“GANG OF 14” FORMER IMMIGRATION JUDGES AND BIA APPELLATE IMMIGRATION JUDGES (INCLUDING ME) FILE AMICUS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ADMINISTRATIVE CLOSING! – Matter of Castro-Tum

HERE’S “OUR HERO” STEVEN H. SCHULMAN OF AKIN GUMP’S DC OFFICE WHO DID ALL THE “HEAVY LIFTING” OF DRAFTING THE BRIEF:

HERE’S THE “CAST OF CHARACTERS” (A/K/A “GANG OF 14”):

Amici curiae are retired Immigration Judges and former members of the Board of Immigration Appeals, who seek to address the Attorney General’s certified questions regarding administrative closure. Amici were appointed to serve at immigration courts around the United States and with the Board, and at senior positions with the Executive Office of Immigration Review. From their many combined years of service, amici have intimate knowledge of the operation of the immigration courts, including the importance of various procedural mechanisms to maintain efficient dockets. As explained in detail, administrative closure, when used judiciously, is a critical tool for immigration judges in managing their dockets. Without tools like administrative closure, immigration judges would be hampered, unable to set aside those matters that do not yet require court intervention and thus prevented from focusing on the removal cases that demand immediate attention.

In particular, the Honorable Sarah M. Burr served as a U.S. Immigration Judge in New York from 1994 and was appointed as Assistant Chief Immigration Judge in charge of the New York, Fishkill, Ulster, Bedford Hills and Varick Street immigration courts in 2006. She served in this capacity until January 2011, when she returned to the bench full-time until she retired in 2012. Prior to her appointment, she worked as a staff attorney for the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society in its trial and appeals bureaus and also as the supervising attorney in its immigration unit. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Immigrant Justice Corps.

The Honorable Jeffrey S. Chase served as an Immigration Judge in New York City from 1995 to 2007 and was an attorney advisor and senior legal advisor at the Board from 2007 to 2017. He is presently in private practice as an independent consultant on immigration law, and Page 2 of 32 is of counsel to the law firm of DiRaimondo & Masi in New York City. Prior to his appointment, he was a sole practitioner and volunteer staff attorney at Human Rights First. He also was the recipient of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s annual pro bono award in 1994 and chaired AILA’s Asylum Reform Task Force.

The Honorable Bruce J. Einhorn served as a United States Immigration Judge in Los Angeles from 1990 to 2007. He now serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California, and a Visiting Professor of International, Immigration, and Refugee Law at the University of Oxford, England. He is also a contributing op-ed columnist at D.C.-based The Hill newspaper. He is a member of the Bars of Washington D.C., New York, Pennsylvania, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Honorable Cecelia M. Espenoza served as a Member of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) Board of Immigration Appeals from 2000-2003 and in the Office of the General Counsel from 2003-2017 where she served as Senior Associate General Counsel, Privacy Officer, Records Officer and Senior FOIA Counsel. She is presently in private practice as an independent consultant on immigration law, and a member of the World Bank’s Access to Information Appeals Board. Prior to her EOIR appointments, she was a law professor at St. Mary’s University (1997-2000) and the University of Denver College of Law (1990-1997) where she taught Immigration Law and Crimes and supervised students in the Immigration and Criminal Law Clinics. She has published several articles on Immigration Law. She is a graduate of the University of Utah and the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. She was recognized as the University of Utah Law School’s Alumna of the Year in 2014 and received the Outstanding Service Award from the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Page 3 of 32 Association in 1997 and the Distinguished Lawyer in Public Service Award from the Utah State Bar in 1989-1990.

The Honorable Noel Ferris served as an Immigration Judge in New York from 1994 to 2013 and an attorney advisor to the Board from 2013 to 2016, until her retirement. Previously, she served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1985 to 1990 and as Chief of the Immigration Unit from 1987 to 1990.

The Honorable John F. Gossart, Jr. served as a U.S. Immigration Judge from 1982 until his retirement in 2013 and is the former president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. At the time of his retirement, he was the third most senior immigration judge in the United States. Judge Gossart was awarded the Attorney General Medal by then Attorney General Eric Holder. From 1975 to 1982, he served in various positions with the former Immigration Naturalization Service, including as general attorney, naturalization attorney, trial attorney, and deputy assistant commissioner for naturalization. He is also the co-author of the National Immigration Court Practice Manual, which is used by all practitioners throughout the United States in immigration court proceedings. From 1997 to 2016, Judge Gossart was an adjunct professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law teaching immigration law, and more recently was an adjunct professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law also teaching immigration law. He has been a faculty member of the National Judicial College, and has guest lectured at numerous law schools, the Judicial Institute of Maryland and the former Maryland Institute for the Continuing Education of Lawyers. He is also a past board member of the Immigration Law Section of the Federal Bar Association. Judge Gossart served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1969 and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Page 4 of 32

The Honorable William P. Joyce served as an Immigration Judge in Boston, Massachusetts. Subsequent to retiring from the bench, he has been the Managing Partner of Joyce and Associates with 1,500 active immigration cases. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he served as legal counsel to the Chief Immigration Judge. Judge Joyce also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Associate General Counsel for enforcement for INS. He is a graduate of Georgetown School of Foreign Service and Georgetown Law School.

The Honorable Edward Kandler was appointed as an Immigration Judge in October 1998. Prior to his appointment to the Immigration Court in Seattle in June 2004, he served as an Immigration Judge at the Immigration Court in San Francisco from August 2000 to June 2004 and at the Immigration Court in New York City from October 1998 to August 2000. Judge Kandler received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 from California State University at San Francisco, a Master of Arts degree in 1974 from California State University at Hayward, and a Juris Doctorate in 1981 from the University of California at Davis. Judge Kandler served as an assistant U.S. trustee for the Western District of Washington from 1988 to 1998. He worked as an attorney for the law firm of Chinello, Chinello, Shelton & Auchard in Fresno, California, in 1988. From 1983 to 1988, Judge Kandler served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of California. He was also with the San Francisco law firm of Breon, Galgani, Godino from 1981 to 1983. Judge Kandler is a member of the California Bar.

The Honorable Carol King served as an Immigration Judge from 1995 to 2017 in San Francisco and was a temporary Board member for six months between 2010 and 2011. She previously practiced immigration law for ten years, both with the Law Offices of Marc Van Der Page 5 of 32 Hout and in her own private practice. She also taught immigration law for five years at Golden Gate University School of Law and is currently on the faculty of the Stanford University Law School Trial Advocacy Program. Judge King now works as a Removal Defense Strategist, advising attorneys and assisting with research and writing related to complex removal defense issues.

The Honorable Lory D. Rosenberg served on the Board from 1995 to 2002. She then served as Director of the Defending Immigrants Partnership of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association from 2002 until 2004. Prior to her appointment, she worked with the American Immigration Law Foundation from 1991 to 1995. She was also an adjunct Immigration Professor at American University Washington College of Law from 1997 to 2004. She is the founder of IDEAS Consulting and Coaching, LLC., a consulting service for immigration lawyers, and is the author of Immigration Law and Crimes. She currently works as Senior Advisor for the Immigrant Defenders Law Group.

The Honorable Susan Roy started her legal career as a Staff Attorney at the Board of Immigration Appeals, a position she received through the Attorney General Honors Program. She served as Assistant Chief Counsel, National Security Attorney, and Senior Attorney for the DHS Office of Chief Counsel in Newark, NJ, and then became an Immigration Judge, also in Newark. Sue has been in private practice for nearly 5 years, and two years ago, opened her own immigration law firm. Sue is the NJ AILA Chapter Liaison to EOIR, is the Vice Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the NJ State Bar Association, and in 2016 was awarded the Outstanding Prop Bono Attorney of the Year by the NJ Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Page 6 of 32

The Honorable Paul W. Schmidt served as an Immigration Judge from 2003 to 2016 in Arlington, virginia. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals from 1995 to 2001, and as a Board Member from 2001 to 2003. He authored the landmark decision Matter of Kasinga, 21 I&N Dec. 357 (BIA 1995) extending asylum protection to victims of female genital mutilation. He served as Deputy General Counsel of the former INS from 1978 to 1987, serving as Acting General Counsel from 1986-87 and 1979-81. He was the managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Fragomen, DelRey & Bernsen from 1993 to 1995, and practiced business immigration law with the Washington, D.C. office of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue from 1987 to 1992, where he was a partner from 1990 to 1992. He served as an adjunct professor of law at George Mason University School of Law in 1989, and at Georgetown University Law Center from 2012 to 2014 and 2017 to present. He was a founding member of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ), which he presently serves as Americas Vice President. He also serves on the Advisory Board of AYUDA, and assists the National Immigrant Justice Center/Heartland Alliance on various projects; and speaks, writes and lectures at various forums throughout the country on immigration law topics. He also created the immigration law blog immigrationcourtside.com.

The Honorable Polly A. Webber served as an Immigration Judge from 1995 to 2016 in San Francisco, with details in facilities in Tacoma, Port Isabel, Boise, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Orlando. Previously, she practiced immigration law from 1980 to 1995 in her own private practice in San Jose. She was a national officer in AILA from 1985 to 1991 and served as National President of AILA from 1989 to 1990. She has also taught immigration and nationality law at both Santa Clara University School of Law and Lincoln Law School. Page 7 of 32

The Honorable Gustavo D. Villageliu served as a Board of Immigration Appeals Member from July 1995 to April 2003. He then served as Senior Associate General Counsel for the Executive Office for Immigration Review until he retired in 2011, helping manage FOIA, Privacy and Security as EOIR Records Manager. Before becoming a Board Member, Villageliu was an Immigration Judge in Miami, with both detained and non-detained dockets, as well as the Florida Northern Region Institutional Criminal Alien Hearing Docket 1990-95. Mr. Villageliu was a member of the Iowa, Florida and District of Columbia Bars. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1977. After working as a Johnson County Attorney prosecutor intern in Iowa City, Iowa he joined the Board as a staff attorney in January 1978, specializing in war criminal, investor, and criminal alien cases.

HERE’S A SUMMARY OF OUR ARGUMENT:

ARGUMENT………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7

I. Immigration Judges and the Board have inherent and delegated authority to order administrative closure in a case ……………………………………………………………………………… 7

A. Federal courts have recognized that judges possess an inherent authority to order administrative closure………………………………………………………………………… 8

B. Regulations establishing and governing Immigration Judges ratify their inherent authority to order administrative closure. …………………………………………. 9

II. The Board’s decisions in Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012), and Matter of W-Y-U-, 27 I&N Dec. 17 (BIA 2017), articulate the appropriate standard for administrative closure……………………………………………………………………….. 13

A. The legal standard set forth in Avetisyan and W-Y-U- gives the Immigration Judge the correct degree of independence in deciding motions for administrative closure. ……………………………………………………………………………… 13

B. The facts and disposition of the case at bar show that the legal standard under Avetisyan and W-Y-U- is working correctly. ………………………………………………… 16

III. Fundamental principles of administrative law hold that the Attorney General cannot change the regulations that grant this authority without proper notice and comment rulemaking. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18

A. Practical docket management considerations weigh in favor of retaining administrative closure. ……………………………………………………………………………… 19

B. Due process considerations also weigh in favor of retaining administrative closure. …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 21

IV. Options such as continuances, dismissal without prejudice, and termination without prejudice, are suboptimal as compared to administrative closure. …………………………….. 22

V. There is no reason to attach legal consequences to administrative closure. ………………… 25

FINALLY, HERE’S THE COMPLETE BRIEF FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND READING PLEASURE:

Former IJs and Retired BIA Members – FINAL Castro-Tum Brief

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  • Thanks again to all retired my colleagues. What a great opportunity to “reunite online” in support of a critically important cause affecting the American Justice System!
  • Special thanks to Judge Jeffrey Chase for spearheading the effort and getting all of us together!
  • “Super Special Thanks” to the amazing Steven H. Schulman, Partner at Akin Gump DC and to Akin Gump for donating your valuable time and expertise and making this happen!

PWS

02-17-18

 

 

 

 

MEET THE GOOD GUYS: NOVA SUPERSTAR IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY AVA BENACH HELPS “DREAMER TYPES” & THEY HELP AMERICA – THIS IS THE WAY THE SYSTEM CAN WORK WHEN YOU GET BEYOND THE WHITE NATIONALIST XENOPHOBIA OF TRUMP, SESSIONS, & MILLER & WHEN GREAT LAWYERS GET INVOLVED!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/she-was-almost-deported-as-a-teen-now-she-helps-frightened-versions-of-herself/2018/02/15/b39969a8-1245-11e8-9065-e55346f6de81_story.html

Petula Dvorak writes in the Washington Post:

“She was almost deported as a teen. Now she helps frightened versions of herself.


Liana Montecinos is a senior paralegal at Benach Collopy in Washington. She was 17 and about to be deported when lawyer Ava Benach helped her win asylum. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Columnist February 15 at 3:39 PM

On many days in the shiny, sleek law office — in her sharp suit and sweeping view of Washington — she revisits all the horrors most people would want to forget:

The drunk men bursting into her tiny, adobe home at night, terrorizing the 15 children who lived there.

The walk across three countries, fearing for her life the entire way.

The months of eating nothing but beans and rice.

These are the same stories Liana Montecinos hears just about every time the 29-year-old paralegal sits down with a client.

Ava Benach, from left, Satsita Muradova and Liana Montecinos chat at their law office. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

She doesn’t have to go there. She’s an American citizen and a third-year law student with a great future in front of her. But instead of going into something lucrative — corporate law, for example — she’s sticking with the law firm that helped her get political asylum.

“Being an immigrant and serving immigrants, it’s a very special connection,” Montecinos said.

And by doing that, she spends her days with frightened versions of herself.

I wanted to tell Montecinos’s story as Congress grapples with the fate of 1.8 million “dreamers,” the undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. They face deportation under President Trump unless Congress can find a way to reinstate the protection they were given by President Barack Obama.

Montecinos was brought across the border by a relative in 1999, when she was 11 years old, after walking — yes, actually walking — from Honduras, across Guatemala, then across Mexico, crossing the Rio Grande into the United States.

She joined her mother in Northern Virginia — they had been separated since she was an infant and she had been raised by her grandmother — and her life was transformed.

She played volleyball and basketball in her Falls Church high school. She was a cheerleader and soccer player. She took Advanced Placement classes.

But no matter how well she was doing in school and no matter how faint her accent became, she knew it could all fall apart any second.

And it nearly did when she was 17 and applied for legal status. Instead, the government began removal proceedings. She was going to be deported.

But it didn’t stop her from graduating from high school and enrolling at George Mason University, where she received a scholarship to cover the triple-tuition she had to pay as an undocumented student.

The scholarship’s donor — Helen Ackerman — introduced Montecinos to D.C. immigration attorney Ava Benach, who took on her complex case. What followed was a 10-year struggle.

“I met Liana when she was 17 years old,” Benach said. “And I knew she was special. She was out there, trying to figure out her own immigration status. I felt a very parental desire to help her.”

So they took on the case together, with Montecinos never giving up.

“I’d be doing an all-nighter, knowing I had a hearing the next day and the judge could send me away and it would all be for nothing,” she said.

But she kept studying, striving and working. You know how folks are always saying “Why don’t they just get legal?” It’s not that easy.

It took 10 years of hearings and arguments to convince a judge that she faced threats and violence in Honduras, in that tiny, adobe house, and that her hard work in school, model citizenship and potential were enough to grant her a place in American society.

Asylum is granted only to someone who faces persecution in their home country. And that persecution has to be for one of five reasons: your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or your political opinion.

“It has to fit in one of five boxes,” Benach said. And her life’s work is helping her frightened clients qualify.

Montecinos was granted asylum and citizenship on June 29, 2016.

“For many, becoming a U.S. citizen is the last part of the process,” Montecinos wrote on her Facebook page that day. “For others, like myself, it is the beginning to end 16 plus years of uncertainty and of fear of a forceful return to imminent harm.”

She called herself “extremely blessed and thankful for such a privilege, which is denied to many,” she said. “This path, however, was not easy. It was not short. It was not cheap.”

She is in her third year of law school at the University of the District of Columbia, where she received a Student Humanitarian and Civic Engagement award on Thursday.

In her spare time, you see, she runs a nonprofit group she founded, United for Social Justice, which helps low-income, first-generation Americans get access to higher education. Oh, and she coaches and plays on a bunch of soccer teams.

When she meets with the undocumented children who are like her, the ones she is fighting for, it reminds her of her struggle.

Though her own story is horrible — think of being 11 and scared, hiding your face with blankets as you cross strange villages where people are yelling “pollos mojados” (wet chickens) at you, not knowing where you’re going — her clients recount even more heart-stopping stories.

She hears from children who were kidnapped, who rode for days on top of speeding trains, afraid to fall asleep because they’d fall off, from a little girl who was gang-raped in front of her father.”

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Ava has a “Major League” legal mind to go with a “heart of gold!” She and her colleagues from her firm appeared on many occasions before me at the Arlington Immigration Court.

This article aptly illustrates one of the points I often make.  Asylum law has intentionally been “jacked” against Central Americans by a non-independent BIA working under pressure from politicos to limit protections to large groups. Nevertheless, with a good lawyer (e.g., one who isn’t afraid to argue the BIA’s — often otherwise ignored — favorable precedents back to them and to take wrong BIA denials to the Court of Appeals if necessary), resources to build and document a case, and persistence, most of the “Dreamers” probably could win some type of relief in Immigration Court if not at the Asylum Office or elsewhere at USCIS.

But, what rational reason could there be for forcing folks like Liana Montecinos who are already here, part of our society, and just want to become taxpaying citizens and REALLY “Make America Great” (not to be confused with the disingenuous racist slogan of Trump and his White Nationalist “base”) go through such a laborious process? And what possible rationale could there be for wasting the time of an already overburdened Immigration Court system with cases of individuals who clearly should be welcomed and accepted into American society without being placed in “Removal Proceedings?” Also, what would be the rationale for trying to artificially “speed up” complex cases like Liana’s and trying to make life difficult for talented lawyers like Ava?

The answer is clear: there is NO rationale for the “Gonzo” Immigration enforcement and “designed chaos and attack on Due Process in Immigration Court” that Trump, Miller, Sessions, Nielsen, Tom Homan and their ilk are trying to ram down our throats. Sessions is the problem for justice in our Immigration Courts; lawyers like Ava are a key part of the solution! Clearly, the U.S. Immigration Courts are too important to our system of justice to be left in the clutches of a biased, “enforcement only,” White Nationalist, xenophobic opponent of individual due process like Jeff Sessions! American needs an independent Article I U.S. Immigration Court! Harm to the least and most vulnerable among us is harm to all!

The good news is that folks like Ava and her fellow “Generals” of the “New Due Process Army” are out there to fight Trump, Sessions & Company and their White Nationalist, anti-American actions every step of the way and to vindicate the Constitutional and legal rights of great American migrants like Liliana and millions of others similarly situated. They are “American’s future!” Trump, Sessions, Miller, et al., are the ugly past of America that all decent Americans should be committed to “putting in the rear-view mirror” where the “Trumpsters” live and belong! And, it won’t be long before Liliana becomes an attorney and a “full-fledged member” of the “New Due Process Army!”

Go Ava! Go Liliana! Due Process Forever! 

PWS

02-16-18

 

SLAMMED AGAIN! — 4TH CIR. FINDS CLEAR ANTI-MUSLIM BIAS IN AGAIN REJECTING TRUMP’S BOGUS TRAVEL BAN! — SUPREMES WILL HAVE LAST WORD!

https://www.buzzfeed.com/zoetillman/a-federal-appeals-court-ruled-that-trumps-third-travel-ban

Zoe Tillman reports for BuzzFeed News:

“A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that President Donald Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban is likely unconstitutional, writing that it “continues to exhibit a primarily religious anti-Muslim objective.”

The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld a lower court injunction that blocked the Trump administration from enforcing key parts of the travel ban, but put its order on hold while the US Supreme Court takes up the issue of the ban.

The president’s third travel ban is already before the Supreme Court, after the 9th Circuit ruled in December that it violated federal law. The 9th Circuit did not rule on the issue addressed by the 4th Circuit — whether the ban amounts to religious discrimination in violation of the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause — but the justices asked for briefing on the constitutional question as well.

The 4th Circuit sided in favor of the groups challenging the ban in a 9–4 decision. Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the majority opinion that the government’s “proffered rationale for the Proclamation lies at odds with the statements of the President himself.”

“Plaintiffs here do not just plausibly allege with particularity that the Proclamation’s purpose is driven by anti-Muslim bias, they offer undisputed evidence of such bias: the words of the President,” Gregory wrote.

Gregory cited Trump’s “disparaging comments and tweets regarding Muslims,” the president’s repeated references to a Muslim ban, the fact that Trump’s previous travel bans were focused on majority-Muslim countries, and statements by Trump and his advisers that the latest order has the same goals as the previous ones.

A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who argued the case for the travel ban challengers in the 4th Circuit, said in a statement, that, “President Trump’s third illegal attempt to denigrate and discriminate against Muslims through an immigration ban has failed in court yet again. It’s no surprise. The Constitution prohibits government actions hostile to a religion.”

After federal courts struck down the president’s first two attempts at a travel ban, Trump on Sept. 24 signed the latest set of travel restrictions. It in large part suspended travel to the US by nationals of five majority-Muslim countries covered under the previous travel bans — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — as well as two new countries, Chad and North Korea. The presidential proclamation also placed travel restrictions on certain government officials in Venezuela and their family members.

In October, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued injunctions blocking enforcement of the ban, which the Trump administration appealed. The Supreme Court issued an order on Dec. 4 allowing the ban to go fully into effect while the appeals in the 9th Circuit and the 4th Circuit went forward. The justices wrote at the time that it expected that the appeals courts would rule “with appropriate dispatch.”

The 9th Circuit, which heard arguments on Dec. 6, issued its opinion on Dec. 20. But the 4th Circuit, which heard arguments two days later, did not rule until Thursday.

Gregory wrote in the main opinion that even if the proclamation was “facially legitimate” — that the text on its face didn’t run afoul of the constitution — it failed the test of whether the government had a “bona fide” reason for adopting it. The administration argued that the proclamation was rooted in national security concerns, but Gregory wrote that Trump’s statements undermined that.

Gregory said that even setting aside Trump’s statements during the campaign calling for a Muslim ban, the president had continued to make statements that “convey the primary purpose of the Proclamation—to exclude Muslims from the United States.” He quoted Trump’s tweets supporting his original travel ban executive order, which multiple courts determined was likely unconstitutional, as well as a tweet expressing support for an unverified story about a general who killed Muslims using bullets dipped in pig’s blood and his retweets of anti-Muslim videos.

“Plaintiffs offer undisputed evidence that the President of the United States has openly and often expressed his desire to ban those of Islamic faith from entering the United States. The Proclamation is thus not only a likely Establishment Clause violation, but also strikes at the basic notion that the government may not act based on ‘religious animosity,'” Gregory wrote.

The court upheld US District Judge Theodore Chuang’s preliminary injunction, which blocked enforcement of the proclamation’s travel restrictions with respect to nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen who have a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

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The Administration continues to trip over the out of court statements by Trump and his sleazy subordinates which reveal the real agenda of bias and  hate beneath his actions.

No matter how the Supremes come out (and Trump could win the cherished right to discriminate and carry out his bogus hate agenda) the stain on America being caused by Trump, Sessions, Miller, the other White Nationalists, and their supporters and enablers will take a long time to wash away!

PWS

02-15-15

FORMER GOVERNMENT IMMIGRATION EXECUTIVES (INCLUDING ME) FILE AMICUS BRIEF IN HAMAMA V. HOMAN IN 6TH CIRCUIT (“The Iraqi Christian Case”)

Here’s a copy of the brief prepared by Michael P. Doss, Esquire, of Sidley & Austin, Chicago IL:

Filed stamped copy of amicus brief

HERE’S THE INTRODUCTION  SETTING FORTH “THE PLAYERS:”

IDENTITY AND INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE

Amici have served in the U.S. Department of Justice and senior positions in the federal agencies charged with enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, and in those capacities have played substantial roles in the development, implementation, and adjudication of federal immigration policy and laws. Amici thus have an interest in this case, and in the just and efficient operation of the U.S. immigration enforcement system.

Mónica Ramírez Almadani served in the U.S. Department of Justice as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division from 2009 to 2012, and as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General from 2011 to 2012, during which time she, among other things, advised on immigration

1 Amici submit this brief pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29(a)(2). The parties have consented to the filing of this brief. Amici further state, pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29(a)(4)(E), that no counsel for a party authored this brief in whole or in part, and no person other than the amicus curiae or their counsel made a monetary contribution intended to fund the preparation or submission of this brief.

1

Case: 17-2171 Document: 43 Filed: 02/12/2018 Page: 6

policy and litigation and worked closely with the Executive Office of Immigration Review.

Seth Grossman served as Chief of Staff to the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) from 2010 to 2011, as Deputy General Counsel of DHS from 2011 to 2013, and as Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2013.

Stephen Legomsky served as Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2011 to 2013, and as Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2015.

Leon Rodriguez served as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2013 to 2017.

John Sandweg served as the Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) in 2013 and 2014, and as the Acting General Counsel of DHS from 2012 to 2013.

Paul Wickham Schmidt served as an Immigration Judge for the U.S. Immigration Court from May 2003 until his retirement from the bench in June 2016. Before his Immigration Judge appointment, Judge Schmidt served as a Board Member and Board Chairman for the Board

of Immigration Appeals, Executive Office for Immigration Review, from 2

Case: 17-2171 Document: 43 Filed: 02/12/2018 Page: 7

1995 until 2003. Judge Schmidt also served as acting General Counsel of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1986 to 1987, and as the Deputy General Counsel of INS from 1978 to 1987.

As former leaders of the nation’s primary immigration agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice, and a former longtime Immigration Judge, amici are familiar with the operation of the United States immigration enforcement system. Amici support the district court’s preliminary injunction order and urge this Court to affirm that decision. Amici focus here on two issues before this Court: (i) first, whether the “motion to reopen” process currently available before our immigration courts provides Petitioners with an “adequate and effective” substitute for habeas relief; and (ii) second, whether the public interest is served by briefly staying enforcement of removal orders regarding these Iraqi nationals so that the immigration courts have a fair opportunity to review their claims.

3

Case: 17-2171 Document: 43 Filed: 02/12/2018 Page: 8

Based on our experience helping to lead the federal agencies charged with enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, we are compelled to conclude that the district court reached the correct conclusion on both these issues. In particular, without the “breathing room” provided by the district court’s temporary stay of removal, our overburdened immigration courts are unable to provide an adequate and effective remedy for Petitioners having valid claims for protection from removal due to the likelihood they face persecution or torture on return to Iraq. In addition, given the clearly established changed circumstances in Iraq, which show that the Petitioners would have an objective well- founded fear of persecution if forced to return, the district court’s order furthers the public interest by affording aliens threatened with persecution on removal to Iraq a meaningful opportunity to have these claims heard. The some-1,400 Iraqi nationals impacted by the district court’s order represent a drop in the bucket compared to those subject to removal each year by immigration authorities, and a temporary stay of their removal to allow immigration courts time to assess their claims will not undermine the United States’ immigration enforcement system.

\

AND, HERE’S AN OUTLINE OF THE ARGUMENT:

ARGUMENT ……………………………………………………………………………….. 5

I.  The District Court Was Correct In Finding That, Under Current Circumstances, The Immigration Courts Do Not Provide Petitioners with Adequate and Effective Alternatives To Habeas Relief…………………….5

A.  The Immigration Courts System ……………………….. 5

B.  Our Immigration Courts Are Overburdened and Underfunded………………………………………………………. 6

C.  Emergency Stay Motions before Our Immigration Courts Do Not Currently Offer Petitioners an Adequate and Effective Alternative Remedy …..10

II. Allowing Petitioners Time to Obtain Review of Their Motions To Reopen Is In the Public Interest and Will Not Unreasonably Interfere with Immigration Enforcement ……………………………………………………………..15

A.  The United States has a Strong Interest In Protecting from Removal Those Petitioners Who Will Face Persecution or Torture in Iraq…………15

B.  The District Court’s Order Will Not Interfere With the United States’ Immigration Enforcement Scheme………………………………………..18

CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………………… 21

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE…………………………………………….23

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE…………………………………………………….24

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Many thanks to my “Fellow Amici” and to Michael Doss & his team at Sidley & Austin for a “Super Outstanding Job!” May Due Process prevail!!!!

PWS

02-14-18

 

JAMES HOHMANN @ WASHPOST DAILY 202 — TRUMP, GOP DON’T APPEAR SERIOUS ABOUT PROTECTING DREAMERS OR IMMIGRATION REFORM — RATHER, SEEK WAYS TO ADVANCE INTENTIONALLY DIVISIVE, RACIALLY BIASED, “FACT-FREE” WHITE NATIONALIST AGENDA! — Plus, My Point By Point Analysis Of Why The Democrats Should “Hang Tough” On A Dreamer Deal!

Hohmann reports:

THE BIG IDEA: Democrats are so eager to shield young foreign-born “dreamers” from deportation that they’re now offering to make compromises that would have been hard to imagine a year ago. Republicans, who feel like they have them over the barrel, are demanding more.

Showing his pragmatic side, for instance, Bernie Sanders says he’s willing to pony up big for border security if that’s what it takes. “I would go much further than I think is right,” the Vermont senator said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “Unwillingly. Unhappily. I think it’s a stupid thing to do. But we have to protect the dreamers. … I’m willing to make some painful concessions.”

Sanders said a wall is still a “totally absurd idea” and that there are better ways to secure the border with Mexico, but he also emphasized that there will be “a horrible moral stain” on the country if President Trump goes through with his order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program next month.

— Anti-immigration hardliners are staking out a firm position because most of them are not actually concerned about the plight of the dreamers. They have never thought these young people, whose undocumented parents brought them to the United States as children, should be here anyway. They agitated for Trump to end the program.

This means they’ll be fine if no bill passes, and they know that gives them way more leverage to demand wholesale changes to the entire legal immigration system. “The president’s framework bill is not an opening bid for negotiations. It’s a best and final offer,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who has emerged as the leader of this group in the Senate. He made this comment yesterday on “Fox and Friends,” knowing the president watches. Sure enough, Trump echoed the same talking point on Twitter, calling this the “last chance” for action.

— Mitch McConnell wants to use this week’s immigration debate to force show votes that can be used to embarrass vulnerable Democratic senators from red states. For example, the majority leader introduced a measure yesterday that would penalize so-called sanctuary cities for not cooperating with federal immigration laws. This issue tests well in polls and focus groups in most of the 10 states Trump carried in 2016 where a Democrat is now up for reelection. GOP insiders on the Hill say that McConnell is mainly focused on doing whatever it takes to protect his majority now that 2018 has arrived, and he has a narrower majority after the loss in Alabama.

— Democrats stuck together to block the Senate from taking up the poison pill on sanctuary cities, but the fact that the debate has so quickly devolved into a fight over process offered another data point – if for some reason you needed one – of how dysfunctional the Senate has become.

Trump urges senators to back his immigration proposal

— “Most Republicans on Tuesday appeared to be rallying behind a proposal by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and six other GOP senators that fulfills Trump’s calls to legalize 1.8 million dreamers, immediately authorizes spending at least $25 billion to bolster defenses along the U.S.-Mexico border, makes changes to family-based legal immigration programs and ends a diversity lottery system used by immigrants from smaller countries,” Ed O’Keefe reports. Senate Minority Leader Chuck “Schumer said the Grassley plan unfairly targets family-based immigration and that making such broad changes as part of a plan to legalize just a few million people ‘makes no sense.’

In a bid to soften Trump’s proposals and win over Democrats, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) unveiled a watered-down version of the GOP proposal — but had not won support from members of either party by late Tuesday. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a longtime proponent of comprehensive immigration changes, said the Grassley proposal should be the focus of the Senate’s debate. … Schumer and other Democrats, meanwhile, voiced support for a plan by Sens. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would grant legal status to dreamers in the country since 2013 but would not immediately authorize money to build out southern border walls and fencing.”

— Democrats would like to pass a narrow bill that only protects DACA recipients, but they know that’s not possible with Republicans in control of Congress and the presidency. To get the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, they’re conceding on at least some of Trump’s demands related to security. Sanders said there are between 55 to 57 votes for a compromise that would save the dreamers and fund border protections. “We are scrambling now for three to five more votes,” he said.

— The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. to continue debate, as negotiations behind the scenes continue. Somewhat counterintuitively, conservative hardliners believe that Latinos will be less likely to turn out this November if nothing passes in Congress because activists will blame Democrats for not delivering.

Bernie Sanders heads to a Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)

Bernie Sanders heads to a Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)

— Despite concerted efforts by Trump and McConnell to drive a wedge through the Democratic caucus, there remains a remarkable degree of unity. This highlights how much the terms of the immigration debate have shifted over the past decade. Every Democrat in Congress now wants to protect DACA recipients. It wasn’t always this way. The House passed a Dream Act in 2010 that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship if they entered the United States as children, graduated from high school or got an equivalent degree, and had been in the United States for at least five years. Five moderate Democrats in the Senate voted no. If each of them had supported it, the bill would have become law, and DACA would have been unnecessary. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is the only one of those five Democrats still left. (The others retired or lost.) Now Tester speaks out against the president’s decision to end DACA. (I explored this dynamic in-depth last September.)

Sanders marveled during our interview at how much the polling has shifted in recent years toward protecting dreamers, with some public surveys showing that as many 90 percent of Americans don’t think they should be deported. The share who think they should also have a pathway to become U.S. citizens has also risen. “If we talked a year or two ago, I’m not sure I would have thought that would be possible,” he said.

Hillary Clinton relentlessly attacked Bernie during the debates in 2016 for voting to kill comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. Sanders – working closely with some of the leading unions – expressed concern back then that the bill would drive down wages for native-born workers by flooding the labor market with cheap foreign workers. This position caused him problems with Hispanics during his presidential bid.

Sanders rejects the idea that his views have changed since 2007, and he still defends his 11-year-old vote. He noted that the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) opposed that bill, as did the Southern Poverty Law Center, because it included a guest worker program that was “akin to slavery.” He said he remains just as concerned about guest worker programs as he was back then, but that he’s always favored a comprehensive solution that includes legal protections for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who live here. “You can say you support immigration reform, but obviously the devil is in the details on what that means,” the senator explained. “I stood with progressive organizations who said you don’t want to bring indentured servitude.”

Sanders criticized a guest worker program in his home state that allows resorts to hire ski instructors from Europe instead of native Vermonters. “Now do you not think we can find young people in Vermont who know how to ski and snowboard? But if you go to some of the resorts, that’s what you would find,” he said. “When I was a kid, we worked at summer jobs to help pay for college. … So I think we want to take a hard look at guest worker programs. Some of them remain very unfair.”

— After coming surprisingly close to toppling Clinton and winning the Democratic nomination two years ago, Sanders is at or near the top of the pack in every poll of potential 2020 primary match-ups. He’s going to Des Moines next Friday for a rally with congressional candidate Pete D’Alessandro, his first visit to Iowa this year. Sanders will also go to Wisconsin for Randy Bryce, who is running against Speaker Paul Ryan, and Illinois, where he’ll boost Chuy Garcia’s bid for retiring Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s open seat. A few weeks after that, he plans a tour of the Southwest. “I’m going to do everything I can to help people in 2018,” Sanders said.

Lobbying for their lives

— Republicans have gone the other direction. Before Trump came on the scene, the party was divided but GOP elites agreed that, for the long-term survival of the party, they needed to embrace more inclusive policies. Losses in 2012 prompted many Senate Republicans to endorse a comprehensive bill the next year (Sanders voted for it too), but the legislation was doomed in the House after Majority Leader Eric Cantor went down in a Virginia primary partly because of his perceived softness on the issue.

Elected Republicans used to insist adamantly that they were not anti-immigration but anti-illegal immigration. That’s changed. At the behest of Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Republicans are rallying around the idea of dramatic reductions in legal immigration. Two years ago, this was an extreme idea that most GOP senators would have quickly distanced themselves from. Now it’s considered mainstream and the centerpiece of the bill that McConnell has rallied his members behind.

To put it in perspective: By cutting the rate of legal immigration, Trump’s proposal – codified in Grassley’s bill — would delay the date that white Americans become a minority of the population by as many as five additional years, according to expert analysis.

“What’s very sad, but not unusual given the moment we’re living in, is that Republicans are more concerned about their right-wing, extremist, xenophobic base,” said Sanders. “You would think that, with 85 to 90 percent of people supporting protections for the dreamers, that it would not take a profile in courage to pass legislation to protect them.”

Kelly: ‘Dreamers’ who didn’t sign up for DACA were ‘too afraid’ or ‘too lazy’

— A dual-track fight over DACA is playing out in the courts. A federal judge in New York issued a preliminary injunction last night that keeps the program alive beyond Trump’s March 5 deadline so that legal challenges can play out. “A federal judge in California has issued a similar injunction, and the Supreme Court is expected this week to consider whether it will take up the fight over DACA,” Matt Zapotosky reports.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis recognized that Trump “indisputably” has the authority to end the program put in place by Barack Obama, but he also called the administration’s arguments that DACA was unconstitutional and illegal under federal law flimsy. “Because that conclusion was erroneous, the decision to end the DACA program cannot stand,” he wrote.

— Happy Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to get a gift.

— What I’m especially excited about this morning is baseball. Pitchers and catchers are reporting for spring tr

Listen to James’s quick summary of today’s Big Idea and the headlines you need to know to start your day:

 

 

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Contrary to most of the “chatter,” I think that the Dreamers and the Democrats have the upper hand in this one. I’ll tell you why below!

A “border security package,” could involve the Wall, technology and much needed management improvements at DHS (but certainly no additional detention money — stop the “New American Gulag” — or personnel for the Border Patrol until they full current vacancies and account for how they are currently are deploying agents).

Beyond that, the Dems probably could agree to a reallocation of diversity and some preference visas while maintaining current legal immigration levels. Cutting legal immigration levels, eliminating family immigration, or authorizing further denials of due process (the totally bogus and essentially evil claim that the current already inadequate protections for children and other vulnerable migrant’s are “loopholes”) should be “non-starters.”

If they can’t get the deal they want, the Dems can walk away and still win for the Dreamers in the long run. Here is why:

  • I doubt that Trump would actually veto a compromise bill passed by both Houses that protected Dreamers without his full “Four Pillars of White Nationalism” program.
    • If he does, any Democrat who can’t make Trump and the GOP pay for such a dumb move in the next election cycle doesn’t deserve to be a Democrat.
    • The “full Dreamer protection” trade for border security with no other changes should be a “no brainer.” If Trump or the GOP “tank” it over the restrictionist agenda, the Democrats should be able to make them pay at the polls.
  • Right now, the Administration is under two injunctions halting the repeal of the “core DACA” program.
    • If the Supremes don’t intervene, that issue could be tied up in the lower Federal Courts for years.
      • It’s very clear that the Administration’s current position is ultimately a loser before the lower Federal Courts.
      • If the Administration tries to “short-circuit” the process by going through APA to promulgate a regulation to terminate DACA, that process also is likely to be successfully challenged in the Federal Courts.
        • The so-called “legal rationale” that Sessions has invoked for ending DACA has literally been “laughed out of court.”
        • Trump himself has said that there is really no reason to remove Dreamers from the U.S.
        • So, on  the merits, an attempt to terminate DACA by regulation probably would be held “without any legal or rational basis” by the lower Federal Courts.
  • Even if the Supremes give the “green light” to terminate DACA, most “Dreamers” by now have plausible cases for other forms of relief.
    • Many DACA recipients have never been in removal proceedings. If they have been here for at least 10 years, have clean criminal backgrounds, and have spouses or children who are U.S. citizens they can apply for “cancellation of removal.”
    • “Former DACA” recipients appear to be a “particular social group” for asylum and withholding of removal purposes. They are “particularized,  the characteristic of having DACA revoked is “immutable,” and they are highly “socially distinct.”  Many of them come from countries with abysmal human rights records and ongoing, directed violence. They therefore would have plausible asylum or withholding claims, or claims under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”).
    • If ICE tries to use information voluntarily given by the Dreamers during the application process to establish removability or for any other adverse reason, that is likely to provoke a challenge that will be successful in at least some lower Federal Courts.
  • Safety in numbers.
    • There is nothing that Trump, Sessions, and the DHS can actually do to remove 700,000+ Dreamers.
    • The U.S. Immigration Courts are backed up for years, with nearly 700,000 already pending cases! Sessions is doing everything he can to make the backlog even worse. Dreamers will go to the “end of the line.”
    • Sure Sessions would like to speed up the deportation “assembly line” (a/k/a “The Deportation Railway”).
      • But, his boneheaded and transparently unfair attempts to do that are highly likely to cause “big time” pushback from the Federal Courts and actually “tie up” the entire system — not just “Dreamers.”
      • The last time the DOJ tied to mindlessly accelerate the process, under AG John Ashcroft, the Courts of Appeals remanded defective deportation orders by the basket-load for various due process and legal violations — many with stinging published opinions.
        • Finally, even former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez (“Gonzo I”), hardly a “Due Process Junkie” had enough and slowed down the train. It took years for the “haste makes waste” Circuit Court remands to work their way back through the system. Some might still be hanging around.
      • Because the GOP White Nationalists and Trump read off of “restrictionist cue cards” that don’t take account of the law, facts, or history, the Dems should have a huge advantage here if and when individual “Dreamer” removal cases get to the Federal Courts.
    • Each “Dreamer removal case” should present the Democrats with excellent example of the cruelty, stupidity, and total wastefulness of the Trump/Sessions/DHS enforcement policies. Wasting money to “Make America Worse.” Come on, man!
    • Bottom Line: Trump and Sessions have created a “false Dreamer emergency” that they can’t escape without some help from the Democrats. If the Democrats see an opportunity to make a “good deal” for the Dreamers, they should take it. But, they shouldn’t trade the Dreamers for the harmful White Nationalist restrictionist agenda! Eventually, the problem will be solved in a way that is favorable for most Dreamers, regardless of what the White Nationalists threaten right now. The Dreamers might just have to hang on longer until we get at least some degree of “regime change.”

PWS

02-13-18

ENJOINED AGAIN: US DISTRICT JUDGE IN EDNY ALSO TEMPORARILY HALTS DACA REPEAL — FINDS GONZO’s “LEGAL” RATIONALE “PLAINLY INCORRECT!”

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/federal-judge-daca/index.html

Ariane de Vogue Reports for CNN:

(CNN)A second federal judge Tuesday has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Success for Harvard medical students in DACA could mean their parents are deported
Success for Harvard medical students in DACA could mean their parents are deported
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that DACA participants and states are likely to succeed in their challenge that the way President Donald Trump terminated the Obama-era program was arbitrary and capricious.
Trump last year announced his plan to end DACA, the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to stay in the country, effective March 5. That deadline has become central in the congressional debate over immigration, but Democrats and Republicans are nowhere near a breakthrough.
Tuesday’s ruling, combined with a ruling from a California judge last month, means the program could end up going beyond the March 5 date. The ruling means DACA recipients can renew their status, but the administration will not have to hold the program open to those who never applied.
“Defendants indisputably can end the DACA program,” Garaufis wrote, referring to the Trump administration. “The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so. Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”
The judge said that the decision to end the program was based in part on the “plainly incorrect factual premise” that the program was illegal.
“Today’s ruling shows that courts across the country agree that Trump’s termination of DACA was not just immoral, but unlawful as well,” said Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center.
This week the Supreme Court is set to meet behind closed doors to discuss whether to take up the Trump administration’s appeal of the related case.
The Justice Department said it maintains that the administration acted “within its lawful authority” in deciding to end DACA and will “vigorously defend this position.”
“DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens. As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens.”
Impact on immigration negotiations
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, urged lawmakers to “focus” on March 5, despite the two district court rulings blocking the DACA drawdown, but acknowledged there will be more time.
“We should still focus on the March 5 date,” Tillis said on Fox News Tuesday afternoon. “The reality is, unless there’s any action by the Supreme Court, looks like we have some number of weeks following March 5 to solve the problem.”
Judge brought up “Norway” comments
In fiery oral arguments last month, Garaufis gave a blistering critique of what he called the President’s “recurring, redundant drumbeat of anti-Latino commentary.”
“It’s not just an ad hoc comment that was overheard on an open mic,” the judge said. “It’s not just that somebody at INS said something derogatory about Mexicans. This came from the top.”
Garaufis was responding to a question regarding Trump’s comments in a closed-door meeting with senators in which the President asked why people from Haiti and more Africans were wanted in the US and added that the US should get more people from countries like Norway.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.

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Who knows how this eventually will end if Congress doesn’t solve the problem? I certainly can imagine a conservative majority of the Supremes cooking up a way to empower Trump and dump on the Dreamers.

But, no matter how this comes out, it’s never been about the “rule of law,” border security, or protecting Americans. Indeed, every commentator who isn’t Jeff Sessions or one of his White Nationalist xenophobic buddies agrees that ending DACA and removing “Dreamers” would make America a worse place in every possible way.

No, it’s always been about White Nationalism, racism, xenophobia, dividing America, and the general alt right “agenda of hate and intolerance” which has been what Sessions and those like him are all about. And, he’s not even a very good lawyer, taking most of his bogus so-called “legal arguments” off of “cue cards” prepared  for him by restrictionist interest groups.

And racist, xenophobic statements by Trump himself continue to undermine the DOJ attorneys’ arguments that there is some type of “rational basis” for Trump immigration policies.

PWS

02-13-17

RICHARD L. HASEN IN WASHPOST: THE ORIGINAL DISRUPTER – THE LATE JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/02/13/antonin-scalias-disruption-of-the-supreme-courts-ways-is-here-to-stay/

Hasen writes:

“A few years ago, a populist disrupter of the established political order said that Arizona was right to try to take immigration enforcement into its own hands when the Obama administration was not aggressive enough. Its “citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy.” He similarly expressedsympathy for the “Polish factory workers’ kid” who was going to be out of a job because of affirmative action and lamented that the Supreme Court’s giving too many constitutional rights to Guantanamo detainees “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.”

Who made the statements? Donald Trump? Newt Gingrich? No, those were the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died two years ago Tuesday. Scalia disrupted business as usual on the court just like Gingrich disrupted the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s and Trump is now disrupting the presidency. Scalia changed the way the Supreme Court writes and analyzes its cases and the tone judges and lawyers use to disagree with each other, evincing a pungent anti-elitist populism that, aside from some criminal procedure cases, mostly served his conservative values. Now the judiciary is being filled at a frenetic pace by Trump and Senate Republicans with Scalian acolytes like Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who will use Scalia’s tools to further delegitimize their liberal opponents and continue to polarize the federal courts.

Scalia joined the Supreme Court in 1986 after a stint as a law professor, a government official and a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He arrived at a court in which justices used an eclectic mix of criteria, from text to history and purpose to pragmatism and personal values, to decide the meaning of the Constitution and federal statutes. Justices disagreed with one another, but for the most part, they were polite in their written dissents.

Scalia came in with different ideas, which he said were compelled by the limited grant of judicial power in the Constitution and would increase the legitimacy of judicial decision-making. He offered revamped, supposedly neutral jurisprudential theories. Yet, as I argue in my upcoming book, “The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption,” his doctrines were usually flexible enough to deliver opinions consistent with his conservative libertarian ideology.

He was an “originalist” who believed that constitutional provisions should be interpreted in line with their public meaning at the time of enactment, as when he argued that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause did not apply to sex discrimination — except when he wasn’t, as when in affirmative action cases, he consistently ignored evidence that at the time the equal protection clause was ratified, Congress enacted preferences specifically intending to help African Americans.”

. . . .

Scalia, the Harvard law graduate, frequently cast his fellow justices as out-of-touch Ivy League elitists sticking it to the little guy. Yet he often sided with big business over consumers and environmental groups, deciding cases on issues related to standing and arbitration law that made it harder for people to have their rights protected and vindicated in court.

He disagreed with others using a tone like no other justice. The day after it decided King v. Burwell in June 2015, the court recognized a right of same-sex couples to marry in Obergefell v. Hodges. Scalia, applying his originalist understanding of the 14th Amendment, unsurprisingly rejected the majority’s approach. But he leveled his harshest words at Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion, which he described as “couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.” He added that “if, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag.” He compared the opinion to an aphorism in a fortune cookie.

The combination of Scalia’s view that textualism and originalism were the only legitimate way to decide cases and his caustic dismissal of anyone who dared to disagree with him led to a much coarser, polarized court after his tenure on the bench. He gave the Supreme Court’s imprimatur to the practice of delegitimizing one’s ideological opponents rather than simply disagreeing with them.

Most important, he gave key conservative acolytes tools to advance an ideological agenda — tools that he presented as politically neutral. The most important of these acolytes is Gorsuch, the newest Supreme Court justice (and, thanks to the refusal of Senate Republicans to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland after Scalia died, also the justice who replaced his ideological role model). While not quite a Scalia clone, he is fully following in Scalia’s tradition. Not long after joining the court, Gorsuch admonished his colleagues in a statutory interpretation case that “if a statute needs repair, there’s a constitutionally prescribed way to do it. It’s called legislation.” And at oral argument in the 2017 Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case, he dismissively interjected that “maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter, the Constitution.” Think Scalia, but without the spontaneous wit and charm. Without Scalia, Gorsuch would have been just as conservative, but he would not have been packaging his jurisprudence in Scalian terms. And he perhaps would not have been as aggressive out of the box.

According to Time magazine, Trump wants to appoint more “originalists” and “textualists” on the court — flamethrowers who will disrupt things even more, following Scalia’s model. Gorsuch’s early record and the posthumous deification of Scalia by Federalist Society members and others on the right since his death show that Scalia’s pugnacious populism is the wave of the future for court appointees by Republican presidents and that the bitter partisan polarization we’ve seen in the political branches is in danger of becoming fixed as a permanent feature of the Supreme Court. Indeed, the main criticism of Scalia’s followers is that he was not consistent enough in insisting that originalism and textualism are the only right way to decide cases, consequences be damned.

Thanks to Scalia’s disruption, the Supreme Court may never be the same.

 

Richard L. Hasen is the chancellor’s professor of law and political science at the University of California at Irvine and the author of “The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

Yes, I always thought that beneath all the “origionalist” BS, Justice Scalia was pretty much just another jurist with a peculiar right-wing agenda. He rewrote history to match his own preconceived worldview. Additionally, he detested equality, social justice, and common sense in equal proportions. But, occasionally his intellectual machinations led him to side with the “good guys.”

He might not have been a “stable genius,” but he was a heck of a lot smarter than Trump and much funnier. And, while there are indications in his jurisprudence that he was a “racist at heart” (who despised Hispanics as much as African-Americans) he was somewhat less overt about his White Christian Nationalism than guys like Trump, Sessions, Miller, Bannon, Steve King, etc.

PWS

02-14-18

 

CRISTIAN FARIAS @ NEW YORK MAGGIE – THE HISTORY OF PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION IN IMMIGRATION GOING ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE “BERNSEN MEMO” – WHY, CONTRARY TO SESSIONS & THE RESTRICTIONISTS, IT IS A SOUND LEGAL CONCEPT – AND WHY THE SUPREMES SHOULD STAY OUT OF THE DACA ISSUE IN THE LOWER COURTS! – PLUS BONUS TRIVIA! – “Who REALLY wrote that four decades old memo?

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/scotus-would-be-crazy-to-jump-into-the-daca-dispute.html

Cristian writes:

“The earliest, highest-profile critic of granting an executive reprieve to Dreamers was none other than Justice Antonin Scalia. The plight of young immigrants brought to the United States as children was not something the Supreme Court was concerned with in 2012, but the late justice somehow felt the need to protest, in open court, President Obama’s then weeks-old decision to not deport them for humanitarian reasons. “The president has said that the new program is, quote, the right thing to do, close quote, in light of Congress’ failure to pass the administration’s proposed revision of the immigration laws,” he said as he read from a summary of his partial dissent in Arizona v. United States. That case and decision had nothing to do with Dreamers.

Maybe Scalia’s real qualm was with the sitting president and not the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. But his broader point, which a Supreme Court majority rejected, was that states should have leeway in enforcing federal immigration laws, since they — and not undocumented immigrants — face the “human realities” of a broken immigration system. The citizens of border states like Arizona “feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy,” Scalia complained. Somewhere, a future President Trump may have been taking notes.

More than five years since that screed, the Supreme Court could soon get a chance to judge the propriety, if not the legality, of Trump’s decision last September to pull the plug on DACA. A federal judge in California in January ordered the reinstatement of the program, reasoning that its rescission rested on a “flawed legal premise” — namely, Jeff Sessions’s paper-thin conclusion that DACA was illegal the moment it was conceived. The judge also rejected as “spin” and “post-hoc rationalization” the Trump administration’s contention that DACA was vulnerable to a legal challenge by Texas and other states, which had threatened Sessions with a lawsuit if he didn’t kill the initiative outright. “The agency action was not in accordance with law because it was based on the flawed legal premise that the agency lacked authority to implement DACA,” wrote the judge, William Alsup, in a ruling that effectively brought DACA back from the dead. Days later, the administration began accepting renewal applications as if the rollback had never happened.

Legal scholars weren’t impressed with the ruling. And Sessions, not one to give up on Trump’s anti-immigrant crusade, then took the “rare step” of appealing Alsup’s decision directly to the Supreme Court — and why not? The Ninth Circuit, Trump’s least favorite appeals court, is unruly, liberal, and anti-Trump, anyway; leapfrogging it seemed the smart thing to do. What’s more, Sessions wanted the justices to act expeditiously — his solicitor general filed an additional request to decide the case before the end of June. Not doing so, he suggested, would be the same as blessing “indefinitely an ongoing violation of federal law being committed by nearly 700,000 aliens.” So much for Trump’s wish to treat Dreamers “with heart.” There was only one problem: The Supreme Court rarely, if ever, lets anyone skip over the regular appeals process. And if Sessions is in such a hurry, why didn’t the administration seek to block Alsup’s ruling rather than comply with it? Last Friday, a coalition that includes the University of California, several states, a local chapter of the SEIU, and a number of Dreamers told the Supreme Court to reject the Trump administration’s request to hear the case. The DACA mess, this alliance broadly contended, is Trump’s and Congress’s to own, and the justices shouldn’t be the ones fixing it, at least not with the urgency Sessions is demanding.

. . . .

The principle of prosecutorial discretion, which is what holds DACA together, was never once discussed by Sessions when he announced the wind-down of DACA. He didn’t even try. Prosecutorial discretion wasn’t some novelty that Napolitano came up with at the time, let alone a quirk of immigration law. In a path-breaking memorandum written some 40 years ago, Sam Bernsen, the general counsel of the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service, advised the agency’s commissioner that the “ultimate source for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion” lies with the inherent powers of the presidency. “Under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, the executive power is vested in the President,” Bernsen wrote in what is believed to be the first in a long string of government memos justifying prosecutorial discretion in the immigration realm. “Article II, Section 3, states that the President ‘shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’” Ironically, conservatives would later seize on this “take care” language to argue breathlessly that Obama’s immigration actions were an affront to the constitutional text, but no judge took that argument seriously.

Far and wide, executive officers enjoy similar discretion to enforce the law. From the president down to a lowly street cop, every law enforcer, state or federal, exercises some form of prosecutorial discretion over the laws they’re entrusted to oversee. It’s the reason you don’t always get ticketed for jaywalking or pulled over for doing 65 on a 55, even in instances where you happen to do those things in full view of the police: The government has ample discretion to not go after you if it feels you’re a low-priority lawbreaker. Maybe the 75-miles-per-hour driver is the bigger fish. Whichever the case, the decision is, by and large, unchallengeable. “Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the same immigration ruling that Scalia assailed in 2012. “Discretion in the enforcement of immigration law embraces immediate human concerns,” he added.

Kirstjen Nielsen, the new DHS secretary, and Trump himself have all but conceded the point in recent weeks. In an interview with CBS’s John Dickerson, Nielsen said that it’s “not the policy of DHS” to go after Dreamers who are DACA recipients, even if the current legislative talks fail and the program isn’t renewed. “It’s not going to be a priority of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize their removal,” Nielsen clarified, directly contradicting the Department of Justice’s position on DACA before the Supreme Court. (Dreamers and immigration advocates know better than to trust Nielsen’s assurances.) Asked last month if he might extend the arbitrary March 5 end date of the DACA rollback process — which is no longer the end date as a result of Judge Alsup’s ruling — Trump spoke as if he never truly believed, like Sessions did, that deferred action was unlawful: “I certainly have the right to do that if I want.”

In this climate, and with Trump still fielding immigration offers as Congress faces yet another deadline to fund the government, the Supreme Court would be crazy to jump into the DACA controversy. “I think for the Supreme Court to reach down to a district court decision and not allow the normal appellate process to proceed would necessarily, under the circumstances, involve or indicate that the Supreme Court is signaling its involvement in a deeply political matter,” Napolitano told me. Scalia may have felt comfortable criticizing policy choices from the bench, but that doesn’t mean Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues have to take the bait. For their own peace of mind and that of Dreamers, the Court is better off staying as far away as possible, and letting Trump take care of the laws that give him broad authority to spare young undocumented immigrants if he really wants to.”

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Read the rest of Cristian’s analysis, including his detailed interview with former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, now President of the University of California System and a plaintiff in the District Court case, over at New York at the above link.

SPECIAL BONUS:

From the “archives” here’s a copy of the famous “Bernsen Memo” of July 15, 1976:

Bernsen Memo service-exercise-pd

YOUR TOSSUP IMMIGRATION TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE DAY:

Who actually wrote the “Bernsen Memo?”  

(Hint: Look at the bottom of the last page.)

AILA URGES CONGRESS TO CREATE INDEPENDENT ARTICLE I U.S. IMMIGRATION COURT TO REPLACE CURRENT DUE PROCESS TRAVESTY! – “In fact, instead of working to improve the system, DOJ recently announced initiatives that severely jeopardize an immigration judge’s ability to remain independent and impartial. These new policies are designed only to accelerate deportations, further eroding the integrity of the court system.”

RESOLUTION ON IMMIGRATION COURT REFORM AILA Board of Governors Winter 2018

PROPONENT: AILA Executive Committee and AILA EOIR Liaison Committee

Introduction:

Our immigration court system does not meet the standards which justice demands. Chronic and systemic problems have resulted in a severe lack of public confidence in the system’s capacity to deliver just and fair decisions in a timely manner. As a component of the Department of Justice (DOJ), EOIR has been particularly vulnerable to political pressure. Immigration judges, who are currently appointed by the Attorney General and are DOJ employees, have struggled to maintain independence in their decision making. In certain jurisdictions, the immigration court practices and adjudications have fallen far below constitutional norms. Years of disproportionately low court funding levels – as compared to other components of the immigration system such as ICE and CBP – have contributed to an ever-growing backlog of cases that is now well over 600,000.

Despite the well-documented history of structural flaws within the current immigration court system, DOJ and EOIR have failed to propose any viable plan to address these concerns. In fact, instead of working to improve the system, DOJ recently announced initiatives that severely jeopardize an immigration judge’s ability to remain independent and impartial. These new policies are designed only to accelerate deportations, further eroding the integrity of the court system.

RESOLUTION: The Board hereby reaffirms and clarifies its position on immigration court reform as follows:

In its current state, the immigration court system requires a complete structural overhaul to address several fundamental problems. AILA recommends that Congress create an independent immigration court system in the form of an Article I court, modeled after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Such an entity would protect and advance America’s core values of fairness and equality by safeguarding the independence and impartiality of the immigration court system.

Below is an outline of the basic features that should be included in the Article I court.

Independent System: Congress should establish an immigration court system under Article I of the Constitution, with both trial and appellate divisions, to adjudicate immigration cases.

This structural overhaul advances the immigration court’s status as a neutral arbiter, ensuring the independent functioning of the immigration judiciary.

Appellate Review:

AILA recommends that the new Article I court system provide trial level immigration courts and appellate level review, with further review to the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. To prevent overburdening Article III courts, it is necessary to include an appellate court within the Article I court system.

Judicial Appointment Process:

AILA recommends the appointment of trial-level and appellate-level judges for a fixed term of no less than 10 years, with the possibility of reappointment. These judges would be appointed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the federal circuit in which the immigration court resides. The traditional Article I judicial appointment process, which relies on Presidential appointment with Senate confirmation, would be unworkable for the immigration court system and could easily create a backlog in judicial vacancies. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court system, which uses a different appointment process than other Article I courts, is a better model for the immigration court system, due to the comparable size and the volume of cases. Like the U.S. Bankruptcy Court System, which has 352 judges, the immigration court currently has over 300 judges. Traditional Article I courts have far fewer judges than that of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court System. Therefore, AILA recommends a judicial appointment system that closely resembles that of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Hiring Criteria for Judges:

Trial and appellate judges that are selected should be highly qualified, and well-trained, and should represent diverse backgrounds. In addition to ensuring racial ethnic, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religious, and geographic diversity, AILA advocates for a recruitment and selection process that is designed to ensure that the overall corps of immigration judges is balanced between individuals with a nongovernment, private sector background, and individuals from the public sector. We believe this balance best promotes the development of the law in the nation’s interest.

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Read the complete report here:

AILA Resolution Passed 2.3.2018

The proposal that U.S. Immigration Judges be appointed by the U.S. Courts of Appeals for renewable 10 year terms is particularly salutary. The current process needs to be professionalized and de-politicized. The U.S. Courts of Appeals are the “primary professional consumers” of the work product of the U.S. Immigration Judges. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court Appointment System recommended by AILA has earned high praise for producing  a fair, impartial, merit-based, apolitical judiciary.

The current ridiculous selection and appointment process within the DOJ has two stunning deficiencies.

First, it has become an “insider-only” judiciary. Over the past three Administrations nearly 90% of the newly appointed U.S. Immigration Judges have been from government backgrounds, primarily DHS/ICE prosecutors. Outside expertise, including that gained from representing individuals in Immigration Court, clinical teaching, and working for NGOs and pro bono groups has been systematically excluded from the Immigration Court judiciary, giving it a built-in “one-sided” appearance.

Remarkably, the situation at the appellate level, the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) has been even worse! No Appellate Immigration Judge/Board Member has been appointed from “outside Government” since 2000, and both of those have long since been removed or otherwise moved on.

Indeed, even sitting (as opposed to “administrative”) U.S. Immigration Judges are seldom appointed or even interviewed for BIA vacancies. There is only one current Appellate Immigration Judge who was appointed directly from the trial court, and that individual had only a modest (approximately three years) amount of trial experience. Thus, a number of sources of what would logically be the most expert and experienced appellate judicial candidates have been systematically excluded from the appointment process at the DOJ.

Second, while the results produced are highly problematic, the DOJ hiring process for U.S. Immigration Judges has been amazingly glacial! According to the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) the Immigration Judge appointment process during the last Administration took an average of two years! That’s longer than the Senate confirmation process for Article III Judges!

Much of the delay has reportedly been attributed to the slowness of the “background check process.” Come on man! Background checks are significant, but are essentially ministerial functions that can be speeded up at the will of the Attorney General.

It’s not like Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, or Jeff Sessions were willing to wait two years for background clearance for their other high-level appointees in the DOJ. No, it’s simply a matter of screwed up priorities and incompetence at the highest levels of the DOJ. And, let’s not forget that most of the appointees are already working for the DHS or the DOJ. So they currently have high-level background clearances that merely have to be “updated.”

It should be “child’s play” — a “no-brainer.” When Anthony C. “Tony” Moscato was the Director and Janet Reno was the Attorney General, background checks often were completed for Immigration Judges and BIA Members in less than 60 days. And, if Tony really needed someone on board immediately, he picked up the phone, called “downtown,” and it happened. Immediately! Competence and priorities!

Our oldest son Wick has been private bar member of the U.S. Magistrate Judge Recommendation Committee for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Their process was much more open, timely, and merit-focused than the current DOJ hiring process (whatever that might actually be) and fairly considered candidates from both inside and outside government.

Also, the slowness of the background check process unfairly prejudices “outside applicants.” Sure, it’s annoying for a “Government insider” to have to wait for clearance. But, his or her job and paycheck continue without problem during the process.

On the other hand, “outside applicants” have to make “business decisions,” — whether to take on additional employees or accept new clients; whether to commit to another year of teaching; whether to accept promotions, etc — that can be “deal breakers” as the process creeps along without much useful feedback from EOIR.

Attorney General Sessions has  claimed that he has a “secret process” for expediting appointments. But, so far, except for a “brief flurry” of appointments that were reportedly “already in  the pipeline” under Lynch, there hasn’t been much noticeable change in the timelines. Additionally, the process is often delayed because DOJ and EOIR have not planned adequately, and therefore have not acquired adequate space and equipment for new judges to actually start hearing cases.

Government bureaucrats love acronyms (so do I, in case you hadn’t noticed)! There is only one acronym that can adequately capture the current sorry state of administration of the U.S Immigration Courts under DOJ and EOIR administration: “FUBAR!”

And that’s without even getting to the all-out assault on Due Process for vulnerable respondents in the U.S. Immigration Courts being carried out by Jeff Sessions and his minions. According to my information, DOJ/EOIR “management” is pushing Immigration Judges to render twenty-minute “oral decisions;” complete “quotas” of 4-5 cases a day to get “satisfactory” ratings; and not include bond cases, administrative closure, Change of Venue, Credible Fear Reviews, or Motion to Reopen rulings in completions.

Since it takes an experienced Immigration Judge 3-4 hours to do a good job on a “fully contested” asylum decision with oral decision, that’s a “designed to fail” proposal that will undoubtedly lead to cutting of corners, numerous denials of Due Process, and remands from the U.s. courts of Appeals. But despite some disingenuous “rote references” to Due Process, it’s not even an afterthought in Sessions’s plan to turn Immigration Court into “Just Another Whistle Stop on The Deportation Railroad.”

As I say, “Bad ideas never die; they have a life of their own within the bureaucracy.” That’s why we need to get Immigration Courts out of the bureaucracy!
This Congress, which “can barely even tie its own  shoes,” so to speak, isn’t likely to get around to creating an Article I Immigration Court. But, every day that the current mal-administered and unfair  system remains within the DOJ is a Due Process and fairness disaster. That’s something that even Congress should be concerned about!   
Thanks to Attorney (and former Immigraton Judge) Sue Roy of New Jersey for  sending me the AILA Resolution.

PWS

02-07-18

 

 

 

NIGHT SHIFT W/ TAL @ CNN – “CLARIFYING” THE UNCLEAR STATUS OF DACA IF CONGRESS PUNTS AGAIN – “It’s Complicated!” — PLUS “BONUS COVERAGE” OF OTHER IMMIGRATION “HOT NEWS” BY TAL & HER CNN COLLEAGUES!

“Intrepid 24-7-365” Immigration Reporter Tal Kopan and her wonderful CNN colleagues provide up to the minute coverage of the latest developments. Thanks, Tal, for all that you and your colleagues do!

Despite fight in Congress over immigration, the DACA deadline is up in the air

By Tal Kopan, CNN

When President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, he created a March 5 deadline for protections to end, designed to give Congress time to act to save the program.

But while lawmakers have continued to use the March 5 date as a target, court action and the realities of the program have made any deadline murky and unclear.

As a result, there currently is no date that the protections will actually run out for the roughly 700,000 DACA recipients, young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children — but there remains a large amount of uncertainty about whether they could disappear at any time.

Trump himself mentioned the March 5 deadline in a tweet Monday.

“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”

The original plan proposed by Trump in September was that the Department of Homeland Security would phase out DACA by letting the two-year protections and work permits issued under the program expire without the option to renew them. But the administration allowed anyone with permits that expired before March 5 a one-month window to apply for a renewal, which would reset their two-year clock.

However, 20,000 of the 150,000 eligible to renew didn’t. They were either rejected, unable to pull together the paperwork and $500 fee, or unwilling to trust the government with their personal data and enroll again. Further complicating things, some of those rejections were later reopened after DHS acknowledged that thousands may have had their applications lost in the mail or delivered on time but rejected as late.

Then, in January, a federal court judge issued an order stopping the President’s plan to phase out DACA, and DHS has since resumed processing applications for renewals for all the recipients who had protections in September.

But the administration has also aggressively sought to have the judge’s ruling overturned by a higher court, including the Supreme Court, only adding uncertainty to the situation. If a court were to overturn the judge’s ruling, it could have several outcomes, including letting renewals processed in the interim stand, invalidating all of those renewals or even ending the whole program immediately.

More: http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/06/politics/daca-deadline-march/index.html

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McConnell holds all the cards on next week’s immigration debate, and he’s not tipping his hand

By Tal Kopan and Lauren Fox, CNN

In a week the Senate is supposed to debate and vote on major immigration legislation for the first time in years — and only one person might know what it will look like: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“That, you’d have to check with the leader on,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, Monday about the process as he left a GOP Senate leadership meeting.

“You’ll have to ask him,” echoed fellow leadership member Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. “He’ll have to decide what he wants to do.”

“Sen. McConnell hasn’t announced his intention,” Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters.

Lawmakers of both parties told reporters Monday repeatedly they had no idea what the legislation or the process they’d be voting on likely next week would look like.

McConnell promised to turn to immigration on the Senate floor after February 8, the next date that government funding runs out, if broad agreement couldn’t be reached in that time. The promise, which he made on the Senate floor, was instrumental in ending a brief government shutdown last month, with senators of both parties pointing to the pledge for a “fair” floor debate as a major breakthrough.

The reality is, though, that McConnell has a lot of discretion as to how such a vote could go — and as of now, he has not given many clues.

Even in a meeting with White House chief of staff John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House legislative director Marc Short, a source said McConnell “wouldn’t indicate what he’s going to do.”

“Total poker face,” the administration official said. “He’s not going to tip his hand.”

But the group came for the meeting, the official said, to “make sure he hears from the administration.”

On Monday, lawmakers expressed hope that such a deal could come together before the Thursday funding deadline, but wouldn’t call it likely. That tees up a vote next week with an uncertain end.

“Probably if nothing is agreed on this week, which I would not be optimistic will happen, then Mitch’ll call up some bill next week and let everyone get their votes on their amendments and see where it goes,” Thune said. “My assumption is that in the end, something will pass. But I guess we’ll see.”

McConnell’s choices will be instrumental in deciding how the debate goes, lawmakers and experts say, and he has a number of options on how to proceed, from the base bill, to the amendment process.

“There’s a lot of different conversations that continue, I don’t think anyone has narrowed it down to one, two or even three paths at this point,” Gardner said.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving GOP senator, was the only lawmaker who seemed to know how the debate would look.

“I have a pretty good sense. I’ve been through it a hundred times,” he said, laughing. Asked if that meant a mess, he added, still chuckling: “It’s always a mess.”

Plenty more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/05/politics/senate-immigration-debate-no-clarity/index.html

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Bonus story: Latest on the drunk driving crash that is shaping up to be a new flashpoint in the immigration debate:

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/06/politics/colts-drunk-driving-crash-undocumented-immigrant/index.html

Trump: ‘Disgraceful that a person illegally in our country’ killed Colts player in crash

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that it was “disgraceful” that an NFL player was killed by a man who police believe is an undocumented immigrant in a suspected drunk driving accident over the weekend.

“So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!” Trump tweeted.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and another man were struck and killed in a suspected drunken driving accident early Sunday morning. Indiana State Police say the man they believe hit them is an undocumented immigrant who has been deported twice.
“My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken. @Colts,” Trump said in a second tweet Tuesday morning.
The crash occurred when Jackson and the other man were struck on the shoulder of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.

 

Read the complete report from Tal and Meagan at the above link.

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There’s always something “shaking” in the “hot button” world of 21st Century Immigration.

PWS

02-06-18

HON. JEFFREY CHASE: Matter of W-Y-C- & H-O-B- & The Unresolved Tension In Asylum Adjudication! – Plus My Added Commentary On EOIR Training!

https://www.jeffreyschase.com/blog/2018/2/4/the-proper-role-of-immigration-judges-as-asylum-adjudicators

The Proper Role of Immigration Judges as Asylum Adjudicators

I would like to expand on the topic raised in my response to the BIA’s recent precedent decision in Matter of W-Y-C- & H-O-B-.  In the U.S. system, what tensions exist between an immigration judge’s role as an independent judge within an adversarial system, and his or her overlapping role as an adjudicator of asylum claims?

As we all know, the 1980 Refugee Act was enacted to put the U.S. in compliance with the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees (to which the U.S. acceded through the 1967 Protocol).  For that reason, numerous courts through the years have found the UNHCR Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status to provide “significant guidance in construing the Protocol” and a useful instrument “in giving content to the obligations the Protocol establishes,” as the U.S. Supreme Court stated in INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca.  The BIA has referenced the UNHCR Handbook in at least ten precedent decisions, as have numerous circuit courts.

Paragraphs 66 and 67 of the Handbook state the following:

66. In order to be considered a refugee, a person must show well-founded fear of persecution for one of the reasons stated above. It is immaterial whether the persecution arises from any single one of these reasons or from a combination of two or more of them. Often the applicant himself may not be aware of the reasons for the persecution feared. It is not, however, his duty to analyze his case to such an extent as to identify the reasons in detail.

67. It is for the examiner, when investigating the facts of the case, to ascertain the reason or reasons for the persecution feared and to decide whether the definition in the 1951 Convention is met with in this respect… (emphasis added.)

Not surprisingly, this approach is employed by the USCIS Asylum Office.  Created in the implementation of the 1990 asylum regulations, the office’s first director, Gregg Beyer, previously worked for UNHCR for more than 12 years.  The Asylum Officer Basic Training Manual (“AOBTM”) on the topic of nexus states that although the applicant bears the burden of proving nexus, the asylum officer has an affirmative duty to elicit all relevant information, and “should fully explore the motivations of any persecutor involved in the case.”  The AOBTC therefore directs the asylum officer to “make reasonable inferences, keeping in mind the difficulty, in many cases, of establishing with precision a persecutor’s motives.”

The AOBTC also cites the 1988 BIA precedent decision in Matter of Fuentes.1  In that case, the Board held that “an applicant does not bear the unreasonable burden of establishing the exact motivation of a ‘persecutor’ where different reasons for actions are possible.  However, an applicant does bear the burden of establishing facts on which a reasonable person would fear that the danger arises on account of” a protected ground.

In Canada, the Immigration and Refugee Board takes the view that “it is for the Refugee Division to determine the ground, if any, applicable to the claimant’s fear of persecution.”  The U.S. is unusual, if not unique, among western nations in not also delegating this responsibility to immigration judges. Also, note that the IRB references the “Refugee Division;” like many countries, Canada’s equivalent of immigration courts is divided into immigration and refugee divisions, in recognition of the special obligations and knowledge that asylum determinations require.  The U.S. immigration court system does not have a separate refugee determination division; asylum claims are heard by the same judges and under the same conditions as all other types of immigration cases.  Furthermore, as noted above, U.S. immigration judges hear cases in an adversarial setting, in which judges assume a passive, neutral role.

The role of asylum adjudicator carries responsibilities that are at odds with the the role of neutral arbiter.  Asylum adjudicators are required to share the burden of documenting the asylum claim; the UNHCR Handbook at para. 196 states that “in some cases, it may be for the examiner to use all of the means at his disposal to produce the necessary evidence in support of the application.”2  And, as discussed above, once the facts are ascertained, it is the adjudicator who should identify the reasons for the feared persecution and determine if such reasons bear a nexus to a protected ground.

During the Department of Justice’s asylum reform discussions in the early 1990s, Gregg Beyer stated that the idea of separate asylum judges was considered, but ultimately rejected.  To my knowledge, EOIR has never conducted an in-depth analysis of the conflicts between the judge’s responsibilities as an asylum adjudicator and his or her role as a neutral arbiter in adversarial proceedings.  I discussed the Board’s incorrect holding in Matter of W-Y-C- & H-O-B- under which genuine refugees may be ordered returned to countries where they will face persecution because the asylum applicants lacked the sophistication to properly delineate a particular social group, a complex legal exercise that many immigration attorneys (and immigration judges) are unable to do.  The problem also extends to other protected grounds.  Would an unrepresented asylum applicant (who might be a child) understand what an imputed political opinion is?  Would most asylum applicants be able to explain that actions viewed as resisting the authority of a third-generation gang such as MS-13 might constitute a political opinion?  Regulations should be enacted making it the responsibility of immigration judges to consider these questions.  Additionally, immigration judges, BIA Board Members and staff attorneys should be required to undergo specialized training to enable them to identify and properly analyze these issues.

Notes:

1. 19 I&N Dec. 658 (BIA 1988).

2. See also the BIA’s precedent decision in Matter of S-M-J-, 21 I&N Dec. 722 (BIA 1997), which I have referenced in other articles.

Copyright 2017 Jeffrey S. Chase.  All rights reserved.

 

 

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Jeffrey S. Chase is an immigration lawyer in New York City.  Jeffrey is a former Immigration Judge, senior legal advisor at the Board of Immigration Appeals, and volunteer staff attorney at Human Rights First.  He is a past recipient of AILA’s annual Pro Bono Award, and previously chaired AILA’s Asylum Reform Task Force.”

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Jeffrey points out the pressing need for better “specialized training” in asylum adjudication for Immigration Judges at both the BIA and Immigration Court levels. Sadly, however, DOJ & EOIR appear to be moving in exactly the opposite direction.

  • Last year, notwithstanding the addition of many new Immigration Judges and retirement of some of the most experienced Immigraton Judges, DOJ cancelled the nationwide Immigration Judge Conference, the only “off the bench” training that most Judges get.
  • Cancellation of the annual training conference or resort to ridiculously amateurish “CD training” was a fairly regular occurrence in the “Post-Moscato Era” (post-2000) of EOIR.
  • Too often so-called “asylum training” at EOIR was conducted by DOJ Attorneys from the Office of Immigration Litigation (“OIL”), Board Members, or Board Staff. The emphasis was basically on “how to write denials that will stand up on appeal” rather than how to recognize and grant legally required protection.
  • Immigration Judges with “special insights” into the situation of asylum seekers seldom were invited to be speakers. For example, one of my most distinguished colleagues was Judge Dana Leigh Marks of the San Francisco Immigration Court. Judge Marks successfully represented the applicant in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421 (1987)  (as the INS Deputy G.C. & Acting G.C. I was helping the Solicitor General with the “losing argument” in behalf of my “client.”) Cardoza-Fonseca established the “well founded fear” standard for asylum and probably is the most important case in the history of U.S. asylum law. Yet, I never remember hearing Judge Marks on any panel at the Annual Conference, let alone one dealing with asylum.
  • One notable exception were the “mandatory” presentations by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (“USCIRF”), an independent Government agency. Led by Senior Advisor on Refugee Issues Mark Hetfield (now President and CEO of HIAS) the USCIRF provided examples of bias in asylum adjudication and explained how Immigration Judges and the BIA sometimes erred by filtering religious claims through our “Americanized Judeo-Christian prism” instead of taking time to understand the unique conditions affecting religion and religious freedom in each country.
  • There was never much positive follow-up on the USCIRF observations. I was probably one of the few Immigration Judges who regularly consulted and discussed the reports and findings of the USCIRF in my decision-making (even many experienced asylum advocates often overlooked this invaluable resource).
  • I remember at my “Immigration Judge Basic Training” in 2003 being told to prepare for the fact that most of my “oral decisions” would be asylum denials. I was skeptical then and found that quite to the contrary, the majority of asylum cases that got to Individual Hearing in Arlington were eminently “grantable.” Pretty much as I had unsuccessfully argued for years with my colleagues while I was on the BIA. For the most part, the U.S. Courts of Appeals eventually reaffirmed much of what my long-since banished “dissenting colleagues” and I had been saying all along about the overly restrictive application of U.S. asylum law by the BIA and many U.S. Immigration Judges.
  • There is absolutely nothing in the recent anti-asylum campaign (based on distorted narratives, no facts, or just plain intentional misinformation) by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and EOIR leadership that would lead me to believe that any type of fair, professional, properly balanced asylum training for Immigration Judges and BIA Appellate Immigration Judges is in the offing.
  • All of this adds up to the pressing need for the elimination of USDOJ control over the U.S. Immigration Courts, the creation of an independent U.S. Immigration Court, and the restructuring of the Immigration Courts into a true Due Process oriented court system, rather than a mere “whistle-stop on the deportation railroad!”

PWS

02-05-18

NEW BIA PRECEDENT SAYS DUI “IS A SIGNIFICANT ADVERSE CONSIDERATION IN BOND PROCEEDINGS” & FINDING OF “DANGEROUSNESS” CAN’T BE “OFFSET” BY CLOSE FAMILY & COMMUNITY TIES IN THE U.S. – MATTER OF SINIAUSKAS, 27 I&N Dec. 207 (BIA 2018)

3914–DUI-Bond

Matter of SINIAUSKAS, 27 I&N Dec. 207 (BIA 2018)

BIA HEADNOTE:

“(1) In deciding whether to set a bond, an Immigration Judge should consider the nature and circumstances of the alien’s criminal activity, including any arrests and convictions, to determine if the alien is a danger to the community, but family and community ties generally do not mitigate an alien’s dangerousness.

(2) Driving under the influence is a significant adverse consideration in determining whether an alien is a danger to the community in bond proceedings.”

BIA PANEL: Appellate Immigration Judges MALPHRUS, MULLANE, and GREER

OPINION BY: Judge Garry D. Malphrus

KEY QUOTE:

“The issue in this case is whether the respondent is a danger to the community, and family and community ties generally do not mitigate an alien’s dangerousness. While there may be a situation where a family member’s or other’s influence over a young respondent’s conduct could affect the likelihood that he would engage in future dangerous activity, this is not such a case. The respondent is an adult and has not shown how his family circumstances would mitigate his history of drinking and driving, except to explain that the most recent incident occurred on the anniversary of his mother’s death. The factors that the respondent claims mitigate or negate his dangerousness existed prior to his most recent arrest, and they did not deter his conduct.

We recognize that the Immigration Judge set a significant bond of $25,000, which he said “reflects the seriousness with which this court views the respondent’s repeated conduct.” However, an Immigration Judge should only set a monetary bond if the respondent first establishes that he is not a danger to the community. Matter of Urena, 25 I&N Dec. at 141.

This is not a case involving a single conviction for driving under the influence from 10 years ago. The respondent has multiple convictions for driving under the influence from that period and a recent arrest for the same conduct, which undermines his claim that he has been rehabilitated. Under these circumstances, we are unpersuaded that the respondent has met his burden to show that that he is not a danger to the community. See Matter of Fatahi, 26 I&N Dec. at 793−94. We therefore conclude that he is not eligible for bond. Accordingly, the DHS’s appeal will be sustained, the Immigration Judge’s decision will be vacated, and the respondent will be ordered detained without bond.”

*********************************************

As an Immigration Judge, I would have come out the same way the BIA did on this case. I would not have set bond.

For me, that the respondent was arrested again for DUI, ten years after his last of three previous DUI convictions, is telling. It shows me that the problem is a continuing one that has not been solved by passage of time or counseling, that the respondent still hasn’t “gotten the picture” about the dangers of DUI, and, significantly, that I couldn’t trust him not to DUI again or get in some other trouble while out on bond.

Less face it, stressful and traumatic events are a constant occurrence in life, particularly for someone already in Removal Proceedings. Therefore, I wouldn’t “buy” the respondent’s argument that the anniversary of his mother’s death was a “one-timer” that wouldn’t happen again.

What if he loses his job, what if a family member has a medical emergency, what if he has domestic problems — all of these fairly common traumas in our community. Why won’t he react the same way he did to the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death? Also, having a LPR wife, USC daughter, and a possible avenue for legal immigration didn’t seem to “motivate” him to say away from trouble. If he DUIs again while awaiting hearing, it’s on my hands. No thanks.

No, I’d rather have a full hearing on this respondent in detention where I know here won’t get into any more trouble in the meantime. If, after that hearing he qualifies for some relief and the equities outweigh the adverse factors, then so be it. I’d grant the case. But, I wouldn’t trust this guy out on the street on my bond during the several years it might take to get to a case such as this on the Arlington non-detained docket. “Getting to the bottom” of complicated cases like this is the purpose of the Individual Merits Hearings.

That said, if the pending DUI changes were dismissed or he were found “not guilty,” I’d be willing to “revisit” the bond.

So, what’s the danger with the BIA’s decision here. That it will be misread by the DHS or Immigration Judges for things the BIA didn’t hold:

  • The BIA did not say that bond could never be granted in a DUI case, even where there was a recent arrest;
  • The BIA also did not say that family and community support could never be a factor in assessing “dangerousness.” On the contrary, the BIA recognized that there could be situations where the influence of family or community members would be a proper factor for the Immigration Judge to consider in assessing dangerousness. For example, I found that having family members or co-workers who would drive the respondent to work and counseling as well as involvement in community or church-based alcohol avoidance groups were often strong predictors that individuals could avoid future alcohol-related problems. But, sadly, in this case, neither family nor past efforts at rehabilitation seem to have worked.

PWS

02-05-18

 

ANOTHER US JUDGE, THIS TIME IN NJ, CALLS A HALT TO “GONZO” ENFORCEMENT — Now It’s Indonesian Christians In The ICEMEN’s Crosshairs!

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/02/last_minute_court_appeal_halts_deportation_of_indo.html

Ted Sherman reports for NJ Advantage Advance Media for NJ.com:

“A federal judge in Newark on Friday issued a temporary restraining order halting the deportations of two Indonesian Christians taken into custody last week while they were dropping their daughters off for school.

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas issued the order after the ACLU went to court, arguing that the summary deportation of the men violated their due process and deprived them of the opportunity to argue their case for asylum.

“These community members, our neighbors, are entitled to argue their case with the protections of due process, especially when the stakes are life-and-death,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha.

Gunawan Liem of Franklin Park and Roby Sanger of Metuchen, who both had pending removal orders, were arrested a week ago without warning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as part of an increasingly aggressive enforcement effort by the Trump Administration targeting illegal immigration.

A third man, Harry Pangemanan, was not home when ICE agents showed up at his house and he sought sanctuary at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, where Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale has long been championing the cause of the Indonesian Christian community.

“This case involves life-and-death stakes and we are simply asking that these longtime residents be given opportunity to show that they are entitled to remain here,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “As in other recent similar cases in Detroit, Boston, Miami and Los Angeles involving mass deportations, we are asking the court to make clear that the fundamental protections of due process apply to non-citizens.”

ICE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in a similar case in Massachusetts also ordered the government to halt the removal of another group of Indonesian Christians, according to the ACLU, which filed that case too.

The judge ruled that they needed more time to file and receive decisions on motions to re-open their immigration cases over their claims of increasingly perilous conditions for Christians in Indonesia, a predominately Muslim nation.

A sign reads “Let the stay” at The Reformed Church of Highland Park. (Jody Somers | For The Star-Ledger)
According to court documents filed in the New Jersey case, the ACLU sought stays of removal for Liem, Sanger and others to give them a reasonable period of time “to compile and present evidence that would permit them to file motions to reopen their removal cases, including evidence of recent changes in country conditions that make Indonesia increasingly dangerous for Christians.”

In its the complaint against ICE, its Newark director for enforcement and removal, and the Department of Homeland Security, the ACLU said most of those facing detention had U.S. citizen children, and argued their removal would rip apart families.

“They are devout and extremely active in their churches, some in official roles. Many volunteer their time to help disadvantaged members of their local community and beyond: participating in disaster relief efforts and volunteering through their churches,” they said in the complaint.

In a statement, Farrin Anello, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of New Jersey, said the Constitution and laws recognizes that people must not be jailed or deported without an opportunity to seek court review of those harsh actions.

“We are extremely heartened and relieved that Judge Salas has ruled that these families may not be deported while she reviews their case,” she said.

Ted Sherman may be reached at tsherman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL. Facebook: @TedSherman.reporter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

A federal judge in Newark on Friday issued a temporary restraining order halting the deportations of two Indonesian Christians taken into custody last week while they were dropping their daughters off for school.

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas issued the order after the ACLU went to court, arguing that the summary deportation of the men violated their due process and deprived them of the opportunity to argue their case for asylum.

“These community members, our neighbors, are entitled to argue their case with the protections of due process, especially when the stakes are life-and-death,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha.

Gunawan Liem of Franklin Park and Roby Sanger of Metuchen, who both had pending removal orders, were arrested a week ago without warning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as part of an increasingly aggressive enforcement effort by the Trump Administration targeting illegal immigration.

A third man, Harry Pangemanan, was not home when ICE agents showed up at his house and he sought sanctuary at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, where Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale has long been championing the cause of the Indonesian Christian community.

“This case involves life-and-death stakes and we are simply asking that these longtime residents be given opportunity to show that they are entitled to remain here,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “As in other recent similar cases in Detroit, Boston, Miami and Los Angeles involving mass deportations, we are asking the court to make clear that the fundamental protections of due process apply to non-citizens.”

ICE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in a similar case in Massachusetts also ordered the government to halt the removal of another group of Indonesian Christians, according to the ACLU, which filed that case too.

The judge ruled that they needed more time to file and receive decisions on motions to re-open their immigration cases over their claims of increasingly perilous conditions for Christians in Indonesia, a predominately Muslim nation.

A sign reads “Let the stay” at The Reformed Church of Highland Park. (Jody Somers | For The Star-Ledger)
According to court documents filed in the New Jersey case, the ACLU sought stays of removal for Liem, Sanger and others to give them a reasonable period of time “to compile and present evidence that would permit them to file motions to reopen their removal cases, including evidence of recent changes in country conditions that make Indonesia increasingly dangerous for Christians.”

In its the complaint against ICE, its Newark director for enforcement and removal, and the Department of Homeland Security, the ACLU said most of those facing detention had U.S. citizen children, and argued their removal would rip apart families.

“They are devout and extremely active in their churches, some in official roles. Many volunteer their time to help disadvantaged members of their local community and beyond: participating in disaster relief efforts and volunteering through their churches,” they said in the complaint.

In a statement, Farrin Anello, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of New Jersey, said the Constitution and laws recognizes that people must not be jailed or deported without an opportunity to seek court review of those harsh actions.

“We are extremely heartened and relieved that Judge Salas has ruled that these families may not be deported while she reviews their case,” she said.

Ted Sherman may be reached at tsherman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL. Facebook: @TedSherman.reporter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

issued the order after the ACLU went to court, arguing that the summary deportation of the men violated their due process and deprived them of the opportunity to argue their case for asylum.

“These community members, our neighbors, are entitled to argue their case with the protections of due process, especially when the stakes are life-and-death,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha.

Gunawan Liem of Franklin Park and Roby Sanger of Metuchen, who both had pending removal orders, were arrested a week ago without warning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as part of an increasingly aggressive enforcement effort by the Trump Administration targeting illegal immigration.

A third man, Harry Pangemanan, was not home when ICE agents showed up at his house and he sought sanctuary at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, where Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale has long been championing the cause of the Indonesian Christian community.

“This case involves life-and-death stakes and we are simply asking that these longtime residents be given opportunity to show that they are entitled to remain here,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “As in other recent similar cases in Detroit, Boston, Miami and Los Angeles involving mass deportations, we are asking the court to make clear that the fundamental protections of due process apply to non-citizens.”

ICE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in a similar case in Massachusetts also ordered the government to halt the removal of another group of Indonesian Christians, according to the ACLU, which filed that case too.

The judge ruled that they needed more time to file and receive decisions on motions to re-open their immigration cases over their claims of increasingly perilous conditions for Christians in Indonesia, a predominately Muslim nation.

A sign reads “Let the stay” at The Reformed Church of Highland Park. (Jody Somers | For The Star-Ledger)
According to court documents filed in the New Jersey case, the ACLU sought stays of removal for Liem, Sanger and others to give them a reasonable period of time “to compile and present evidence that would permit them to file motions to reopen their removal cases, including evidence of recent changes in country conditions that make Indonesia increasingly dangerous for Christians.”

In its the complaint against ICE, its Newark director for enforcement and removal, and the Department of Homeland Security, the ACLU said most of those facing detention had U.S. citizen children, and argued their removal would rip apart families.

“They are devout and extremely active in their churches, some in official roles. Many volunteer their time to help disadvantaged members of their local community and beyond: participating in disaster relief efforts and volunteering through their churches,” they said in the complaint.

In a statement, Farrin Anello, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of New Jersey, said the Constitution and laws recognizes that people must not be jailed or deported without an opportunity to seek court review of those harsh actions.

“We are extremely heartened and relieved that Judge Salas has ruled that these families may not be deported while she reviews their case,” she said.

Ted Sherman may be reached at tsherman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL. Facebook: @TedSherman.reporter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.”

**********************

Wasting tax dollars, hurting families, dividing communities, teeing off Federal Judges, what more could you ask from the “New American Gestapo?”

PWS

02-04-18

STUPIDITY & CRUELTY BECOME TRADEMARKS OF TRUMP’S ICE – ONE FEDERAL JUDGE IN NY HAD ENOUGH – BLASTS POLICIES AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/ice-is-out-of-control.html

From right, Rene Bermudez wipes away tears as he holds his 4-year-old daughter Danyca during a protest on behalf of his wife Liliana Cruz Mendez on May 23.
From right, Rene Bermudez wipes away tears as he holds his 4-year-old daughter Danyca during a protest on behalf of his wife Liliana Cruz Mendez on May 23.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

“Donald Trump hasn’t created the massive “deportation force” he promised as a candidate for president. But he has done the next best thing—boosting, bolstering, and unleashing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, giving it broad authority to act at its own discretion. The result? An empowered and authoritarian agency that operates with impunity, whose chief attribute is unapologetic cruelty.

Under President Obama, who ramped up immigration enforcement even as he sought to protect large categories of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, ICE was a controversial agency whose practices came under heavy scrutiny from activists and some fellow Democrats. But in the year since Trump’s election, ICE has become something far more sinister: a draconian force for harassing and detaining people who pose no threat to the United States or its citizens.

And in keeping with one of President Trump’s first executive orders, which drastically expanded who the federal government considered a priority for deportation, the most striking aspect of ICE under this administration has been its refusal to distinguish between law-abiding immigrants, whose undocumented status obscures their integration into American life, and those with active criminal records—the “bad hombres” of the president’s rhetoric.

Erasing that distinction is how we get the arrest and detention of Lukasz Niec, a Polish immigrant and green card holder who was brought to the United States as a young child. Last week, ICE agents arrested Niec at his home in Michigan, citing two misdemeanor convictions for offenses that were committed when he was a teenager, according to the Washington Post. Although one of the convictions had been scrubbed from his record, it can still be used to remove him from the country. A practicing physician, Niec now sits in a county jail, awaiting possible deportation.

Niec’s standing as an affluent professional makes him an unusual case. More typical is the plight of Jorge Garcia, a 30-year resident of the United States who was recently deported to Mexico after his arrest by ICE. Married with two American-born children, Garcia was brought to the country as a child. He was working to secure legal status when, following Trump’s election, he was ordered to leave the country. In a statement to CBS News, ICE explained that anyone violating immigration laws “may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and … removal from the United States.” Despite its ability to exercise discretion, ICE has opted for an indiscriminate approach to immigration enforcement, arresting and detaining unauthorized residents regardless of whether they pose a threat to the public.

In its drive to remove as many undocumented residents as possible, ICE has begun deporting immigrants who make routine check-ins to their offices, even if those people are simply awaiting visas or green cards that would allow them to stay. Vice News recounts the story of Andre Browne, a Barbados native married to an American citizen. At a recent check-in with ICE agents, he was “arrested and forced to surrender all personal belongings.” He was jailed and now faces deportation. Similarly, in Virginia, a mother of two, Liliana Cruz Mendez, was detained following her regular check-in with immigration officials. Her offense? A traffic misdemeanor.

ICE’s tactics can have life-changing effects, even when its targets are spared deportation. The New Yorker tells of Alejandra Ruiz, brought to the United States as an infant. Last March, she was arrested by ICE agents citing a deportation order issued when she was a toddler. She was shackled and sent to an immigrant-detention facility operated by a private-prison firm. Ruiz was eventually released—she had filed a motion to reopen her childhood case for asylum—but it came at the cost of her livelihood: She lost her job as a senior care worker.

In addition to these activities, ICE is ramping up its mass raids in an effort to spread paranoia and uncertainty in cities with large undocumented populations. The agency is deliberately targeting these “sanctuary cities,” hoping to compel cooperation with their newly aggressive enforcement operations. This is all part of a larger strategy to create an atmosphere of fear and desperation for unauthorized immigrants. It’s behind President Trump’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and end deportation protections for immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador. Vox’s Dara Lind describes it as “a combination of policy and messaging to keep the threat of deportation hanging over immigrants’ heads” meant to make sure “they don’t get too comfortable here because they could be taken at any minute.”

Anti-immigration hard-liners describe these incidents in the bloodless language of “immigration enforcement,” but that obscures the violence and trauma of what’s happening on the ground: ICE is whisking people away to jails or private prisons and then exiling them from their homes and communities with little chance of recourse or recompense. And the pace is only increasing. While the overall number of “border removals”—those caught trying to cross the border—dropped last year, as a result of economic trends and Trump’s hard-line policies, the proportion of “interior removals” undertaken by ICE increased. Most deportations still involve immigrants from a handful of Latin American countries, but “[t]he number of deportees from other nations rose 24 percent in Trump’s first year,” reports NPR.

The administration is still hoping to increase those efforts. A proposal released by the White House last week asked Congress to grant additional funds to hire more ICE agents as part of an overall increase in “border security” that would be effectively traded for a path to citizenship for more than 1 million Dreamers.

It will be up to Democrats to block those additional funds and, perhaps, to build a broader case against ICE and its tactics. Some high-profile Democrats, like Sen. Kamala Harris of California, have already publicly condemned the agency. “ICE raids across the country have torn mothers apart from their children. The raids lack transparency, spread fear, and harm public safety,” she said last year in a Facebook post. More recently, following a report that ICE was planning raids in retaliation to a new California law limiting cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, Harris said that such raids would be “an abhorrent abuse of power.”

Given the extent to which Democrats have helped build the architecture for today’s ICE, Harris’ statements—as well as similar ones by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—may mark the beginning of a new and needed skepticism toward the agency. And if so, then the logic of their critique doesn’t just point toward reform—it points toward a fundamental rethinking of immigration enforcement and a move away from the authoritarianism of ICE as it exists.

What the country needs, in other words, is an honest discussion about whether ICE can be effectively reformed or if it must be abolished and replaced by an agency that can carry out its mission in a more effective and humane way.”

*****************************************

Meanwhile, over in the Southern District of New York, U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest had enough of ICE’s “Gonzo” tactics following the mindless arrest of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir. She blasted ICE’s actions in ordering Ragbir’s release to say good-bye to his family and wind up his affairs. Judge Forrest characterized ICE’s actions in detaining Ragbir as “unnecessarily cruel.”

Here is a copy of Judge Forrest’s order in Ragbir v Sessions:

Ravi.Order

*******************************************

Useless, counterproductive removals, waste of Government enforcement resources, irrationality, and unnecessary cruelty are, of course, at the heart of the Trump/Sessions/Miller immigration enforcement program. Certainly, the performance of ICE under Trump — not especially good at removing real criminals and threats or any other type of legitimate law enforcement — much better at busting minor offenders and law-abiding community members  and sowing terror in ethnic communities — provides a compelling argument that DHS does not need any additional enforcement agents.

Indeed, I have hypothesized that what Trump, Sessions, Miller, and the White Nationalists are really doing is building the DHS into an internal security police force that will be used against all of those the Administration fears or views as opponents of their “Totalitarian-Wannabe State.”

In the meantime, arbitrary use of force and calculated unnecessary cruelty are likely to remain staples of the DHS under Trump. That’s why ICE is fast becoming American’s most loathed, mistrusted, and unprofessional police force. Bouie might well be right. Assuming that America recovers from the Trump regime, unfortunately not necessarily a given, ICE might well need to be abolished and “replaced by an agency that can carry out its mission in a more effective and humane way.”

PWS

01-30-18

SPLIT BIA SPEAKS ON “WAVE THROUGH” – “PLAIN MEANING” APPLIES EXCEPT WHEN IT FAVORS THE RESPONDENT – JUDGE ROGER PAULEY, DISSENTING, APPEARS TO GET IT RIGHT! — MATTER OF CASTILLO ANGULO, 27 I&N DEC. 194 (BIA 2018)

3913

Matter of Castillo Angulo, 27 I&N Dec. 194 (BIA 2018)

BIA HEADNOTE:

“(1) In removal proceedings arising within the jurisdiction of the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits, an alien who was “waved through” a port of entry has established an admission “in any status” within the meaning of section 240A(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2) (2012). Tula-Rubio v. Lynch, 787 F.3d 288 (5th Cir. 2015), and Saldivar v. Sessions, 877 F.3d 812 (9th Cir. 2017), followed in jurisdiction only.

(2) In removal proceedings arising outside the Fifth and Ninth Circuits, to establish continuous residence in the United States for 7 years after having been “admitted in any status” under section 240A(a)(2), an alien must prove that he or she possessed some form of lawful immigration status at the time of admission.”

BIA PANEL:  Appellate Immigration Judges Greer, O’Connor, & Pauley

OPINION BY: Judge Blair O’Connor

CONCURRING/DISSENTING OPINION: Judge Roger A. Pauley

KEY QUOTE FROM DISSENT:

“I concur in the result, which the majority only reaches because it acknowledges that the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Saldivar v. Sessions, 877 F.3d 812 (9th Cir. 2017), which holds that a wave through constitutes an “admission in any status” for purposes of section 240A(a)(2) of the Act, is binding on the Board since this case arises in that circuit. However, unlike the majority, I conclude that both the Ninth Circuit and the Fifth Circuit, whose similar holding in Tula-Rubio v. Lynch, 787 F.3d 288 (5th Cir. 2015), the Ninth Circuit followed, arrived at the correct result, even though, like the majority, I disagree with some aspects of those courts’ reasoning.

. . . .

I therefore respectfully dissent from the majority’s conclusion otherwise and would find that, in any circuit, an alien is eligible to seek cancellation of removal if he or she establishes an admission via a wave through, even if the alien cannot demonstrate the particular lawful status under which admission was authorized, and even if it is later found that he or she had no lawful status at that time.”

*********************************************

Gee, to me, “any status” means “any” status. But, hey, I’m just an old retired trial judge who in ancient time was Chair of the BIA. What would I know about “modern” concepts of statutory interpretation at the BIA?

For a quasi-judicial body that 1) often gets carried away with obtuse linguistic analysis, and 2) claims to see its role as maintaining nationwide consistency, it seems odd that the BIA has gone out of its way to a) rewrite the statute to its own liking, and 2) create a Circuit conflict where none previously existed.

The best way of understanding it is probably “doing what’s necessary to get to ‘no” for respondents not fortunate enough to be in the 9th or 5th Circuits.

My compliments to Judge Pauley for 1) having the backbone, and 2) caring enough to file a separate opinion that better follows the statutory language, produces a much better practical result, and, not surprisingly,  is much closer to what the only Article III Courts to address this particular issue already have decided.

PWS

01-30-18