta, we dedicated a morning to discussing immigration advocacy on the state and local levels.  Legal service providers and advocates shared troubling stories about local law enforcement engaging in immigration enforcement efforts in their communities.

Learn More About the Law Protecting Unaccompanied Children

As a response to the humanitarian crisis of children arriving at our Southern border, Congress considered legislation that would strip the protections created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. These changes would allow the United States to return Central American children to their home countries without meaningful screening to determine whether they are victims of trafficking or fear persecution. CLINIC facilitated a briefing on these issues for Senate and Congressional staffers on July 18, 2014. 

 

Later, CLINIC’s Director of Advocacy, Allison Posner, sat down with experts from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- Micheal Hill, Associate Director, Government Relations and Kristyn Peck, Association Director of Children’s Services, Migration and Refugee Services -- to learn more about:

 

 

Click on any of the bullets above to hear an excerpt from the interviews.

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CLINIC, USCCB, and Catholic Charities USA Host Advocacy Day

By Kelly Kidwell Hughes, Advocacy Intern

As migrant children arrived at our southern border, CLINIC, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Catholic Charities USA, sponsors of the 2014 National Migration Conference, brought 400 people to Capitol Hill on July 10 to advocate on behalf of immigrants. Advocacy Day participants met with senators and representatives to share their experiences and call for just immigration policies. The day included 256 scheduled meetings with members of Congress from 40 states. Some participants also had the opportunity to meet with members of Congress in leadership positions, such as House Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Becerra, Rep. Conyers, Rep. Gowdy, and Sen. Franken.

Advocates discussed comprehensive immigration reform, human trafficking, and the needs of refugees. They also addressed the plight of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America.  Advocates urged a compassionate response in line with Catholic teaching, to include:

  • Robust funding of services for migrant children and their families
  • Addressing the root causes of migration, including poverty and violence
  • Fair immigration proceedings that allow children the opportunity to make their claims heard, and
  • Placement of families and children in community settings rather than detention.

Participants said the meetings gave them the opportunity to share their views and learn more about the political process.

“It was nice to see part of how [U.S. politics] works and be able to participate in it,” said Clayton Boeyink, who works with Catholic Charities in Des Moines. “We were well-received and had good conversations. I was able to get across what I was hoping to say.”

Advocates also had the opportunity to network with other faith-based service providers. Boeyink appreciated the knowledge, skill, and passion of the other advocates. 

During the afternoon, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on President Obama’s emergency request for additional funding to address the growing number of children arriving at the border. Many Advocacy Day participants attended the hearing and saw senators in action. Click here for a webcast of the hearing.

If you would like more information on Advocacy Day, contact Allison Posner at 301-565-4831.

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By Kelly Kidwell Hughes, Advocacy Intern

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) allows undocumented minors who have suffered abandonment, neglect, or abuse by a parent to become lawful permanent residents.  To qualify, the child must have an order from a juvenile court demonstrating that he or she is dependent on the state and cannot be safely reunited with parents.  Federal law allows children under the age of 21 to qualify, but many potential beneficiaries between the ages of 18 and 21 are left out.  Their state courts only have jurisdiction over children younger than 18, so they cannot obtain the necessary court order to app

Webinar: Immigration Advocacy: From Capitol Hill to Your Neighborhood

This webinar is for current and aspiring immigrant advocates on a grassroots level. Immigration laws and policies come from the federal government but immigrants' lives are also impacted by state and local laws and policies. This webinar provides an overview of the role each level of government plays in regulating the lives and livelihoods of immigrants. You will learn about our broken federal immigration system and what you can do to help convince Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We also cover the limited role of the Executive Branch in setting immigration policies. Finally, we discuss the types of laws and policies that state and local governments around the country are passing on such important matters as higher education, driver's licenses, immigration fraud, and police involvement in immigration enforcement. In addition to learning about these issues, you will acquire tools and strategies for advocating to change policies and practices in your communities.

Held on: 5/22/14

Presenters:

  • Allison Posner, Director of Advocacy, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc (CLINIC)
  • Jen Riddle, State and Local Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC
  • Reverend Timothy Graff, Pastor, St. Joseph's Parish, Bogota, NJ and Director of Human Concerns, Archdiocese of Newark
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CLINIC Submits Second Round of Comments to DACA Application Form

Taking the opportunity to submit further comments to USCIS about the DACA application and renewal process, CLINIC commended the agency for the changes it did make, including extending the DACA renewal application window to 150 days, simplifying the education-related questions, and streamlining the application requirement for renewal applicants.  CLINIC also encouraged USCIS to make additional changes to the form and instructions to help both initial and renewal applicants better navigate the application process.  Among the chief concerns for CLINIC and its affiliates is ensuring that DACA recipients who timely file their renewal applications do not lose work authorization and accumulate unlawful presence. 

 

For more of CLINIC’s recommendations:

CLINIC's DACA Renewal Comments (5-5-14) (PDF)

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State Driver’s License Bills: An Analysis of New Jersey’s S1696 (Apr 2014)

S1696 would establish driving privilege cards for New Jersey residents who cannot prove lawful presence in the United States. It was introduced in the New Jersey Senate on March 17, 2014 by Senators Joseph Vitale and Teresa Ruiz and referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. It is identical to A2135, introduced in the New Jersey Assembly on January 16, 2014.  

S1696 would extend driving privileges to all New Jersey residents, regardless of immigration status.  Currently, in order to qualify for a driver’s license or non-driver ID in New Jersey, an applicant must provide either a valid social security number or proof of lawful presence. S1696 would create a “driving privilege card” for state residents unable to prove legal status. The law would go into effect seven months after its enactment.

 

Section 1

Section 1 of S1696 amends New Jersey Statute 39:3-10 governing the licensing of drivers. Specifically, the bill permits the issuance of a driving privilege card for which the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) may charge a fee.  

 

Analysis

This section creates a new document called a “driving privilege card” – a document distinguishable from New Jersey’s standard “driver’s license.”  Of the 11 states (and the District of Columbia) that have passed laws extending driving privileges to the undocumented, only two – New Mexico and Washington – offer undocumented residents a driver’s license identical to the license available to those with lawful immigration status. The remaining 10 jurisdictions have created a two-tiered system in which the license issued to undocumented drivers differs in some way from the standard driver’s license. It might have a different title on the face of the document, a distinguishing design and color, and/or include a phrase describing the limits of its use. The below chart summarizes the types of driving privilege regimes that exist for undocumented drivers in the 11 states and Washington D.C.         

 

State

Effective date of driver’s license law

Name of document

Distinguishing color, design or feature

Limiting language on the face of the license

States that already issue driving privileges to the undocumented

New Mexico

2003

Driver’s License

None

None

Washington

2004

Driver’s License

None

None

Utah

 

2005

Driving Privilege Card

Distinguishable format and color. Called "Driving Privilege Card" (instead of "Driver License")

“Not Valid For Identification, Driving Privilege Only”

Illinois

 

Nov 28, 2013

Temporary Visitor Driver’s License

Labeled “TVDL” (instead of "Driver's License") and has blue stripe across top (rather than red stripe)

"Not valid for identification"

Maryland

 

Jan 1, 2014

Driver’s License

None

“Not acceptable for federal purposes. May not be used to purchase a firearm.”

Nevada

 

Jan 1, 2014

Driver Authorization Card

Labeled "Driver Authorization Card" (instead of "Driver License") and does not contain the REAL-ID gold star

"Not Valid for Identification"

Vermont

 

Jan 1, 2014

Operator's Privilege Card

Labeled "Driver's Privilege Card" (instead of Driver’s License), has red stripe, and does not contain the REAL-ID gold star 

"Not For Federal Identification" (with a red background stripe behind the language)

District of Columbia

May 1, 2014

Limited Purpose Driver’s License

None

 "Not for federal official purposes" (in the smallest font possible)  

 

States that have not yet begun to issue driving privileges

 

Colorado

Aug 1, 2014

Driver’s License

License will contain a distinguishable design (not yet determined)

“Not valid for federal identification, voting, or public benefit purposes.”

Oregon

 

Dec 4, 2014

Driver Card

Will be labeled "Driver Card" (instead of "Driver License") and will contain a distinguishing feature to be determined.

None

California

Jan 1, 2015

Driver’s License

Labeled “DP” (instead of “DL”)

“This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes. This license is issued only as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.”

Connecticut

 

Jan 1, 2015

Motor Vehicle Operator's License

To be determined

License will indicate that it is not acceptable for federal identification purposes and also include the phrase: "for driving purposes only."

 

While the ideal bill would provide the same New Jersey driver’s license to all individuals, including the undocumented, this is politically unlikely, particularly in light of the impending deadline for states to comply with the federal REAL ID Act. REAL ID was passed in 2005 following concerns that several of the September 11 terrorists had obtained driver’s licenses or state identification documents. The law set minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards (including a requirement that recipients be U.S. citizens or possess a certain immigration status[1]). Once REAL ID is fully implemented, driver’s licenses that do not meet its standards will no longer be accepted by federal agencies for official federal purposes, such as entering a federal building or boarding a federally-regulated commercial airplane.

The REAL ID Act is not yet being enforced. The Department of Homeland Security has pushed back the deadline for state compliance numerous times since 2005. However, 21 states already issue driver’s licenses that meet REAL ID minimum standards and another 22 states have received an extension based on demonstrating that they are working to comply. To date, New Jersey has neither complied with the REAL ID license standards nor has it been granted an extension. However, New Jersey likely will work towards compliance within the next few years, which will require changes to the way it currently issues driver’s licenses to all residents. As a result, it may be politically difficult to pass a bill that simply extends access to the current driver’s license to the undocumented. Rather, New Jersey likely will opt to create a separate, non-REAL ID-compliant license that is marked “Not for Federal Identification” or with similar language. [2] New Jersey may wish to look into the path taken in Vermont, where residents have the option of choosing whether to apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a non-compliant one, depending on personal preference or the inability or decision not to present the documents required to verify identity, citizenship, or lawful status in the U.S.

 

Section 2

Section 2 is a new section. 

 

Subsection a.

This subsection mandates the issuance of a driving privilege card (DPC) to applicants who meet all of the other requirements for a New Jersey driver’s license but cannot prove lawful U.S. citizenship. 

 

Analysis

This subsection, by using the phrase “cannot provide proof of lawful citizenship in the United States,” suggests that the standard New Jersey driver’s license is available only to U.S. citizens and the DPC is being created for all non-citizens.  In fact, there are a number of non-citizens with legal status (for example lawful permanent residents or other temporary visa holders) who can currently obtain driver’s licenses in New Jersey. Unless the intent of the bill is to require all non-citizens to apply for a DPC rather than a driver’s license, this language should be amended. Instead of referring to lawful U.S. citizenship, it should reference those who cannot prove legal presence in the U.S. or obtain a social security number. This is the distinction made by all other states who offer driving privileges to their undocumented residents.

 

Subsection b.

This subsection requires DPC applicants to provide proof of their identity, date of birth, and New Jersey residency. Among the acceptable documents to prove these three items are original or certified copies of:

  • a valid consular identification document or passport from the applicant’s country of citizenship
  • a birth certificate
  • a home utility bill, lease, or rental agreement
  • a marriage license or divorce certificate
  • a foreign federal electoral photo card
  • a foreign driver’s license
  • a Form I-589 application for asylum
  • an official school or college transcript
  • a Form I-20 or DS-2019 (for those in F-1 student status or J-1 exchange visitor status)
  • a deed or title to real property
  • a property tax bill or statement issued within the last year
  • an income tax return

The exact documents and combination of documents that will be acceptable are to be determined by MVC regulations adopted after the law’s enactment.

 

Analysis

This non-exhaustive list of acceptable documents is nearly identical to those enumerated in California’s driver’s license law and similar to those accepted in other states. Advocates will want to work closely with the MVC throughout the process of drafting and adopting regulations in order to ensure that the final list of acceptable documents is an inclusive as possible. If the DPC is intended to be the only licensing option available to all non-citizens (as mentioned above) then the list of acceptable documents will need to be expanded to include I-551 permanent resident cards (“green cards”) and other immigration status documents.      

 

Subsection c.

This subsection requires non-English documents presented to prove identity, date of birth, and residency to be accompanied by a certified translation or affidavit of translation. It also requires that DPC applicants either surrender any other state driver’s licenses they possess or affirm in writing that they do not possess any other driver’s license. Finally, applicants must also affirm in writing that they have no record of criminal history in New Jersey or anywhere else (including conduct in another state that would constitute an indictable crime in NJ).

 

Analysis

While the English translation requirement appears in other states’ driver’s license laws, it may be advisable to consult with departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) in those states about implementation before deciding whether to retain this requirement. In Nevada, applicants are required to use a DMV-approved translator from a list on its website – a requirement that has created challenges for many applicants. Connecticut’s law established a working group to study methods of verifying foreign documents and create an effective process for doing so. An alternative option would be to allow bilingual officials at the MVC to assess documents in the original language in lieu of mandating translation.

 

The requirement that DPC applicants surrender any other state driver’s licenses they possess or affirm in writing that they do not possess any other driver’s license could create problems. In Illinois, for example, there have been reports of the DMV pursuing fraud prosecutions against applicants who had applied for a license in the past using a false social security number. This is a real danger in New Jersey where applicants for standard driver’s licenses who have provided false documentation or made false statements may be found guilty of falsifying government records, a crime carrying a jail sentence of up to 18 months and/or a $1,000 fine.

 

The requirement that an applicant sign a statement attesting to not having a criminal record in New Jersey or anywhere else is problematic for various reasons. First, it does not define which New Jersey crimes (or convictions in other states) will be considered to constitute a criminal record. Asking MVC officers to make decisions about whether a given applicant has a record that would make him or her ineligible for a DPC would require complicated legal analysis that such employees may not be qualified to undertake. Finally, this is a wide-reaching ban. If New Jersey wishes to deny driving privileges to certain undocumented residents who present a danger to public safety, they could go the way of Connecticut, which denies the right to a license to undocumented drivers convicted of a felony in the state. No other state laws deny driving privileges to the undocumented on the basis of having a criminal record.  

 
Subsection d.

The MVC may charge an additional fee above and beyond the regular driver’s license application fees for the first five years of the DPC program.

 

Analysis

Other states also allow for an additional fee beyond the cost of the standard driver’s license in order to cover the costs of implementing the program. Advocacy with the MVC during the drafting of its regulations can help ensure that any additional application fee is reasonable and would not serve to deter potential applicants.   

 

Subsection e.

Applicants who provide false documentation or make a false statement on a DPC application will be guilty of falsifying government records under N.J.S. 2C:21-4 (a fourth degree crime which, following conviction, may result in up to 18 months of imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000).

 

Analysis

This type of provision is not included in other states’ laws granting driving privileges to those without lawful status in the U.S. However, as mentioned above, criminal liability for providing fraudulent information to the New Jersey MVC extends uniformly to all applicants (including those for regular driver’s licenses and non-driver ID cards) so the law does not appear to be singling out undocumented drivers for exposure to criminal liability.

 

Section 3

Section 3 is also a new section.  

 

Subsection a.

This subsection provides that the DPC will be valid for 4 years from the date it is was issued.

 

Analysis

4 years is a reasonable validity period. The laws of other states provide driving privileges with a range of validity periods (1 year in Nevada and Utah; 2 years in Vermont; 3 years in Colorado, Connecticut, and Illinois; 4 years in New Mexico and Oregon; 5 years in California, Maryland, and Washington; and 8 years in DC).

 

Subsections b. and c.

Under subsection b, a DPC cannot be recognized as a form of identification by any public (state or local) officer, official, or employee. It may only be used to show that the holder is authorized to operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey.

 

Subsection c requires the MVC to adopt regulations about the form and design of the DPC. While its appearance must be similar to a driver’s license, it must contain conspicuous language similar to the following statement: This card entitles the person pictured to operate a motor vehicle. Not For Federal Identification Purposes. This card does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.

 

Analysis

 

Subsection c.

Let’s first consider subsection c. As explained above, only Washington and New Mexico offer undocumented residents the standard driver’s license available to individuals lawfully present in the country. All other jurisdictions offer licenses that are distinguishable by title, color, and/or design, and contain language limiting the use of the license. Because New Jersey will likely begin compliance with REAL ID in the near future, it may not be feasible to advocate for an unmarked license for the undocumented. However, it is worth pushing for the distinguishing features to be as minimal as possible.

 

It is REAL ID concerns that prompt states to place language on the licenses for undocumented drivers clearly stating that they are not acceptable for official federal purposes. As discussed above, REAL ID prohibits the federal government from accepting a state driver’s license for official federal use, unless that state has been found to verify the citizenship or lawful status of applicants prior to issuing them licenses. The exact phrasing on the non REAL ID-compliant licenses varies from state to state. The language in New Jersey’s bill most closely mirrors the language in California’s driver’s license bill. REAL ID concerns make it unlikely that New Jersey would pass a law that didn’t require a phrase similar to the one mandated by subsection c. 

 

Subsection b.

What is more concerning is subsection b which prohibits public employees (meaning employees of state or local agencies, not representatives of federal agencies) from recognizing the DPC as a form of identification. As a result, the MVC regulations may require including a phrase on the face of the DPC stating that the card is not valid as a form of identification. Advocates should push to remove from the bill any explicit restriction against DPC holders using the card to prove their identity to state or local officials. Residents of states where privilege cards permit driving but are not accepted as identification by state and local government have reported difficulties in picking up their children at school, reporting crimes to local law enforcement, establishing their identity to emergency responders, and engaging in other transactions with public officials. Moreover, preventing the DPC from serving as proof of a person’s identity may result in police taking DPC holders into custody for “identification” or fingerprinting. This, in turn, could easily lead to DPC holders being turned over to ICE and placed into immigration removal proceedings through ICE partnerships with local law enforcement, such as the Secure Communities program.

 

Section 4

Section 4 is also a new section.  

 

Subsection a.

This subsection provides that a DPC applicant’s personal information collected by the MVC is subject to the same restrictions on disclosure as information collected from driver’s license applicants.

 

Analysis

Inclusion of a data confidentiality provision is positive since DPC applicants deserve to have their personal information protected from disclosure just as applicants for standard driver’s licenses do.  However, the provision does not make any specific reference to protecting immigration status information. In light of the severe consequences of having one’s undocumented status revealed (including possible deportation), DPC applicants face heightened confidentiality concerns. In order to encourage undocumented drivers to come forward and apply for DPCs, New Jersey should assure potential applicants that information related to their immigration status will remain private. Other states’ laws contain confidentiality provisions that specifically protect information related to legal presence or immigration status. For example, Nevada’s law expressly prohibits its DMV from releasing any information related to legal presence or immigration status “to any person or to any federal, state or local governmental entity for any purpose related to the enforcement of immigration laws.” Washington D.C. prohibits the disclosure of information related to legal presence “except as necessary to comply with a legally issued warrant or subpoena.” A provision that explicitly protects immigration status information might encourage more undocumented New Jersey residents to decide to apply for a DPC.

 

Subsection b.

Subsection b makes discrimination against a DPC holder by a public official a crime of official deprivation of civil rights under N.J.S. 2C:30-6 (a third degree crime punishable by 3-5 years imprisonment and/or up to a $15,000 fine).

 

Analysis

Inclusion of an anti-discrimination provision in the bill is constructive. However, as a practical matter, it can be difficult to enforce laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of the type of ID someone presents. If New Jersey is interested in providing additional protection against potential discrimination to DPC holders, it could consider California’s approach of prohibiting discrimination against license holders by private business establishments in addition to public entities.

 

Subsection c.

This subsection provides that a DPC “shall not be used to consider an individual’s citizenship or immigration status as a basis for a criminal investigation, arrest, or detention.”

 

Analysis

Again, the intent behind this section is positive – to protect undocumented individuals who possess or present a DPC against local law enforcement officers assuming that they are in the country without authorization or investigating, arresting, or detaining them based on their assumed immigration status. However, the wording of this section is confusing and needs to be changed. Washington D.C.’s driver’s license law provides that the license “shall not be used to consider an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or as a basis for a criminal investigation, arrest, or detention” (emphasis added). California’s law provides its license “shall not be used as evidence of the holder’s citizenship or immigration status, and shall not be used as a basis for a criminal investigation, arrest, or detention in circumstances where a person with a driver license that was not issued under [this law] would not be criminally investigated, arrested, or detained” (emphasis added). New Jersey should edit the wording of this section to mirror one of these provisions.

 

Subsection d.

Four years after the law goes into effect, the MVC shall submit to the state a report evaluating the effectiveness of the DPC program, including data on the number of convictions for official deprivation of civil rights and for falsifying government records (without revealing the identify of specific individuals).

 

Analysis

This provision would ensure that the MVC monitors the law’s implementation during the initial 4 years. However, the requirement for the MVC to provide data on the number of public officials convicted of the crime of official deprivation of civil rights may present practical hurdles as it could be difficult to obtain this data from the New Jersey criminal court system. 

 

Section 5

Section 5 is a new section that requires the MVC to conduct a public education campaign about the availability of DPCs and the requirements for obtaining one.  

 

Analysis

This appears to be a positive provision but it is vague with respect to when the public education campaign would launch and how it would be funded.

 

Section 6

The bill will go into effect 7 months after its enactment.  

 

Analysis

It is worth considering whether 7 months is sufficient time to issue regulations and prepare for implementation, including capacity building of MVC staff, public education, etc.

 

Conclusion

Estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants in New Jersey range from 339,064[3] to 550,000[4] (the latter estimate represents approximately 6.2% of the state’s population and 8.6% of its workforce). Immigrant advocates have pointed out that “New Jersey is a car state” in which the availability of affordable, efficient public transportation is quite limited and the inability to drive can present major challenges to immigrants’ ability to access decent jobs. The benefits of extending driving privileges to all New Jersey residents, regardless of immigration status, are clear. CLINIC’s talking points provide a number of specific reasons to support licensing all drivers, including improvements to public safety on our roads, economic benefits, and the development of safer communities and stronger families.

In a perfect world, undocumented residents would be granted the right to a standard driver’s license rather than a marked license such as the one proposed in S1696. We are still in the process of learning about the unintended consequences of marked licenses for the undocumented, such as discrimination by individuals or selective law enforcement by officials. However, of the 11 states that have passed laws extending driving privileges to the undocumented, all but New Mexico and Washington offer licenses that are marked in some way. A distinguishable driver’s license that contains as minimal marking as possible and serves as a valid form of identification is a step in the right direction and will result in many benefits to New Jersey’s undocumented residents. Advocates can push for the document to be called (and labeled on its face) a “driver’s license” (identical to the standard license) rather than a “driving privilege card.” More importantly, they should work to minimize the appearance of the marked language (by utilizing small font size and no colored lettering or background) so that the license appears as similar as possible to the standard license. They should also work to strengthen the data confidentiality provision so that it explicitly protects information related to immigration status. Finally, they should ensure that the bill clarifies that it is for those who cannot prove legal presence in the U.S. rather than for all non-citizens.     

     

This document was prepared in April 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at (301) 565-4807 or jriddle@cliniclegal.org.




[1] Individuals with the following types of immigration status are eligible: lawful permanent residents; lawful temporary residents; conditional residents; refugees, asylees, and asylum applicants; nonimmigrants; those who have applied for or been granted temporary protected status; deferred action recipients; and those with pending adjustment of status applications. In contrast, individuals with the following types of lawful presence are not eligible for REAL ID-compliant licenses: individuals granted withholding of removal; humanitarian parole recipients; certain battered spouses/children, trafficking survivors, or Cuban/Haitian entrants; grantees of Family Unity or deferred enforced departure; applicants for cancellation of removal; and individuals under an order of supervision.  

[2] REAL ID is not a mandate and does not prevent states from issuing licenses to anyone.  It simply requires that state-issued driver’s licenses meet its criteria in order for the federal government to recognize those licenses for official federal purposes. REAL ID allows states to issue licenses that do not meet the REAL ID requirements so long as the licenses indicate that they are not acceptable for official federal purposes and are visually distinguishable from REAL ID-compliant licenses. 

[3] See August 2013 study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University based on U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security statistics. The breakdown per diocese is as follows: Newark: 158,958; Trenton: 66,466; Metuchen: 47,546; Camden: 39,953; Paterson: 26,141. 

[4] See Immigration Policy Center, New Americans in New Jersey: The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Garden State (May 2013), available at:  http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-new-jersey.

Programs: 

N-400 Filing Tips and other Information from Meeting at USCIS Headquarters

Dear affiliates,

 

USCIS recently revised its form N-400, Application for Naturalization.  The agency will now only accept the newest version of Form N-400, dated 09/13/13.

On February 20, 2014, USCIS hosted a national stakeholder call with the public to provide an overview of and answer questions about changes made to the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400.  Following the call, several nonprofit organizations and advocates met with USCIS to seek answers to the questions and concerns the new N-400 generated.

Below is a series of questions submitted by advocates to USCIS Headquarters regarding the new Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, as well as answers provided by USCIS during a meeting with advocates on April 24, 2014. Please note that this is not an official USCIS document.  The questions to USCIS are in bold type, the answers by USCIS are in red type, an explanation of the question is in regular type, and CLINIC's comments are in italics. 

USCIS has also issued a list of Filing Tips for the new Form N-400.  Many of the issues raised in the tips are also explained below.

 

Contributors:  Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC); Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC); Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles; American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA); Immigration Advocacy Network (IAN); National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).


 

Stakeholder Meeting with USCIS Regarding New N-400

Date: April 24, 2014

 

 

General Questions

(1)  Will USCIS accept forms that have both electronically input information and handwritten answers?

It is often the case that applicants and representatives filling out the N-400 form electronically, may need to include handwritten answers in the form, both because the electronic version does not permit answers in certain formats and for purposes of accuracy. For example, applicants do not often recall exact dates. Many times applicants only recall the month and year, or prefer indicating that the date is an approximation or “Present.”

Some local USCIS offices have informed practitioners that if they are filling out the form electronically, they should not include any handwritten answers, because doing so will delay processing or not upload information properly into USCIS’s database.  Our concern is that not allowing applicants to include handwritten answers where they believe it is necessary for accuracy purposes will prevent applicants from providing accurate information.  Also, in workshop settings, it is often the case that Forms G-28 and N-400 are partially completed(electronically) ahead of time and the remainder of the form by hand.  Requiring applicants to submit forms that are either entirely completed by hand or electronically will present an additional challenge for applicants and practitioners, and may potentially cause applicants to submit less than accurate information.

Yes, USCIS will accept forms that have both electronically-input and handwritten information, and processing will not be delayed.  The agency recommends applicants to use one method or the other.However, if the dropdown menu does not include the appropriate option, you may handwrite it in.  If you have typed your information into a form with a barcode, do not make changes by crossing out and entering new information by hand.  Instead, make the correction on the computer and re-print that page of the form. 

(a)   When filling out the form electronically, how should month/day/year be entered, if the exact date is unknown?

If the exact date is unknown, leave that section blank.  If some, but not all of the information is known, write that by hand on the form or explain on an additional sheet of paper.  The agency is working to add an option to indicate that the response is unknown.

 

Advocates recommended that USCIS add an option "approximate" to the form to permit applicants to complete the date section even if the exact day is unknown.

 

(2) Will USCIS accept electronically filled out applications that do not have a barcode?

Some applicants and providers have had difficulty downloading the revised form that shows the 2-dimensional (“2D”) barcode.  For some, this is due to technology issues. However, for other providers, their form programs do not have barcode capability. This means they can fillout the form electronically, but the barcode will not show up and, therefore, will not capture electronically input information. 

Yes, such applications will be processed using Optical Character Recognition software, 

Make sure that you download the pdf form and use the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat to properly completeand save the barcoded forms.  Some internet browsers work better than others. 

Note from advocates: people have had success using Internet Explorer to be sure the barcode is showing and test print it. 

How will “additional pages” be processed when the N-400 is completed electronically? 

The revised N-400 instructions state that “If extra space is needed to answer any question, attach an additional sheet(s) of paper. You must provide the following information on the top of each additional page…” (see page 2 of instructions).This is likely to be done in a Microsoft Word document or blank sheet of paper, which will not include the 2D Barcode. How will this affect processing? What steps do applicants and providers need to take to ensure that additional information/addendums are taken into consideration?

Additional pages will be scanned and processed with no delay.  Also see the filing tips prepared by the Office of Intake and Document Production.

 
(3)   If someone applies using the previous version of the N-400, before May 5, 2014, will USCIS interview the applicant based on the questions in the new version or the version the applicant submitted?

Questions asked at naturalization interviews are based on eligibility requirements, not on the application form.  USCIS adjudicators may ask questions from the new form, even if the pre-May 2, 2014 form was submitted. 

 

(4)   What should be entered if the applicant does not know, for example, a child’s A-number?

Leave the section blank, and include a written explanation on a separate page.

 

(5)   If information is unavailable (e.g., home address of current spouse who left his family 10 years ago), how should the applicant answer this question?

Write “unknown” in the address field, and explain on a separate sheet of paper.

 

(6)   Suppose an applicant files the old N-400 well before 5/5/14 along with a fee waiver request (I-912), but USCIS erroneously rejects the fee waiver and returns the application to the applicant at such time that the applicant is unable to file the old N-400 again before 5/5/14, will USCIS accept the old (originally submitted) N-400 in that circumstance?

Note: we are waiting for guidance in response to this question.

 

(7)   How do applicants from American Samoa or Swains Island (US Nationals) indicate they do not have an A-number?  

Many of the fields in the revised N-400, including the A-number field, do not accept “N/A”. The A-number field only accepts a 9-digit response. Will there be any delays or problems if this space is left blank? Similarly, US Nationals are not permanent residents and therefore do not have permanent resident cards. However, the N-400 instructions instruct applicants to enter “N/A” if an item is not applicable or if the answer is “none” (see page 2 of instructions). Since this question is not applicable to US Nationals, how should they respond to this item?

Leave this section blank.

Part 4: Information About Your Residence

(1)   According to the instructions, applicants who received benefits under VAWA may provide a safe address. What address (if any) do applicants enter if they did not receive VAWA benefits, but spent some time at a shelter with a confidential address?

Provide a safe address, or provide only the city and state, and clarify the response at the interview.

 

(2)   Is the +4 of the ZIP code required?

No.


Part 5: Information About Your Parents

(1)   The instruction to Part 5 advise applicants with US citizen parents to visit the USCIS website for further information (presumably on derivation and acquisition of citizenship).  The link provided (www.uscis.gov), directs applicants to the USCIS website homepage, which does not immediately provide information about derivation or acquisition of citizenship. Would USCIS consider providing a different link that directs applicants to a specific part of the website with relevant information?

 Yes, USCIS will include the proper link in the filing tips, and will include it on the form the next time it is revised.

 

(2)   How should an applicant respond to Part 5. Item 1, if her parents were married, but not to each other, at the time of her birth?

 Answer no.

 

Part 7: Information About Your Employment and School You Attended

(1)   If the applicant is or was unemployed, where does she write “unemployed” – at “employer/school name” or “your occupation” and how does she answer the rest of the questions in that section?

 Indicate “unemployed” in the section that asks for the name of your employer.  Enter the dates of unemployment. 

 

 

Part 8: Time Outside of the United States

(1)   What is USCIS’s reasoning behind limiting the information requested in Part 11. Item 9.B. to trips taken outside the United States during the last five years?

While this is a welcomed change to the previous version of the N-400, which required applicants to list all absences since becoming a lawful permanent resident, it is unclear whether this change on the form also indicates a shift in investigating trips prior to the statutory period, and issues such as abandonment of permanent resident status. For example, advocates in Los Angeles have received mixed information from local offices. Some have been told that USCIS will no longer investigate abandonment issues, only physical presence and continuous residence. Others have been told that USCIS will continue to investigate abandonment on a case by case basis. 

While the form has been simplified to require less information, USCIS will continue to investigate abandonment of residence from the time the applicant became a lawful permanent resident.  Other agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection, may have information related to the issue of abandonment.

 

The November 7, 2011 USCIS Memo, Revised Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Removable Aliens, established a list circumstances when the agency would consider the issuance of a Notice to Appear and the institution of removal proceedings to be a priority.  Those circumstances included where an NTA was required by statute or regulation and where there were cases that involved public safety threats, criminal offenses, and fraud. Cases involving abandonment of residency were not cases identified as NTA "priorities" in the November 11, 2011 memo.

 

(a)  What would trigger an investigation of abandonment and what guidance will USCIS be issuing to applicants?

 The statutory requirements for naturalization have not changed.  No additional information will be issued to applicants. 

 

Part 9: Information About Your Marital History

(1)   Does “separated”in Part 9. Item 1. mean legally separated?

 The revised form provides the new category of “separated” to allow the applicant to indicate how his/her marriage ended.  Many clients have been estranged from spouses for many years - does this constitute separated?

Yes, “separated” means legally separated.

 

(2)   What if current spouse’s previous spouse information (Part 9. Item. 8) is unknown? How will the absence of that information (in whole or in part) affect the applicant’s application/eligibility for naturalization?

Provide a written explanation on a separate page.  Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

 

Part 10: Information About Children

(1)   How should children’s addresses be listed if they reside in an area without a formal postal address?

 Provide information to the best of your ability, attaching a written explanation if necessary.

 

Part 11: Additional Information

(1)   Can Part 11. Item 7, be read to mean “required” tax return?

Many applicants do not earn enough (or any) income to file a tax return.  In those cases, should applicants be checking the 'yes' or 'no' box?

No, the question cannot be read to mean a “required” tax return.  Check the “yes” box and provide an explanation on a separate page.

There are many instances when filing a tax return is not required.  There may be a perfectly legitimate reason that the applicant is answering this question with a "yes" answer.

 

(2)   Can USCIS clarify what “badly hurting”(Part 11.Item 14.d.)someone means?

Neither the Form N-400 nor its accompanying instructions provide a definition for this term. “Badly hurting” is a vague/ambiguous term that can be subject to one’s own interpretation of hurting. For example, would slapping a neighbor in the face constitute trying to hurt or badly hurting someone?

The language of the form was changed to offer simplified language.  No further clarification can be given.  USCIS will look at the circumstances of each case. 

Note from advocates: this can likely be read to mean intentionally and severely injuring another person as specified on Form I-485, question 14c.  See that form for an understanding of the intent behind this question.

 

(3)   Can USCIS clarify the following terms:“self-defense unit,”“police unit,” and“rebel group”?

No further clarification can be given. 

 

(4)   We have the position that victims of genocide and torture should not be required to answer “yes” to Part 11. Items 14A. and 14.B., is that also USCIS’s position?

A literal reading of the question, “were you ever involved in any way with…” suggests the applicant must answer in the affirmative, even if she or he was the victim.  This seems inconsistent with trying to identify perpetrators of these acts.

If the applicant was solely the victim of genocide or torture, answer no. 

 

(5)   Regarding paramilitary membership(Part 11. Item. 15.B.),what if applicants belong(ed) to a paramilitary branch organization registered in the United States?

Respond “no.”  USCIS is not looking for organizations that are associated with the United States military, such as ROTC. 

 

(6)   If the applicant was a prisoner in a labor camp, should the applicant answer in the affirmative to Part 11. Item. 16.?

 Note: we are waiting for guidance in response to this question.

 
(7)   How does USCIS define “weapons training” (Part 11.Item. 19)? Would this include recreational martial arts classes, target practice at a shooting range?

 USCIS requires applicants to respond “yes” even if weapons training was recreational.  Explain the circumstances on a separate sheet of paper. 

(a)   For someone who has received weapons training, how would that affect his/her eligibility for naturalization?

Applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

It is very important to discuss all the facts concerning  military service, police service, self-defense participation, weapons training, etc. with the applicant.  These activities may be perfectly innocent and not involve activities that would bar naturalization – or they may involve conduct that would make the applicant ineligible for naturalization.  A “yes” response to these questions alone does not indicate ineligibility, but does require detailed discussion with the applicant.

 

(8)   Would Part 11. Item. 22.include speeding, never arrested?

 No

 Note: advocates recommend that applicants continue to list traffic violations on the appropriate place on the application. 

 

(9)  Regarding Part 11. Item 28.B., if the applicant was only in jail for a few hours, does she need to include that information given that the question only provides space for “days,” “months,” and “years”?

Yes. Indicate one day.

 

(10) We assume that Part 11. Item.30, regarding misrepresentation to obtain any public benefit in the U.S., means willful and knowing, is that correct? How would a “yes” answer impact an applicant’s eligibility for naturalizations?

No, the question is not limited to willful and knowing misrepresentation.  Answer yes regardless of intent.  Applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

 

(11) USCIS clarify who is required to submit a Status Information Letter from the Selective Service (Part 11.Item. 46.C.2.)?

The revised N-400 states that a male applicant who lived in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 26, but did not register with the Selective Service and is now 26 years or older, must attach a statement explaining why he did not register and a status information letter from the Selective Services.  On the N-400 Stakeholder call, when asked, a USCIS representative said a 50 year-old applicant would not have to submit a status information letter because he would be outside the statutory period. Please clarify.

Applicants between the ages of 26 and 31 should provide a status information letter.  Applicants over the age of 31 need not. 

 

(12) Are applicants required to submit a status information letter with their Naturalization application?

The new form explicitly states that the applicant must submit a status information letter from the  Selective Service along with an explanation. It has taken up to 30 days to obtain the status information letter and we are concerned that some potential applicants may not apply/delay applying due to this additional burden. Would USCIS allowapplicants to bring their status letter to their interview instead or mailing it with their application? 

Applicants may bring the letter to their interview.

 

(13) There are a few nations where serving in the army is a mandatory requirement (e.g.  Korea). These people get stationed randomly, and if they were stationed as prison guard, how would that affect their eligibility?

 Answer yes, and explain on a separate sheet of paper.  Applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

 

(14) If the applicant was a child soldier (impressed against his will), is an explanation necessary and/or will this be held against him regarding good moral character?

Yes, explain on a separate sheet of paper.  Applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

 

Part 14: Statement of Applicants Who Used an Interpreter

(1)   Can USCIS provide additional guidance on who is expected to complete the interpreters section, especially for those assisting family members or those volunteering in group processing events?

Currently, the instructions to Part 14, seem to suggest that only those whoanswered “yes” to Part 2., Item Numbers 11 or 12., and during the completion of the form used an interpreter to interpret the questions on the form, are required to complete this section (as well as the interpreter), is this correct?

(2)   If a provider used a written translation of questions in Part 11 to interview the applicant, must the provider then complete the interpreter statement?

Anyone who interpreted or who shared written translations must complete this section, even if the applicant is not requesting an exemption based on age and language ability.

Note: advocates are continuing to discuss this issue.

 


 

CLINIC continues to advocate with USCIS on many of the issues related to the new N-400 raised in the notes above.  Please continue to share your experiences and problems with us by emailing Rommel Calderwood at rcalderwood@cliniclegal.org.

 

 

Issues: 
Resources by type: 
Programs: 

Recent Immigration Developments from the States (Mar 2014)

Supreme Court Leaves Lower Court Decisions on Anti-Immigrant Housing Regulations Intact

On March 3, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals brought by the towns of Hazelton, Pennsylvania and Farmers Branch, Texas related to their anti-immigrant housing ordinances. As a result, the decisions of the 3rd and 5th Circuit Courts of Appeals, finding that the housing ordinances were unconstitutionally preempted by federal immigration law, remain intact. Both ordinances would have required prospective tenants to prove their lawful presence in the United States and obtain a rental license before being permitted to rent an apartment. At this time, the only discriminatory housing ordinance that has withstood legal challenge is the policy that will go into effect on April 10 in Fremont, Nebraska. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Fremont’s anti-immigrant rental ordinance last year and a majority of the town’s residents voted last month to keep the law. Fortunately, other localities across the country, including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, are choosing instead to embrace and integrate immigrants into their communities and economies through a number of welcoming initiatives.        

 

Legal Settlement Blocks Key Sections of South Carolina’s 2011 Anti-Immigrant Law

Following in the steps of Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia, South Carolina is the latest state to limit enforcement of its harsh anti-immigrant law. The state has agreed to a settlement in legal challenges to key provisions of SB 20 that sought to criminalize undocumented immigrants and drive them out of the state. Once the settlement with civil rights organizations and the U.S. Department of Justice is approved by the federal court, it will limit how the state can enforce the law’s controversial “show me your papers” provisions which permit local police to request immigration status documents from individuals stopped or detained for other lawful reasons.  The South Carolina Attorney General issued a formal opinion clarifying that law enforcement agents cannot continue to hold people to investigate their immigration status after the original reason for stopping or detaining them has been resolved. The pending settlement will also permanently block the section of the law that makes it a state misdemeanor to fail to carry immigration documents. Finally, the settlement will permanently enjoin the provisions making it a state felony to engage in such routine interactions with undocumented immigrants as driving them to church or renting them a room. Similar provisions criminalizing transporting and harboring have also been blocked in Alabama and Georgia. 

 

Tuition Equity Bill Advances in Florida Legislature While Financial Aid Bill Is Defeated in New York

On March 20, the Florida House voted to approve HB 851 that would permit undocumented residents to pay in-state tuition at state universities. All eyes now turn to the state Senate where the Judiciary Committee recently approved a similar proposal (SB 1400) that must eventually clear the Senate as a whole.  Reports indicate that Governor Scott would sign the tuition equity bill, if passed by the legislature. If Florida does enact this legislation, it would become the 20th state with a law or policy extending in-state tuition to undocumented residents.  Only four of these states (California, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington) also permit undocumented students to qualify for state financial aid. New York, which has offered in-state tuition to undocumented residents since 2002, was considering a bill enabling undocumented students to qualify for state financial aid, but the legislation was defeated by the state Senate on March 17.  Click here for CLINIC’s Talking Points on Why States Should Offer In-State Tuition to All Residents.

 

Massachusetts May Become Third State to Decline to Hold Individuals for ICE

Massachusetts’ SB 1135, an Act to restore community trust in Massachusetts law enforcement, passed out of the Joint Public Safety Committee on March 19. This legislation would limit the use of scarce state and local law enforcement resources to do the federal government’s job of enforcing immigration laws. Specifically, Massachusetts law enforcement would only be able to hold someone under an ICE detainer when the individual is over 18, has been convicted of a certain felony, and has either been ordered removed or charged with being removable, and when ICE has agreed to reimburse the law enforcement agency for all associated costs. Recent ICE statistics show that an alarming percentage of individuals deported from Massachusetts as a result of federal partnerships with local law enforcement had no criminal convictions or had only been charged with minor offenses. According to the bill’s sponsor, it will limit “unjust, unnecessary, and unsafe federal deportation programs, therefore restoring the trust between immigrant communities and police, and increasing the public safety for all residents in Massachusetts.”  While the Maryland legislature had been considering similar legislation this session (HB 29/SB554), the Maryland Law Enforcement Trust Act failed to move out of the necessary House and Senate committees.

 

This document was prepared in March 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807.

 

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Talking Points on Tuition Equity: Why States Should Offer In-State Tuition to All Residents (March 2014)

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents benefits the state’s economy.

  • In-state tuition is not free tuition. Tuition equity laws will generate increased revenue from students who could not otherwise afford to attend college.  
  • Laws that invest in young people by promoting access to affordable higher education create a more educated workforce and make the state stronger and more competitive.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals with Bachelor’s degrees earn $1 million more over their lifetimes than those with high school diplomas.[1] College graduates have higher-earning potential, will pay higher taxes, and will likely spend more in state economies.
  • Individuals with increased earning potential rely less on state resources such as healthcare and social services.

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents is fundamentally fair.

  • Students brought to this country as young children should not be deprived of access to state colleges and universities because of their parents’ choices.
  • Access to in-state tuition makes the college experience possible for our state’s best and brightest who often cannot afford the cost of out-of-state or international student tuition.
  • Talented, hardworking students should not be excluded from the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Tuition equity provides them the tools to succeed fully as community members and continue contributing to the state. 

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents is fiscally responsible.

  • The state has already educated its students from kindergarten through high school.[2] Giving all students an equal opportunity to attend college maximizes the state’s return on its investment and ensures these skills and talents do not go to waste.
  • Tuition equity laws build the state’s workforce by opening the door for future doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and other professionals to give back to our state and our communities.
  • Young people who have been educated in this state consider it to be their home. It is wise to retain hard-working, economically-productive residents and their families.

Offering in-state tuition rates to all residents furthers the message of Catholic social teaching.

  • Our Catholic tradition teaches us to protect and respect human dignity, regardless of immigration status. An affordable education allows all state residents the opportunity to live in dignity.
  • Higher education increases individuals’ opportunities to obtain employment – a fundamental right necessary to support their families.  
  • Enabling a student to afford college positively impacts both the financial and human potential of that student’s entire family.

This summary was prepared in March 2014 with assistance from Legal Fellow, Kassandra Haynes.  It is intended for informational purposes, not as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State and Local Advocacy Attorney, Jen Riddle, at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 




[2] A free public elementary and secondary education is a fundamental constitutional right of all children, regardless of immigration status. This was established in 1982 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Plyler v. Doe.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Maura Moser, Director of Communications

(301) 565-4830 or Email: mmoser@cliniclegal.org

 

Nebraska Service Center Teleconference – January 16, 2014

By Allison Posner

On January 16, 2014, USCIS’s Nebraska Service Center (NSC) held a stakeholder engagement on issues related to processing of refugee and asylee petitions. Select questions and answers from the teleconference are below.  Please note that this teleconference was part of a series of informal monthly stakeholder calls held by the NSC.  If you wish to participate in the monthly calls, email CEO.NSC2@USCIS.DHS.GOV  with your contact information, and you will be added to the center’s mailing list.

 

I-730

 Q. Are there any options for USCIS to expedite the processing of I-730 Refugee/Asylee family reunification petitions?  For example, for a beneficiary whose health or safety may be in danger?

 A. All expedite requests are reviewed on a case by case and reviewed by the center director.  The burden is on the petitioner to demonstrate: severe financial loss to the company or individual, USCIS error or compelling interest of USCIS, a humanitarian situation, or a Department of Defense or national interest situation.  In the latter case, the request must be from a U.S. government entity and state that the delay will be detrimental to our government. 

For I-730s, the petitioner must additionally show real proof of an emergency, such as evidence from the Red Cross of UNHCR.  Call USCIS’s National Customer Service Center (NCSC) for a service request to be forwarded to the service center.

Q. Would it be possible for USCIS to work with Department of State to automatically have the refugee resettlement agency filing an I-730 to be the resettlement agency assigned to the case?   Petitioners come to us because they trust us and want us to serve their family member(s), we work hard on their I-730, and then often the case is assigned to a different agency for resettlement.

A. This is a question that must be posed to the Department of State. 

Q. Once an I-730 has been approved and the derivative has successfully obtained a visa from the Consulate where they reside in order to enter the U.S., how long does the individual have to enter the United States before the visa becomes invalid?

A. This question should be directed to the international affairs office at USCIS Headquarters.

Q. What is USCIS policy regarding refugees from countries where polygamy is common practice?  (e.g. If the first marriage is considered valid, for immigration purposes, would someone applying for refugee status need to divorce other subsequent spouses in order to be eligible for resettlement to the United States?  Or would this person simply be asked to sign a statement declaring that they do not intend to practice polygamy in the United States?)  What is USCIS policy regarding eligibility for I-730 Refugee/Asylee family reunification petitions for biological children from polygamous marriages?

A. The United States considers only the first marriage valid.  Only children of the first valid marriage are considered legitimate.  In order to petition for children born from subsequent wives, evidence of a bona fide relationship with each child must be submitted.  Additional questions on this topic should be submitted to USCIS’s Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations directorate.

Q. What are the family reunification options for Cubans (i.e. are there any additional family reunification options that are specific to Cubans)?

A. The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP) is available to Cuban nationals who reside in Cuba and are beneficiaries of approved Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, “for which an immigrant visa is not yet immediately available.” The CFRP was designed to allow Cuban nationals in oversubscribed family-sponsored visa categories, to apply immediately for parole to the United States, to expedite the family reunification and deter those waiting long period for their visa numbers to become available to attempt to come to the U.S. through irregular migration.

 

I-485 Asylee

Q. This question is about aliens born before 1991 in what is now Eritrea. On EADs the USCIS lists the country as Ethiopia. When we asked about this before, the USCIS indicated that the alien could not change the country to Eritrea. Is this the policy for the I-485? This causes problem for those from that area that want to travel.

A. The procedure for issuance of I-551 Employment Authorization Documents is to indicate country of birth as documented in the file. More specifically, the adjudicator will refer to the country of birth as indicated in the asylee or refugee grant. 

Q. I have filed several adjustments for asylees from Eritrea.  There have been a few instances (three to four in the past three years) in which we have indicated “Eritrea” as the country of birth, but the LPR cards have been issued with “Ethiopia” in that space, even if we have not indicated Ethiopia as a country of birth or citizenship anywhere in the materials.  In some such cases, this has occurred even when we have provided a civil birth certificate from Eritrea.  Although we can file Form I-90 to have this corrected and there is no USCIS fee for the customer, it would obviously be preferable that the card be issued with correct information.  Is this an issue of simple human error or is there some sort of “data trigger” which produces this problem?   Please advise.

A. As discussed above, I-485 adjudicators indicate the country of birth as documented in the file and as indicated in the asylee or refugee grant.  For individual case inquiries, contact the Nebraska Service Center at  Ceo.nsc2@uscis.dhs.gov.

Q. What is the status of review of TRIG cases – in particular pending AOS and exemptions?

A. Contact USCIS Headquarters’ Office of Service Center Operations at scopsscata@uscis.dhs.gov for all TRIG related questions.

 

Please see CLINIC’s recent update for information on changes to the Terrorist-Related Inadmissibility Grounds (TRIG) made by the Departments of State and Homeland Security) on February 5, 2014.

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Nebraska Service Center Teleconference - February 13, 2014

By Allison Posner

The following are the unofficial minutes from a teleconference with the Nebraska Service center on February 13, 2014. Please note that this teleconference was part of a series of informal monthly stakeholder calls held by the NSC.  If you wish to participate in the monthly calls, email CEO.NSC2@USCIS.DHS.GOV  with your contact information, and you will be added to the center’s mailing list.

 

I-131 RP/RTD

 Q. It is a known fact that a re-entry permit is necessary for LPRs who live one year or more our side the US.  Is it still needed if a person goes out for 6 months -one year or less than six months? For example if a person just received his or her green card and comes here to stay for 3 months and then goes back to his own country to wind up business for more than six months but less than one year does he/she need a reentry permit?  What time period is safe (to go out without a re-entry permit)?

 A. US Customs and Border Protection is the agency responsible for the inspection and admission of travelers to the United States.  Per 8 CFR § 211, a Lawful Permanent Resident may reenter the United States with a valid unexpired I-551 Permanent Resident card if he or she has been absent from the U.S. for less than one year.  If you plan on being absent for more than one year, it is advisable to apply for a Reentry Permit.  The Reentry Permit will allow an individual to reenter during its validity without needing to apply for a Returning Resident Visa from a U.S. consulate abroad.

Q. If biometrics for a re-entry permit are needed for a child under the age of 14, i.e. no fingerprinting required, and there are reasons why the child cannot appear for biometrics, for example if the family is already overseas, would NSC consider accepting passport photos in lieu of requiring the child to appear for biometrics?

A. All applicants for a Reentry Permit, regardless of age, must complete biometrics.  Failure to appear for biometrics may be a reason for denial of the application. 

 

Employment Authorization

 Q. Will a F1 student visa holder be able to remain in the States and transfer to another program after his/her EAD expires if he/she obtains a new I-20 for a new program? For example, the EAD expires on 8th July 2014 and the new I-20 is effective from August 15, 2014.

A. A student who has completed a course of study and any authorized practical training following completion of studies will be allowed an additional 60-day period to prepare for departure from the United States or to transfer in accordance with 8 CFR § 214.2(f). 

Q. Does enrolling into a graduate program which is named "Part-time Evening Program" but has minimum 12 credits per semester satisfy the minimum credit requirements of an F1 visa?

A. Per the regulations, a full course of study means post graduate or post doctoral study at a college or university certified by a Designated School Official (DSO) as a full course of study

Q. Could you please give tips to follow to seek OPT following completion of their course of study and graduation, in filing of I-765, when and with what, and time frame? Also, what if the student needs to travel overseas after the EAD is issued?

A. A student may file form I-765 for post-completion Optional Practical Training up to 90 days prior to the program end date and not longer than 60 days after the program end date.  The applicant must include an I-20 from the DSO recommending OPT.

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Why States Should Provide Access to Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

Why States Should Provide Access to Driver’s Licenses to All Residents

 

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents improves public safety on our roads.

  • Extending driving privileges to undocumented immigrants will require individuals to take driver’s tests and properly register with the state’s motor vehicle agency.
  • Licensed drivers know the rules of the road and have a proper understanding of traffic regulations.
  • Licensed drivers will be more likely to obtain auto insurance, reducing the cost of accidents involving uninsured motorists and potentially lowering insurance rates for everyone.
  • Individuals with driver’s licenses will be less likely to flee the scene of an accident.
  • Law enforcement can better ensure public safety when they can identify motorists and access accurate traffic records.
  • Unlicensed drivers are 5 times more likely to be in a fatal car accident.[1]

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents makes our communities safer.

  • States can maintain accurate records including the names and addresses of all state residents.
  • First responders and health care providers will be better able to determine the identity of victims and patients.
  • State resources can be directed to more crucial priorities if courts and jails are less congested by issues arising from driving without a license or insurance, such as civil violations, criminal charges, and jail time.

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents benefits the economy.

  • Driver’s license application fees will generate revenue for states.
  • Enhanced mobility of immigrant workers will grow American businesses and stimulate state economies.
  • An increase in licensed drivers will boost the auto insurance and auto sales industries.
  • Unlicensed, uninsured drivers cause damage claims that cost other policy holders. More licensed and insured drivers will reduce the number of accidents and lower insurance rates for all.

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents strengthens families.

  • In this country, driving is often essential to holding a job to provide basic life necessities for one’s family, such as food, shelter, and medical care. Those who drive work more hours and earn higher wages.
  • With the permission to drive safely and legally to work, school, and elsewhere, undocumented families can participate more fully in society without the constant fear of being stopped by the police.
  • Driver’s licenses can serve as a form of identification that allows immigrant families to live more visibly in society with greater access to financial institutions, medical care, and other basic services.  For the undocumented, “a driver’s license is not only a driver’s license, it’s proof that you exist.”[2] 

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents is consistent with Catholic social teaching.

  • Individuals must work to provide for their families and contribute to society.  In this country, driving is often essential to hold a job that provides food, shelter, and medical care for families.
  • The Catholic faith calls for respecting every human being, regardless of immigration status, and acknowledging the dignity of their efforts to work in order to provide for themselves and their families.

This summary was prepared in February 2014 by Legal Fellow, Kassandra Haynes.  It is intended for informational purposes, not as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State and Local Advocacy Attorney, Jen Riddle, at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 




[1] Unlicensed to Kill, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (Nov. 2011), available at: www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011Unlicensed2Kill.pdf.

[2] “Why Undocumented Immigrants Need Driver’s Licenses,” Jose Antonio Vargas, BuzzFeed (Oct 31, 2013), available at: http://www.buzzfeed.com/joseiswriting/why-undocumented-immigrants-need-drivers-licenses.

 

 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Washington

Bill/Statute: Wash. Rev. Code § 46.20

Year Law Enacted: 2004

Effective Date: June 10, 2004

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Show proof of identity
  • Sign a declaration that you have no Social Security Number
  • Provide proof of Washington residence

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/18over.html

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 5 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

No

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Vermont

Bill/Statute: 23 V.S.A. § 603

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Operator's Privilege Card

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide proof of Vermont residence
  • Provide proof of your name, date of birth, and place of birth (with a valid foreign passport, valid consular identification document, or certified record of birth, marriage, adoption, or divorce)
  • Present a letter from the Social Security Administration indicating your ineligibility to receive a Social Security Number
  • Satisfy all other requirements for obtaining a license or permit                 

For more specifics, please visit: http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/drivers/requirements/identity/undocumented

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 2 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The card is labeled "Driver's Privilege Card" and includes the following language: "Not For Federal Identification."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Utah

Bill/Statute: UT ST § 53-3-207

Year Law Enacted: 2005

Effective Date: July 1, 2005

Name of Document Issued: Driving Privilege Card (DPC)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide proof of an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the IRS
  • Provide two documents verifying your Utah address and residence
  • Provide documents verifying your identity, such as a foreign birth certificate or unexpired foreign passport
  • Provide proof of driving experience, fingerprint card and, for first-time applicants, a photo

For more specifics, please visit: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/dld/

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 1 year.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The DPC has a distinguishable format and color, contains the title "Driving Privilege Card" instead of "Driver License" and includes the following language: “Not Valid For Identification, Driving Privilege Only.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No; since 2011, data on applicants with felony convictions is sent to ICE. Information about individuals with an outstanding warrant is forwarded to local police.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Puerto Rico

Bill/Statute: P C0900

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: August 7, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Licencia de conducir provisional (Provisional Driver's License)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Show residence in Puerto Rico for at least one year                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Prove identity by presenting a valid passport from your country of citizenship                                                                                                                                                          
  • Meet other license eligibility requirements                                                                                                        

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.dtop.gov.pr/servicios/det_content.asp?cn_id=71

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 3 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will be distinguished from other driver's licenses by a unique design or color and will contain language clarifying that it is not valid for purposes of federal identification or other official reporting purposes.

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

Yes, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Works will promulgate, within 180 days of August 7, 2013, implementing regulations to protect license holders against discrimination.

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Works will promulgate, within 180 days of August 7, 2013, implementing regulations to protect the confidentiality of license holders' information.

 

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Oregon

Bill/Statute: SB 833

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: December 4, 2014 (assuming that Oregon voters decide to uphold the law in the November 2014 ballot measure seeking to repeal the law)

Name of Document Issued: Driver Card

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide proof of identity and date of birth
  • Prove Oregon residency for more than one year as of the application date
  • Provide a valid Social Security Number or a written statement that you have not been assigned one 
  • Comply with all other eligibility requirements, other than legal presence                                                                            

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/faqs/sb833.aspx

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 4 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The card is labeled "Driver Card" rather than "Driver License" and will contain a distinguishing feature, to be determined by the Department of Transportation.

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - New Mexico

Bill/Statute: NM ST § 66-5-9

Year Law Enacted: 2003

Effective Date: 2003

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide one document from the "Proof of Identification Number - No SSN" list (valid foreign passport, Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) card, or Mexican Matricula Consular card)
  • Provide one document from the "Proof of Identity - No SSN" list (foreign birth certificate, valid foreign passport, or Mexican Matricula Consular card)
  • Provide two documents to prove New Mexico residency                                                                                                                              

For more specifics, please visit:

http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/Drivers/Licensing/Pages/How-to-get-a-New-Mexico-Driver-License.aspx                                     

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 4 to 8 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

No

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

 This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Nevada

Bill/Statute: SB 303

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver Authorization Card (DAC)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Prove your name and age with two of the following documents: U.S. driver's license, foreign passport, foreign birth certificate, or consular identification card
  • Prove Nevada residence with two of the above-listed documents          

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.dmvnv.com/dac.htm

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 1 year.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The card is labeled "Driver Authorization Card" rather than "Driver License" and includes the following language: "Not Valid for Identification."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, the Nevada DMV will not release any information relating to legal presence or immigration status to any person or to any federal, state or local government entity for any purpose relating to the enforcement of immigration laws.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Maryland

Bill/Statute: MD TRANS § 16–122

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Provide documentary evidence that, for the previous two years, you filed a Maryland income tax return or that you resided in the state and were claimed as a dependent of someone who filed a Maryland state tax return
  • Meet eligibility requirements for a driver's license (other than having lawful immigration status and a valid Social Security Number)                             

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/Driver-Services/Apply/md-drivers-license.htm

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 5 to 8 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will have a unique design or color and include the following language: “Not federally compliant” and “May not be used to purchase a firearm.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to ALL Residents (January 2014)

     Driver’s licenses play a critical role in American society and enable us to participate more fully and productively in our communities. Most of us rely on cars to get ourselves and our families to work, school, the hospital, the grocery store, and church.  In addition to facilitating transportation, driver’s licenses enhance public safety by ensuring that all drivers are trained, tested, and qualify for automobile insurance.

     A growing number of states are recognizing the importance of offering driver’s licenses to all residents regardless of immigration status.  In 2013, 8 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico passed laws granting driving privileges to the undocumented. Each state provides a type of license, valid for anywhere from 1 year to 8 years, to all residents who can meet the respective eligibility requirements. Only Washington and New Mexico do not distinguish between drivers who are U.S. citizens or lawful visitors and those who are not.  None of the driving permits currently available to the undocumented meet the federal REAL ID Act requirements[1], which means that they are not accepted for federal identification purposes, including boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

     While we continue to wait for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to legalization and citizenship for the undocumented, we will likely see more states pass driver’s license laws to allow their undocumented residents to travel safely and legally to work and school, meet the basic needs of their families, and continue contributing to society.  State lawmakers are realizing that by not offering licenses to all state residents, they are essentially forcing many undocumented individuals - especially in areas without viable public transportation – to drive without a license.  Driving without a license not only jeopardizes the safety of all drivers and passengers but also carries serious legal consequences for unlicensed drivers.  Only a handful of states consider driving without a license to be a civil violation.  It can result in a criminal misdemeanor conviction in 37 states including jail time in 41 states.  Almost every state also imposes a fine, ranging from $100 to $1,000, and some states can impound unlicensed drivers’ vehicles.   

     In addition to facing prosecution and other penalties, individuals stopped for driving without a license are at risk in some jurisdictions of being questioned by police about their immigration status.  They may then be targeted by ICE for deportation through the Secure Communities fingerprint sharing program or other partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement.  The risk that unlicensed driving will result in deportation is particularly acute in states like Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina where “show me your papers” laws require police to check the immigration status of lawfully stopped individuals whom they have reason to believe are in the country illegally, as well as in the 19 states where ICE maintains 287(g) agreements permitting state and local law enforcement officers to question individuals in their custody about their immigration status.  Even if undocumented drivers are not ultimately deported as a result of having to drive without a license, they may be placed into immigration detention, where they can no longer care for their children, are unable to work, and may lose their jobs, resulting in dire financial and social consequences for themselves and their families.  

     California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington are to be commended for passing laws permitting their undocumented residents to obtain legal permission to drive.  Such laws permit individuals to continue to pursue their livelihoods and care for their families without the constant fear of being stopped by the police, issued an expensive fine, charged with a misdemeanor, or possibly turned over to ICE and deported. Furthermore, driver’s licenses are often used to verify an individual’s identity for the purpose of cashing a check, renting an apartment, receiving medical care, and accessing other basic services.  The vital role licenses play in American society has been aptly described by undocumented journalist Jose Antonio Vargas as follows: “When you’re undocumented, a driver’s license is not only driver’s license, it’s proof that you exist.” 

Below is a map of the jurisdictions that have passed laws permitting undocumented residents to apply for driver’s licenses. Click on a particular state to review the relevant law, the eligibility requirements for obtaining a license, and other details.  

 

New Mexico

 

[1] This 2005 law, passed to prevent terrorists from obtaining state-issued identification documents, set minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards (including a requirement that recipients have a social security number or proof of lawful status) and prohibits federal agencies from accepting a state driver’s license for official purposes until the Department of Homeland Security has determined that the state meets the minimum standards.    

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.  Research was provided by Anabel Diaz, Brian Shyr, Ruhee Vagle, Nicole Weinstock, and Kasandra Haynes.  For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Illinois

Bill/Statute: SB 957

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: November 28, 2013

Name of Document Issued: Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL)

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Prove Illinois residency for longer than 1 year
  • Provide an unexpired foreign passport or consular identification document                                                                                                                                                                               
  • Show that you are ineligible to obtain a Social Security Number and unable to present USCIS documentation of authorized presence
  • Must maintain liability insurance for the duration of the license

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/TVDL/home.html

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 3 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license is labeled “TVDL” rather than the standard "Driver's License" and includes the following language: "Not valid for identification."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

No

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - District Of Columbia

Bill/Statute: B 20-275

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: May 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Prove that you have resided in the District of Columbia for longer than 6 months
  • Prove that you have not been assigned a social security number or that you are ineligible for one
  • Provide proof of identity, date of birth, and residency                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • Meet other licensure eligibility requirements 

For more specifics, please visit: http://dmv.dc.gov/service/driver-license

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 8 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will include (in the smallest font possible) the following language: "Not for federal official purposes."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

Yes, the license shall not be used to consider an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or as a basis for a criminal investigation, arrest, or detention.

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, information relating to legal presence shall not be disclosed to any person or any federal, state, or local governmental entity except as necessary to comply with a legally issued warrant or subpoena.         

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Connecticut

Bill/Statute: Public Act No. 13-89

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2015

Name of Document Issued: Motor Vehicle Operator's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Submit proof of Connecticut residency
  • Present proof of identity
  • Submit an affidavit attesting that you have filed an application to legalize your immigration status or will apply when you become eligible to do so
  • Meet other licensure requirements
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony in Connecticut

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.ct.gov/dmv/site/default.asp

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for 3 to 6 years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license will indicate that it is not acceptable for federal identification purposes and include the following language: "for driving purposes only."

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, any required certificate of an applicant’s health condition in relation to operating a motor vehicle will be kept confidential.

 

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - Colorado

Bill/Statute: SB 13-251

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: August 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Meet all licensure requirements except for lawful presence
  • Sign an affidavit that you have applied or will apply for legal presence
  • Prove current Colorado residence and present previous year's resident income tax filing or show continuous residence in Colorado for the preceding 24 months
  • Provide an IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)
  • Present a passport, consular identification card, or military identification document from your country of origin

 

For more specifics, please visit: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue-MV/RMV/1177024843078

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for a period of three years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

License will contain a distinguishable design and include the following language: “Not valid for federal identification, voting, or public benefit purposes.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

No

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, your ITIN will be kept confidential unless requested by the state child support enforcement agency, the Department of Revenue, or a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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State Laws Extending Driving Privileges to All Residents - California

Bill/Statute: AB 60

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2015 (Possibly sooner if DMV is ready)

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Sign an affidavit that you are ineligible for a social security number and unable to prove authorized presence in the U.S.
  • Provide proof of identity
  • Provide proof of California residency
  • Meet all other requirements for a California license

 

For more specifics, please visit: http://dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl.htm

 

How long is the card valid?

The license will be valid for a period of five years.

 

Are there distinguishing features or language on the license?

The license is labeled “DP” rather than the standard “DL” and includes the following language: “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes. This license is issued only as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.”

 

Is there an anti-discrimination provision in the law?

Yes, the bill provides that business establishments cannot discriminate against holders of the license. The license shall not be used as evidence of the holder’s citizenship or immigration status or as the basis for criminal investigation, arrest, or detention.

 

Is there a data confidentiality provision in the law?

Yes, the bill provides that information collected during the license application process is not a public record and shall not be disclosed, except as required by law.

 

This summary was prepared in January 2014 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807. 

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For over three years, Jason Dzubow, of Dzubow & Pilcher, PLLC, has volunteered as a screener for CLINIC’s BIA Pro Bono Project, which matches vulnerable asylum-seekers and lawful permanent residents with pro bono counsel to bring their cases before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). This month Jason was recognized as one of Washingtonian Magazine’s Top Immigration Attorneys in the Washington, D.C. area for the second year in a row.

Letter to DHS Sec. Johnson and Dep. Sec. Mayorkas

January 16, 2014

 

The Honorable Jeh Johnson

Secretary

Department of Homeland Security

 

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas

Deputy Secretary

Department of Homeland Security

 

Dear Secretary Johnson and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas:

On behalf of the undersigned national faith, labor, civil rights, civil liberties and immigration services and advocacy organizations, we congratulate you on your appointments and recent confirmations.  We look forward to working with you toward the advancement of immigration policy and practice, and welcome your support of legislative immigration reform.  We write today, however, to request a meeting to discuss the urgent need for further DHS administrative efforts to reform its policies and practices with respect to immigration enforcement.  Our organizations and the people we serve have witnessed the painful and deleterious effects that aggressive and poorly targeted immigration enforcement has had on our families, communities, and the country as a whole.  We ask that you make it your top immigration priority to examine enforcement practices in all immigration agencies to ensure that the investigation, arrest, detention, and removal of individuals is conducted in a humane, consistent, and measured manner with strong due process and civil liberties protections.  

While fundamental changes to the immigration system require legislative reform, the enforcement policies and practices established by DHS are squarely within the control of the executive branch.  By reforming immigration enforcement priorities and practices, DHS can reverse or slow the harm done to families and communities by uncoordinated and unrealistic enforcement goals.  For example, we strongly applaud the agency’s initiatives to provide affirmative protection from removal to specific individuals like DREAMers and military families.  In the paragraphs below, we offer suggestions that we believe will help move the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in that direction.  

 

Ensure Immigration Enforcement Is Carefully Targeted and Applied Consistently in the Field

Although Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reported a drop in removals for FY 2013, overall immigration enforcement continues at unprecedented levels.  By early 2014, ICE will have removed 2 million people during the course of the Obama administration, far exceeding the removal rates of any other administration.  Federal criminal prosecutions of immigration-related offenses—done with DHS cooperation—are also at the highest point in history, up 468 percent from 2003.  Immigration detention rates continue to rise and now total about 430,000 individuals each year, at a cost of $2 billion annually to American taxpayers. 

DHS and ICE have taken steps to focus enforcement resources on priority cases, issuing a series of memos and announcements in 2010 and 2011 on enforcement priorities and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.  These policy statements, however, are sometimes inconsistent and easily misinterpreted or manipulated.   Publicly ICE now claims that 98 percent of the individuals removed each year fall within its priorities for civil immigration enforcement, yet over 40 percent of those removed have no criminal background.  Though ICE asserts that it is pursuing a targeted enforcement strategy, it is still removing hundreds of thousands of people who contribute to our communities, have lived in the U.S. for years, and would qualify for legal status under reform legislation currently pending.  In the five years of the Obama administration, hundreds of thousands of parents of U.S. citizens have been removed.   

DHS has failed to realize its stated goals of targeting those who pose real threats to our communities or who have a demonstrated pattern of egregious immigration law violations.  For example, a “recent border crosser” is automatically considered a priority for removal even if other equities—such as overall length of time residing in the U.S., family ties, or the lack of a criminal record—would suggest that the individual merits prosecutorial discretion. Furthermore, certain ICE policies designate an individual with a single illegal entry as a priority for removal while others require an egregious record of immigration law violations.   When making decisions about enforcement and prosecutorial discretion, DHS should recognize that the desire to rejoin one’s family is what drives many people to return to the U.S. after they have been deported.  Finally, streamlined procedures that bypass immigration court and other due process protections, such as reinstatement, expedited removal, and administrative removal, are now used in the vast majority of removals.  These practices give little incentive for agents or ICE attorneys to examine whether the case falls within enforcement priorities or opportunity for the individual to obtain a fair review. 

With respect to prosecutorial discretion, agents and attorneys should be encouraged to exercise the most appropriate form of prosecutorial discretion and at the earliest appropriate time.  As specified in the June 2011 memo, this may include a wide range of decisions from an initial apprehension, to whether to file a Notice to Appear with the court, to a decision to appeal an immigration judge’s grant of relief. In particular, we urge DHS to establish a more favorable policy of granting deferred action in cases where removal hearings are still pending to ensure that individuals are able to obtain employment authorization. 

Even as DHS and ICE consider revising enforcement priorities, every effort should be made to ensure that the existing policies are implemented in the field. There are strong indications that ICE field agents and trial attorneys inconsistently apply established policies. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has yet to publish any prosecutorial discretion policy. Without adequate and consistent messaging regarding the administration’s commitment to smart, targeted enforcement, including the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, these principles will repeatedly fall by the wayside. We hope you will reexamine DHS’s current enforcement priorities with a view toward addressing these problems.

 

Reduce Reliance on Institutional Detention

No one should be deprived of liberty except as a last resort. Yet each day, thousands of noncitizens are held in DHS detention who pose no flight risk or threat to public safety and therefore should not have been detained in the first place, including asylum seekers and other vulnerable persons. ICE has underutilized much less costly and extremely effective alternatives to detention, such as release on recognizance, bond, electronic GPS technologies, and other monitoring and supervision methods.  These alternatives are standard practice in criminal justice systems across the country. While institutional detention costs the American taxpayer an estimated $159 per person per day, release on recognizance, community based support services or bond does not carry an expense and other alternatives cost from pennies to around $18 per person per day and impose fewer restraints on liberty. Compared to billions spent annually on detention, alternatives represent a smarter, less costly, and more humane way to ensure compliance with immigration laws. 

Importantly many detainees, including lawful permanent residents and asylum seekers, are held in detention without ever receiving a custody determination hearing before a judge—a fundamental deprivation of due process. ICE and the immigration court system have the authority and capacity to provide more prompt bond hearings for detainees.  Moreover, ICE currently allows only for the use of institutional detention for those individuals who it is legally required to hold in custody. This policy has foreclosed the option that ICE could use alternatives to detention on large numbers, likely tens of thousands, of individuals. ICE should not waste limited resources to needlessly detain immigrants who could successfully and safely be released.  It should screen such detainees for eligibility for alternatives.   

The purpose of ICE detention is to ensure that people appear for hearings and comply with final orders.  ICE’s goals can be achieved at far less financial expense – and with less harm to families and communities across the country. We hope you will work actively with ICE to ensure alternatives to detention are implemented more frequently instead of institutional detention. 

 

Detainers and Other Cooperation with State/Local Law Enforcement

Despite significant evidence that federal and state/local immigration enforcement partnerships drive immigrants into the removal system, undermine community policing efforts, and make immigrant communities more vulnerable to crime, DHS has continued to expand its involvement with state and local law enforcement agencies.  ICE programs that partner with local law enforcement, such as Secure Communities, the Criminal Alien Program (CAP), and 287(g) agreements– along with the immigration detainers (sometimes called “ICE holds”) upon which they rely – have been widely criticized due to their negative impact on community policing, susceptibility to racial profiling, lack of transparency, and indiscriminate approach to immigration enforcement.  

We remain particularly concerned about ICE’s practice and policy regarding detainers, which continue to be a central component of civil immigration enforcement. The number of detainers issued by ICE has ballooned in just a few years, from less than 15,000 in FY2007 to 273,982 in FY2012. Yet despite the central role they play in federal civil immigration enforcement, DHS has published almost no data on detainers, despite promises to provide such information.  Furthermore, individuals with minimal or no criminal histories are frequently subject to detainers, raising concerns that prosecutorial discretion is not being properly implemented at the detainer stage.  In fact, United States citizens have also been the subject of detainers, which has prompted costly litigation.  In December 2012, ICE issued new policy guidance on detainers, but still more needs to be done to ensure that detainers focus on the agency’s highest priorities—public safety and national security—and at the same time protect the due process and constitutional rights of citizens and noncitizens alike. We urge you to examine and revise the current detainer policies, guidelines and implementing forms, develop centralized detainer review procedures, and ensure increased transparency around detainer usage.  

 

Strengthen Oversight of CBP Activities

Enforcement practices by CBP have raised serious concerns, most notably the continuing reports of improper use of force, including lethal force, by Border Patrol. Abusive CBP detention practices—including keeping facilities at dangerously cold temperatures, verbal and physical intimidation, and lack of basic health and hygiene provisions—are routinely reported by men, women, and children held at ports of entry or in Border Patrol detention facilities. Moreover, CBP lags years behind ICE in evaluating and reforming its detention facilities which are used on a short-term basis for border apprehensions. Widespread reports of racially motivated arrests, coercive interrogation tactics, and denial of the right to counsel are also of concern. These problems, which undermine the rights of both citizens and noncitizens, are made worse by the lack of any uniform or effective complaint mechanism to address misconduct by CBP officers. 

In addition, as noted above, CBP has yet to publish any policy concerning prosecutorial discretion, a DHS initiative that was supported by the White House and was intended to extend to all immigration enforcement agencies. Earnest efforts will be needed to bring the practices of CBP in line with the broader directives of the agency.  

Finally, over 100,000 individuals were removed last year through the summary “expedited removal” procedure, without ever seeing an immigration judge and with virtually no legal process. We have grave concerns about how the expedited removal process is being carried out, including its impact on asylum seekers.  Border Patrol agents often fail to ask whether an individual has a fear of returning to his or her home country before ordering them removed, and even deny individuals who do express such a fear the ability to start the asylum application process.  We urge you to conduct a thorough review of this practice and limit its application to far more narrow circumstances. 

 

Ensure that workplace enforcement enhances and does not harm the interests of workers

Given limited resources, it is important to ensure that workplace enforcement efforts—including I-9 audits—enhance, rather than undermine, the wages and working conditions of U.S. and immigrant workers. ICE has policies in place to avoid interfering in a labor dispute, and those should be updated and strengthened. ICE should also develop policies to deprioritize enforcement against law abiding companies that are industry leaders in wages, benefits, and treatment of workers. Targeting such employers for immigration enforcement puts downward pressure on the wage structure for the entire workforce.  Finally, ICE should review its confidentiality restrictions to ensure that workers who are affected by immigration enforcement actions are able to obtain the information they need to protect their rights. 

Taken together, these issues detract from the administration’s support for immigration reform and exacerbate serious due process and civil liberties problems in the enforcement system.  Within each of these categories, the necessity of review and reform is critical. We look forward to discussing these issues with you in the coming weeks.  If you would like further information, please contact Gregory Chen, Director of Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association, at 202-507-7615 or these issues with you in the coming weeks.  If you would like further information, please contact Gregory Chen, Director of Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association, at 202-507-7615 or these issues with you in the coming weeks.  If you would like further information, please contact Gregory Chen, Director of Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association, at 202-507-7615 or

 

Sincerely,

 

AFL-CIO

American Civil Liberties Union

American Immigration Council

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. 

Center for American Progress

Center for Community Change

Detention Watch Network

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

National Council of La Raza

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Forum

National Immigration Law Center

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers’ Guild

Service Employees International Union

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Southern Affiliates Share Wisdom and Strategies for State-Level Immigration Advocacy

By Jen Riddle

 

The second morning of last month’s Southeast Legalization Planning Conference was devoted to state and local level advocacy around various immigration issues.  The day opened with conference participants sharing updates about legislation and trends from each of the nine Southeastern states.  This was followed by two panel discussions: the first addressing advocacy tools and strategies for promoting positive measures for immigrants, and the second discussing the unauthorized practice of immigration law and strategies for combating this pervasive problem and protecting victims. Below are a few of the lessons learned from affiliates’ and advocates’ discussions that may be of interest to other parts of the country as well.

The Power of Unlikely Coalitions

Both conference participants and panelists stressed the important role that creative coalitions can play in the advancement of pro-immigrant measures. For example, an unlikely ally of a driver’s license bill mentioned by the Associate Director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky was hospital lobbyists who support all drivers having photo identification in the case of an accident.  A Louisiana affiliate spoke about local priests and nursery workers uniting to support driver’s licenses for undocumented agricultural workers. On a national level, Bibles, Badges and Business is an alliance of conservative faith, law enforcement, and business constituencies in the Southeast, Midwest, and Mountain West committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform. Reaching outside the usual immigrant advocacy community can be effective in changing legislators’ minds on issues important to immigrant communities.   

Advocacy Approaches on Enforcement Issues Will Vary from County to County

Affiliates seemed to agree that the extent to which local law enforcement agencies engaged in immigration enforcement varied drastically from county to county.  They mentioned aggressive police and sheriff collaboration with ICE in such jurisdictions asCobb County, Georgia; Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; and Mobile, Alabama, ranging from trailer park sweeps to restaurant raids to Sunday afternoon roadblocks.  One affiliate mentioned the possible deterrent effect of a racial profiling lawsuit brought by Latino drivers against the city of Alexander, Arkansas. Several affiliates reported difficulties obtaining U visa certification from law enforcement in certain jurisdictions including a protocol in Harrison County, Mississippi of refusing to sign certifications until the criminal case is completed.  In such hostile areas, affiliates may wish to consult CLINIC’s Toolkit for Communities to Advocate Against ICE Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement Agencies. On the flip side, advocates in Jackson, Mississippi are petitioning the mayor and police department to lead cultural competency trainings for local law enforcement and the Burlington Police Department in North Carolina is assisting low income individuals with income tax preparation through the VITA program.  In jurisdictions with sympathetic local leaders, immigrant advocates can focus on cultivatingpartnerships and alliances with mayors and police departments.

You Don’t Always Need to Pass a Law

Despite the unprecedented number of states that enacted pro-immigrant legislation in 2013, there are states in which such laws simply will not garner the necessary bipartisan support for passage.  In those regions, it may be futile to advocate for a state-wide driver’s license bill, TRUST act, or tuition equity law.  Instead, advocates recommended focusing on changing the practices of individual institutions or actors – for example, convincing specific community colleges to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students or pushing certain municipalities to limit compliance with ICE detainers.  Likewise, an advocate from Louisiana spoke about her efforts to discretely convince state agencies to enforce a 2003 law that had never been put into effect to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented agricultural workers, rather than introducing a new bill. When positive policies can be implemented on the ground, it may be wiser to let such practices continue quietly rather than endangering their continuation by pushing to institutionalize them on a legislative level. 

The Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law is More Nuanced Than We Think

When we hear the term “unauthorized practice” we tend to think about notario publicos preying upon innocent immigrants and misleading them about their options for relief.  Yet, many conference participants shared stories of clients whose immigration cases were inadvertently harmed by well-intentioned community members (teachers, priests, parishioners) attempting to assist them. Tax preparers were also mentioned as frequent scammers. In addition to pushing state laws regulating the provision of immigration services and protecting would-be victims of immigration fraud, significant education and outreach is needed to explain to immigrants and community members the many permutations of the unauthorized practice of immigration law and how to avoid not only becoming a victim but becoming an unsuspecting perpetrator.    

Bring Your Bishop On Board

An advocate from Arkansas highlighted the impact of presenting a letter from Little Rock Bishop Anthony Taylor to state legislators who were introducing an omnibus anti-immigrant bill in 2008.  The power of an active Bishop in state and local advocacy should not be underestimated. Affiliates agreed there were opportunities in many dioceses for improved collaboration with State Catholic Conferences to educate Bishops on immigration issues and encourage them to write letters or op-eds supporting pro-immigrant policies as well as help find funding for legalization and other initiatives.  CLINIC can help by sharing sample talking points and drafting op-eds.  CLINIC has also commissioned a demographic survey from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) on immigrants in the United States, and will be sharing diocesan-specific data with each Bishop.  As a CLINIC affiliate, you also have access to this information here:

Really Get To Know Your Elected Officials

According to Representative Pedro Marin of Georgia, a panelist at the conference, elected officials don’t always vote with their constituents but sometimes vote based on their own ethics. One key to swaying a state legislator is finding a personal hook. The Associate Director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke about a meeting with a state legislator considering sponsoring a 2011 omnibus anti-immigrant bill. This politician was a construction contractor by profession. After being reminded of the role the Latino population played in rebuilding homes after Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav and better understanding how the bill would restrict the hiring practices of contractors reliant on immigrant labor, the legislator reconsidered his support of the bill.

The Importance of Messaging and Putting a Human Face on the Issue

Related to the previous tip about getting to know your elected representative, affiliates stressed the importance of spinning an issue in a way that will resonate with individual lawmakers.  Often times, it makes sense to sell a legislative proposal not as an immigration issue but as a bill to improve education, strengthen families, protect public safety, or enhance economic development for the state and all its residents.  As Catholic organizations, we bring a unique perspective to immigration issues and can draw from themes of Catholic Social teaching.  For example, speaking recently about the need for immigration reform, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles reminded us that “we don’t get our dignity from having the proper documents or the right paperwork.  Our human dignity comes from God.”  Finally, affiliates emphasized the power of putting a human face on the issue.  For example, when advocating on behalf of in-state tuition for all students regardless of immigration status, we can submit letters from DREAMers about the meaning of education in their lives or bring them to meetings with legislators to share their personal stories.

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EOIR Announces Implementation Guidance for Its Program to Protect Incompetent Respondents

By Bradley Jenkins*

On December 31, 2013, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) released guidance to the nation’s immigration judges entitled “Phase I of Plan to Provide Enhanced Procedural Protection to Unrepresented Detained Respondents with Mental Disorders.”  This guidance is the latest chapter in EOIR’s ongoing effort to reform how the agency handles the cases of persons with mental disorders who are placed into removal proceedings.

Background

For the past several years, both the immigrant advocacy community and EOIR have been pursuing substantial reform in the way that removal proceedings are conducted when the respondent suffers from a severe form of mental illness.  In 2011, the Board of Immigration Appeals decided Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 474 (BIA 2011), setting forth a legal framework to (1) adjudicate  whether a noncitizen is competent to participate in removal proceedings and (2) if the respondent is incompetent, implement safeguards to ensure that the proceedings are fundamentally fair.  On April 22, 2013, both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and EOIR announced, in general terms, the agencies’ plans to implement policy reforms by the end of 2013.  Further, on April 23, 2013, the United States District Court for the Central District of California entered a permanent injunction in the class action case of Franco-Gonzales v. Holder, making certain reforms mandatory for incompetent detainees in Arizona, California, and Washington.  The December 31st guidance represents the implementation of the EOIR’s April 22nd policy directive.

EOIR’s Guidance

EOIR’s new guidance clarifies the legal standard for competence and provides a detailed course of action for immigration judges adjudicating the cases of detained, unrepresented immigrants who show signs of a mental disorder.

Clarification of Definition of Competence

EOIR’s “Phase I” guidance clarifies the definition of competence in the context of an unrepresented respondent.  The guidance states that, where the respondent is unrepresented, he or she must be “competent to represent him- or herself in a removal or custody redetermination proceeding,” i.e. he or she must “be able to meaningfully participate in the proceedings and perform the functions necessary for self-representation.  The guidance lists eight “competencies” that an unrepresented litigant must possess:

A rational and factual understanding of:

  • The nature and object of the proceeding;
  • The privilege of representation, including but not limited to, the ability to consult with a representative if one is present;
  • The right to present, examine, and object to evidence;
  • The right to cross-examine witnesses; and
  • The right to appeal

A reasonable ability to:

  • Make decisions about asserting and waiving rights;
  • Respond to the allegations and charges in the proceedings; and
  • Present information and respond to questions relevant to eligibility for relief.

If an unrepresented litigant is unable, because of a mental disorder, to perform any one of these enumerated functions, he or she is incompetent to represent him- or herself.  For example, if the respondent shows that she has a rational and factual understanding of the removal proceedings, but, due to a mental disorder, does not have a reasonable ability to present information and respond to questions about an asylum claim, she is incompetent to represent herself.  This guidance is significantly more robust than that in Matter of M-A-M-, which merely provided that an unrepresented respondent must have “a rational and factual understanding of the nature and object of the proceedings” and have “a reasonable opportunity to examine and present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.” 25 I&N Dec. 474, 479 (BIA 2011).

Competency Determination Procedure

The Phase I guidance articulates three stages of inquiry into the competency of an unrepresented, detained respondent: detecting facts suggesting incompetency, conducting a judicial inquiry, and conducting a competency review.

The detection stage is characterized by an immigration judge’s responsibility to “be vigilant at all times for indicia of a mental disorder” that significantly impairs a respondent’s competency.  While the respondent is presumed to be competent, see M-A-M-. 25 I&N Dec. at 477, the guidance instructs immigration judges to be alert in every case for behaviors or other evidence that the respondent may be incompetent.   The guidance provides several examples of facts that indicate that a person may be incompetent, such as past or current evidence of interventions related to mental disorder and courtroom behavior suggesting mental disorder.  The guidance also reiterates DHS’s obligation to provide the court with relevant materials obtained or created in its role as a custodian and prosecutor that would inform the court about the respondent’s mental competency.

The detection stage is passive and applies to every case.  Where the immigration court, in performing its detection function (and informed by mandatory DHS disclosures), has a “bona fide doubt” about the respondent’s competency to represent himself, the immigration judge should proceed to a pro-active “judicial inquiry.”  During a judicial inquiry, the immigration judge poses questions to the respondent designed to explore whether he or she possesses each of the eight competencies discussed above.  The purpose of the judicial inquiry is to permit the immigration judge to make an informed decision about whether the respondent’s competency is “at issue.” 

At the end of the judicial inquiry, it is possible that the immigration judge has enough information to conclude that the respondent is either competent or incompetent.  However, if, at the conclusion of the judicial inquiry, there is “reasonable cause” to believe that the respondent is suffering from a mental disorder that impairs his or her ability to represent him- or herself, then the immigration judge should conduct a formal competency review.  A competency review includes the testimony of a mental health expert who will be appointed at the court’s expense to evaluate the respondent’s functional capacities.  The guidance provides extensive substantive standards to regulate the use of these court experts.

Benefits Provided

If, at either the judicial inquiry or the competency review stage, the immigration judge determines that an unrepresented, detained respondent is incompetent to represent him- or herself, then the Immigration Court will provide a qualified representative.  The guidance instructs immigration judges to consider whether the provision of a qualified representative is a sufficiently “effective safeguard.”  Immigration judges retain the authority to provide any other appropriate safeguards to ensure the fundamental fairness of the immigration proceeding.

 

The Phase I guidance does not address the portion of the April 22, 2013 directive that indicated that all detained incompetent individuals will receive bond hearings after six months of detention.

Limitations on Use of the Guidance

It must be noted that, as a formal matter, the Phase I guidance only applies to respondents who are both (1) detained and (2) unrepresented.  However, much of the guidance should still be very useful where the respondent is on the nondetained docket or has representation.  For example, there is no reason a nondetained, but unrepresented, respondent should not benefit from the more nuanced understanding of “competence to represent oneself” articulated in this guidance.  However, persons with representation, whether detained or not, will likely still be held to the ability to consult with counsel standard articulated in M-A-M-. 25 I&N Dec. at 479.  Further, DHS has not yet supplemented its April 22, 2013 memorandum with the particular procedures it will be using to comply with its mental health screening and information sharing obligations.

CLINIC remains committed to ensuring that all immigrants are treated fairly in removal proceedings.  Continued expansion of protections for vulnerable populations, including the mentally incapacitated, is a key advocacy priority for 2014.

* Bradley Jenkins is an attorney in CLINIC’s Advocacy Department and the coordinator for the BIA Pro Bono Project.  The Pro Bono Project often represents clients with severe forms of mental illness and a Pro Bono Project volunteer provided representation in the original M-A-M- case.

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2D Barcode Technology and Third-Party Software Compatibility

By Allison Posner

 

On November 6, 2013, USCIS held a stakeholder engagement on its new 2D barcode technology.  The new technology is part of the agency’s Forms Improvement Initiative, intended to enhance the agency’s ability to conduct intake at the lockboxes quickly and accurately.

Barcodes will be added initially to the most high-volume forms: I-90, G-28, and I-131.  The agency plans to add the barcodes to additional forms as they come up for revision.  The next form to be barcoded will be the N-400, followed by the I-821, I-765, I-130, and I-485. 

Data typed into the forms will be readable in a barcode at the bottom of each page.  USCIS will scan the barcodes and upload the data directly to its system.

Applicants may change or delete information from a partially completed form; the barcode will change to reflect the changes.  Further, applicants may change information on one page of the form after it has been completed and printed out.  There is no need to re-do the entire form.  The barcodes are page-specific. 

USCIS is looking into technical issues that have arisen through use of the barcoded forms, including problems from damaging or attaching anything to the form; fields left blank causing data to shift; and handwritten information not able to be captured.  The system will automatically check the first three fields on each form; if the information there does not look accurate, the form data will be entered into the system manually.  The agency has put together a working group to address issues as they come up.

The agency confirmed that where a submitted Form G-28 is incomplete or otherwise contains errors, officers are instructed to place the form in the A-file, but not to honor it.  It is important to note that currently, USCIS does not contact the attorney or applicant to let them know that the form is incomplete and not being honored.  The agency is looking into options for letting the applicant know.

At this time, the agency is encouraging applicants to use the fillable forms on its website, though use of the barcoded forms is not yet required.  Applicants should not, however, provide both typed information and handwritten information on one application. 

USCIS will consider further stakeholder engagements on this issue, as well as additional information, such as FAQs on the website.

USCIS has posted the 2D barcode requirements and specifications for third-party vendors’ use to accurately reproduce the barcode.  That page will be updated as additional forms containing the 2D barcode are published.

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Bradley Jenkins

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. At CLINIC, we are ever mindful of the need to advocate for the protection of the most vulnerable immigrants. Those who are detained face significant barriers to asserting their legal claims to remain in the United States. People living with mental disabilities are doubly vulnerable and face an impossible task when the government seeks to expel them from the country. Indeed, disabled immigrants often merit humanitarian protection precisely because of their heightened vulnerability, but may be unable to articulate their need for protection to the authorities.

Documenting Immigration Abuse

With the support of the Four Freedoms Fund, and in conjunction with other immigrant right organizations,[1] CLINIC is tracking trends in immigration enforcement abuse in order to form a litigation strategy.  To support this goal, CLINIC is asking affiliates to share information about cases that may be in need of litigation before state, local, and federal court systems. 

CLINIC will be tracking several different types of abuses against immigrants in the context of immigration enforcement by federal or local authorities.  The cases might include issues such as:

  • Depriving a person of the opportunity to contact a lawyer after an arrest
  • Racial or ethnic profiling during a traffic stop leading to an encounter with ICE
  • A traffic stop by police without any legal basis, in which the police turn over the driver or passengers to ICE
  • Physical or psychological abuse during an encounter with ICE or local authorities enforcing immigration laws
  • Failure to provide an interpreter to a person who speaks little English
  • ICE exceeding the scope of a warrant in searching a home or workplace (e.g., improper questioning or search of occupants or workers)

 

If your organization has a case involving immigration enforcement abuse, please fill out the form below.  CLINIC will compile the information about cases it receives.  If the case meets CLINIC’s litigation criteria, CLINIC may ask for more information and share information about the case with partnering organizations and law firms. Please note that CLINIC is compiling this data for informational purposes. Submission of this form does not guarantee that CLINIC will attempt to match or litigate your case.

If you would like to submit information for consideration by CLINIC, please complete this form.

Litigation Assessment Form

 

 

For more information, please contact Bradley Jenkins, Advocacy Attorney at bjenkins@cliniclegal.org or 301-556-4820.

 

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[1] The following groups are involved in this Four Freedoms Fund initiative:  the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project, the American Immigration Council (AIC), the Detention Watch Network (DWN), the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).

 

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CLINIC supports the legislative advocacy efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Migration and Refugee Services, including the priorities outlined below. 

 

1. Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Broad reform, including an earned legalization program, remains the best way to achieve meaningful reform for the greatest number.  The manner in which this reform is implemented will be vital to its success.   CLINIC recommends that the following elements be included in immigration reform legislation to ensure that the program is implemented effectively:

  • Confidentiality.   Applicants for legalization should be extended confidentiality and not be subject to arrest and deportation if they fail to qualify for the program after making themselves known to the government.   This would ensure maximum participation in the program and that those who do qualify are not discouraged or intimidated from applying.
  • Reasonable Implementation Period.  Sufficient time should be given between passage and implementation so that regulations, procedures, and infrastructure are in place.   Deportations of prospective applicants should be suspended between these two dates.
  • Derivative Benefits.    Immediate family members should receive the same immigration benefits under legalization as the primary beneficiary.
  • A Simple and Broad Registration Process.  Such a process would bring forward eligible applicants for preliminary security screening.
  • Generous Eligibility.  The cut-off date (date by which eligible individuals must have entered the United States) should be as close to the date of implementation as possible.  Additionally, individuals who achieve Registered Provisional Immigrant status should not be prohibited from applying for other forms of immigration relief.
  • Generous Evidentiary Standards.   For purposes of verifying an applicant’s eligibility for legalization, evidentiary standards should be based upon “preponderance of the evidence” and should include a wide range of proof, including attestation.
  • Broad Humanitarian Waiver.   A broad waiver of bars to admissibility, such as unlawful presence, fraud, and offenses related to unauthorized status, should be included in the legislation.
  • Increased Resources for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). In order to meet the need for qualified, competent legal services, rapid adjudication of applications for Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Recognition and Accreditation will be necessary.  Funding for EOIR should be generously appropriated ahead of the program’s implementation.
  • Funding for Legal Services.Funding for BIA recognized agencies should be authorized prior to implementation, to conduct public outreach and to build the capacity of legal services agencies.
  • Funding to Assist Service Providers and Potential Applicants to Meet Program Requirements.  Funds should be allocated to organizations that will assist immigrants to become eligible for the legalization program, including for providing civics and ESL instruction.

In addition, comprehensive immigration reform legislation must include changes to the Special Immigrant Religious Worker program.  The program is set to expire on September 30, 2015.  Eliminating the sunset provision and making it a permanent program would alleviate the need for USCIS to suspend processing of these religious worker cases between expiration of the current program and enactment of an extension, as has been done in the past, resulting in delays and confusion that harm Catholic dioceses and religious communities and those they serve. 

Further, amending the statute to permit portability of religious worker employment authorization would allow religious workers more flexibility in seeking and beginning new employment.  Religious workers should be permitted to begin working for a new employer upon the filing of a petition to change employer filed on the worker’s behalf.  Under the current law, a religious worker can only begin working for the new employer after the petition has been approved.  The time between filing and approval of the petition can be significant and often delays the employment start date.  Portability would allow diocesesan and religious community sponsors to accept new hires/members without delay.  It would save time and money (premium processing fees) for sponsors and religious workers and give them the flexibility that other foreign-born employees already have.  Individuals in the H-1B specialty occupation status have the benefit of employment portability. 

 

2. Extend Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 245(i) and Repeal Bars to Admission After Unlawful Presence

Some relief for people who have no immigration status would also come from extending section 245(i) of the INA, which allows individuals who entered the United States without inspection, and who had a petition filed on their behalf on or before April 30, 2001, with an opportunity to complete their applications for permanent residence in this country instead of having to be separated from their families completing the process abroad.   Additionally, CLINIC recommends repealing the bars to admission to the United States established in INA § 212(a)(9)(B) and (C).  These sections of law bar individuals who depart the United States after accruing 180 days or more of unlawful presence in the United States or who have previous removal orders from re-entering this country for a period of three or ten years.

 

3. Separate Federal Civil Immigration Enforcement from State and Local Criminal Law Enforcement

Through Secure Communities, the Criminal Alien Program, and the 287(g) Program, (named for the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act entitled “Performance of immigration officer functions by state officers and employees” that authorizes the program) local law enforcement agencies assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with duties that can range from helping to identify potentially removable non-citizens to issuing immigration detainers (or “holds”) and Notices to Appear (NTAs).  Given the complexity of immigration law and the limited federal supervision of local law enforcement agencies, these programs can lead to the deprivation of individuals’ constitutional and civil rights.  They also undermine community policing efforts by eroding trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities. Immigration is a federal responsibility and the civil enforcement of immigration laws should be left to the federal government and not transferred to local law enforcement authorities whose critical role must be to maintain public safety in their communities.  Congress should not penalize states or localities for limiting their engagement in civil immigration enforcement, which is a federal responsibility. 

Congress also should protect funding for the U.S. Department of Justice to continue to investigate and challenge state- and local-level immigration-related policies and practices that violate federal laws and the Constitution.  Legislation should be enacted that requires

transparent data collection and monitoring of the ICE ACCESS Programs and requiring that they be used solely as a post-conviction enforcement tool, in contrast to the Program’s current approach of investigating individuals at the time of arrest or booking.   The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has an Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.  However, that office does not have the authority to investigate these programs.  Congress should grant this authority and continue to call for investigations of problematic enforcement programs by the DHS Office of the Inspector General and by the Government Accountability Office. 

Finally, Congress should institute safeguards for families from the moment a detainer is issued, establishing protections for the children of individuals who are detained through these enforcement programs. 

 

4.  Reforms in the Immigration Detention System

Under current law, Immigration Judges lack jurisdiction to conduct bond hearings for a large number of individuals who have been placed in removal proceedings on criminal grounds.  INA § 236(c) mandates the detention of long-time lawful permanent residents with minor misdemeanors and individuals who were never sentenced to serve a single day in jail.  Immigration Judges must be permitted to use their discretion to make individualized assessments of the danger or flight risk of each and every individual detained by ICE.  Providing bond hearings will ensure that only the most dangerous and high priority criminals are detained.  Congress should restore the authority of Immigration Judges to exercise discretion to release people from detention based on the equities of each individual case.

ICE currently releases individuals from detention centers through its Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), which requires individuals to wear an ankle monitor.  This program should be recognized as an alternative form of detention which should be used solely for those who are mandatorily detained due to prior criminal history.  For individuals who are not required to be detained, Congress should mandate funds to establish non-penal community-based release programs, such as the pilot program established by the USCCB.

There is currently no federal legislation that requires compliance with ICE’s standards for treatment of individuals in detention. To ensure that these standards are enforceable, Congress should enact legislation to require compliance with certain critical sections such as those relating to medical and mental health care, telephone and law library access, visitation, mail, legal orientation presentations, and transfers by statute.

 

5.  Expand Funding for EOIR and Include the Recognition and Accreditation Program in Statute 

CLINIC has advocated with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) for years regarding federally-funded Legal Orientation Program (LOP) presentations and pro bono representation for detained immigrants.  CLINIC piloted the federal LOP program and in the past has received LOP funding for its work in California and Texas, and has worked with Catholic partner agencies to secure funding in locations throughout the country.  In 2010, CLINIC worked with EOIR to launch a program to provide legal orientation presentations to custodians of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), to inform them of their responsibilities in ensuring the child's appearance at all immigration proceedings, and to protect children from mistreatment, exploitation, and trafficking.

The LOP program has been extremely successful; however, it covers programs at only 24 detention facilities  nationwide, and it educates detainees but does not fund any legal representation of detainees.  CLINIC and its member agencies strongly support increased Congressional appropriations and report language specifically related to funding legal orientation presentations for custodians of children released from detention all across the country and at all facilities used by ICE to hold detainees for more than 72 hours.  An EOIR evaluation of legal orientation presentations found that they increase the efficiency of the detention and court systems, saving both time and money for the government. 

In addition, Congress should appropriate funds for a pro bono coordinator in each immigration court to coordinate pro bono representation.  Similarly, Congress should appropriate funds for the coordination of pro bono representation before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and for vulnerable groups, including children. 

By increasing funding for LOPs and pro bono coordination, Congress would increase the number of individuals who receive legal orientation, as well as saving the government resources.  Pro bono coordination enhances efficiency, helps to protect the integrity of our justice system, and leads to increased representation in particularly meritorious cases. 

The number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts climbed to over 344,000 by the end of fiscal year 2013, according to data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. The case backlog, which has risen 5.9% since September 2012, is now 85% higher than it was five years ago.  Wait times have also lengthened. The average time these pending cases have been waiting in the Immigration Courts is now 562 days.  Additional federal funding is required to increase the number of immigration court judges, courtrooms, and staff and reduce the unacceptable and still increasing backlogs in immigration courts.

Finally, BIA recognition and accreditation is the Department of Justice’s certification of charitable immigration agencies and staff.  Such certification allows non-attorneys to practice immigration law before the Department of Homeland Security and the immigration courts. Regulations governing recognition and accreditation can be found at 8 CFR Section 292.2, but the program is vulnerable because it is not established by statute.  The recognition and accreditation program will be vital to establishing the capacity to serve millions of individuals in need of charitable legal services.  Congress should pass a law codifying the program, preserving and protecting it.  

 

6.  Require appointed counsel for particularly vulnerable individuals in removal proceedings

Under federal law, persons in removal proceedings have a right to counsel at their own expense.    Government-appointed counsel throughout the removal process would serve the government’s interest by promoting better prepared cases, more efficient proceedings, shorter detention periods, and correct legal decisions. At least one federal court has recognized that in certain cases government-funded representation should be required and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have established a nationwide policy for unrepresented immigration detainees who have serious mental disorders or conditions that render them incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.  The INA’s “at no expense to the government” statute (§ 292) should be amended to include an exception for particularly vulnerable groups, including indigent minors and individuals who are mentally ill, impaired, or otherwise incompetent. In addition, legislation should create a government-funded program to coordinate pro bono representation for all indigent, unrepresented individuals.

 

7Provide Asylees With Information About Services and Restore Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility

The National Asylee Information and Referral Line was a toll-free hotline initiated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in 2000 as a way to bring asylees into ORR programs and ensure access to resettlement services by this vulnerable population.  The hotline served to link newly granted asylees with key benefits and services for which they are statutorily eligible, such as temporary cash and medical assistance, job placement assistance, and English language classes. Since asylees are not sponsored by refugee resettlement agencies, they typically are unaware of these time-limited benefits and services that help to facilitate early self-sufficiency and integration.  The referral line provided a single, centralized, and multi-lingual source of accurate information and prompt referrals to local resettlement service providers.  The same conditions that necessitated the creation of the asylee referral line 13 years ago still exist today.  Over 11 years, the hotline served over 39,000 asylees (typically about 300 callers per month) in 18 languages, and provided tens of thousands of referrals to local service providers.  Congress should appropriate funding for ORR to reinstate the hotline by contracting out its day-to-day operations.

The 2008 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act expired in 2011, leaving an estimated 5,600 elderly and disabled asylees and refugees without crucial benefits.  The law provided a temporary extension of the seven-year limit on SSI benefits imposed by welfare reform laws for elderly and disabled non-citizen asylees and refugees who are pursuing naturalization.  Once they are citizens, they are no longer subject to the time limit on SSI.  However, many vulnerable individuals are unable to meet the English language requirements for naturalization and do not qualify for a disability waiver.  The loss of SSI is a major hardship for these individuals, who are unable to work due to advanced age or disability.  They fled persecution, violence, or even torture and were offered protection by the U.S. government.  A permanent extension of the program would fulfill the United States’ promise of protection to this group of asylees and refugees, and prevent them from falling into extreme poverty. 

 

8.  Waive the English Language Requirement for Naturalization Applicants Aged Sixty and Over

Congress should extend the waiver of the English language requirement for naturalization applicants (8 CFR 312.1(b)) to cover all elderly citizenship applicants who are aged 60 and over (regardless of the number of years of lawful permanent residence). This change would allow most elderly or disabled refugees who are losing SSI, as well as other vulnerable elders, to meet the naturalization testing requirements by taking the history/civics test in their native language. Further, it would provide the elderly with an option to learn U.S. history and civics in their native language, improving their ability to become informed and engaged U.S. citizens.

 

9.  Expand the Mandate of and Increase Funding to USCIS’s Office of Citizenship

Citizenship and immigrant integration is a high priority for CLINIC’s network.  In particular, Congress should expand the Office of Citizenship’s mandate to allow it to actively promote naturalization, rather than just provide information about the test and the process.  Congress must also continue to fund the Office to direct its national citizenship program. This program should continue to provide free citizenship information and educational materials.  Funding should continue to be appropriated that would allow the Office of Citizenship the flexibility to provide grants to charitable networks and immigration programs as part of a coordinated national citizenship program.  The national citizenship program supports ESL and citizenship classes; outreach regarding citizenship services, the naturalization process, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; naturalization application assistance; and training and technical assistance to charitable organizations that provide ESL-citizenship classes and naturalization legal assistance.

 

10. Advocate for a Technical Amendment to the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)

The CSPA does much to protect children to prevent them from aging out of eligibility to adjust status to permanent resident by adjusting their age based on a calculation of how long the petition on their behalf has been pending.  However, a Board of Immigration Appeals decision states that the Act does not protect the children of permanent residents who naturalize and become U.S. citizens.  The children are automatically converted to the first family-based (F1) preference category – whether or not that category has a longer backlog than the category they were part of before their parents naturalized.  These children are, in effect, being punished as an unintended consequence of their parents achieving U.S. citizenship.  For example, the backlog for individuals from Mexico is mere months for the F2A category, and 10 years for the F1 category.  A technical correction to the CSPA can alleviate this burden.  In fact, the CSPA already includes a provision to ensure that children from the Philippines are not penalized when their parents naturalize.  They are permitted to opt out of the automatic conversion to the first family-based preference category and permitted to choose the preference category which results in the shortest waiting time for a current priority date.  Congress should act to extend this opt-out provision to anyone whose conversion to the F1 category would result in a longer wait for adjustment of status.

 

11.  Identify and Advocate for Legislative Solutions That Will Lead to Greater Federal Funding For USCIS

CLINIC’s member agencies have identified USCIS processing times and repeated fee increases as systemic problems in need of reform.  Two issues worthy of additional exploration are outlined here.  USCIS does not have automatic access to revenue that exceeds its annual budget.  Instead, Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are required to approve USCIS’s access to such revenue.  By eliminating this requirement, USCIS could more readily access revenue (from unanticipated filing surges) that exceeds its budget.

In addition, impending fee increases often lead to surges in application filings, which ultimately result in processing delays.  Congress should authorize regular, annual appropriations for USCIS to support application processing costs, including the costs of processing of humanitarian applications/petitions for which the agency charges no fees (asylum and refugee services, U-visa applications, military naturalization applications, etc.).  Such an appropriation would eliminate the need for the surcharge on all other USCIS applications/petitions and help to offset the cost of application/petition filings when the agency raises fees.  It would also allow USCIS to decrease the cost of filing the N-400 Application for Naturalization, which would encourage more individuals to apply.

 

Each year CLINIC presents its Administrative Advocacy Priorities for the coming year to the board of directors for review and approval. These priorities serve as a guide for the work of CLINIC’s Advocacy section and the Executive Office in its dealings with USCCB, the federal government, and nongovernmental partners. The full list of Administrative Advocacy Priorities follows.

 

For 2014, many of the priorities remain the same in substance as in previous years. These include items related to immigration reform, benefits, and federal immigration enforcement and detention practices. 

 

Items of particular importance to CLINIC for 2014 include:

  • Advocating for broad and fair adjudication of applications for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers;
  • Active participation in the Administration’s efforts to inform immigrants about and mitigate the harm caused by the unauthorized practice of immigration law;
  • Improvements to immigration detainees’ access to telephones, particularly to contact legal counsel;
  • Continued advocacy for legal protections for the most vulnerable among us, including the mentally incapacitated and children;
  • Support for CLINIC programs assisting individuals released from detention through the pilot project conducted by USCCB and ICE; and
  • Assisting state-level advocates to promote legislation that would assist immigrants and support their integration into our communities. 

 

 

The activities below are categorized according to the following criteria:

Category 1:     Very important issue to CLINIC and its network, and policymakers will likely be open to our efforts this year.  Proactive approach needed, involving research, documentation, active advocacy, and public education, including use of media as appropriate, to effect change.

Category 2:     Very important issue but administrative advocacy at this time will not likely result in positive change, due to the current political climate.  We will continue to document the issue and conduct advocacy as appropriate.

Category 3:     Important issue, to CLINIC and its network, and policymakers will likely be open to our efforts this year.  A proactive advocacy approach is needed.

Category 4:     Important issue but administrative advocacy at this time will not likely result in positive change, due to the current political climate.  We will continue to document the issue and advocate as appropriate.

Category 5:     Indicates an issue of great importance to CLINIC but which needs to be solved primarily through legislation. CLINIC does not work on federal legislation but will continue to stress this as a priority issue with MRS.

 

Immigration Reform

  • Advocate for immigration reform through collaboration with the Justice for Immigrants (JFI)Campaign. Share legal expertise and the experiences of CLINIC’s network at meetings and through webinars and conferences to educate grassroots advocates.  (1)

  • Work with MRS in providing feedback and analysis on pending legislation, and raising the concerns of member agencies on issues that need to be included in any immigration bill to advocate that any proposed reform include simple and broad eligibility requirements, provisions for maintaining the confidentiality of information shared with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and funding for nonprofit legal services and legal orientation programs. (5)

Immigration Benefits

  • Work with CLINIC affiliates to identify individual and systemic problems with application processing and adjudication at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service centers and district offices.  Recommend solutions to resolve issues such as: petitioners that go for years with no communication from the agency; notices not received by petitioners or their representatives; overly burdensome or repetitive Requests for Evidence; inappropriately long delays in adjudication; and erroneous case decisions. (1)

  • Urge DHS to revisit USCIS’s interpretation of the section of its Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver regulation that prohibits eligibility if USCIS has "reason to believe" that the applicant may be subject to a ground of inadmissibility other than inadmissibility based on unlawful presence.  Seek re-training for adjudicators and re-opening of cases improperly denied based on the “reason to believe” standard.   (1)

  • Advocate for expansion of USCIS’s Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver to include individuals in the family preference categories, individuals with grounds of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence, and individuals whose Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship due to separation. (2)

  • Urge USCIS to adjudicate waiver requests consistently, quickly, and fairly, to reduce the time that families are separated.  Urge USCIS to meet or exceed a goal of adjudication within 3 months.  (1)

  • Monitor the application of the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) and litigation arising related to its application. Advocate that USCIS extend benefits under the CSPA (automatic conversion and retention of priority dates) to aged-out derivative beneficiaries to ensure that children and families are treated consistently throughout the country. (3)

  • Monitor the implementation of INA 204(l), related to survivor benefits, and work with USCIS to ensure transparency in adjudications.  Urge the agency to interpret the statute generously, adjudicating applications for adjustment of status filed after the death of the petitioner.  (3)

  • Advocate for TPS, Parole in Place, and other forms of relief for specific populations whenever there is a humanitarian need that prevents a country’s residents from returning there safely. (3)

  • Monitor the adjudication of applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to ensure that requests are handled in a timely manner, and consistently throughout service processing centers.  Continue to advise USCIS on eligibility criteria.  (1)

  • Monitor the quality and consistency of services provided to naturalization applicants both nationally and in district offices. Ensure that fee waiver applications are consistently adjudicated according to agency policy and that the process – from application to oath – is completed within 3 months across the country.  (1)

  • Collaborate with the Administration on its Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law (UPIL) initiative so that immigrants and their families understand the dangers of unauthorized or unscrupulous practitioners, know where to find quality representation, and are able to file complaints if they have been taken advantage of. (1) 

  • Monitor the conduct and results of USCIS investigations related to the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law.  Ensure that cases appropriately handled by representatives found to be engaged in UPIL are not required to be re-investigated or their cases re-adjudicated.  (3)

  • Document problems with and advocate for continued improvements to be made to USCIS’s customer service systems.  Ensure that representatives can reach competent assistance every time they contact the National Customer Service Center and that information on the agency’s website is accurate and up-to-date.  (1)

  • Monitor USCIS’s implementation of electronic filing to ensure that it is simple and safe to use.  Throughout the transition, advocate that applications filed by mail are adjudicated as quickly and consistently as those filed electronically.  (3)

  • Support federal appropriation of funds for USCIS in amounts that support application processing without fee increases.  Ensure that any increases in USCIS filing fees are necessary and fair.  (5)

  • Support appropriation to the USCIS Office of Citizenship to continue to direct a national citizenship program.  (5)

Asylee and Refugee Issues

  • Monitor the effects of the material support bar on asylum seekers to ensure that as groups and activities are exempted, the agency is reviewing its “on hold” list and identifying cases that are eligible for adjudication.    (2)

  • Monitor USCIS’s efforts to correct the backlogs in Reasonable Fear and Credible Fear Interviews and advocate for additional remedies as necessary, including prioritizing the cases of detained asylum seekers. (3) 

  • Advocate for effective dissemination of information regarding benefits and social services available to asylees and refugees.  (4)

  • Advocate that funds be appropriated to support a national hotline for this purpose.  (5)

  • Advocate for USCIS and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to increase outreach to inform individuals when they are eligible to file for permanent residence as soon as eligible. USCIS can send notices at the time of granting status or employment authorization.  ORR can require resettlement agencies to provide education and provide funds for legal assistance.  (4) 

Enforcement and Detention

  • Advocate against DHS’s encouraging local communities to engage in immigration enforcement, through measures such as pre-conviction detainers and the 287(g) program.  Document cases that illustrate problems with these enforcement mechanisms – especially violations of humanitarian guidelines and civil rights.  Present problematic cases and proposed solutions to DHS officials.  Potential solutions may include: returning to a system in which localities choose whether to opt in to cooperation with the federal government through Secure Communities, issuing detainers only upon conviction, and ending the 287(g) program.  (2)

  • Advocate that all DHS agencies implement Prosecutorial Discretion consistently nationwide and according to its guidelines.  Present problematic cases and proposed solutions to DHS.  (1)

  • Gather data from network on aggressive policing, difficulties with the courts, detention standards violations, and other potential human and civil rights violations.  Empower affiliates by sharing information on how they can file civil rights complaints.  (1)

  • Engage DHS’s oversight agencies, including the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of the Inspector General to encourage investigation and reporting.  (2) 

  • Encourage DHS to investigate and share data on whether changes in ICE’s detainer form and guidance have affected the number of individuals held over for ICE. Advocate that DHS clarify that detainers be treated as requests and not mandates with which local law enforcement must comply.  (2)

  • Provide technical support to MRS for its legislative activities opposing anti-immigrant enforcement legislation and state/federal partnerships forced on local law enforcement agencies.  Provide legislative analysis, talking points, and alternative legislative language. (5)

  • Advocate that ICE continue to amend/apply its detention standards to correspond with the goal of a civil, not penal, system.  ICE should finalize and codify its detention standards into regulations, comply fully with them, and apply the standards to all facilities.  (2)

  • Advocate that detention facilities improve detainees’ access to telephones, especially for the purpose of contacting legal representation, and that ICE monitor the issue to ensure compliance with the detention standards.  (1) 

  • Advocate that DHS take additional steps to identify and protect vulnerable populations, including indigent minors; individuals who are physically or mentally ill, impaired, or otherwise incompetent; and those who have suffered extreme trauma.  Absent the individual presenting a flight risk or risk to public safety, ICE should refrain from detaining these vulnerable groups. (2)

  • Advocate for alternative to detention (ATD) programs that are true alternatives to detention, and that do not effectively extend detention to people who would otherwise be released. Advocate that restrictive ATDs constitute custody for purposes of satisfying mandatory detention rules.  Advocate for the release of vulnerable individuals, especially minors and the mentally incompetent, as well as for government-funded legal services throughout the duration of proceedings. (4)

  • Support CLINIC’s affiliate programs as they serve released detainees under the USCCB/ICE Memorandum of Understanding, by engaging with ICE senior advisors as necessary and helping to foster relationships with agency staff in the field.  (1)

  • Continue to monitor DHS’s implementation of parole guidance.  Advocate that all facilities be required to make parole determinations based on DHS’s policy guidance.  (3)

  • Engage partner agencies in assessing issues related to immigration enforcement and detention that are ripe for litigation. (3)

  • Support efforts to secure additional appropriations for Legal Orientation Programs (LOP) expansion as well as federal funding (to CLINIC) for management of the BIA Pro Bono Project. (5)  

  • Support advocacy for a Congressional appropriation for non-profit organizations to develop ATD programs.  (5)

State and Local Measures

  • Provide legal analysis of immigration-related proposals on the state/local level to State Catholic Conference Directors and other local advocates. (1)

  • Strengthen advocates' capacity to respond to rapidly changing local legal environments by helping them to devise state-wide and regional advocacy, communication, networking, and coalition-building strategies.  (1)

  • Document and share successful advocacy strategies. (1)

  • Track litigation regarding state/local measures, and provide legal analysis of decisions to advocates. (1)

  • Support the efforts of state/local advocates regarding positive, pro-immigrant measures that focus on integration, such as drivers’ licenses, tuition equity, funding for civics and English classes, and other integration-related activities.  Support the implementation of state measures to protect immigrants from fraudulent legal service providers.  (1)

  • Track the negative impact of anti-immigrant measures that have been implemented.  Share this information with advocates working to combat similar laws.  (1)

  • Oppose state and local enforcement legislation designed to force unauthorized immigrants and their families to “self-deport” or to promote attrition through enforcement.  (2)

  • Oppose initiatives that mandate that state and local law enforcement officials enforce federal civil immigration laws and support anti-detainer measures. (2)

  • Oppose measures that would inhibit religious freedom by limiting the ways individuals and organizations can provide charity and services to those who are undocumented. (2)

Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)

  • Lead liaison meetings with EOIR on issues of importance to the network, including recognition and accreditation.  Document examples of decisions based on incorrect legal interpretations and bring them to the Board’s attention. (1)

  • Support advocacy for additional federal funding to increase the number of immigration court judges, courtrooms, and staff and reduce the unacceptable and still increasing backlogs in immigration courts. (5)

  • Provide input, both formally and informally, on the anticipated final regulations regarding BIA Recognition and Accreditation. Advocate that evidentiary requirements for agency recognition be limited to evidence of the organization’s nonprofit mission and accountability to the community it serves, rather than the amount of fees charged; that required documentation for recognition and accreditation not be a burden on individuals or agencies; that agency action or inaction that would lead to withdrawal of recognition be clearly delineated; and that self-policing and reporting of unscrupulous actors by trial attorneys, the private bar, judges and court clerks be encouraged. (1)

  • Encourage EOIR to develop an online database for organizations and representatives to use to update their information annually so that EOIR will have the most up-to-date information and defunct organizations will no longer be listed on the recognition roster.  (3)

  • Advocate that EOIR require training in substantive immigration law as well as ethics and professionalism for accreditation.  (1)

  • Ensure that immigration judges take special care in adjudicating cases of vulnerable individuals, especially minors and the mentally incompetent.  Monitor the implementation of EOIR’s Qualified Representative program for incompetent detainees.  Advocate that the program be expanded to provide representation to all incompetent individuals, regardless of their detention status.  (1)

Religious Workers

  • Advocate that site visits be conducted within one month of the filing of an application, and that USCIS notify petitioners upon completion of a site visit.  (2) 

  • Encourage USCIS to establish a Religious Workers-In-Residence program, similar to its Entrepreneurs-In-Residence program.  A multi-faith group of religious leaders would be of great assistance in advising the agency on the traditions and procedures of different faiths.  The group should be tasked with helping to revise training materials so that adjudicators have a better understanding of the training and work of religious workers and can make better-informed decisions related to applications.  (3)

  • Engage with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to obtain information about the process of entry to the U.S. related to the issuance and recording of electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure Records.  Advocate for improved customer information on these practices, such as Frequently Asked Questions and ways to resolve common problems associated with this newly implemented program.  (3)

Webinar: Recent Trends in State and Local Immigration Enforcement

Click here to download the PowerPoint Slides

This webinar provides an overview of collaboration between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement agencies through the Criminal Alien Program, 287(g) Partnerships, and Secure Communities as well as the use of ICE detainers to identify potentially deportable individuals in state or local custody.  Panelists will address how these programs harm American families and communities and suggest ways to advocate on a state and local level against their continuation.

Held on: 11/8/13

Presenters:

  • Allison Posner, Director of Advocacy, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
  • Jen Riddle, Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC
  • Mark Fleming, National Litigation Coordinator, National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Alissa Escarce, Policy Associate, Rights Working Group
  • Jill Malone, Volunteer Advocate, Justice for Immigrants Campaign of the Diocese of San Jose
Issues: 
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Webinar: CIR 2013-'14: The Road Forward from the Church’s Perspective

Click here to download the PowerPoint Slides

 

This webinar will look at the legislation and politics which will shape the debate on immigration reform in the House of Representatives, explaining the Church’s position on individual bills and the strategy for winning final legislation the Church can support.  Panelists will discuss proper messaging for the House debate and share tactics for getting these messages out to influence a positive final outcome.

Held on: 11/1/13

Presenters:

  • Kevin Appleby, Director, Migration Policy and Public Affairs, US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

  • Ashley Feasley, Immigration Policy Advisor (USCCB)

  • Michelle Sardone, Legalization Program Director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

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Nebraska Service Center Teleconference Minutes

 

On Thursday, October 10, 2013, the Nebraska Service Center held a teleconference.  Please see CLINIC’s notes from the call that touched on the following topics:

I-765:

1.  Can you please cover reinstatement and STEM OPT?  The specific scenario is this – Student on OPT forgot to mail the application for STEM OPT extension in a timely manner (the application was one week late).  USCS denied the STEM OPT extension.  Is there such a thing as reinstatement of OPT status?

For STEM extensions, the regulations are clear that the application for extinction must be filed while the student is validly in OPT.  The NSC is unaware of any procedure to reinstate someone to student status after the expiration of an EAD card.

I-131:

2.  If an applicant needs to travel due to emergency circumstances before the biometrics appointment is scheduled, can NSC provide the following:

  1. A designated procedure for expediting biometrics including improved and reliable communication and coordination between NSC and Field Offices (since the ASCs are generally under the control of the Field Offices);

 

  1. Greater flexibility for Reentry Permit applicants to appear for biometrics outside of their scheduled ASC appointment time (e.g., applicant is scheduled for biometrics on Oct. 7 but needs to leave the U.S. on Oct. 4 or applicant will be flying back to the U.S. specifically for the biometrics appointment) AND at an ASC in a city other than where scheduled.

 

When the NSC is aware of an expedite request, it schedules appointments for the ASCs at the first available time.  ASCs are generally very helpful in scheduling appointments to meet applicants’ needs prior to their scheduled appointment time or at a different office.  The best way to do that is to make an appointment for the field office through Infopass.  Bring the biometric notice and information about the emergency to the appointment.  The ASCs are usually very helpful in getting biometrics done to meet the applicants needs.

 

Fee Waiver:

3.  Can you please give examples of acceptable documents to show that someone's income is at or below the 150% the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  NSC has kicked back several 2012 tax returns as not an acceptable document.

If the application is one that is sent to the lockbox for processing, then it is the lockbox that handles the fee waiver application, not the NSC.

 

Miscellaneous:

4.  Often a typographical error in the petition or application, such as in the beneficiary’s last name or date of birth, results in approval notices that contain the same errors. The documents attached to the filing contain the correct information and the filing as a whole clearly indicates that the error was indeed typographical. We have received inconsistent results when the error is reported by inquiry to NCSC. Often the error is fixed by USCIS’s issuance of an amended notice. On other occasions, however, USCIS requires a formal amendment to the filing, which results in substantial additional cost. Does the NSC have a policy by which such errors can be corrected without a formal amendment filing?

If the error is noticed prior to adjudication of the application or petition, contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 800-375-5283. If this does not resolve the issue, contact the NSC at nscfollowup.ncsc@uscis.dhs.gov.  If the error is discovered after approval of the application or petition and the error was caused by information entered by the applicant or petitioner, an amended petition may be required. 

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The Arizona SB 1070 Litigation (2012)

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Webinar Series: Hot Topics in Immigration Advocacy

 

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

&

the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

  invite you to participate in a series of free Friday webinars during the month of November.

November 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 2:00-3:30 pm Eastern / 11:00-12:30 pm Pacific

 

These webinars are for immigrant and social justice advocates, legal service providers, faith leaders, community organizers, and others working with and on behalf of immigrants and will address the following important issues:

 

Upcoming Webinars

 

State and Local Immigration Laws:  Recap of 2013 and Outlook for 2014

Friday, November 22, 2013

This webinar will review some of the anti-immigrant and pro-immigrant laws passed by states in 2013 on topics including state-issued identification and driver’s licenses, refugee resettlement, immigration enforcement, and access to higher education. Panelists will also address the state-level immigration policy outlook for 2014. 

 Register For This Webinar

 

 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on joining each webinar. 

 

Past Webinars

Comprehensive Immigration Reform 2013-2014: The Road Forward from the Church’s Perspective

Friday, November 1, 2013

This webinar will look at the legislation and politics which will shape the debate on immigration reform in the House of Representatives, explaining the Church’s position on individual bills and the strategy for winning final legislation the Church can support.  Panelists will discuss proper messaging for the House debate and share tactics for getting these messages out to influence a positive final outcome.

Watch a Recording of this Webinar

 

Recent Trends in State and Local Immigration Enforcement

Friday, November 8, 2013

This webinar will provide an overview of collaboration between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement agencies through the Criminal Alien Program, 287(g) Partnerships, and Secure Communities as well as the use of ICE detainers to identify potentially deportable individuals in state or local custody.  Panelists will address how these programs harm American families and communities and suggest ways to advocate on a state and local level against their continuation.

Watch a Recording of this Webinar

 

Immigration Detention: Perspectives from D.C. and the Field

Friday, November 15, 2013

 This webinar will address immigration detention, including the federal mandate requiring the detention of certain immigrants, the recent rise of immigration detention, and alternatives to detention. Additionally, the panel will include local perspectives on the effects of detention facilities on communities and how local stakeholders can help combat this national phenomenon.

Watch a Recording of the Webinar

 

Training Type: 
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In 2010, Arizona passed a law called “SB 1070.”  But Arizona’s police officers were not allowed to enforce some sections of this law because courts prevented them from doing so.  This week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether those sections of SB 1070 should stay blocked.

The U.S. Supreme Court BLOCKED the following parts of SB 1070:

  • Making it a state crime to ask for or accept unauthorized work;
  • Making it a state crime to fail to complete and carry registration papers if you are undocumented; and
  • Permitting police officers to arrest someone without a warrant if the officers believe that the person committed a deportable offense.

That means that Arizona CANNOT ENFORCE these sections of SB 1070. 

The U.S. Supreme Court DID NOT BLOCK the following part of SB 1070 (“show me your papers” provision):

  • Requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they lawfully stop for some other violation – no matter how trivial – if the police suspect that the person is undocumented; and
  • Requiring officers to determine every arrested person’s immigration status before s/he is released.

What do you need to know today?

  • The Supreme Court’s decision hasn’t actually changed the law in Arizona yet.  There are still more steps in the legal process.   There may be other developments.  Stay informed, and do not do anything before consulting a legal representative to see how it might impact your immigration case. 

 

  • Racial profiling is unlawful, and the Supreme Court’s decision did not change that.  The Supreme Court did not block the “show me your papers” provision, but it emphasized that Arizona must enforce the provision in a way that does not violate civil rights.  While Arizona is not technically permitted to start enforcing the “show me your papers” part of SB 1070 at this time, we have heard many reports that Arizona police are already checking immigration status whenever they stop someone (and have been doing so for a while).  Remember: whatever your immigration status, you have rights when police officers stop, question, search or arrest you – see this helpful pamphlet from the ACLU in English and Spanish.  Report any police abuses to your representative.  The U.S. Department of Justice has created a toll-free hotline and an email address where you can bring questions or complaints about civil rights violations by police in Arizona: 855-353-1010 and Sb1070@usdoj.gov.  To find a CLINIC Affiliate legal service provider in Arizona to help you, see our website.
  • The Supreme Court only ruled on Arizona’s law, but the decision sets a precedent for other states as well.   The Supreme Court’s decision is only about one state’s law.  It does not give federal immigration enforcement agents (ICE or CBP agents) any new powers.   In addition to Arizona, five other states (South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, and Indiana) have passed similar laws, and courts in those states are waiting to see what the U.S. Supreme Court decides about SB 1070.  But as with SB 1070, these “copycat” laws in other states laws do not automatically go into effect because of the Supreme Court’s decision.  There are still more steps in the legal processes in these states as well.  If you have questions about your obligations under state law or federal immigration law, consult your representative.
  • Protect yourself from immigration fraud – beware of notarios!  Beware of notarios or so-called immigration “consultants” who claim to be able to protect you and your family from deportation, offer advice on how to apply for an immigration benefit, or ask to prepare any applications or documents for filing with federal immigration authorities.  Notarios and consultants are not authorized to practice federal immigration law.  Only Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Accredited representatives and licensed attorneys may do so.  If you want to verify whether someone is licensed to be an attorney in your state, call your state’s bar association.  If you want to verify whether someone is accredited by the BIA, call the BIA (703-305-9029) or visit the BIA web site at: http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/raroster.htm.  For additional information and assistance, please see U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website www.uscis.gov/avoidscams or contact CLINIC at 202-635-2556.

 

What can you do now?

 

  • Record in detail every one of your encounters with state and local police. 
  • Make formal complaints to the attorney general or to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Share your stories with your parishes and the media.
  • Share this document with people you know.
  • Make sure people have accurate information.

 

On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case involving the legal challenge to Arizona's restrictive state immigration enforcement law "SB 1070."  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted a "friend of the court" brief in the case, supporting the United States in challenging the law.  What did the Bishops say in their brief?  What are the interests of the Catholic Church when states choose to enforce federal immigration law on their own terms?  What is wrong with a policy of "attrition through enforcement"?  
 
This webinar - held just two days after oral arguments - discusses all of these issues and more.  How did the Justices react to arguments by both sides?  What is really at stake?  The webinar places the legal arguments over SB 1070 in the context of new ways that states and localities are proposing to get more active on immigration.

On Monday, June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-3 ruling on Arizona's state immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.   What did the Court hold? What does it mean? What are the potential ramifications for "copycat" laws in other states? What's next for advocacy?    

Featured Panelists:

  • Andre Segura, Staff Attorney, Immigrants' Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Shuya Ohno, National Field Organizer, National Immigration Forum

Moderator:

  • Karen Siciliano Lucas, State & Local Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC

Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (Sept 2013)

Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration discusses five state-level legislative initiatives that promote the integration of immigrants into our states and communities.  The integration measures discussed include legislation that creates tuition equity for all; strengthens human trafficking laws; invests in English language instruction; uses the budget process to integrate immigrants; and enhances access to financial aid and protection against immigration consultant fraud. The document includes model language and talking points that advocates can use to educate legislators about the benefits of integration measures.

 

 

 

Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (PDF)

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Recent Developments in State & Local Immigration Enforcement (Aug 2013)

As members of Congress prepare to return to Washington, D.C. from the summer recess, the future of U.S. federal immigration policy remains uncertain.  Families and communities across America continue to advocate for comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration laws.  Despite the looming uncertainty on a federal level, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Many of the immigration enforcement actions undertaken by state and local actors attempting to make up for federal inaction are not workable solutions.  This message is coming both from court decisions in legal challenges to state and local immigration enforcement as well as from the states and localities themselves.  Some recent developments are highlighted below.    

 

4th Circuit Issues Two Decisions Limiting State and Local Role in Immigration Enforcement

 Three Provisions of South Carolina Anti-Immigrant Law Must Remain Blocked

On July 23, 2013 the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held  that three major sections of South Carolina’s 2011 anti-immigrant law, SB 20, must remain blocked.  Among other things, the law made it a felony for someone to harbor or transport an unauthorized immigrant and for unauthorized immigrants to allow themselves to be harbored or transported.  In addition, SB 20 made it a misdemeanor to fail to carry immigration paperwork.  Finally, it made it a state crime to carry false or fraudulent identification documents for the purpose of proving lawful presence in the U.S.  The 4th Circuit found that, because each provision was preempted by federal law, the lower court was correct to prevent them from being enforced.  According to the court, criminalizing individuals who are “attempting to do no more than go to school, go to work, and care for their families” is inconsistent with federal immigration policy and objectives.  Despite this legal victory, the provision of South Carolina’s law that requires local police to check the immigration status of detained individuals they suspect of being in the country without documents has been in force since the U.S. Supreme Court permitted implementation of a similar “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070) last June.  

 Maryland Sheriffs Cannot Detain or Arrest Solely on Suspicion of Immigration Status Violations

On August 7, 2013, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held  that local and state law enforcement officers may not detain or arrest an individual based solely on a known or suspected civil violation of federal immigration law. This lawsuit was brought by Roxana Santos who was seized and arrested by two Frederick County, Maryland sheriffs based on their discovery that ICE had issued a civil warrant against her.  Neither deputy was authorized to engage in federal immigration law enforcement under a 287(g) agreement  between the Sheriff’s Office and ICE. Citing to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States, the circuit court found that local law enforcement officers do not have the authority to arrest individuals solely based on civil immigration violations. The court reminded us that most immigration violations are civil infractions - not crimes - and that Congress entrusted the authority to make removability decisions to the federal government - not to state or local actors.  As a result, Santos’ unlawful detention by the sheriffs violated her 4th amendment right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure.  

 

New Orleans and Newark Join Growing List of Cities to Limit Compliance with ICE Detainer Requests

Localities across the country continue to adopt policies or ordinances restricting the extent to which local law enforcement may cooperate with ICE by honoring immigration detainers.  ICE detainers are requests that a local law enforcement agency continue to hold an individual in criminal custody for up to 48 hours beyond when he or she would otherwise be released so that ICE can assume custody.  The Sheriff of Orleans Parish announced  on August 14, 2013, that his office would only comply with such requests from ICE when they involved individuals charged with specific violent felonies.  The Sheriff’s Office also stated that it will no longer initiate investigations into the immigration status of individuals in its custody.  This policy is “one of the farthest-reaching of its kind in the country.”   The new guidance followed a unanimous New Orleans City Council resolution  urging the Sheriff to stop honoring ICE detainers entirely.  It is also part of a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit filed by two immigrant workers who were held unconstitutionally on the basis of ICE detainers for 90 and 160 days beyond the conclusion of their criminal sentences.  New Orleans is the first locality in the Southern U.S. to implement an anti-detainer policy.  Other jurisdictions with similar policies include San Miguel and Taos counties in New Mexico; San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in California; Cook and Champaign counties in Illinois; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; Multnomah County, Oregon; and the cities of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New York.  

Newark, New Jersey also recently announced  that it will cease complying with ICE requests to hold suspects accused of minor crimes such as shoplifting or vandalism.  Advocates for the new policy directive, signed by Newark’s Police Director on July 24, 2013, included the Newark Archdiocese Department of Social Concerns and several Newark churches.  Reverend Karl Esker of St. James Church acknowledged the role of local law enforcement in “funnel[ing] immigrants into the detention and deportation dragnet through problematic information-sharing initiatives that devastate the stability of communities.” He commended  the Newark Police Director for his leadership on this issue and called the policy “absolutely essential in a city…. [w]here trust between local law enforcement and the community is crucial to protecting public safety.”    

 

ICE Declines to Sign Immigration Enforcement Partnership Agreement with Knox County, Tennessee

In contrast to local law enforcement leaders in New Orleans and Newark, the Sheriff of Knox County, Tennessee would like to enhance his agency’s role in federal immigration enforcement.  The Sheriff had expressed interest in entering into a partnership with ICE under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The 287(g) program allows certain local law enforcement officers, following training from ICE, to be deputized to enforce federal immigration law in their local jurisdictions. ICE currently maintains 287(g) agreements  with 36 law enforcement agencies in 19 states, has trained more than 1,300 local law enforcement officers, and credits the program with identifying more than 309,283 potentially removable aliens since January 2006.  Following several weeks of negotiations, ICE ultimately declined to enter into a 287(g) partnership with Knox County.  The Sheriff posted the following response  on his agency’s website: “I will continue to enforce these federal immigration violations with or without the help of [ICE]. If need be, I will stack these violators like cordwood in the Knox County Jail until the appropriate federal agency responds.”  

This controversial statement by the Knox County Sheriff illustrates the diverse views on the precise role that local law enforcement can and should play in identifying unauthorized immigrants and effectuating their removal under federal immigration laws. For many, last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down

Arizona’s infamous immigration law made it clear that immigration enforcement is the purview of the federal government, not state legislatures or local police.  Yet, there are local law enforcement officers, state legislators, and members of Congress who clearly disagree.  

 

Federal Enforcement-Only Bill Would Compel States to Enforce Immigration Laws

This June, the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2237), an enforcement-only bill that would essentially overturn the Arizona v. United States decision by empowering - in instances even mandating - states and localities to act as immigration agents and criminalize immigration violations. Concerns include further exacerbating strained state and local resources, compromising community safety, and increasing the risks of discrimination and racial profiling.  A number of local and state law enforcement officials and departments have opposed further delegation of immigration enforcement to local police.  According to Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor in Tucson, Arizona, “Law enforcement officers have taken an oath to protect all those who live within our communities, regardless of race, culture, or nation of birth.  We don’t need short-sighted laws that tie our hands and prevent us from establishing the trust we need to protect the communities we serve.”  For a summary of the SAFE Act, click here .

 

This document was prepared in August 2013 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807.

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Overview of State Resolutions in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Overview of State Resolutions in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

     The climate in the states on immigration has changed noticeably over the past few years. After comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) failed to pass in 2007, states began enacting a patchwork of their own immigration measures. Arizona’s 2010 sweeping anti-immigrant law, for example, was followed by a series of copycat laws in other states as legislators focused on enforcement and making life for immigrants as difficult as possible. While state immigration enforcement bills continued to be introduced in 2012 and 2013, most lacked the traction to pass. 2013 has witnessed a marked shift towards pro-immigrant legislation as numerous states have passed laws to extend driving privileges and in-state tuition rates to the undocumented population. In addition, states have been sending the clear message to Congress that our broken immigration system needs comprehensive federal reform.

 

Click Here for the Full Overview (PDF)

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Latest Developments in State and Local Immigration Enforcement (Jul 2013)

Connecticut

On May 31, Connecticut’s State Legislature unanimously passed the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act, the country’s first state anti-detainer law designed to limit participation in the federal/state immigration enforcement partnership known as Secure Communities. Under Secure Communities, fingerprints taken by local police when booking an individual charged with a state or local crime are checked against federal immigration databases to see whether that individual might be removable from the U.S. If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reason to believe that the arrested individual may be removable, it can issue an immigration detainer requesting thatthe local law enforcement agency continue to hold that individual for up to 48 hours to give ICE a chance to place the person into immigration custody.  Secure Communities has resulted in the deportation of more than 272,000 immigrants, including many with no criminal history or who have only been charged with minor traffic offenses.   Connecticut’s TRUST Act limits the circumstances under which state and local police will hold immigrants for possible deportation by ICE.  The act permits state and local law enforcement to honor immigration detainers only when the requested individual has a felony conviction, is on a terrorist watch list, is a known member of a violent gang, already has an outstanding order of removal or deportation, or presents an unacceptable risk to public safety.  The bill is awaiting signature by the Governor of Connecticut and would go into effect on January 1, 2014.     

 

California

On May 16, 2013, the California State Assembly passed a similar bill also called the TRUST Act (AB 4).  The bill would permit local or state law enforcement officials to continue to hold an individual under an ICE immigration detainer only if the individual has been convicted of a serious or violent felony and his or her continued detention would not violate any federal, state, or local law or policy. The bill has moved to the State Senate where it awaits further discussion by the Public Safety Committee which will hold its next hearing on July 2, 2013. A version of California’s TRUST Act was passed by both houses in 2012 but vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown. Over 96,800 Californians have been deported as a result of the Secure Communities program -- more deportations than from any other state.  Last December, California’s Attorney General instructed local law enforcement that participation in Secure Communities was optional given that the program increased distrust of police among immigrant communities and targeted non-criminal immigrants. California taxpayers spend an estimated $65 million each year detaining immigrants for ICE.  According to the TRUST Act’s sponsor and author, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, “Immigrants want to live in safe communities but when trivial issues such as selling tamales without a permit or having barking dogs…can turn into extended detention and deportation, confidence and trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities is eroded…It doesn’t make sense to deport an undocumented Californian today who could be on the road to citizenship tomorrow.”  

 

Colorado

 On April 26, 2013, Colorado’s governor signed into law the Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act (HB 1258) which repealed a 2006 law (SB 90) requiring police to report to ICE those individuals in police custody who were suspected of being in the U.S. without authorization.  SB 90 had been blamed for inspiring the passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 and other state immigration enforcement laws.  According to the Colorado legislature, this new law will promote public safety by allowing police to build trust with immigrant communities – trust that SB 90 substantially undermined by creating fear of deportation among immigrant witnesses and victims who would otherwise have reported crimes.  Colorado law enforcement and public safety officials assert that community trust is essential for effective local policing and that this law will ensure equal protection and safety for all Coloradans including witnesses and victims of crime.  According to various local law enforcement agencies in Colorado, their time and resources are better spent protecting the public, as opposed to enforcing federal immigration laws.  The enactment of the Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act makes Colorado the first state in the country to repeal a “show me your papers" provision similar to those that are still in effect in Arizona (SB 1070), Alabama (HB 56), Georgia (HB 87), and South Carolina (SB 20).

 

North Carolina

 On April 10, 2013, North Carolina legislators introduced HB 786, the Reasonable Enactment of Comprehensive Legislation Addressing Immigration Matters (RECLAIM) Act.  The bill contains a provision similar to the “show me your papers” section of Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB 1070. The RECLAIM Act permits local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of any individual they stop, detain, or arrest and who they have reasonable suspicion to believe is unlawfully present in the U.S.  This raises serious concerns about racial profiling by North Carolina law enforcement agents who lack immigration law training and might consider appearance or ethnicity in making such a determination.  The bill also requires undocumented drivers to obtain driving permits that would be marked to distinguish them from the driver’s licenses issued to other state residents. It also permits the police to immediately seize and sell the cars of individuals driving without a driver’s permit or car insurance, and requires the state to charge any undocumented immigrant in criminal custody for the costs of his or her incarceration.  The bill is currently under consideration by the House Finance Committee.  An estimated 325,000  undocumented immigrants reside in North Carolina and foreign-born workers comprise 9.9% of the state’s workforce.          

 

Arizona

 On May 24, 2013, a U.S. federal court found that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) engaged in a pattern of racial profiling against Hispanic drivers and passengers.  According to the decision, the MCSO used traffic stops as an excuse to identify and report individuals who are in the country without authorization and considered an individual’s Latino identity as a factor in determining whether to investigate that person’s immigration status.  The federal district court determined that Arpaio’s immigration enforcement policies and practices violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable searches and seizures) and Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Arizona Constitution.  Accordingly, the MCSO was ordered to stop using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in stopping vehicles or making law enforcement decisions related to whether an individual may be in the country without authorization.  The court is overseeing negotiations between the MCSO, the plaintiffs, and the Department of Justice (who filed a separate discrimination lawsuit  against the MSCO) to determine what

specific steps the MCSO needs to take to ensure compliance with the court’s order. The next hearing will be August 30, 2013. Hopefully, this ruling will serve as a deterrent, not only for Sheriff Arpaio, but for other local and state law enforcement agencies who are overstepping the bounds of their authority in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.  

Updated Resource for Community Advocates Concerned With ICE Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement 

 CLINIC has updated its tool kit that provides an overview of ICE partnerships with local law enforcement agencies including the Criminal Alien Program, the Secure Communities Program, and the 287(g) Program. The toolkit also recommends strategies for communities to advocate against the implementation and continuation of these programs.

 

This document was prepared in July 2013 by CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle. This document is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (202) 635-7410.

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Mandatory E-Verify Bills: An Analysis of South Dakota’s House Bill 1175 (Feb 2013)

Overview:  HB 1175 creates state-level penalties (suspending and revoking business licenses) for state employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers; it also requires employers in the state to use E-Verify starting July 1, 2013.

 

Section 1

HB 1175 applies to any “employer” – an individual or a corporate entity – that transacts business in, and has been licensed by, the state of South Dakota.  It covers all employers of any size (even self-employed persons and independent contractors), though it does not cover situations in which an employer contracts for work of an independent contractor.  It defines other terms in the act as well.  

 Section 2

“No employer may knowingly or intentionally employ an unauthorized alien.”  Section 1 defines “intentionally” to mean that “a person’s objective is to cause that result or to engage in that conduct.”  Section 1 defines “knowingly employ an unauthorized alien” to be those actions that are described in the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act pertaining to the “Unlawful Employment of Aliens” (8 U.S.C. 1324a) and instructs that the phrase be interpreted consistently with that provision.1  Finally, Section 1 defines “unauthorized alien” as someone who does not have the legal right to work under federal law (8 U.S.C. 1324(h)(3)).

 Sections 3 and 4

Sections 3 and 4 dictate that certain consequences for employers and unauthorized workers attach merely upon receipt of a complaint that an employer has violated Section 2.  All of the following actions take place before a court rules on whether an employee is in fact unauthorized and whether an employer has violated the act:

  • Check work authorization status: (Section 3) The county or state Attorney General (AG) must investigate all complaints that are filed on the prescribed complaint form, even if the complaint ends up being false or frivolous; in order to investigate, the AG must verify the alleged unauthorized worker’s work authorization with the federal government.  The AG has discretion to investigate complaints that are not filed on the prescribed complaint form – even completely anonymous complaints.  While Section 3 stipulates that the AG cannot investigate complaints based solely on race, color, or national origin, it is unclear how the AG would determine this. While Section 3 stipulates that a person who knowingly files a false or frivolous complaint is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, nothing in Section 3 prevents even false or frivolous complaints from being investigated (meaning that the immigrant’s work authorization must still be checked with the federal government). 
  • Notify ICE and local police:  (Section 4) If the complaint is not determined to be false or frivolous, the AG must notify both ICE and local law enforcement of the unauthorized worker. 
  • Bring action against employer: (Section 4) If the complaint is not determined to be false and frivolous, the AG must bring action against the employer pursuant to Section 5.

 Section 5

Section 5 describes when and where legal actions against employers may be filed.  It further describes what conduct by an employer may properly constitute a second violation.

 Section 6

Section 6 describes consequences for employers for their first violation:

  • The employer must terminate the employment of all unauthorized workers and certify that this step has been taken.  This means that, upon a finding that an employer knowingly or intentionally hired one unauthorized worker, that employer must then re-examine the authorization of its entire workforce.  The employer must also certify that he or she will not knowingly or intentionally hire an unauthorized worker in the future.
  • If the employer will NOT so certify, the court must order state agencies to suspend all licenses held by the employer (Section 1 defines what constitutes a “license”).
  • Even if the employer takes all of the appropriate steps, the court may still consider ordering state agencies to suspend that employer’s licenses, depending on the nature of the violation.
  • The employer must be placed on probation for a period of time determined by the nature of the violation.

 Section 7

Section 7 describes consequences for employers for their second violation:

  • The court must order state agencies to permanently revoke all licenses held by the employer specific to the business location where the violation took place.

 Section 8

Section 8 lays out what conduct is considered a first and second violation.

 Section 9

Section 9 requires the attorney general to maintain copies of court orders finding first and second violations of this act and to make those copies publicly available on their website.  Section 9 also calls for the creation of a database of the employers and business locations that have committed a first violation.

 Section 10

Section 10 states that, in determining whether an employee is unauthorized, “the court shall consider only the federal government’s determination…”  Also, according to this section, verifying the employment authorization of an employee through the E-Verify program creates a rebuttable presumption that the employer did not violate the act.  Additionally, this section states that an employer who has acted in good faith to comply with the federal E-Verify procedures can use his/her good faith compliance as an affirmative defense that he/she did not violate the act.    

 Section 11

“Nothing in this Act requires an employer to take any action that the employer believes in good faith would violate federal or state law.”

 Section 12

Section12 mandates that all employers in the state use the E-Verify system for all new hires starting July 1, 2013.

 

Legal Analysis

It would be very hard to argue that HB 1175 is unconstitutional.  The text of HB 1175 is similar in almost every particular to a 2007 Arizona law called the “Legal Arizona Workers Act” (LAWA).  Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of LAWA.2 Challengers of the Arizona law argued that LAWA unconstitutionally stepped into the exclusively federal power to regulate immigration.  They also argued that LAWA would obstruct federal execution of federal immigration policies.

The majority of Justices on the Supreme Court disagreed.  LAWA’s business license penalty for employers is constitutional, they held, because it fits into a narrow and explicitly protected sphere for states to act to punish the employment of unauthorized workers.  Federal immigration law expressly prevents states from passing any law “imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ . . . unauthorized aliens.”3  Because LAWA revokes the business licenses of employers who hire unauthorized workers, the Court held that the law falls within this exception.

Nor is it unconstitutional, the Supreme Court held, for LAWA to mandate that employers in the state use the E-Verify system.  This mandate would not conflict with the overall scheme of federal immigration enforcement.  Critical to the Supreme Court’s analysis is the fact that LAWA relies wholly on federal determinations of an employee’s work authorization.  South Dakota’s HB 1175 contains identical language in this regard: Section 3 states that “A state, county or local official may not attempt to independently make a final determination on whether an alien is authorized to work in the United States.”  Section 10 further states that, in determining whether an employee is unauthorized, “the court shall consider only the federal government’s determination…”  Rather, HB 1175 mandates that work authorization be verified with the federal government. Thus, this Supreme Court decision opens the door for states to pass similar laws that penalize employers for employing unauthorized workers by revoking their business licenses and that mandate use of E-Verify.

 Policy Arguments

Notwithstanding the fact that HB 1175 is probably constitutionally sound, there are strong arguments that HB 1175 is not good policy. 

  • The bill is an unfunded mandate requiring local resources to be used in carrying out federal immigration enforcement. 

HB 1175 wastes limited AG and court resources.  HB 1175 states clearly that the AG must investigate all complaints, must notify the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement if the compliant is not false or frivolous, and must bring an action against the employer in state court if the complaint is not false or frivolous.  In addition, the AG must maintain copies of court orders that indicate that an employer has a first or second violation of the act and must place these orders on its website.  Thus, HB 1175 requires the AG’s office to expend considerable state resources on a myriad of immigration enforcement duties that fall within the purview of the federal government.  Not only do these additional duties burden taxpayers, but they take away from other important work carried out by the AG’s office such as prosecuting criminals, Medicare fraud, and consumer fraud.  Lastly, it is worth noting that these additional immigration duties are triggered by a complaint that can be made by anyone at any time.

  • Mandatory E-Verify without comprehensive federal immigration reform hurts children and their families hardest.  

In 2010, South Dakota was home to 22,238 immigrants, almost 41% of whom were naturalized U.S. citizens.  Unauthorized immigrants comprise less than 1.5% of the state’s workforce (or fewer than 10,000 workers), according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.   But 92% of the children of South Dakota’s 22,238 immigrants are U.S. citizens.4  Hurting the ability of South Dakota’s relatively small population of undocumented workers to provide for themselves and their families will have huge collateral consequences for lawful residents and U.S. citizens, and these consequences hit children hardest.

If one of these parents is deported, the emotional and financial damage to the family members left behind can be devastating.  Economic insecurity and health insecurity are documented consequences of increased enforcement of our currently broken federal immigration system.  Parents in immigration detention often face the loss of their parental rights while incarcerated, since they may not receive notice of court

proceedings, may not have adequate legal counsel,5 cannot comply with the terms of family reunification plans mandated by the child welfare system, and are often not even told where their children are.6  Children of undocumented immigrants suffer terribly as a result of the enforcement of our currently broken immigration laws.  The Urban Institute has shown that “Parent-child separations pose serious risks to children’s immediate safety, economic security, well-being, and longer term development.”7  The report continues:

 

Most families in our sample lost a working parent, because they were detained, deported, or released but not allowed to work. Following job loss, households experienced steep declines in income and hardships such as housing instability and food insufficiency. Many families experienced prolonged hardship in part due to extended efforts to contest deportation that took months and often more than a year to adjudicate.8

  • Mandatory E-Verify in South Dakota would discourage economic activity in the state.     

Unauthorized workers and their family members (who may be lawfully present or even citizens) are taxpayers, consumers, and entrepreneurs.  The Immigration Policy Center has shown that the 2010 purchasing power of Latinos in South Dakota totaled $548.5 millionan increase of 1,162.2% since 1990; Asian buying power totaled $260.4 million—an increase of 811.3% since 1990.  According to the Immigration Policy Center, “If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from South Dakota, the state would lose $190.5 million in economic activity, $84.6 million in gross state product, and approximately 1,440 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.”9  

Arizona’s LAWA went into effect on January 1, 2008.  Since that time, research has been done to study its effects.  According to the Center for American Progress, a Public Policy Institute of California report on Arizona’s experiences found evidence that LAWA “shifted many unauthorized immigrants in Arizona from the formal economy, where they pay income taxes, to the informal economy where they do not.”10 

  • The act provides several protections for employers but none for unauthorized workers.

HB 1175 has much more serious and immediate consequences for immigrant workers than it does for employers.  Employers get several safe harbors and affirmative defenses in HB 1175.  But for

immigrants, enforcement is immediate.  Simply upon receipt of a complaint that is not false or frivolous, ICE and local police automatically will be notified that a particular worker is unauthorized.  Under HB 1175, this enforcement process can be started by an anonymous complaint from any person (so long as it is not false or frivolous).   While Section 3 states that an AG may not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color, or national origin, it is unclear how an AG would know that.   

  • The act will increase fear and distrust in immigrant communities.

This law turns neighbors into immigration agents.  This will significantly increase fear and distrust in immigrant communities in the state, and make it harder for police to do their job.  

  • Mandatory E-Verify imposes costs and implementation burdens that fall heavily on small businesses and on U.S. citizens who may be wrongly denied work because of errors.     

Please see our E-Verify fact sheet (attached to this analysis) for a discussion of the problems with E-Verify.  Among the problems discussed are the implementation burdens on businesses and the error rates that impact U.S. citizens.  Please also see the fact sheet (attached to this analysis) complied by the National Immigration Law Center in July 2011, “E-Verify: The Impact of Its Mandatory Use on South Dakota Workers and Businesses.”

 

 1 “(1) In general.— It is unlawful for a person or other entity…(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3)) with respect to such employment…” [emphasis added] 8. U.S.C. § 1234a(a)(1)(A).  This provision of the INA does not reference intentional hiring, but “knowingly” is broader than “intentionally”; the Legal Arizona Workforce Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court last year found to be constitutional, contained both “knowingly” and “intentionally” as well.  

2 Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 563 U.S. ___ (2011) http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-115.pdf

3 Immigration Reform and Control Act, 8 U. S. C. §1324a(h)(2).

4 All of the above data comes from: Immigration Policy Center, “New Americans in South Dakota” (January 2012) http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-south-dakota  

5 National Immigrant Justice Center, Isolated in Detention: Limited Access to Legal Counsel in Immigration Detention Facilities Jeopardizes a Fair Day in Court (September 2010): 8-10.  The report found that several factors contributed to inadequate counsel for those in immigration detention including the geographic isolation of many detention facilities, inadequate phone access, and inadequate legal aid resources.

6 Women’s Refugee Commission, Torn Apart by Immigration Enforcement: Parental Rights and Immigration Detention [“WRC Report”] (December 2010): 1 http://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/programs/detention/parental-rights.

7 The Urban Institute, Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement (February 2010). http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412020_FacingOurFuture_final.pdf  

8 Ibid. at vii-viv.

9 Immigration Policy Center, “New Americans in South Dakota” (January 2012) http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-south-dakota  

10 Philip E. Wolgin and Angela Maria Kelley, “Your State Can’t Afford It: The Fiscal Impact of States’ Anti-Immigrant Legislation” (July 2011): 5 http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/07/pdf/state_immigration.pdf .

 

This document was prepared by CLINIC in January 2012 in response to the introduction of South Dakota’s HB 1238 into the state legislative assembly.   This same bill but with a different number, HB 1175, was introduced into the legislative assembly in 2013.  Karen A. Herrling has reviewed HB 1175 and has updated the analysis.  This document is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.  For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (202) 635-7410.

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Circuit Court Split on Constitutionality of Local Anti-Immigrant Housing Ordinances (Aug 2013)

Circuit Court Split on Constitutionality of Local Anti-Immigrant Housing Ordinances (August 2013)                                                         

Underlying many anti-immigrant measures passed by states and cities in recent years is the policy goal of “enforcement by attrition” or “self-deportation.” The belief is that, by making daily existence for the unauthorized population as difficult as possible, they will decide to leave the U.S. of their own accord.  Examples of such strategies include expanding local enforcement of federal immigration laws, criminalizing unlawful presence and unauthorized work, and restricting the ability of undocumented immigrants to attend school, obtain driver’s licenses, engage in business transactions, rent housing, and otherwise participate in society. Such anti-immigrant strategies fly in the face of Catholic social teaching on the fundamental right of all humans to decent living conditions including faith, family life, food, education, employment, health care, and housing.  As Archbishop of Los Angeles and Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration José Gómez wrote in Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation

Nobody ever forfeits his humanity or his right to be treated with dignity.  No matter where he comes from or how he got here. No matter what kind of papers he has or doesn’t have.  Even if he has broken a law, he is still a person, and he still has rights and dignity.

Starting in 2006, we witnessed localities across the U.S. -- from Hazelton, Pennsylvania and Riverside, New Jersey to Valley Park, Missouri and Escondido, California -- passing ordinances banning the rental of property to undocumented residents. What became of these attempts to force hardworking immigrants and their families to leave the cities they call home? Many of these discriminatory housing ordinances were challenged in court and several were subsequently reversed.  This summer, three federal appeals courts have issued decisions in the legal challenges to restrictive rental policies in Fremont, Nebraska, Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazelton, Pennsylvania.1  The outcomes were mixed.  The 5th and 3rd Circuit Courts of Appeals prevented the cities of Farmers Branch and Hazelton, respectively, from enforcing restrictive rental prohibitions.  However, the 8th Circuit permitted the Fremont housing ordinance to go into effect.  The three recent circuit court decisions are summarized below.  

1 In addition, last year the 11th Circuit found that Alabama’s state law criminalizing the harboring of an unlawfully present person by entering into a rental agreement with that person to be an untenable expansion of the federal harboring provision and, thus, preempted by federal law. United States v. Alabama, 691 F.3d 1269 (11th Cir. 2012).

In light of the current circuit split resulting from divergent interpretations of federal law, the constitutionality of anti-immigrant housing regulations may be an issue that the U.S. Supreme Court would agree to address in the near future.  For a map of the eleven circuits in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals system, click here .  

 

8th Circuit Allows Nebraska City to Restrict Housing Based on Immigration Status

On June 28, a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld  a 2010 ordinance requiring anyone wishing to rent housing in Fremont, Nebraska to first obtain a permit from the city after proving their lawful presence in the U.S.2  In 2012, a lower court had temporarily prevented the provision from going into effect after finding that denying housing permits to the undocumented is discriminatory and interferes with federal law.  The 8th Circuit disagreed and held that the rental provision is not preempted by federal law because it does not require local officials to determine whether an individual is removable from the U.S. but only mandates that city officials defer to the federal government’s determination of whether an undocumented renter is unlawfully present. Now that the 8th Circuit has reversed the lower court, the city of Fremont can begin enforcing the law on its residents.  It is not yet clear whether the Plaintiffs in the case will petition for a rehearing of the full 8th Circuit.        

2 Keller v. City of Fremont, 719 F.3d 931, (8th Cir. 2013).

3 Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, Texas, No. 10-10751, 2013 WL 3791664 (5th Cir. July 22, 2013).

In his dissenting opinion, 8th Circuit Judge Bright argued that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it conflicts with the federal government’s exclusive immigration authority to decide who may and may not reside in the U.S.  According to Judge Bright, the law “prevents undocumented persons from renting in Fremont, which is tantamount to preventing them from living in the city at all.”  He also pointed to the fact that all the other Circuit Courts that have ruled on this issue have found similar rental prohibitions to be in conflict with our federal system for removal of undocumented immigrants. 

 

5th Circuit Finds Texas Housing Ordinance Unconstitutional

Less than a month after the 8th Circuit upheld the Nebraska city ordinance, the 5th Circuit reached a different decision  about a nearly identical provision attempting to prevent the undocumented from renting housing in Farmers Branch, Texas.3  On July 22, an en banc panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an immigration ordinance that would require prospective tenants to acquire a residential occupancy license after the city verified their lawful presence in the U.S.  In addition to prohibiting landlords from renting to unauthorized immigrants, the ordinance would impose criminal penalties on both landlords and tenants.  The court relied on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 decision invalidating key provisions of Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 to hold that the ordinance conflicted with federal immigration law in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Specifically, the court found that the ordinance conflicts with the federal government’s authority to arrest and detain people for possible unlawful presence as well as with the federal anti-harboring law, 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii), which makes it a felony to harbor, shield, or conceal an undocumented immigrant.  According to two judges who concurred in the judgment, the “purpose and effect” of the ordinance was “the exclusion of Latinos from the city of Farmers Branch.”   

 

Pennsylvania Housing Ordinance Found Unconstitutional by 3rd Circuit

On July 26, the 3rd Circuit Court confirmed that Hazelton, Pennsylvania’s anti-immigrant housing ordinances were unconstitutional and upheld  the lower court’s rulings that had blocked the discriminatory laws from going into effect.4  One ordinance made legal immigration status a precondition to being able to enter into a lease and criminalized “harboring” an unauthorized immigrant by leasing or renting a dwelling unit to such an individual.  A second ordinance required prospective tenants to obtain an occupancy permit which required proof of citizenship or legal residency.  The court found that, operating together, the two ordinances attempted to regulate residence based solely on immigration status and effectively prohibited unauthorized immigrants from living in any rental housing in the city of Hazelton.  According to the 3rd Circuit, these provisions are preempted by federal law both because the field of immigration is completely occupied by the federal government and because the requirements they impose upon immigrants conflict with federal law.  It is worth noting that, in addition to finding the housing provisions of the ordinances unconstitutional, the court also found that the provision attempting to regulate the employment of unauthorized immigrants was pre-empted by federal immigration law.  

4 Lozano v. City of Hazleton, No. 07-3531, 2013 WL 3855549 (3d. Cir. July 26, 2013).

5 Lozano v. City of Hazleton, 620 F.3d 170, 220–21 (3d Cir. 2010).  

 

In conclusion, it is noteworthy that no new municipal ordinances preventing unauthorized immigrants from renting housing have been enacted since 2010.  If the U.S. Supreme Court does decide to resolve the current split between the circuits, we can be hopeful the high court will adopt the sound reasoning articulated by the 3rd and 5th Circuits in finding such ordinances to be unconstitutional.  In addition to preempting federal immigration law, such housing ordinances are clearly bad public policy. They have cost cities across the country substantial time and resources to defend against lawsuits. They divide communities and increase discrimination against individuals based on their perceived immigration status. As the 3rd Circuit wrote: “It is difficult to conceive of a more effective method of ensuring that persons do not enter or remain in a locality than by precluding their ability to live in it.”5 Archbishop Gómez reminds us that unauthorized presence is not a crime:  

The fact is that most “illegals” are the people next door.  They go to work every day. Their kids go to school with our kids.  We sit next to them at church on Sunday. Most have been living in our country for five years or more.  Two-thirds have been here for a least a decade. 

 Our Catholic commitment to care for the stranger includes the basic need for shelter and extends to all human beings regardless of their immigration status. 

 

This document was prepared in August 2013 by CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle. This document is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807.

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Wendy Rhein
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is encouraged by today’s 5-3 Supreme Court decision to strike down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s immigration law that were challenged earlier this year.

Federal Judge Delivers Tough Blow to “America’s Toughest Sheriff” (June 2013)

More than eight months after hearing testimony in the civil trial, a U.S. District Judge has found that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) engaged in racial profiling against Hispanic drivers and passengers.  According to the decision , the MCSO, led by Sheriff Arpaio, used traffic stops as an excuse to identify and report individuals who are in the country without authorization and considered an individual’s Latino identity as a factor in determining whether to investigate that person’s immigration status.  

The statistical analysis of the MCSO’s traffic stops showed higher stop rates and longer stop times for Latinos, which highlighted a pattern of racial discrimination. The federal district court determined that Arpaio’s immigration enforcement policies and practices violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable searches and seizures) and Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Arizona Constitution. Accordingly, the MCSO was ordered to stop using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in stopping vehicles or making law enforcement decisions related to whether an individual may be in the country without authorization. A hearing will be held on June 14, 2013 to determine the specific steps the MCSO needs to take to ensure compliance with the court’s order. An attorney for Sheriff Arpaio’s office has indicated that the MCSO will abide by the court’s ruling but plans to appeal the decision.  

This is not the only legal challenge to Arpaio’s enforcement policies. On May 10, 2012, the Department of Justice filed a separate lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio and Maricopa County for allegedly engaging in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination against Latinos. This case remains pending. Hopefully, these court actions will serve as a deterrent, not only for Sheriff Arpaio, but for other local and state law enforcement agencies who are overstepping the bounds of their authority in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

 

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Arizona and Nebraska Still Battling to Keep DACA Recipients Off the Road (June 2013)

Last August, the Obama Administration began implementing its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – a policy through which certain undocumented individuals receive temporary permission to stay in the U.S. for two years as well as the right to apply for employment authorization. After some initial resistance to issuing driver’s licenses to DACA grantees, most states eventually decided to do so. At this time, only two states – Arizona and Nebraska – continue to deny state driver’s licenses or identification cards to DACA recipients.   

In November 2012, a number of civil rights organizations filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition and other young immigrants, challenging the Executive Order issued by Governor Brewer of Arizona on August 15, 2012 that denied state benefits, including driver’s licenses, to DACA grantees.  The lawsuit alleged that Arizona’s policy violates the Supremacy and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution and requested a preliminary injunction in the form of a court order directing Arizona to stop enforcing its policy of denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. On May 16, 2013, a U.S. District Judge rejected the argument that federal law preempted the Governor’s order. However, the court concluded that the plaintiffs’ allegation that they are being denied equal protection is likely to succeed at a future hearing on the full merits of the case. The equal protection argument is based on the fact that DACA recipients are being denied Arizona driver’s licenses while other noncitizens who have received deferred action status and work authorization from the federal government under different programs are issued licenses. According to the court’s order , Arizona can continue its policy for now.  However, the court will set a full hearing for the DACA plaintiffs to prove that they are being denied equal protection under Arizona’s law. At that time, the court may order Governor Brewer to halt her policy of denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients.

Following Governor Brewer’s lead, on August 17, 2012, Nebraska Governor Heineman declared that his state would not issue driver’s licenses or other public benefits to DACA grantees. Two lawsuits have been filed against the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which interpreted the Governor’s announcement as a directive to deny licenses to DACA grantees.  Like in Arizona, the DMV refuses to accept the work authorization permits of DACA recipients as proof of eligibility for driver’s licenses but continues to issue licenses to noncitizens with deferred action work permits through other programs. The lawsuit filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) alleges violations of the Supremacy and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The case brought by the ACLU of Nebraska alleges that the DMV implemented this policy in violation of the Due Process clause of the state Constitution and circumvented the state’s Administrative Procedures Act, which requires published notice and a public hearing before changing such a policy.

 

This document was prepared in June 2013 by CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle and Advocacy Intern Casey Lee. This document is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact Jen at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (202) 635-7410.

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Preparing for CLINIC/JFI Advocacy Day

Advocacy Day is Tuesday, May 21, 2013.

Get ready for your day on Capitol Hill!  Kevin Appleby, Director of USCCB's Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs and Allison Posner, CLINIC's Director of Advocacy will speak about the Church's position on immigration reform and how to frame your "asks" when speaking with your representatives.  We will also review the agenda for Advocacy Day and provide practical tips about getting around the Hill and what to expect from the day.   

Held on May 7, 2013.

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CLINIC Comments on Age-out Protections for U Visa Derivatives

On January 10, 2013, CLINIC shared comments on USCIS’s policy memo, “Age-Out Protection for Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status Holders: Pending Petitions, Initial Approvals, and Extension of Status.”  CLINIC welcomes the issuance of the guidance, as this policy will provide much needed security for the immigrant crime victims and their families that CLINIC members serve.  We are encouraged by USCIS’ statement that the preservation of family unity is a benefit to law enforcement.  The policy provides important protections for U visa derivatives who age out after the approval of the principal’s application, however, there are still important issues that remain unaddressed.  To read the full comments, click here

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CLINIC Comments on Employment Eligibility for VAWA Beneficiaries

On January 10, 2013, CLINIC shared comments with USCIS on its guidance entitled “Eligibility for Employment Authorization upon Approval of a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self- Petition; and, Eligibility for Employment Authorization for Battered Spouses of Certain Nonimmigrants.”  CLINIC’s comments addressed concerns regarding the employment authorization process for approved VAWA beneficiaries, as well as the eligibility for employment authorization for battered spouses of A, E (iii), G, and H nonimmigrants.  To read the full comments, click here.

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Charles Wheeler

 CIS has just released interim guidance on age-out protection for U derivatives. Per the guidance:

  • U-3 derivatives will be approved for the full four-year eligibility period, allowing the U-3 to remain in status past his or her 21st birthday
  • CIS will promulgate regulations to "provide protection" for U derivatives who age-out while the 918-A is pending. In the meantime, aging-out derivatives will be considered for deferred action, which allows for work authorization
  • U derivatives whose status expired upon turning age 21 may now file for an extension of status to receive enough time in U status to allow them to apply for adjustment 

The interim guidance does not address derivatives who age-out abroad while the application for derivative status is pending. The guidance is effective immediately.

Click here for the original letter.

To the extent that Tropical Storm/Hurricane Sandy (Sandy) impacts law enforcement operations and/or the storm triggers the need for an officially ordered evacuation or an emergency government response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) highest priorities are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the impacted region.

As such, to the extent that Sandy impacts law enforcement operations and/or the storm triggers the need for an officially ordered evacuation or an emergency government response, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to Sandy, including the use of checkpoints for immigration purposes in impacted areas during an evacuation. If a state or local law enforcement agency determines that individuals in their custody should be transferred or released due to Sandy, the state or local law enforcement agency should not decline to do so solely on the basis of an immigration detainer issued by ICE or CBP.

Comments on the Department of Health and Human Services' DACA/Lawfully Present Amendment

On October 23, 2012, CLINIC and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the Department’s amendment of the definition of the term “lawfully present.”  The amendment will prevent those granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from accessing affordable health insurance coverage options.  Excluding DACA recipients from this program is inequitable and undercuts the spirit of the Administration’s DACA policy.

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Information and Resources

 

A criminal record may disqualify you for DACA. Start with the resources on this chart to get a copy of yours. Know your criminal history before applying.

State
How to request
Alabama
  • In AL, Circuit Courts and District Courts have divisions for Juvenile Court and share jurisdiction over juvenile cases. When Circuit Courts or District Courts handle juvenile cases, these judges sit as a Juvenile Court and a separate docket is maintained. Contact your local court.
 
Alaska
  • Submit requests in writing to the records department or clerk of the court where the case took place.
  • Use request form TF-311 ANCH to make a request for copies of Anchorage case files.
  • Most court records are available for public inspection.
  • Copies are 25¢ per page. A certified copy of a document is $5.00.
 
Arizona
  • Delinquency records are open to the public for those juveniles who turned 18 after 1/1/1995. All other requests for information from delinquency files must be approved by the County Court before any can be viewed.
  • Ex: Maricopa County Juvenile Section.
 
Arkansas
  • FAQ about records.
 
California
  • Declaration For Access to Juvenile Case File In Possession of Juvenile Court.
 
Colorado
  • See the Colorado Bureau of Investigations website. The CBI is a division of the Colorado Department of Public Safety and is the repository for criminal records for Colorado citizens.
  • A $6.85 charge for each records search will be assessed to your credit or debit card.
  • Colorado State Judicial Branch or the Colorado Supreme Court, depending upon where the case was originally tried, can grant juvenile record release to eligible persons upon request if these records were not found at the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.
 
Connecticut
 
  • For access to juvenile records, contact the clerk’s office in the juvenile matters court where the case was filed.
 
Delaware
 
D.C.
 
Florida
 
Georgia
  • General background check.
  • Case records of youth will only be disclosed to the youth (if 18 years of age or older) or parent/guardian, with a signed Authorization for Release of Information. Find relevant form as Attachment D.
 
Hawaii
  • Juvenile records are stored in the Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS), which is maintained by the Attorney General and the Juvenile Justice Information Committee. In order to obtain juvenile records, a written request for disclosure must be made by the party concerned.
  • Contact the state’s Family Court at (808) 954-8144.
 
Idaho
  • If formal charges have been filed, a juvenile’s file and court hearings are open to the public if the youth is 14 years of age or older, unless the Judge deems special circumstances exist to keep a certain case closed to the public.
  • For information on criminal background checks.
 
Illinois
 
Indiana
  • In order to obtain a Juvenile History Record, Mail the fingerprints and a money order for $10 (Payable to the Indiana State Police) to: Indiana State Police, PO Box 6188, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Do not fold or crease the fingerprints. The juvenile criminal history documents will be mailed to the requestor.
  • For additional information, contact the Indiana State Police at (317) 234-2631.
 
Iowa
  • Records may be available online.
  • Any records unavailable through the online records database may be viewed in person at the juvenile court of the county where the action occurred.
 
Kansas
  • Juvenile records are strictly protected in Kansas. The only means to obtain your own juvenile history is to positively identify yourself by fingerprint submission to the Central Repository at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
  • To review an entire criminal record, to include all arrests, non-convictions, diversions, expungements, and juvenile offender data, mail a letter requesting your record to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. You must also include a Personal Identification fingerprint card with your fingerprints recorded. The fingerprint card establishes your identity to the Kansas Central Repository, so that someone else can't obtain your record by pretending to be you
  • Instructions for submitting a request can be found here.
 
Kentucky
  • An adult’s criminal record report is public information. Juveniles may access their records by requesting the records in person with the county clerk.
 
Louisiana
  • Juvenile Courts of Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, and Orleans Parishes have exclusive jurisdiction over certain types of cases. There is an exception for serious felonies committed by persons over 15 years of age, who may be tried in District or City Courts.
 
Maine
  • Maine Juvenile Crime Information Request
  • Online site provides electronic access to request criminal history record and juvenile crime information maintained by the Maine State Police, State Bureau of Identification.
 
Maryland
  • To access juvenile records, write a letter to the Juvenile Court of the County in Maryland where the records are.
  • Include name, date of birth, and reason for requesting records. The request will be forwarded to the Juvenile Court judge who will rule on whether or not to allow access. The court will then follow up with the requestor with further instructions.
  • The Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition can help determine DACA requestors’ eligibility for expungement.  Individuals with prior dispositions of Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) are those who are most likely eligible; most convictions cannot be expunged.  See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Pro. Art. § 10-105(a)(9) for limited exceptions.
 
Massachusetts
  • Information available at www.mass.gov/cjis.
  • Register at iCori, receive an e-mail confirmation, activate account within 24 hours, submit request along with a money order for $25.
  • To make request by mail: fill out Juvenile Record Request and send, along with $25 money order to:Office of the Commissioner of Probation One Ashburton Place, Room 405 Boston, MA 02108-1612 Attn: Juvenile Records
 
Michigan
  • Request a copy of the juvenile records from the Michigan State Police. Each department has different requirements for how to obtain records and different options for transmitting them to the requester.
  • If the crime was minor and an isolated incident, juvenile records may be unavailable. Request records in writing at: Michigan State PoliceCriminal Justice Information Center, Identification Section 7150 Harris DriveLansing, MI, 48913 Phone: (517) 322-1956Include full name, race, sex, full birth date, and all names used. If the defendant has a common name, consider including a Social Security Number. Enclose a $10 cashier's check or money order and a return envelope with the defendant's return address and current postage. Records by mail take three to five weeks.
  • Alternatively, request records through ICHAT – Michigan’s Internet Criminal History Access Tool.
 
Minnesota
  • Most Juvenile Court cases are closed to the public, and you generally must get permission from the presiding judge to view or get copies from a Juvenile Court file.
  • Practices vary from county to county, contact the Juvenile Court in each county.
  • Example: Affidavit for Access to Juvenile Court Files form in Hennepin County, Mail or drop off your completed request form to:4th District Juvenile Court Hennepin Co. Juvenile Justice Center Records Request - 1st Floor 590 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55415
 
 
Mississippi
  • In the 21 counties which have a County Court, those judges also serve as Youth Court judges. In counties which do not have a County Court, the Chancery Judge may hear Youth Court matters, or the Chancery Judge may appoint a lawyer to act in a judicial capacity as Youth Court Referee.
  • Contact the Court in the county where the records would be and request records in person, bringing proof of identification, which would then allow the juvenile to access his own record.
 
Missouri
  • Juveniles can request access to their own records. Only a court can order sealed records to be unsealed.
  • Missouri Revised Statues Section 211-321 concerns juvenile court records
  • Practices vary from county to county. Contact the Juvenile Court in each county.
 
Montana
  • Court records for a specific case can only be viewed in the court where the case was filed. Records may be reviewed in person. They must be viewed at the court, but copies can be made for a fee, which varies from court to court.
  • Sometimes, the court records contain information not available to the public. If this is the case, a written request for that information must be presented to the court where the case was filed. A judge will decide whether to grant access.
 
Nebraska
 
Nevada
  • Individuals may inspect their own records in person at the Department of Juvenile Justices or may petition the Juvenile Court for a court order allowing copies of the juvenile record to be made.
  • For questions regarding juvenile records, contact the Juvenile Justice Services Department at (702) 455-5220.
 
New Hampshire
  • The NH Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children, Family and Youth Services maintain a database known as “NH Bridges.”
  • See the State Police’s website for further information.
 
New Jersey
  • Send a written request stating what records are sought to: Yvonne Lemane Juvenile Justice Commission P.O. Box 107 Trenton, NJ 08625
  • Requests may also be faxed to (609) 943-4655.
  • You will receive back a form to complete and return in order to access records.
 
New Mexico
  • Request records, in writing or in person, at the New Mexico court where the matter was adjudicated.
  • In the case of significant misdemeanor offenses and multiple misdemeanor offenses the individual should contact the magistrate court of the proper county.
  • For felonies, contact the district court.
  • Contact information for district courts and magistrate courts can be found at http://www.nmcourts.gov/othercourts.php.
 
New York
  • The Division of Criminal Justice Services provides individuals with the opportunity to obtain and review their own criminal history record. Call (518) 485-7675 , or visit the Record Review Page for full details.
  • To obtain a copy of your criminal history record, request an informational packet from Record Review Unit New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services 4 Tower Place Albany, New York 12203-3764
 
North Carolina
  • The North Carolina Juvenile Online Information Network (“NCJOIN”) is a database of arrest information maintained by the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • Court records are currently available at county courthouses. The state is also implementing a new juvenile court record database called JWise. A juvenile, a juvenile’s parents or guardians, and attorneys may examine and obtain copies of court records without a court order.
 
North Dakota
  • A complete Criminal History may be obtained by contacting:North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations 205 State Street P.O. Box 1054 Bismarck, ND 58502 Phone: (701) 328-5650
 
Ohio
  • Contact the clerk of the juvenile court in the county where the incident took place.
  • Request records by supplying the court with your name and date of birth.
  • Can telephone, fax, or make the request in person to the county court.
 
Oklahoma
  • Visit your local probate court to obtain the paperwork required to file a motion to access your juvenile records. There may be a fee for this, though the fee may be waivable.
  • Fill out a Petition to View Records and/or Request for Copies form.
  • Must present a valid photo ID.
 
Oregon
  • Contact the Portland Police Bureau:Records Division 1111 SW 2nd Avenue, Room 1126 Portland, OR 97204 For juvenile records call: 503-988-3460
 
Pennsylvania
 
Rhode Island
 
South Carolina
  • Send a written request, including your date of birth and the last 4 digits of your social security number, to:Attn Central Records P.O. Box 21069 Columbia, SC 29221-1069
South Dakota
  • The Jackson County Clerk of Court conducts statewide record searches.
  • Mail this form to: Jackson County Clerk of Court, P.O. Box 128Kadoka, SD 57543-0128 Phone: (605) 837-2122 Email: carol.schofield@ujs.state.sd.us
Tennessee
Texas
 
Utah
  • Application for Criminal History Record
  • The petitioner requests the report from BCI. There is a fee for the report. The judge might require that you file a criminal history report from the other communities in which you have lived.
Vermont
  • Criminal Record Check request form.
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
  • A juvenile can request records by completing form DJ-LE- JD-1738-250 and filing with the state’s Crime Information Bureau.
Wyoming
  • Submit a State of Wyoming applicant fingerprint card with a preprinted waiver signature section on the reverse side. In addition, the applicant must also submit a fee which is also set by statute.
  • Contact the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (307-777-7181 or 208 S. College Dr., Cheyenne, WY) for a fingerprint card and instruction form.

Support for Integration Grant Funding

CLINIC and other organizations that help permanent residents naturalize and that promote the integration of newcomers sent the attached letter to Representative Nancy Pelosi, urging her to support appropriations funding for the U.S. Citizenship and Integration Grants Program.  Since the program began in October 2009, USCIS’s Program has helped more than 38,000 permanent residents in 30 states and the District of Columbia prepare for citizenship. Twenty-six percent of the 2012 grantees are CLINIC affiliates. 

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Click here for the original letter in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.

In the event that Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac (Isaac) triggers the need for an officially ordered
evacuation or an emergency government response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) highest priorities are to promote life-saving and lifesustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the region

As such, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or shelteringrelated to Isaac, including the use of checkpoints for immigration enforcement purposes in impacted areas during an evacuation. If a state or local law enforcement agency determines that individuals in their custody should be transferred or released due to Isaac, the state or local law enforcement agency should not decline to do so solely on the basis of an immigration detainer issued by ICE or CBP. If a state or local law enforcement agency does decide to release an individual subject to an ICE or CBP detainer based on Isaac, the agency should, wherever possible, contact the local ICE or CBP office prior to any such release to ensure that the release does not pose a danger to the community.

Introduction to Family-Based Immigration

E-learning Course: 

Introduction to Family-Based Immigration

October 16 – November 27, 2012

Click here for a more detailed course outline including the dates and times of the seven webinars. 

$270 per person for CLINIC affiliate agencies

$295 per person for other nonprofit agency staff

$425 per person for private attorneys and staff

This six-week training will explore the process of gaining permanent residence through a family relationship. We will cover which individuals are eligible based on family relationships, and how each step of the process works. Throughout the course, participants will review both the law and procedure for immigrating through a family relationship, including examination and critique of sample application forms. Topics covered will include: immediate relatives and the preference system, retention of priority dates, the Child Status Protection Act, immigrating through marriages, the affidavit of support, adjustment of status and consular processing. In addition, the first webinar of the course will provide an overview of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The course includes seven webinars conducted on consecutive Tuesdays at 2:00pm eastern time starting on October 16, 2012. Each webinar lasts approximately ninety minutes, and will be recorded and posted on the course website after the webinar is conducted.  In addition to the weekly webinars, the e-learning course provides a variety of activities for self-directed learning, including reading assignments, exercises, reviewing sample applications, quizzes, and discussion questions. The course will be interactive, with opportunities for online and real-time discussion among students, and between the students and the instructors.  The course requires a time commitment of approximately four hours per week for each of the six weeks of the course.  Although we encourage participants to attend the live webinars each week, participants will be able to listen to and view recordings of the webinars on the course website. The instructors for this course are CLINIC attorneys Kristina Karpinski and Debbie Smith.

For a detailed course outline, including the dates and times of the required webinars, click here.  Course participants are required to attend or view recordings of all course webinars in order to receive a course completion certificate at the end of the course.  Before you register, please carefully consider the dates and times of the course webinars, as well as the additional time required each week for completion of the reading and assignments.  Please note that in order to listen to the webinars, you will need either a speaker or a set of headphones for your computer.  There will not be a telephone audio option.  

Training Level: Introductory.  This is an introduction to family-based immigration for the practitioner who already has some exposure to immigration law fundamentals. Basic familiarity with (a) immigration law vocabulary; (b) the ways in which an immigrant may gain legal status; and (c) the concepts of inadmissibility and deportability, is assumed.

Registration: The training is for the staff of Catholic Charities and other community-based organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status, and attorneys and legal  staff of private law offices.  If you are registering as staff of a community-based organization, you must fax a copy of your IRS 501(c)(3) letter designating your agency as a nonprofit entity to CLINIC at 202-635-2649 to the attention of Andres Abella. Your registration will be confirmed upon receipt of this letter. If you are an attorney, please include your state bar number. Payment is by credit card only.  Please note that only the person who registers for the training has authorized access to course webinars, the el-learning website and course materials.

Please be sure to register under the correct category and for the correct training. All registration changes or cancellations are subject to an administrative charge of $70.00.  Please note that CLINIC can only issue refunds for an e-learning course until one week prior to the first day of the training.

Please note that we need the full name and a working email address for each individual taking this course.  We will communicate with each registrant via email only, so it is very important that we have the correct name and email address for each registrant.  On the registration form, please provide us the name and email address of the individual who will be taking the course.

Space is limited. The deadline for registration is October 12, 2012, or sooner if registration is filled. For registration information contact Andres Abella at aabella@cliniclegal.org.  For questions about the course content, please contact Kristina Karpinski at kkarpinski@cliniclegal.org.    

CLE: CLINIC is authorized by the State Bar of California to provide minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) trainings. E-learning participants are eligible to claim 1.5 hours of MCLE credits per webinar for the webinar component of our e-learning immigration law courses. If you are an attorney licensed in another state, please check with your state bar to determine whether this training qualifies for MCLE credit.

REGISTER HERE

Training Type: 
Training Category: 

Immigrating Through Marriage: Fiancé(e)s and Conditional Residents

September 24, 2012
Immigrating Through Marriage: Fiancé(e)s and Conditional Residents 

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time 

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time
Cost: $50; $25 for CLINIC Affiliates paying annual dues

K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4, CR-1, CR-2-if you know these immigration codes, you know they represent fiancé(e)s and their derivatives; beneficiaries of I-130s filed by U.S. citizen spouses and their derivatives; and conditional resident spouses and children. But what else do you know about these categories? This webinar will review who qualifies to come to the U.S. as a fiancé(e), who qualifies to be a fiancé(e) petitioner and the requirements for a fiancé(e) to adjust to permanent residence. We will also cover the requirements for K-3 and K-4 visas and discuss recent Board of Immigration Appeals cases on K-4 adjustments. A review of conditional resident spouses and children including how and when they should apply to remove the conditions on residency will also be included. Join CLINIC Attorneys Debbie Smith and Kristina Karpinski as we discuss these various options for Immigration Through Marriage.

REGISTER HERE

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information on joining the webinar.  For additional information contact Dinah Suncin at dsuncin@cliniclegal.org.

Training Type: 
Training Category: 
Susan Schreiber, Debbie Smith and Charles Wheeler

On August 14, 2012, USCIS issued the DACA "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" application form, posted a new FAQ, and held a stakeholder call that provided additional information on DACA program. The FAQ and stakeholder call, led by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, reviewed basic eligibility requirements for DACA as well as the education requirements, disclosure provisions and filing procedure.

This update will discuss the information released on August 14th and review details of the program previously reported in CLINIC's August 6th article on DACA. The DACA application form, Form I-821D, is available here and the FAQ is posted here

Additional resources on DACA may be found on the CLINIC website and include:

  • DACA Workshop Toolkit (working document)
  • Updated Materials  on CLINIC's DACA website including previous CLINIC webinars
  • August 23rd Webinar on Capacity Building for DACA and DACA Updates (register here)

Grounds of Inadmissibility

E-learning Course:
Grounds of Inadmissibility

September 26-November 7, 2012

Click here for a more detailed course outline including the dates and times of the seven webinars. 

$270 per person for CLINIC affiliate agencies

$295 per person for other nonprofit agency staff

$425 per person for private attorneys and staff

Immediate relatives will soon be able to file their waiver for unlawful presence in the United States before leaving for consular processing. This change to pre-adjudication is scheduled to go into effect soon, and it has already generated much interest and increased demand for services. But to effectively represent this client community practitioners need to know the fundamentals of inadmissibility so they can identify all the possible grounds. To prepare for this increased demand, practitioners will need to know whether or not their clients are inadmissible, and whether they qualify for this special pre-adjudication procedure.

This six-week training on the grounds of inadmissibility provides an in-depth examination of the concept of inadmissibility.  The training will cover when and to whom inadmissibility applies.  Course participants will study in detail selected grounds of inadmissibility including unlawful presence and other immigration violations; misrepresentation and false claims to citizenship; smuggling; unlawful voting; crimes; and health-based grounds.  We will also discuss effective interviewing and client counseling techniques.  While we will touch on the waivers available for some of these grounds, we will not look closely at waivers and how to apply for them; CLINIC’s e-learning course on waivers  covers those.

The course requires a time commitment of approximately four hours per week for each of the six weeks of the course.   This time will be spent in different activities, including reading assignments, exercises, and participation in seven webinars conducted on consecutive Wednesdays, as listed in the detailed course schedule.  The course will be interactive, with opportunities for online and real-time discussion among students, and between the students and the instructors.  The instructors for this course will be CLINIC attorneys Jennie Guilfoyle and Charles Wheeler. 

For a detailed course outline, including the dates and times of the live webinars, click here.  Course participants are required to attend or view recordings of all course webinars in order to receive a course completion certificate at the end of the course. Before you register, please carefully consider the dates and times of the scheduled webinars, as well as the additional time required each week for completion of the reading and assignments. Please note that in order to listen to the webinars, you will need either a speaker or a set of headphones for your computer.  There will not be a telephone audio option.

Registration: The training is for the staff of Catholic Charities and other community-based organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status, and attorneys and legal  staff of private law offices.  If you are registering as staff of a community-based organization, you must fax a copy of your IRS 501(c)(3) letter designating your agency as a tax-exempt nonprofit entity to Andres Abella at 202-635-2649. Your registration will be confirmed upon receipt of this letter. If you are an attorney, please include your state bar number. Payment is by credit card only. 

Please be sure to register under the correct category and for the correct training. All registration changes or cancellations are subject to an administrative charge of $70.00.  Please note that CLINIC can only issue refunds for an e-learning course until one week prior to the first day of the training.

Please provide the full name and a working email address for each individual taking this course.  We will communicate with each registrant via email only, so it is very important that we have the correct name and email address for each registrant.  On the registration form, please provide us the name and email address of the individual who will be taking the course.

Space is limited. The deadline for registration is September 21, 2012, or sooner if registration is filled. For registration information contact Andres Abella at 202-756-5523 or at aabella@cliniclegal.org. For questions about the course content, please contact Jennie Guilfoyle at jguilfoyle@cliniclegal.org.   

CLE: CLINIC is authorized by the State Bar of California to provide minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) trainings. E-learning participants are eligible to claim 1.5 hours of MCLE credits per webinar for the webinar component of our e-learning immigration law courses. If you are an attorney licensed in another state, please check with your state bar to determine whether this training qualifies for MCLE credit.

REGISTER HERE

Training Type: 
Training Category: 

Support for the Help Separated Families Act of 2012

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) signed onto this letter July 23, 2012 urging members of Congress to support the Help Separated Families Act, legislation introduced by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-34). The bill aims to improve the likelihood that children placed in the child welfare system as a result of immigration enforcement actions against their parents can ultimately reunify with their parents.

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Arizona's SB 1070 at the U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-3 ruling on Arizona's state immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.   What did the Court hold? What does it mean? What are the potential ramifications for "copycat" laws in other states? What's next for advocacy?    

Featured Panelists:

  • Andre Segura, Staff Attorney, Immigrants' Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Shuya Ohno, National Field Organizer, National Immigration Forum

Moderator:

  • Karen Siciliano Lucas, State & Local Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC

 

Held Friday, July 13, 2012.

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Arizona's SB 1070 at the U.S. Supreme Court

Friday, July 13, 2012
Arizona's SB 1070 at the U.S. Supreme Court

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT

Space is limited.

On Monday, June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-3 ruling on Arizona's state immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.   What did the Court hold? What does it mean? What are the potential ramifications for "copycat" laws in other states? What's next for advocacy?    

Join the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) and a panel of distinguished guests for a webinar on Friday, July 13, 2-3:30pmEST.  

Featured Panelists:

  • Andre Segura, Staff Attorney, Immigrants' Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Shuya Ohno, National Field Organizer, National Immigration Forum

Moderator:

  • Karen Siciliano Lucas, State & Local Advocacy Attorney, CLINIC

 

REGISTER HERE

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Training Category: 

1) What is the BIA Pro Bono Project?

The Project is a unique collaborative effort of five non-governmental organizations and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).  The Project, which seeks to increase the level of representation to detained and non-detained immigrants with case appeals before the BIA, is coordinated by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) and supported by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Immigration Council (AIC), the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), and the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition.  Volunteer attorneys screen and summarize cases each week at the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  The case descriptions circulated to potential pro bono counsel are based on these experts’ review of the record of proceedings that took place before the Immigration Judge.

2) Who does the Project help?

We are a pro bono project that works mainly with detainees and non-detainees who were pro se (unrepresented) before the immigration judge and now their case is on appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).   Either they lost the case before the Immigration Judge (IJ) and appealed, or they won the case before the IJ, and the government appealed.

More specifically, the project concentrates on finding representation for four types of individuals: (1) asylum-seekers, (2) minors, (3) individuals who received a favorable decision by an Immigration Judge that was subsequently appealed by the government, and (4) persons with a case in which the Immigration Judge requested certification of his/her decision from the BIA. All cases involve individuals who were not represented before the Immigration Judge, and who remain pro se before the BIA.

3) What does the attorney need to do?

i.    Each week we distribute new cases of individuals who need representation for their appeal.  Contact the CLINIC BIA Pro Bono Project coordinator if you have questions about a case or would like to volunteer for a particular case.  After the case is assigned to you, CLINIC will get consent from the respondent, which can take a week or two.  If we do not get consent, we will be happy to assign you a new one.  Once you receive the consent packet, you will file your entry of appearance (Form EOIR-27) with the Board.

   
ii.    Once the Board receives the EOIR-27, it will send you a full copy of the record of proceedings.  This is unique to our project and will not happen with other Board appeals.  Normally you would have to do a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, or dig up the information yourself, so receiving a copy of the record is one significant advantage of participating in our project, rather than doing a Board appeal on your own.  The Board will also send you a briefing schedule, typically set 3 weeks from the time your EOIR-27 was received.   You have the option of filing for an extension, which the Board will always grant.  If it does not, let us know and we will intervene to get the extension.  The extension is for an additional 3 weeks, so you will have a total of 6 weeks to write the brief, if you request the extension.  We will send you a sample extension request.


iii.    Next, you write your brief. The Board prefers concise briefs that are about 15-20 pages long.  You file one copy with the Board and send one to the opposing counsel (DHS).  Other than keeping in touch with CLINIC and updating the respondent, that’s all there is to it.

4) Do I need immigration law experience to volunteer?

The pro bono attorney needs to have a background in Immigration law, strong litigation/writing experience, or a background in appellate litigation. You need to have an active license to practice law in any U.S. state.  You do not need to practice or be licensed in the same state as the respondent.  We also work with law school clinics.

5) Do I need to meet with the client in-person?

No, many volunteer attorneys communicate with their client over the phone or through the mail.  You do not need to practice or be licensed in the same state as the respondent. 

6) Do I need to be licensed in the state of the respondent?

No, you do not need to practice or be licensed in the same state as the respondent.

7) What sorts of costs are connected to writing an appeal?

The notice of appeal was already filed by the respondent, so there are no filing fees for your brief or any extension requests.  The only costs to you will be the FedEx/mailing costs you incur.  That said, if you wish to file a motion to reopen or reconsider in the future, there will be filing fees. How do I sign up?

Please fill out the form here and the Project Coordinator will get in touch with you.

8) Do the procedures differ from the BIA practice manual?

i.    Yes, the procedure through the BIA Pro Bono Project differs slightly. Therefore, the volunteer should always check with us when they have procedural questions to make sure everything is routed to the proper person/office at the Board.


ii.    Specifically, the briefing schedule will be reset for cases through the project and the attorney will get a photocopy of the entire record. 

9) How do I learn more about Board appeals?

i.    EOIR’s virtual law library has an excellent manual, with sample pages and full procedural instructions.


ii.    The procedure through the BIA Pro Bono Project differs slightly. Therefore, a volunteer should always check with us for answers to procedural questions to make sure everything is routed to the proper person/office at the Board.

10) Does CLINIC cover me in the case of malpractice?

Yes, CLINIC maintains umbrella coverage for the volunteers who take an appeals case through our pro bono project. 

11) How long does the process take from start to finish?

The good thing about our project is that the timing is predictable.  It will take CLINIC a week or two to get consent from the Respondent.  You would then file the E-27.  Within a week or so, the Board will send you the record of proceeding and a new briefing schedule.  You have three weeks to write the brief, and an additional three weeks if you request an extension.  Therefore, you should be done with your part within 2-3 months.

 

12) When do we get the decision back from the Board?

It can vary---anywhere from 3 to 6 months; sometimes as long as a year or more!  The Board is faster with detained cases than non-detained cases, and decisions on cancellation of removal tend to come out more quickly than other cases.  Asylum/withholding/CAT cases with controversial issues can sometimes take a lot longer, especially if the Board isn’t sure how it wants to deal with the case (and they all sometimes have to agree on the direction they will take), or if the Board is considering publishing the case.

13) What happens if the respondent already filed a brief?

It’s not a problem.  The Board will keep the respondent’s brief and put it in the record of proceeding.  However, your brief will trump theirs.  The Board knows this is a BIA Pro Bono Project case and that we are finding an attorney for the respondent.  The Board will consider your brief when adjudicating the case.

14) What about legal support?

CLINIC provides mentorship and guidance throughout the BIA appeal process.

15) Do you have sample briefs?

Yes we do!  We have been collecting them for over 11 years and have a good variety of samples.  We do not make the bank publically available, but we can send you samples on any given topic that you desire.  Most of our volunteers find the sample briefs very helpful.

1)      What is the BIA Pro Bono Project?

Helpful Links

Select Topics in Family-Based Immigration Law Training and Visit to National Visa Center

Select Topics in Family-Based Immigration Law Training
and Visit to National Visa Center

Co-Sponsored by
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
and
New Hampshire Catholic Charities

July 10-11, 2012
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

July 12, 2012
Optional Tour of National Visa Center, Portsmouth, NH

Location:
Diocese of Manchester
153 Ash Street
Manchester, NH 03104

$250 per person from affiliate agencies; $750 cap ($50 materials fee for each additional staff from the same office location)


$275 per person for other non-profit agency staff; $825 cap
($50 materials fee per person for more than 3 attendees from the same office site)


$405 per person for private attorneys and staff

Optional: Additional $25 fee per person for round-trip transportation to National Visa Center in Portsmouth

Continental breakfast and lunch  included on July 10th and 11th.

This intensive two day training will provide updated information on selected topics in family-based immigration, including the new proposed provisional waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility.  We will discuss who may seek a provisional waiver in the U.S. and the proposed new form and process.  The training will also cover: establishing qualifying family relationships for relative petitions; priority date retention and conversion; the Child Status Protection Act; relief available to widows and other surviving relatives following the death of the petitioner or principal beneficiary; adjustment of status and consular processing; completing the affidavit of support; select inadmissibility issues; filing effective inadmissibility waivers and ethics in family-based immigration. 

The training will be presented by CLINIC attorneys Kristina Karpinski and Debbie Smith.  A representative from the USCIS office in New Hampshire has also been invited to participate

The training will also feature an optional tour of the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, NH on July 12th and a question and answer session with NVC Director Kimberly Kelly.  Space for the NVC visit is limited to the first 38 people who register for the tour.

Training Level: Note that this is not an introductory training and is not geared to new practitioners. Please review the agenda before registering; the training is conducted at a level that assumes participants have a basic understanding of family-based immigration law and procedure.

The training is for the staff of Catholic Charities and other community-based organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status, and attorneys and legal  staff of private law offices.  If you are registering as staff of a community-based organization, you must fax a copy of you IRS 501(c)(3) letter designating your agency as a nonprofit entity to CLINIC at 202 635-2649 to the attention of Andres Abella. Your registration will be confirmed upon receipt of this letter. If you are an attorney, please include your state bar number. Payment is by credit card only. Please be sure to register under the correct category and for the correct training. All registration changes or cancellations are subject to an administrative charge of $70.00.

Space for the July 10-11 training is limited to 40 participants. The deadline for registration is July 3rd or sooner if registration is filled. For registration information contact: Dinah Suncin at dsuncin@cliniclegal.org.

For the agenda and additional information click here.

Lodging Information 

A block of rooms has been reserved at the rate of $99.00 plus tax at the following hotel under the name “Catholic Legal” or code CLI. Make reservations early, the rate is only guaranteed until June 19th.

Holiday Inn Express
1298 South Porter Street
Manchester, NH
603-669-6800
Hotel can provide transportation to & from the airport and to the training site.
Close to Shopping Mall and many restaurants

 REGISTER HERE

for Select Topics in Family-Based Immigration Law Training 

 

SIGN UP

to tour the National Visa Center

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The Supreme Court Considers Arizona v. United States

On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case involving the legal challenge to Arizona's restrictive state immigration enforcement law "SB 1070."  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted a "friend of the court" brief in the case, supporting the United States in challenging the law.  What did the Bishops say in their brief?  What are the interests of the Catholic Church when states choose to enforce federal immigration law on their own terms?  What is wrong with a policy of "attrition through enforcement"?  
 
This webinar - held just two days after oral arguments - discusses all of these issues and more.  How did the Justices react to arguments by both sides?  What is really at stake?  The webinar places the legal arguments over SB 1070 in the context of new ways that states and localities are proposing to get more active on immigration.

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Programs: 

The Supreme Court Considers Arizona v. United States

April 27, 2012
The Supreme Court Considers Arizona v. United States

 
 
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time 
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time

Cost:  Free
 
 On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case involving the legal challenge to Arizona's restrictive state immigration enforcement law "SB 1070."  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted a "friend of the court" brief in the case, supporting the United States in challenging the law.  What did the Bishops say in their brief?  What are the interests of the Catholic Church when states choose to enforce federal immigration law on their own terms?  What is wrong with a policy of "attrition through enforcement"?  
 
This webinar - held just two days after oral arguments - will discuss all of these issues and more.  How did the Justices react to arguments by both sides?  What is really at stake?  The webinar will place the legal arguments over SB 1070 in the context of new ways that states and localities are proposing to get more active on immigration.  It will give you a chance to hear more about state and local immigration enforcement and to ask questions directly of CLINIC's Karen Lucas and USCCB's Sara Ibrahim.

REGISTER HERE

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information on joining the webinar.  For additional information contact Karen Siciliano Lucas at klucas@cliniclegal.org.

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Comments Regarding Proposed Changes to Regulations Governing Recognition and Accreditation

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) submitted these comments on March 30, 2012 in response to the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) proposal to amend the regulations governing the recognition of organizations and accreditation of representatives who appear before EOIR.

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State & Local Immigration Policy Map Training

CLINIC hosted a webinar to train users of CLINIC's new web-based State & Local Immigration Policy Map. The Map offers CLINIC's many state-specific resources on policy proposals affecting immigrants and their families. This webinar will be free and open to the public. During this fully interactive training, participants experienced a real-time demonstration of the Map's capabilities, received step-by-step instruction in finding materials, asked questions of CLINIC's State & Local Advocacy Attorney Karen Lucas and CLINIC's Communications Officer/Web Content Coordinator Tessa Winkler. Learn how to search for and compare CLINIC's analyses of similar but different state harboring laws and learn whether federal courts have blocked them.  Compare two states' omnibus immigration enforcement bills before an upcoming hearing.  Find a one-page Q&A to help you explain a bill to those who may be impacted by it. This training will help you do it all!

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Advocates Support Expansion of the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) Legal Orientation Program (LOP)

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with other faith-based, human rights, immigrant advocacy, and legal service organizations expressed thir support for expanding the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), a program within the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Since its launch in 2003, LOP has generated bipartisan support because of its proven track record in reducing court processing times and making the detention and immigration court process more efficient.

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Comments on Public Meetings: Proposed Changes to Regulations Governing Recognition and Accreditation [EOIR Docket No. 176]

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) submits these comments in response to the request for public comment by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in advance of its two public meetings on the agency's proposal to amend the regulations governing the recognition of organizations and accreditation of representatives who appear before EOIR.

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