Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. Some records, such as winning the most Super Bowls or scoring the most points in an NCAA college basketball game, receive universal praise. Other records garner a more mixed reaction. Such is the case with the recent news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) set a record in December, 2018 by arresting the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants with no criminal background. Specifically, 36.5 percent of the undocumented immigrants arrested by ICE in December, 2018 had no criminal record – the highest such percentage since ICE started categorizing arrests
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. Have you ever heard of Q’anjob’al, Mam, and K’iche’? Probably not. They are 3 languages indigenous to the country of Guatemala. What makes them significant for United States immigration law purposes is that they have become 3 of the 25 most common languages spoken in US immigration courts in recent years. The lack of competent interpreters in Q’anjob’al, Mam, and K’iche’, and other foreign indigenous languages, is creating significant problems in the US immigration courts. Many of the migrants who have come to the United States in recent years
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. A recent report by the American Bar Association described the US immigration courts as “facing an existential crisis . . . irredeemably dysfunctional and on the brink of collapse”. Besides requiring a major overhaul for inefficiency, the US immigration courts may suffer from another fundamental problem – bias against immigrants. This point was made in an administrative complaint filed yesterday by the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association with the US Department of Justice with respect to the El Paso, Texas Service Processing Center immigration court.
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. Could the selection of a new person to head U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signal a change in the Trump administration’s approach on immigration? Specifically, could the selection of a new person to head ICE represent a departure from the harsh, anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration? Unfortunately, the selection of Matthew Albence to be the new head of ICE likely will only lead to even more adverse policies harming the rights of immigrants. In an April 11 email to ICE staff, Acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello wrote,
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. Oswaldo Barrientos emigrated to the United States from El Salvador when he was a baby 29 years ago. He received his green card at age 13 and currently remains a legal immigrant in the United States. Barrientos has no criminal record and a stable job. Does he seem like the type of person who should be rejected when he applied for US citizenship? You probably would think no, but unfortunately such is not the case. Barrientos in fact was recently denied US citizenship, and told that he “lacked moral character”, because
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. The US government consists of 3 branches – an executive branch (the President and his administration), a legislative branch (the Congress), and a judicial branch (the courts). Because of the anti-immigration policies of President Trump and his administration, and the general inability of Congress to reach an agreement on immigration legislation, it has largely been left to the courts to protect immigrant rights. This point was again evidenced on April 8 when Federal District Court Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction against and stopping President Trump’s Migrant
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. The Attorney General has the power to “certify” (review) and overturn prior rulings by immigration courts. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions used this authority with respect to a number of immigration court decisions, and apparently, new Attorney General William Barr will be doing the same. On April 16, Attorney General Barr announced that a 2005 immigration court decision (Matter of X-K-) “was wrongly decided” and issued a ruling that will result in more asylum seekers being detained without bond while waiting for their cases to be heard.
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. There seems to be no end to the arguments being used by the Trump administration to restrict immigrant rights. An increasingly used strategy by the Trump administration is to argue that a visa should be denied because the immigrant would become “ public charges ”. Based on how the Trump administration interprets the term, “public charge”, an increasing number of immigrants, especially Mexicans, are being denied visas to the United States. “Public charge” is a term used by U.S. immigration officials to refer to a person who is considered primarily
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. Do you regard people who use marijuana, solely based on their marijuana use, as lacking “good moral character”? Probably not, but unfortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has adopted a different position. Under a “Policy Alert” issued on April 19 by USCIS, a person who engages in certain “marijuana-related activities” may be considered to not have “good moral character” and thereby may be denied U.S. citizenship. To become a naturalized citizen of the United States, an immigrant must demonstrate that he or she had “good moral character” for
Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. The EB-5 investment program has been a popular vehicle for foreigners to obtain green cards, and permanent lawful residency status, in the United States. As the EB-5 program creates jobs in the United States, it represents a form of immigration that is believed to be favored by President Trump. In fact, the family of President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, has been directly involved in EB-5 projects. Currently, the amount of capital contribution to invest in an EB-5 project is either $500,000 or $1,000,000. The $500,000 amount