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ACLU Sues DHS, et al., Over Cellphone Tracking of Immigrants

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri A recent source of controversy in the Trump Administration’s typically hardline approach to illegal immigration concerns the surveillance of social media by Homeland Security Investigations to track down immigrant activity, violations, and First-Amendment-protected expression disapproved of by authorities that lead to detention and deportation.[1] This has entailed searching and gathering information from electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, thumb drives, and cell phones.[2] Searching these devices and using tools to unlock encrypted information on these devices of those coming near the US border with

U.S. Senate Passes the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (S.386)

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri   EB-5 and other professional green card applicants can finally breathe a sigh of relief while going through the application process. Last week, on December 2, 2020, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed bill S.386, known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act.[1] If approved by the President (whoever that will be), it would be of immense benefit to green card applicants of different categories, for it would remove the “caps on the number of immigrants who can be approved for permanent residency permits (“green cards”)” and help clear

Trump administration intends to end use of in-person interpreters at certain immigration hearings

At one time, the famous words associated with the Statue of Liberty – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – truly exemplified the attitude of the US government toward immigration.  However, under the Trump administration, these words would appear to describe the immigration policies of another country, as the Trump administration takes action on a regular basis to restrict the rights of immigrants. This point was evidenced again by the news that the Trump administration intends to end the use of in-person interpreters at certain immigration hearings. This action was

Obama-era DACA Program Reinstated by New York Federal Court Order in Vidal v. Wolf

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri In what counts as a severe blow to the Trump administration’s revamped immigration system in its final month, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order to reinstate the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) to its pre-Trump administration status.[1]   Before President Trump tried to end it in September of 2017, DACA served to permit young immigrants without legal status but had been brought over as children, to live and work legally in the U.S.[2] This was

Department of Justice Prepones Deadlines for Filing Stays on Deportation, Potentially Disrupting Attempts of Migrant Children to Stay Legally in the Country

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri In what came as a shock to immigration attorneys and clients applying to stay in the US and halt deportation proceedings, the Department of Justice imposed new deadlines for stay applications that critics say have left attorneys and clients in a mess.[1] Last week on November 24, 2020, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which overseas US immigration courts, set up new deadlines by which immigrants in certain cases must file an application with the immigration court to stay in the United States within

Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule denying green cards to immigrants that need food stamps or other public benefits.

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri Over the past year, immigration activists have steadfastly opposed the Trump Administration’s changes to the Public Charge Rule, which denied green card applicants who would likely use various types of public assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers.[1] Legal challenges have been especially persistent, with the first wave of lawsuits leading to a hold placed on the policy by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which was in turn reversed by the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote in January 2020.[2] Concern was

DHS Proposes End Work Authorization for Aliens with Final Removal

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri As part of its efforts to further entrench his immigration policy during the home stretch of his Presidency, the Trump Administration is pushing forward as many regulatory actions as possible in a short period of time.[1] Its latest proposal continues the Trump administration’s emphasis on restricting opportunities for immigrant workers in order to leave them open to American workers. On November 17, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a rule to cancel work authorization for non-resident aliens, subject to final removal awaiting deportation.[2]

USCIS Adds a List of Factors That May Be Relevant in Considering Adjusting an Applicant’s Status

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri On November 17, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated their guidelines in their Policy Manual regarding what type of discretion the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should use in adjudicating status application adjustments.[1] Typically, in order to get approval for adjustment of his/her/their immigration status, the applicant must show their eligibility and prove that an exercise of discretion in favor of his/her/their application is warranted.[2] Whether discretion is positive or negative depends on how the USCIS balances and weighs the different

California Voters Approve Ridesharing Drivers from Labor Protections

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri In an earlier post, we talked about how the First District Court of Appeal in California ruled that Uber and Lyft drivers were employees and were entitled to full protections under California’s Assembly Bill 5 law (AB5) such as paid sick leave, overtime, and fair wages.[1] Around the same time, however, Uber and Lyft were sponsoring a state ballot-initiative for Election Day known as Proposition 22 that would have exempted their drivers from the protections of AB5 and identified them as “independent contractors” rather than “employees.”

State Appellate Court Classifies Uber and Lyft Drivers as Employees

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri The rise of the gig economy has to new forms of work which face tremendous obstacles when it comes up against worker legislation like the NLRA. No job has become more symbolic of the gig economy than the ride share services known as Uber and Lyft. There has long been a debate about whether Uber and Lyft drivers were either employees or independent contractors. Being the latter would exempt Uber and Lyft from giving their drives their necessary protections and benefits under the National Labor Relations Act and other