THWARTED: Judge Stops Feds From Interfering With Pro Bono Help!

US judge blocks restriction on immigrant legal help – San Francisco Chronicle

Gene Johnson reports for AP:

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge temporarily blocked a Justice Department decision that immigrant legal rights organizations around the country said would curtail much of the work they do help those facing deportation.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones issued his ruling Wednesday immediately following oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by the nonprofit Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

The Justice Department last month sent the group a cease-and-desist letter saying it cannot provide certain legal assistance to immigrants unless it undertakes formal representation of them in court. The nonprofit says it doesn’t have the resources to do that, as formal representation can require intensive investigation of a client’s case and remaining involved until its resolution.

The order would force it and similar groups around the country to stop preparing motions and other documents on behalf of immigrants who represent themselves, the organization said.

The judge agreed that the Justice Department’s action would violate the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech, association and to petition the government, and that the cease-and-desist letter would limit its work — forcing many immigrants to go without legal help, since people facing deportation are not entitled to an attorney the way criminal defendants are. He barred the Justice Department from sending such letters to any other nonprofit organizations doing similar work around the nation.”

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Read the full article at the link.

My good friend and former colleague, retired U.S. Immigration Judge Eliza Klein prepared an affidavit in support of the plaintiffs in this cases.

PWS

05-19-17Jug

 

9th Cir. Panel Grills Both Sides In Travel Ban 2.0 Case!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/another-appeals-court-to-weigh-trumps-revised-travel-ban/2017/05/15/5f188d56-3946-11e7-a59b-26e0451a96fd_story.html?utm_term=.038612a73dbd

Gene Johnson for AP reported in the Washington Post:

“SEATTLE — Federal judges on Monday peppered a lawyer for President Donald Trump with questions about whether the administration’s travel ban discriminates against Muslims and zeroed in on the president’s campaign statements, the second time in a week the rhetoric has faced judicial scrutiny.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, defending the travel ban, told the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the executive order should be reinstated because it falls well within the president’s authority.

“No one has ever attempted to set aside a law that is neutral on its face and neutral in its operation on the basis of largely campaign trail comments made by a private citizen running for office,” he said.

Further, Wall said the president had backed off the comments he made during the campaign, clarifying that “what he was talking about was Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor or shelter them.”

Neal Katyal, who represented Hawaii, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, expressed disbelief at that argument and said Trump had repeatedly spoken of a Muslim ban during the presidential campaign and after.

“This is a repeated pattern of the president,” Katyal said.

The 9th Circuit panel was hearing arguments over Hawaii’s lawsuit challenging the travel ban, which would suspend the nation’s refugee program and temporarily bar new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The judges will decide whether to uphold a Hawaii judge’s decision in March that blocked the ban.

Last week, judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over whether to affirm a Maryland judge’s decision putting the ban on ice. They also questioned whether they could consider Trump’s campaign statements, with one judge asking if there was anything other than “willful blindness” that would prevent them from doing so.

Dozens of advocates for refugees and immigrants rallied outside the federal courthouse in Seattle, some carrying “No Ban, No Wall” signs.”

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Read the entire article at the link. Challenges to District Court orders enjoining parts of “Travel Ban 2.0” are pending on both coasts — in the 9th Circuit and the 4th Circuit. stay tuned!

PWS

05-16-17