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New Orleans Immigration Law Blog

An asylum case could easily hinge on the immigration law judge

Many people attempt to enter the country seeking asylum through ports of entry such as New Orleans. They count on the country's immigration law to drive their cases, but that may be a mistake. Instead, it appears that the beliefs of individual judges may be driving whether frightened and vulnerable refugees receive asylum.

This may not surprise those who routinely work in the immigration law system, but it may come as a surprise to those who believe that judges are required to remain impartial. Much of the issue revolves around the concept of approving asylum for individuals who have credible fear of imminent violence in their home countries. People who fear persecution at the hands of their countries' governments may receive asylum, but some say that people are using "private criminal activity," such as gang-related violence and domestic violence, as reasons for fleeing their home countries.

Avoid these mistakes when dealing with ICE

In 2018, immigration law is a confusing topic. There have been many changes throughout the last few months and there look to be more coming.

With the status of immigration in the United States continually changing, it can be difficult to know what to do when confronted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration law news: States sue the administration over DACA

The controversy over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program begun by the Obama administration continues to deepen. Last year, the Trump administration attempted to end the program, but when Congress failed to institute a suitable replacement for the immigration law by March 6, the program was allowed to remain in effect, which saved numerous people, including some here in New Orleans, from having to leave the country or find another legal option to remain. Now, seven states filed a lawsuit in federal court to get the program rescinded.

Courts ruled that the program would remain in place, but no one may submit a new application. This means that the approximately 700,000 people currently protected by the program may be able to remain in the country -- for now. The lawsuit is supposedly more about the law than about immigration. It alleges that the Obama administration acted outside its scope of authority when it created the program back in 2012.

Another immigration law issue heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

It is difficult to read the news here in New Orleans or anywhere else without seeing stories about the current plights of numerous non-U.S. citizens across the country. Some of those stories involve court battles regarding certain immigration law issues, including one on which the U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments. The president's travel ban was the subject, and the high court will reportedly issue its opinion on the case in June.

Since its first incarnation last year, the travel ban has been through three different versions, two courts of appeal and now the highest court in the country. From the reports coming out of the oral arguments, the travel ban does have at least some support from the court. Both sides presented their arguments, and the justices ranged from silence to engaging in commentary.

Vague part of immigration law ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS

It is the job of the United States Supreme Court to interpret the laws of the land. In doing so, the justices are also responsible for determining whether a particular law violates the U.S. Constitution. Recently, the court ruled that a portion of an immigration law relied upon to deport certain immigrants was not specific enough to meet the requirements of the Constitution. This ruling could potentially affect many individuals across the country, including some here in New Orleans.

The law in question concerns the deportation of immigrants with convictions for some aggravated felonies. The Immigration and Nationality Act only says that individuals with convictions for certain "crimes of violence" may be deported. This vague definition is the part of the law that the court ruled unconstitutional. Since Congress makes the federal laws in the United States, the Senate and House of Representatives would need to amend this portion of the law to meet the requirements set by the court and the Constitution.

Some immigrants end up detained when seeking family visas

Few people choose whom they will fall in love with, and when it happens, they want to spend the rest of their lives together, which often includes getting married. For some of those people living here in New Orleans or elsewhere in the country, this presents a logistical problem because they did not enter or remain here without the proper documentation. In 2016, regulations were enacted that allow immigrants who married U.S. citizens to seek waivers to remain in the country while they seek family visas and permanent residency.

All these individuals want is to rectify their legal status in the United States. They want to do the right thing, even if they were technically living here outside the law. Obtaining a waiver would prevent them from having to return to their country of origin during the process, which could take a significant amount of time.

Federal government halts legal assistance program

There are many changes taking place in the US immigration system right now, in both enforcement and new policies and procedures. Last week, the Justice Department halted the Legal Orientation Program, a service that gives legal counsel to detained immigrants facing deportation. It also operates help centers for non-detainees, including two Baton Rouge facilities.

Immigration law issues: Can ICE access your Facebook page?

Are certain people in the United States being hunted? Recent activities conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement more than likely make numerous people here in New Orleans and across the country who live here without the proper legal documentation feel that way. News articles are full of instances in which ICE performs raids in which people end up sitting in detention centers awaiting their fates under an ever-changing body of immigration law. Now, some of those articles indicate that even Facebook is not a safe place.

In one example, ICE began monitoring data from one person's Facebook page in order to ascertain his or her location. The information involved more than just reviewing posts and pictures, but determining where the individual was when accessing the popular social media site. ICE agents even found the individual's phone number.

The challenges of moving to the U.S. as an immigrant family

Uprooting one's life and moving to another part of the world can require paperwork - a lot of paperwork. And while some families find the paperwork to be the most challenging part of immigrating many others find that it's even harder to adjust to life in a new country.

Here are a few of the challenges immigrant families face when coming to the United States.

Even those with work visas question their futures

The news is filled with stories questioning the fate of numerous immigrants here in the United States, including many here in New Orleans, whose futures hang in the balance because they entered the country without going through the proper channels. The fact is that other immigrants who entered the country with work visas are wondering about their statuses as well. Even they face challenges remaining in the country at a time when immigration laws are in a state of flux and no definitive solutions have arisen.

Many of those immigrants also have employers who are concerned as well. Employees are not the only ones whose paths to citizenship may be in jeopardy. Some families who entered the country legally have had to wait up to 10 years or more the get green cards. By the time they were issued, some or all of their children had already become adults and were no longer considered immediate family under immigration law. As such, the green card came too late, leaving them in a legal limbo with regard to their own statuses.