While we are quarantined, we plan to do quick summaries of immigration news for our clients and visitors to this site. If enough people find this useful, we may continue to do so when our physical office reopen. A quick immigration news round-up this week:
- A federal judge in Oregon has refused to suspend President Donald Trump’s recent presidential proclamation that put a 60-day ban on immigrant visas for certain intending immigrants residing abroad. The Ninth Circuit is now weighing whether it would issue an injunction on the case. For more information on whom the ban impacts, please see this article.
- President Trump is now looking into whether he can condition coronavirus economic relief for states with sanctuary cities on complying with the administration’s immigration policy goals. This is likely unconstitutional based on the expert legal analysis of over a hundred law professors (including yours truly), not that the law has ever prevented this administration from pursuing nefarious policies.
- It might shock some people, but gender violence or being a woman who has faced violence does not automatically guarantee someone asylum in the United States. In order to obtain asylum, people need to show past persecution or fear of future persecution based on race, ethnicity, political opinion, religion, and membership in a particular social group. We have long advocated for gender to be covered under “particular social group” when it comes to seeking asylum, though advocates have long had to define it more narrowly (i.e. women in X country who lack male protection, women in abusive relationships). Due to the Trump administration’s assault on domestic violence survivors, and subsequent lawsuits filed against limiting asylum, a federal appeals court has now remanded a case back to the BIA to consider that gender alone can be a particular social group as a basis for granting asylum. This is great news for advocates, and a good persuasive legal opinion on how the size of a group does not and should not exclude persons from applying for and obtaining asylum.
- Newly obtained emails have revealed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials systematically retaliated against immigrant rights activists in recent years. One name that appears repeatedly is Maru Mora-Villalpando, an undocumented activist and leader of the grassroots organization La Resistencia, based in Washington state.
- Otay Mesa in California has more than 100 people who have tested positive for Covid-19. In El Paso, Texas, six immigrant women suffering from underlying health conditions have been freed from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail after suing the agency for endangering their health during this pandemic. Many more lawsuits are being filed on behalf of detainees across the country to demand that ICE release them from migrant prison facilities.
- Internal emails show that ICE has access to the personal information of DACA recipients despite promises to keep this information private.
- Mixed status immigrant families are suing the Trump Administration to get their stimulus checks. Due to a quirk in the law, no stimulus checks are being issued to married couples who jointly filed tax returns if one spouse used an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
- A federal judge in Washington D.C. has rejected requests to suspend immigration court hearings amid coronavirus outbreak. The lawsuit, brought last month by three immigration advocacy groups and several detained clients, urged the U.S. District Court in D.C. to suspend in-person hearings for the duration of the public health crisis. A similar lawsuit is pending in New York.
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