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IMMIGRANTS NUMBERING THOUSANDS CAN BE DETAINED INDEFINITELY ACCORDING TO THE SUPREME COURT’S RULINGS

June 22, 2022

IMMIGRANTS NUMBERING THOUSANDS CAN BE DETAINED INDEFINITELY ACCORDING TO THE SUPREME COURT’S RULINGS

Author: New York Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova

As the issue of immigration in the U.S. seems to be a never-ending rigmarole subject, new developments are expected at every turn. Most recently, the Supreme Court ruled that immigrants detained in the United States are not entitled to a bond hearing in certain situations. This ruling means that the thousands of immigrants currently held in detention facilities with open immigration cases can remain in detention indefinitely! It does not apply to all immigrants, but rather to those who already have orders of removal, but cannot depart or have additional hearings that must be conducted.

In addition to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the high court also ruled that federal courts do not possess the legal authority to grant class-wide relief to immigrants held in detention. This means that, if detainees want to petition their right to a bond hearing in the future, they can only present their cases individually. This is coupled with the fact that immigrants are not allowed to have legal representation during immigration proceedings.

The ruling of the Supreme Court seems to maintain the existing state of affairs as it concerns the issue of immigration. Many immigrants are currently detained in facilities that are more like prisons. Many immigrants have not been charged with any crime but do not possess the right to a hearing to justify their detention. Some of the immigrants are held in facilities belonging to for-profit corporations such as Geo Group and a host of others. The Court ruling also maintains that immigrants can’t have a bond hearing unless the U.S. government says so. This means that the U.S. government has the discretionary right to decide the fate of detainees. In other words, it will be up to DHS/ICE if the person is released from the detention or not, and if ICE/DHS does not want to release the person, they can keep them there technically, forever.

These  rulings dashes the hopes of immigrants who have been held long enough in detention. The cases which are Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez and Garland v. Aleman Gonzalez were brought to court by undocumented immigrants who contested they are being held in detention centers for far too long. Their argument was focused on the fact that immigrants who have been held in detention for up to six months or more should be entitled to an individualized bond hearing where the U.S. government has to prove the need for their continued detention.

The immigrants sued the U.S. government while leveraging on a 1996 immigration statute which states that an unauthorized immigrant “may” remain in detention for an extended period if they fail to meet certain criteria. The immigrants argued that since the statute uses “may be detained” instead of “shall be detained,” the right of discretion rests with the judges, hence entitling them to a hearing. The case was further appealed to the Supreme Court where representatives of the Biden administration argued that the law permits the Attorney General of the United States to indefinitely detain illegal immigrants while their cases are undergoing litigation.

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2020 that detainees are entitled to a bond hearing. Since the Garland case was presented as a class-action lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a class-wide relief, thereby extending the right to a bond hearing to every person named in the suit.

However, the Supreme Court countered this ruling declaring that detainees are not entitled to such a bond hearing, hence a class-wide relief can’t be granted on that basis. Therefore anybody who wishes to exercise their right to a bond hearing in whatever form has to do it individually.

Certain observers feel that it is a bit unfair not to grant unauthorized immigrants the right to legal representation, whereas criminals in the U.S. are allowed legal representation. “Especially since their only offense is that they are in search of greener pastures,” according to an observer. Leah Litman, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School filed a brief in support of Gonzalez. She holds the opinion that the decision of the Supreme Court is completely unworkable and unrealistic. Furthermore, she asserted, “It makes it impossible to ensure that everyone who is potentially entitled to a bond hearing will get one.”

Aside from being denied a desired fair hearing, immigrants and advocates have since raised an alarm concerning the manner of treatment meted out to immigrants at the detention centers. Several facilities have been accused of abusing detainees. The Irwin County Detention Centre was shut down alongside another in May 2021. A gynecologist was accused of carrying out forced sterilization on the detained women at the Irwin Center.

Matt Adams, the legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project who argued the Garland case opines that the decision of the Court raises ethical questions. This is a result of the fact that the ruling contradicts the fundamental principles upon which the U.S system is founded- “that government officials may not lock up a person without at least providing them their day in court to contest whether their confinement is justified.” Although he gives reassurance that the matter will still be pursued as it is not over yet.

Immigration News USA: Biden Helps STEM Students, New Guidelines on How to Expedite A Case With USCIS, and More!

January 26, 2022

New York Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova shares the most recent Immigration news

Biden Administration announced a set of new regulations that help STEM students or students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to qualify for an extended OPT, O-1 visa, EB2 green card with National Interest Waiver. In addition, 22 new fields of study are added to the STEM list of occupations that will allow graduates to seek STEM benefits: extended OPT or work permits following graduation, and easier qualifications for employment-based green cards where a job offer is not required if an NIW is granted.

USCIS Processing Times, Immigration Court Updates and More!

January 18, 2022

NYC Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova shares the most recent updates regarding USCIS real processing times for I 765, I 485, N 400 and I 601A; discusses the most recent Immigration news and practices.

Immigration Reform Build Back Better Bill: Democrats Move With Plan C: Big Step Or Failed Expectations?

November 25, 2021
Immigration Reform: To Be Or Not To Be…

Immigration Reform Build Back Better Bill: Democrats Move With Plan C: Big Step Or Failed Expectations?

Author: NYC Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova

The Build Back Better Bill passed by the House of Representatives contains the most comprehensive immigration reform offered to the non-documented residents of the United States in 35 years.

The bill would cost around $100 billion dollars, along with other measures which will cost around a whopping 5 trillion dollars. While some economists suggest it to be the most expensive event in American history, the immigrants are finally having a sense of relief, which may not last for a long time though. Democrats chose to include plan C  with measures that will temporarily protect the immigrants from deportation and which will not lead to a green card or citizenship.

The BBB bill contains three major immigration provisions:

1. The most widely discussed Immigration innovation contained in the BBB bill is known as “Plan C” or parole.  Parole is a deferred action/protection from deportation through which approximately 7 million people living in the United States who are undocumented and who entered the US before January 1, 2011 will be able to reside safely in the US for 5 years  (which is extendable to another five years) and receive work authorization and travel authorization. Parole is not lawful non-immigrant status. It is unclear at this time if it also will serve as “admission” for adjustment of status purposes, and it is unclear if it people in removal proceedings or with outstanding orders of removal will be able to qualify for it.

2. Recapturing unused green cards and reduction in visa backlogs: it is estimated that over 2 million unused green cards will now be recaptured, which will be a big relief to the lottery winners, families and workers who were eligible for permanent status but struck in a backlog of cases.

3. “Super Fees” (some people started referring to these premium fees as super fees, while it is a cute name, it reminded me of  The “Super Size Me”, the famous documentary). Those who are tired of waiting for their priority dates to become current will be able to pay premium fees to speed up their adjustment of status and immigrant visas cases. The fees will depend on the type of visa sought and be ranging from $1,500 to $50,000.

Many Immigration reform advocates and immigrants are disappointed by this proposal as it falls short of delivering comprehensive Immigration reform. The cut-off date of 2011 seems to be too far away, and most applicants with asylum pending status will simply not meet the residency requirement. Also, parole is not a green card or permanent residence. There will be no opportunity to convert it into citizenship, and no opportunity to sponsor family members even if you receive it. It is more like a bargain to keep the worrying immigration community still for a while…

The Republicans, however, are opposing even these curtailed measures, they argue that the labor market is going to crash due to the infusion of millions of new workers; they are asking not to condone “illegal” behavior and not to encourage “illegal” immigration…. https://theeagle.com/opinion/columnists/build-back-better-bad-for-americans/article_b69558c4-480b-11ec-9c82-1ba8aaa58178.html .

While we cannot discard those concerns, the fact remains that the absolute majority of the people who would qualify for the parole are in fact employed, and many are already paying taxes using IRS tax ID numbers. The “newcomers” will not be able to benefit from the BBB bill at all, and recapturing of the visas is only fair as these are not newly created visas but unused visas from the previous years…

The most important question is: Could Democrats do better? Having a controlling majority in the House, and a tie in the Senate with the Vice President technically representing the Democratic party, perhaps now is the time to be more aggressive with their agenda and make the push for more comprehensive immigration reform. Perhaps, it is time to be grateful for the senate parliamentarian ruling, and move on with the plan? It has been done in the past, so why not now? In fact, the 92 scholars called on Harris, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) not to “overrule” Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, whose rulings are non-binding, but for the presiding officer of the Senate to issue a ruling contrary to her advice.  https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/575347-92-legal-scholars-call-on-harris-to-preside-over-senate-to-include. However, there is no consensus on this Bill even among the Democrats! The only hope is that the disagreeing parties will list at the negotiation table and resolve their differences.

“The House did a very strong bill. Everyone knows that Manchin and Sinema have their concerns, but we’re going to try to negotiate with them and get a very strong, bold bill out of the Senate which will then go back to the House and pass,” said Charles Schumer, the House majority leader. https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/21/politics/chuck-schumer-build-back-better-manchin-sinema/index.html .

He also stated according to the same source, that he would like to see this issue be resolved by Christmas. So, do you think we will have a good Christmas present or immigrants will end up on a “naughty list”?  

For more information on the recent Immigration News, visit our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBSrIQswMdYh_T1qToEZRrQ

Immigration Reform On The Way: Plan C Voted YES By the House

November 20, 2021

Immigration Reform On The Way: Plan C Voted YES By the House

Alena Shautsova, NYC Immigration lawyer shares updates regarding the Build Back Better Bill passed by the House of Representatives on November 19, 2021. The Bill, among other things, contains Immigration provisions aimed at non-citizens who can demonstrate that they entered the US prior to January 1, 2011 and resided in the US since then. The Bills secures parole for such qualified individuals, which comes with a work permit and travel permit. The Bill also contains provisions regarding recapturing of the visas unused since 1992, and the ability to file for premium processing for family, employment, and investment-based visas.

Learn more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxMjPZqYjC4

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Immigration In The USA

For More recent Immigration news visit our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBSrIQswMdYh_T1qToEZRrQ

Immigration Reform Reconciliation Bill Text

September 13, 2021

Immigration Reform Reconciliation Bill Text

Author: NY Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova

Great news, the Immigration reform Reconciliation Bill is finally here. Among the main things, it creates a residency path for dreamers, and anyone who came to the US at the age of 18 or under and has continuously resided here since January 1, 2021 would be considered a dreamer. To qualify for this path, however, some additional criteria must be met plus a fee of $1500 must be paid (and $250 for each dependent).

Essential workers: those who have continuously resided in the US since January 1, 2021, and have “demonstrated a consistent record of earned income in the United States in an occupation described in the guidance of the Department of Homeland Security entitled ‘Advisory Memorandum on Ensuring Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker’s Ability to Work During the COVID–19 Response’, issued on August 10, 2021, during the period beginning on January 31, 2020, and ending on
25 August 24, 2021.

TPS holders who have continuously resided in the US for 3 years and/or TPS eligible.

Certain criminal convictions will disqualify a person from this opportunity: any offense punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment for more than a year; 3 or more offenses with imprisonment in the aggregate for 90 days or more. A waiver may be available for certain cases. Expunged convictions will not be treated as such expunged automatically for Immigration purposes.

If otherwise eligible, a person who is currently in removal proceedings or with an outstanding order of removal will be able to apply as well. T

The law will take into effect wither 180 days from the date of enactment or May 1, 2022, whichever is earlier.

Also, the reconciliation bill makes provisions for recapturing certain visas, and allowing DV visa applicants to still use them for years 2017-2021 if they were unable to do so due to Trump’s bans or COVID.

This is just a first summary of the Act, and we will provide more details shortly.

Judge’s Ruling Undermines Biden’s Reform Efforts, A Great Decision from a Judge in Nevada, and More Recent Immigration News

August 20, 2021

Author: NYC Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova

Judge’s Ruling Undermines Biden’s Reform Efforts, A Great Decision from a Judge in Nevada, and More Recent Immigration News

A decision from Texas Judge stops Biden’s recent ICE enforcement priorities from reverting back to the Trump era practices: ICE is ordered to not follow Biden administration’s Memoranda regarding enforcement and report its compliance to Court.

Good news for adjustment of status applicants: green card medical exams will be valid longer!

More Immigration news here:

US Immigration News Updates

August 4, 2021

Alena Shautsova, New York Immigration lawyer shares the most recent Immigration news.

Recent Immigration news: DACA’s new applications hold, COVID entry restrictions, essential workers reform plans and progress, and more.

Biden Administration Reveals Immigration Blueprint

July 29, 2021

Biden Administration Reveals Immigration Blueprint

Author: NYC Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova

On July 27, 2021 Biden Administration published Immigration Blueprint or a comprehensive plan that includes steps to reform the United States Immigration System. The plan addresses the most troublesome areas of the US Immigration including border security and asylum, Immigration court and access to representation in immigration proceedings, visa backlog, and more. The published Blueprint can be accessed at www.whitehouse.gov.

In this video I share my thoughts on the Blueprint, and provide more explanations on the issue:

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