Presidente Obama - Publica el Reglamento DAPA ( Y por qué no quiere! )

Nos enteramos esta semana que el "nuevo" panel que escuchara la actual apelación DAPA en el 5to Tribunal de Circuito de Apelaciones es en realidad el panel antiguo. Los Jueces Smith y Elrod fueron la decisión de la mayoría en el panel de movimientos que rechazó levantar la suspensión puesto en marcha por el juez Hanen en la Corte Federal de Distrito en Texas. El uso de las polémicas más adecuadas para un mitin político, el juez Hanen puso fin a DAPA y se extendió DACA justo cuando estaban a punto de entrar en vigencia. Los Jueces Smith y Elrod, aunque menos "dinámicos" en su inclinación política, dejaron en claro que estaban influenciados por el juez Hanen y no por la abogacía en un lugar mediocre del Departamento de Justicia, y se negaron a levantar la suspensión.

La mayoría de los defensores de la razonable reforma migratoria ( y unos de los pocos republicanos actives ) se desinflo cuando se supo la noticia de la composición del panel. Había mucha esperanza creada cuando el panel anterior en Junio había pedido informes de ambas partes sobre el panel de apelaciones para conocer del caso en Julio fue vinculado por las apreciaciones y decisiones del panel de movimientos que escuchó el caso anteriormente en el 5to circuito ( no lo son ). Pero la probabilidad de que sea el juez que cambie su posición sobre el DAPA y la extension del DACA es de 0%.

¿Qué puede hacer Obama? Él puede hacer lo que debería haber hecho en Febrero ( y probablemente lo que debería haber hecho en Noviembre de 2014 ). Publicar la propuesta DAPA y la extension de DACA y su política en el Registro Federal y cumplir con la Ley de Procedimiento Administrativo ( APA ). Ni el Juez Hanen, ni los Jueces Smith y Elrod derrivaron DAPA y extendieron DAPA por razones constitucionales. Lo cual es bueno, ya que los cambios de política no son inconstitucionales. Más bien, se detuvo el cambio en la política porque Obama no cumplió con la APA, publicando primero los cambios propuestos y darles la fuerza a la regulación.

El proceso de cumplimiento de la APA, si la norma se considera una regla de "emergencia" se deberia acatar. Un estado de emergencia se puede hacer efectiva en 60 días. Las reglas de no-emergencia pueden tomar más tiempo. Pero piense en ello. Estamos a cuatro meses del post estadía ordenada por el Juez Hanen. El cumplimiento de la ley aquí habría significado que tendríamos DAPA en su lugar, o por lo menos estar mucho más cerca de la aplicación de lo que tenemos hoy.

Entonces, ¿por qué Obama no ha cumplido con el APA? Permítanme darle dos razones .

En primer lugar, Obama no cree que tiene que hacerlo, y al hacerlo disminuye el "poder" de la presidencia. No es reciente precedente de la Corte Suprema de respaldar esta posición. . En Pérez V. Asociación de Banqueros Hipotecarios, la Corte Suprema sostuvo que:
La APA distingue entre dos tipos de reglas: El llamado "normas legislativas" son emitidos a través de notificación y comentario de reglamentación, y que tienen la "fuerza y ​​efecto de ley," Chrysler Corp. V. Brown, 441 U.S. 281, 302 - 303. "Las reglas de interpretación" por el contrario, se "emiten... recomendando a los ciudadanos la construcción de una agencia para los estatutos y reglamentos que administra, "Shalala v. Guernsey Memorial Hospital, 514 U.S. 87, 99, no requieren notificación y comentario de reglamentación. . . . . Debido a que una agencia no está obligada a utilizar los procedimientos de notificación y comentario para emitir una norma interpretativa inicial, tampoco es necesario para utilizar esos procedimientos para modificar o abolir esa regla.

Como tal, el gobierno de Obama puede sentir que DAPA y extension de DACA son "reglas de interpretación" que no requieren el cumplimiento de la APA, y que al hacerlo se vaciaría de contenido la victoria de la administración de Pérez.

En segundo lugar, y tal vez la explicación real es, que Obama cree que la prolongación de la lucha por el DAPA y la extension DACA en el ciclo de elecciones presidenciales demócratas ayuda en su lucha contra un decaido GOP. Es bastante claro dada la reciente locura que hablo de Donald Trump y Scott Walker ( y aún más la loca e ignorante Ann Coulter ), que muchos miembros del GOP no tienen idea de lo que es ganar de nuevo el voto minoritario en América. Obviamente, hay contendientes del GOP, como John Kasich y Jeb Bush que lo entienden, pero  está eclipsando el sentido común. Tal vez Obama sabe  (porque lo hizo él mismo al retrasar intencionadamente la reforma migratoria en el 2008), que al mantener de lado la anti-nmigración del GOP en alerta máxima y en locura completa, puede maximizar las posibilidades de que el GOP no puede ganar de nuevo la Casa Blanca en 2016.

El lector puede decidir cual es la motivación de Obama, pero la situación es la siguiente: DAPA y la extension de DACA - diseñado para ayudar a millones, esta atrasado. El 5to Circuito reafirmará su decisión anterior. El Tribunal de la Corte Suprema puede o no llevar el caso. Si se toma el caso, no emitirá una decisión alguna hasta Junio del 2016, mientras tanto millones de padres de ciudadanos estadounidenses se languidecen en una economía subterránea, las familias serán destrozadas y separadas por las "prioridades de aplicación" plenamente operado por el memo de Obama, el GOP controla el Congreso permitirá alargar el tema sobre la reforma migratoria, y no vamos a estar más cerca a una solución real sobre la reforma migratoria. Gracias Obama. Gracias por nada.


Publicado por Charles Kuck


President Obama--Publish the DAPA Regulation (And Why He Won't)!

We found out this week that the "new" panel that will hear the actual DAPA appeal in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is actually the old panel.  Judges Smith and Elrod were the majority decision in motions panel which declined to lift the stay put in place by Judge Hanen from the Federal District Court in Texas.  Using polemics better suited for a political rally, Judge Hanen put a stop to DAPA and expanded DACA just as they were about to go into effect.  Judges Smith and Elrod, although less "dynamic" in their political tilt, made it clear that they were swayed by Judge Hanen and not by the rather lackluster lawyering of the Department of Justice, and refused to lift the stay.

Most advocates for reasonable immigration reform (and quite of few active Republicans) were deflated when news broke on the makeup of the panel.  There had been much hope created when the panel earlier in June had asked for briefings from both sides on whether or not the appeals panel to hear the case in July was bound by the findings and decisions of the motions panel that heard the case previously in the 5th Circuit (they are not).  But the likelihood of either judge changing their position on the DAPA and expanded DACA memo borders on 0%.

What can Obama do?  He can do what he should have done in February (and likely what he should have done in November 2014).  Publish the proposed DAPA and expanded DACA policy in the Federal Register and comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).  Neither Judge Hanen, nor Judges Smith and Elrod struck down DAPA and expanded DAPA on constitutional grounds. Which is good, since the policy changes are not unconstitutional.  Rather, the change in policy was stopped because Obama did not comply with the APA by first publishing the proposed changes and giving them the force of regulation.

The process of complying with the APA, if the rule is considered an "emergency" rule i straightforward. An emergency rule can be made effective in 60 days.  Non-emergency rules can take longer. But think about it. we are now four months post the Stay ordered by Judge Hanen. Complying with the law here would have meant that we would have DAPA in place, or at the very least be very much closer to implementation than we are today.

So, why has Obama not complied with the APA?  Let me give two reasons.

First, Obama does not think he has to, and by doing so he diminishes the "power" of the presidency. There is recent Supreme Court Precedent backing this position.  In Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the Supreme Court held that:
The APA distinguishes between two types of rules: So-called “legislative rules” are issued through notice-and-comment rulemaking, and have the “force and effect of law,” Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U. S. 281, 302–303. “Interpretive rules,” by contrast, are “issued . . . to advise the public of the agency’s construction of the statutes and rules which it administers,” Shalala v. Guernsey Memorial Hospital, 514 U. S. 87, 99, do not require notice-and comment rulemaking.
. . . .
Because an agency is not required to use notice-and-comment procedures to issue an initial interpretive rule, it is also not required to use those procedures to amend or repeal that rule.
As such, the Obama administration may feel that DAPA and expanded DACA are "interpretive rules" that do not require APA compliance, and that by doing so he would eviscerate the administration's victory in Perez.

Second, and perhaps the real explanation, Obama believes that prolonging the fight over DAPA and expanded DACA into the presidential election cycle helps Democrats in their fight against a fractured GOP.  It is quite clear given the recent crazy talk from Donald Trump and Scott Walker (and an even nuttier know-nothing Ann Coulter), that many members of the GOP have no idea how to win back the minority vote in America.  Obviously, there are GOP contenders, like John Kasich and Jeb Bush who get it, but the vitriol is overshadowing common sense.  Perhaps Obama knows (because he did it himself by intentionally delaying immigration reform in 2008), that by keeping the anti-immigration side of the GOP on high alert and in full crazy bloom, he can maximize the chances that the GOP cannot win back the White House in 2016.

The reader can decide what Obama's motivation is, but the situation is this: DAPA and expanded DACA--designed to help millions is delayed.   The 5th Circuit will reaffirm its prior decision.  The Supreme Court may or may not take the case. If it takes the case, it will not issue a decision until June 2016, In the meantime millions of parents of US citizens will languish in an underground economy, families will be torn apart and separated by Obama's fully operating "enforcement priorities" memo, the GOP controlled Congress will allow the tail to keep wagging the dog on immigration reform, and we will be no closer to a real solution on immigration reform.  Thanks Obama.  Thanks for nothing.




Department of States System Failure Making the UFC Tap Out.

For going on three weeks now, the U.S. Department of State has been unable to issue visas of any kind due to a system hardware failure.  This means that people trying to get permission to enter the United States to work, to perform, to be reunited with their family, or just to visit Disneyland are being told to come back later (not sure when) to have their consular appointments.  Clearly this is a huge and costly inconvenience for individuals and companies.

The ever popular UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is an example of a company that has been adversely affected by this system failure.  The UFC relies on and employs the best mixed martial arts fighters from all over the world, who come to the U.S. to participate in fight cards that are scheduled many months in advance.  It has been reported that several popular fighters who were scheduled to appear on the next two fight cards have been replaced or have had their fights cancelled due to the fighters not being able to get the necessary visa to come to the U.S. and participate.  Ultimately the UFC fight cards will end up a watered down version of the previous card, causing the UFC and the fighters who are losing the opportunity to fight a substantial amount of money.  I would hate to be the consular officer who has to interview the UFC fighter when the system finally gets back up and running.


You might wonder how this could happen in a technologically advance country such as ours.  Didn’t we have a backup system in place given the affect these problems have on the economy?  Apparently there was a backup, but that too failed.  Hmmm.  I can’t help but think if congress would just raise the H1B cap, maybe, just maybe we would have exceptional computer programmers from India or another country who could make sure this didn’t happen in the first place, or at least if it did it could be fixed quickly.  Here’s hoping this gets resolved quickly for the sake of my clients, companies and families throughout the world.

El cáncer de cerebro, ICE y Deportación desde el Centro de Detención de Stewart

 Johanna Cochran es una de nuestros abogados estelares tomó recientemente un caso pro bono para un hombre mexicano detenido en el Centro de Detención de Stewart en Lumpkin, Georgia, que, a pesar de un diagnóstico y tratamiento para el cáncer cerebral, se negó puesta en libertad de buscar tratamiento médico urgente. Nuestro cliente era un residente legal permanente de los EE.UU., había estado viviendo en este país por más de 25 años, y padre de tres hijos ciudadanos estadounidenses. Fue detenido debido a un reciente cargo de agresion por el que fue condenado. Este hombre no pudo buscar el consejo de un abogado antes de declararse culpable de la acusación y no fue hasta que los oficiales del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) se fueron en busca de él, él buscó un abogado para tratar de reabrir su condena penal (que él se había declarado sin el consejo de un abogado). Por la reapertura del caso, a este residente permanente a largo plazo no sería deportado.

Nuestra firma rápidamente noto que nuestro cliente tenía algunas condiciones médicas graves que necesitan urgente atención médica, atención que no estaba recibiendo en Stewart. Fue diagnosticado con cáncer cerebral en el verano de 2014, se sometió a una cirugía cerebral en junio, y comenzó un tratamiento de radiación en noviembre del mismo año. En el momento en que fue detenido por el ICE (a principios de febrero de 2015), que había terminado el tratamiento de radiación, pero fue ordenado por su médico a seguir con él cada dos semanas y tomar varios medicamentos prescritos para él. Sin necesidad de decir que nuestro cliente se vio obligado a detener bruscamente su tratamiento para salvar su vida y la medicina durante toda su estancia en Stewart, que ascendió a casi 3 meses.

La salud de nuestro cliente se deterioró de manera tan dramática que desarrolló otros síntomas preocupantes. Sufría de dolores de cabeza crónicos (probablemente relacionados con su diagnóstico de cáncer cerebral) y él nos informó que el personal de Stewart se ocupó de este tema, dándole un par de pastillas de ibuprofeno al día. Él perdió una cantidad dramática de peso durante su detención y el lado izquierdo de su garganta estaba visiblemente hinchado. Nos informó que había pedido al personal de Stewart que lo llevara a ver a un médico y que no fue hasta varias semanas después de que se le concedió su petición. Sin embargo, durante su visita al médico, lo esposaron con tanta fuerza que sus manos se volvieron de color púrpura-una condición que duró varios días. Cuando nuestro cliente pidió al personal de Stewart para llevarlo al médico de nuevo, el personal se negó a hacer esto hasta que el color púrpura salió de sus manos, lo que no ocurrió sino hasta varios días después.

Nuestra empresa solicitó la suspensión de la extracción del DHS pidiendo la liberación inmediata de nuestro cliente bajo supervisión con el único propósito de buscar atención médica urgente. Sin embargo, a pesar de la abrumadora evidencia de que la vida de nuestro cliente estaba en grave peligro, DHS negó nuestra solicitud. Nuestra firma de inmediato presentó una Petición de recurso de hábeas corpus ante el Tribunal Federal de Distrito del Distrito Medio de Georgia pidiendo la liberación inmediata de nuestros clientes citando a violaciónes de la protección de la Octava Enmienda contra el castigo cruel e inusual. La respuesta de DHS? Retiro inmediato. Tristemente, el Distrito Medio de Georgia no pudo actuar con la suficiente rapidez para otorgar cualquier tipo de alivio y el DHS lo sabe, por lo que es más fácil para el Departamento para eliminar personas del país y se lavan las manos de abordar y corregir los problemas legítimos del trato inhumano en sus centros de detención.

Es una cosa mantener detenidos tras las rejas porque pueden ser un daño para nuestra comunidad, pero es bastante diferente de hacer esto en violación de la Constitución de Estados Unidos y poner sus vidas en riesgo grave. El tratamiento para el cáncer de cerebro ya no es razón suficiente, bajo la Administración Obama para  conceder una suspensión de la deportación a un residente permanente a largo plazo.

Para leer más sobre este caso, usted puede hacer clic en el siguiente enlacepara la entrevista dada por nuestro cliente para la revista Mundo Hispánico. 

La Decisión de Inmigración sobre los menores y el SIJS en Georgia

El 1 de junio de 2015, Kuck Immigration Partners, a través de nuestra abogada Anna Erwin, recibió una innovadora ( pero hasta el momento inédita) decisión de la Junta de Apelaciones de Inmigración. La Junta revocó la decisión del juez de inmigración de Atlanta para deportar a nuestra cliente de 11 años de edad, y se encontró que el juez debería haber abordado la elegibilidad de nuestro cliente para la Visa de Inmigración Juvenil Especial (SIJS), y que el juez debería haber continuado el caso de dejar que nuestra cliente persiga su SIJS a través de una petición de custodia tribunal estatal ponerla en la custodia exclusiva de su padre.

Nuestra cliente es nativa de El Salvador. Su madre la abandonó cuando era una bebé. Sus abuelos paternos se preocupaban por ella en El Salvador y su padre llego a los EE.UU. para trabajar y mantener a su familia. En 2014, los abuelos de nuestros clientes se volvieron demasiado ancianos y enfermos para cuidar de ella. Su madre seguía sin asumir la responsabilidad de su cuidado. Nuestra cliente no tuvo más remedio que venir a los Estados Unidos, donde su padre podía cuidar de ella. Nuestra cliente fue detenida por inmigración en la frontera en 2014 y puesta en proceso de deportación en Atlanta.

Esta joven vino a nuestra oficina, y vimos que ella calificó para SIJS. La ley establece SIJS se puede conceder a un menor soltero menor de 18 años de edad quien es :

 un inmigrante que está presente en los Estados Unidos (I) que haya sido declarado dependiente de un tribunal de menores que se encuentra en los Estados Unidos o los que dicho tribunal sea legalmente comprometido o/a colocado bajo la custodia de una agencia o departamento de un Estado, o una persona o entidad designada por un Estado o tribunal de menores situado en los Estados Unidos, y cuya reunificación con 1 o ambos de los padres del inmigrante no es viable debido a abuso, negligencia, abandono, o una base similar encontrado bajo la ley estatal. (II) Para los que se ha determinado en procedimientos administrativos o judiciales que no sería en el mejor interés del extranjero para ser devueltos al país de nacimiento o al de la nacionalidad de los padres o al país de la última residencia. INA § 101 (a) (27) (J).

Nuestra cliente había sido abandonada por su madre, y ella estaba en los EE.UU. con su padre, que estaba dispuesto a tomar su custodia. Hemos presentado una petición en el tribunal estatal para colocarla en la custodia exclusiva de su padre, y le pedimos al juez de la corte estatal que la reunificación con su madre no era viable debido al abandono, y que no estaba en el mejor interés de nuestros clientes para volver a El Salvador porque no había nadie para cuidar de ella.

Suena como un gol - por lo que pensamos.

Nuestro cliente sólo había estado en un proceso de deportación durante 14 días, y en su primera audiencia de inmigración se presentó al juez una copia de la petición de custodia pendiente en el tribunal estatal y una breve sobre su elegibilidad para SIJS. El juez puso el escrito a un lado y le dijo a la niña que no calificó para SIJS porque ella vivía con su padre y sólo su madre la abandonó. El consejo ICE incorrectamente afirmó que un menor sólo puede conseguir la dependencia en Georgia si ambos padres habían abandonado al niño, a pesar de que nos explicó que no estábamos persiguiendo dependencia sino custodia. El juez ordenó a nuestro cliente retirarse sin ninguna discusión sobre su elegibilidad para SIJS a través de una orden de custodia.

La Junta de Apelaciones de Inmigración leyó correctamente la ley, revocó la decisión del juez para deportar a nuestra cliente, y ordenó que el caso vuelva a la corte de inmigración. La Junta señaló que el juez hizo caso omiso de que nuestra cliente no perseguía SIJS a través de una orden de dependencia, sino más bien a través de una orden de custodia. El Consejo ordenó al juez a considerar el argumento y citó la ley SIJS que un menor puede perseguir SIJS "depende del tribunal de menores" o "puesto bajo la custodia de. . . un individuo". Además, en la Junta señalaron que el juez no sólo debería haber abordado nuestro argumento, sino que también deberían haber continuado o administrativamente cerrar el caso de nuestro cliente para la adjudicación de la petición de custodia, "evidencia ausente de inelegibilidad de un extranjero para el estado de SIJ. "El Gobierno no presentó ninguna evidencia de inelegibilidad en la audiencia debido a que el Gobierno no abordó SIJS a través de una orden de custodia.

Esta decisión es importante por varias razones. En primer lugar, la decisión está clara en el cumplimiento de la ley SIJS. La decisión tomada fue en una postura dura y clara con la ley a un juez que no dio una segunda oportunidad para deportar a un niño dentro de dos semanas sin siquiera leer su caso.

En segundo lugar, la decisión finalmente se aborda el problema en Georgia de centrarse demasiado en el uso de la dependencia para obtener SIJS y olvida el uso de órdenes de custodia y de compromiso. A lo mucho, la forma más común de perseguir SIJS en Georgia es a través de una orden de dependencia. Pero si bien la ley federal, como se ha visto anteriormente, permite que un menor de edad puede recibir SIJS si han sido abandonados por uno de los padres, la dependencia ley en Georgia requiere en gran medida el abandono o negligencia por ambos padres durante una dependencia que se conceda. Como sucede a menudo, las leyes federales y estatales están en conflicto. Sin embargo, un menor de edad puede obtener un compromiso o custodia en Georgia ponerlos bajo la custodia de uno de los padres y hacer los otros seguimientos del SIJS. Los jueces y el gobierno en Atlanta no entendían esta simple lectura del estatuto. Debido a la dependencia era la forma más común para perseguir SIJS, y la dependencia requiere el abandono de ambos padres, que tenían una visión de túnel y pensaron todas maneras de conseguir SIJS debe requerir el abandono por ambos padres. Por no mencionar esta vision cerrada que los condujo fácilmente a su objetivo - la deportación. Su interpretación de la ley no era correcta, y la Junta de Apelaciones de Inmigración vio esto.


Felicitaciones a Anna Erwin por esta victoria!

Brain Cancer, ICE and Deportation from the Stewart Detention Center

Johanna Cochran one of our stellar attorneys recently took a pro bono case for a Mexican man detained at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia,  who, despite a diagnosis and treatment for brain cancer, was refused release from detention to seek urgent medical treatment. Our client was a Legal Permanent Resident of the U.S., had been living in this country for over 25 years, and was the father of three U.S. citizen children. He was detained because of a recent battery charge for which he was convicted. This man failed to seek the advice of an attorney before pleading guilty to the charge and it was not until officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) went looking for him, that he sought an attorney to try to reopen his criminal conviction (which he had pled to without attorney advice).  By reopening the case, this long term permanent resident would not be deported.

Our firm quickly learned that our client had some serious medical conditions that needed urgent medical attention—attention he was not getting in Stewart. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in the summer of 2014, underwent brain surgery in June, and started radiation treatment in November of the same year. By the time he was detained by ICE (in early February 2015), he had finished radiation treatment but was ordered by his physician to follow up with him every two weeks and to take several medications prescribed to him. Needless to say, our client was forced to abruptly stop his life-saving treatment and medication during his entire stay in Stewart, which amounted to almost 3 months.

Our client’s health deteriorated so dramatically that he developed other worrisome symptoms. He suffered from chronic headaches (likely related to his brain cancer diagnosis) and he reported to us that the staff at Stewart dealt with this issue by giving him a couple of ibuprofen pills a day. He lost a dramatic amount of weight while in detention and the left side of his throat was visibly swollen. He informed us that he had asked the Stewart staff to take him to see a doctor and that it was not until several weeks later that his request was granted. However, during his visit to the doctor, he was handcuffed so tightly that his hands turned purple—a condition that lasted for several days. When our client asked the staff at Stewart to take him to the doctor again, the staff refused to do this until the purple color came off his hands, which did not happen until several days later.

Our firm filed a stay of removal with DHS asking for the immediate release of our client under supervision for the sole purpose of seeking urgent medical attention. However, despite the overwhelming evidence that our client’s life was in serious danger, DHS denied our request. Our firm immediately filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Georgia asking for our client’s immediate release citing to violations of the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. DHS’s response? Immediate removal. Sadly, the Middle District of Georgia cannot possibly act quickly enough to grant any kind of relief and DHS knows this, so it is easier for the Department to remove people from the country and wash their hands than to address and rectify legitimate issues of inhumane treatment in its detention centers.

It is one thing to keep detainees behind bars because they may be a danger to the community, but it is quite a different one to do this in violation of the U.S. Constitution and place their lives at serious risk.  Treatment for brain cancer is no longer sufficient reason, under the Obama Administration to be grant a stay of removal to a long term permanent resident.  


To read more about this case, you can click on the following link to an interview given by our client to the news magazine Mundo Hispanico.

Groundbreaking Immigration Decision for Juveniles and SIJS in Georgia


On June 1, 2015, Kuck Immigration Partners, through our amazing associate attorney Anna Erwin,  received a groundbreaking (but as of yet unpublished) decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals. The Board reversed the decision of the Atlanta Immigration Judge to deport our 11-year-old client and found that the Judge should have addressed our client’s eligibility for a Special Immigration Juvenile Visa (SIJS), and that the Judge should have continued the case to let our client pursue her SIJS through a state court custody petition putting her in the sole custody of her father.

Our client is a native of El Salvador. Her mother abandoned her as a baby. Her paternal grandparents cared for her in El Salvador and her father came to the U.S. to work and support his family. In 2014, our client’s grandparents became too elderly and ill to care for her. Her mother still would not take responsibility for her care. Our client had no choice but to come to the United States where her father could care for her. Our client was apprehended by immigration at the border in 2014 and placed in removal proceedings in Atlanta.

This young girl came to our office, and we saw that she qualified for SIJS. The law provides SIJS can be granted to an unmarried juvenile under 18 years of age who is:

an immigrant who is present in the United States—

(i) who has been declared dependent on a juvenile court located in the United States or whom such a court has legally committed to, or placed under the custody of, an agency or department of a State, or an individual or entity appointed by a State or juvenile court located in the United States, and whose reunification with 1 or both of the immigrant’s parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found under State law;

(ii) for whom it has been determined in administrative or judicial proceedings that it would not be in the alien’s best interest to be returned to the alien’s or parent’s previous country of nationality or country of last habitual residence

INA § 101(a)(27)(J).

Our client had been abandoned by one parent, her mother, and she was in the U.S. with her father who was willing to take custody of her. We filed a petition in the state court to place her in the sole custody of her father, and we asked the state court judge to find that reunification with her mother was not viable due to abandonment, and that it was not in our client’s best interest to return to El Salvador because there was no one left to care for her.

Sounds like a slam dunk – so we thought.    

Our client had only been in removal proceedings for 14 days, and at her initial immigration hearing we presented to the Judge a copy of the petition for custody pending in the state court and a brief on her eligibility for SIJS. The Judge put the brief to the side and told the child she did not qualify for SIJS because she lived with her father and only her mother abandoned her. The ICE counsel incorrectly stated that a juvenile can only get dependency in Georgia if both parents had abandoned the child, even though we explained we were not pursuing dependency but rather custody. The Judge ordered our client removed without any discussion of her eligibility for SIJS through a custody order.

The Board of Immigration Appeals correctly read the law, reversed the Judge’s decision to remove our client, and ordered the case back to the immigration court. The Board pointed out that the Judge ignored that our client was not pursuing SIJS through a dependency order but rather through a custody order. The Board ordered the Judge to consider the argument and quoted the SIJS law that a juvenile pursuing SIJS can be “’dependent on a juvenile court’ or “placed under the custody of . . . an individual.’” In addition, the Board stated that the Judge not only should have addressed our argument, but also should have continued or administratively closed our client’s case for adjudication of the custody petition, “absent evidence of an alien’s ineligibility for SIJ status.” The Government presented no evidence of ineligibility in the hearing because the Government did not address SIJS through a custody order.

This decision is important for several reasons. First, the decision is in clear compliance with the SIJS law. The decision took a hard and clear stance with the law to a Judge who didn’t give a second thought to deporting a child in two weeks without even reading her case.

Second, the decision finally addresses the problem in Georgia of focusing too much on using dependency to get SIJS and forgetting about using custody and commitment orders. By far the most common way to pursue SIJS in Georgia is through a dependency order. But while federal law, as seen above, allows a juvenile to receive SIJS if they have been abandoned by only one parent, dependency law in Georgia largely requires abandonment or neglect by both parents for a dependency to be granted. As often happens, the federal and state laws are in conflict. However, a juvenile can obtain a commitment or custody order in Georgia putting them in the custody of one parent and making the other SIJS findings. The judges and the government in Atlanta did not  understand this plain reading of the statute. Because dependency was the most common way to pursue SIJS, and dependency requires abandonment by both parents, they had tunnel vision and thought all ways of getting SIJS must require abandonment by both parents. Not to mention this tunnel vision led them easily to their goal – deportation. Their interpretation of the law was not correct, and the Board of Immigration Appeals saw this.

If your client has been abandoned by one parent but is cared for by the other parent, and they are under 18, do not let yourself be bullied, get yelled at, or be told you’re wrong, Stand tall and show the immigration judge the law they don’t want to see. Kudos to Anna Erwin for this victory!

DAPA y El Quinto Circuito - Tres razones por las que Obama no pudo ganar la aprobación de la DAPA

Es un día triste para los inmigrantes que simplemente quieren una oportunidad. DAPA cae, Obama falla, y la política vive.
 http://www.nytimes.com/.../fifth-circuit-court-of-appeals-rul... Un tribunal federal de apelaciones negó el martes la petición de la administración Obama para levantar algo grande en acciones ejecutivas del presidente en materia de inmigración, lo que habría concedido protección contra la deportación, así como permisos de trabajo a millones de inmigrantes en el país ilegalmente. 
Dos de los tres jueces en un panel de la Corte Federal de Apelaciones del Quinto Circuito, en Nueva Orleans, deja en su lugar una orden judicial por un juez de distrito federal en Brownsville, Texas. El fallo viene en una demanda por 26 estados contra las acciones Presidente Obama asumió en noviembre. Muchas de las iniciativas fueron programados para tener efecto este mes al tribunal de apelaciones.  Se encontró que Texas y los otros estados no tienen fundamentos jurídicos suficientes para llevar la demanda y que la administración no se había demostrado que se verían perjudicados si la orden se mantuvo en el lugar y los programas se retrasaron aún más.
Usted puede leer la decisión y el disenso aquí.

¿Por qué ocurrió esto? Muchas personas le dirán que es porque los abogados de Texas, hicieron un gran trabajo en la búsqueda de la Juez derecha Tribunal de Distrito (Hanen), y luego tuvieron suerte en una mayoría republicana quinto Panel Circuito para ganar una decisión de 2-1. Es verdad. Lo que la mayoría de la gente no le dirán que es por eso en primer lugar.

¿Qué fue de Texas realmente haciendo una una queja? Lo del o DAPA iba a hacer que se emitan licencias de conducir que le costaría dinero al estado. Una farsa ? una farsa que jugó lo suficientemente bien para tres jueces. Y, que Obama no publicó lo que argumentaba era una "regla" o "regulación" en el Registro Federal (Obama argumentó que era un cambio de "política" y por lo tanto no tenía que ser publicado en el Registro Federal ). Eso es todo. De acuerdo, al estado también se argumentó sobre tonterías inconstitucional, pero eso nunca se decidió y francamente, pierden en ese tema.

Así que, ¿Por qué fracasó la política DAPA de Obama? Es bastante simple. En primer lugar, Obama no publicó su política DAPA en el Registro Federal. Algunas personas muy inteligentes señalaron que Obama poco después de la decisión del juez Hanen, lo único que tenía que hacer para hacer frente a la reclamación del juez era la publicación de notificación, de conformidad con la Ley de Procedimientos Administrativos, reclamar circunstancias emergentes (que él podía justificar), y el programa podría tomar efecto en mayo. Por supuesto, Obama no hizo esto. Tal vez en el consejo de sus abogados que eligió para luchar debieron completar el trámite administrativo de la publicación.

En segundo lugar, Obama también perdió porque no contaba con los abogados de derecho en este caso. Los abogados de Obama no eran abogados de inmigración del Departamento de Justicia, sino más bien los abogados de la Oficina de Derechos Civiles que no eran expertos en la ley de inmigración. Esto fue evidente cuando ellos no entienden cómo funciona el USCIS, cómo se expide permisos de trabajo por tres años a los que no debería haber recibido por ellos, y cómo no pudieron hacer un seguimiento puntual con el juez Hanen en aclarar su orden sobre el conjunto de la política Memo que estaría emitida por el Juez. Es este caso, voy a culpar a los abogados.

Por último, Obama subestimó el odio de él y de sus políticas por los que se oponen a él ya un cambio de política de inmigración sensata. Las personas como el gobernador de Texas, no se preocupan por las elecciones nacionales. No le importa que el Partido Republicano ahora seguramente perderá las elecciones presidenciales de 2016. No les importa que el próximo presidente sea democrata probablemente y  nomine a tres o más jueces del Corte Supremo (posiblemente cuatro) y que el Partido Republicano perderá la próxima generación de casos importantes y los argumentos políticos. Las personas como el gobernador de Texas, sólo se preocupan por sí mismos y el ahora, pero no sobre el panorama general de la política nacional y el futuro. Debido a que Obama no consigue esto, él no vio este litigio que viene, y no planifico la consecuencia.

DAPA no está muerto, pero sí suena. El próximo paso está en el campo de Obama. Vamos a ver si él no sólo habla de la charla, pero predica con el ejemplo. Se puede publicar en el Registro Federal de mañana y empezar el reloj corriendo en una fecha efectiva DAPA, o puede seguir luchando lo que es una batalla perdida en Texas. A veces, es mejor saber cuándo cambiar estrategias. Ese tiempo es ahora.



DAPA and The 5th Circuit--Three Reasons Why Obama Failed to Win Approval of the Policy Change

Its a sad day for immigrants who simply want a chance. DAPA falls,  Obama fails, and politics live.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s request to lift a hold on the president’s executive actions on immigration, which would have granted protection from deportation as well as work permits to millions of immigrants in the country illegally.
Two of three judges on a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, left in place an injunction by a federal district judge in Brownsville, Tex. The ruling comes in a lawsuit by 26 states against actions President Obama took in November. Many of the initiatives were scheduled to take effect this month.The appeals court found that Texas and the other states did have sufficient legal grounds to bring the lawsuit and that the administration had not shown it would be harmed if the injunction remained in the place and the programs were further delayed.
You can read the decision and the dissent here.  
Why did this happen?  Many people will tell you that it is because the lawyers for Texas did a great job in finding the right District Court Judge (Hanen), and then lucked into a majority GOP 5th Circuit Panel to win a 2-1 decision.  That is true.  What most folks will not tell you is why we here in the first place.
What was Texas actually complaining about?  That DAPA was going to cause them to issue driver's licenses that would cost the state money.  A farce, but a farce that played well enough to three judges. And, that Obama did not publish what it argued was a "rule" or "regulation" in the Federal Register (Obama argued it was a "policy" change and thus did not need to get published in the Federal Register).  That's it.  Okay, the state's also argued about unconstitutional blather, but that was never decided and frankly, they lose on that issue.
So, WHY did Obama's DAPA policy fail.  Its rather simple. First, Obama did not publish his DAPA policy in the Federal Register.  Some very smart people pointed out to Obama shortly after Judge Hanen's decision that all he had to do to address the Judge's complaint was to publish notice, under the Administrative Procedures Act, claim emergent circumstances (which he could justify), and the program could have taken effect by May.  Of course, Obama did not do this.  Perhaps on the advise of his lawyers he chose to fight rather than just completing the administrative step of publication.  Or, perhaps he wanted the program to be held up for political gain.  
Second, Obama also lost because he did not have the right attorneys on this case.   Obama's lawyers were NOT immigration lawyers from the DOJ, but rather attorneys from the Office of Civil Rights who were NOT experts on immigration law.  This was obvious when they did not understand how USCIS works, how it issues work permits for three years to those who should not have gotten them, and how they failed to follow up timely with Judge Hanen on clarifying his order about the ENTIRE Policy Memo Stay issued by the Judge.   It this case, I am going to blame the lawyers.
Finally, Obama underestimated the hatred of him and his policies by those opposed to him and to a sensible Immigration policy change.  People like the Governor of Texas do not care about national elections.  He does not care that the GOP will now certainly lose the presidential election in 2016.  They do not care that the next democratic president will likely nominate three more Supreme Court justices (possibly four) and that the GOP will lose the next generation of important cases and political arguments.  People like the Governor of Texas only care about themselves and the now, not about the big picture of national politics and the future.   Because Obama does not get this, he did not see this litigation coming, and he did not plan accordingly.
DAPA is not dead, but it does sleep.  The next move is in Obama's court.  Let's see whether he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.  He can publish in the Federal Register tomorrow and start the clock running on a DAPA effective date, or he can continue fighting what is a losing battle in Texas. Sometimes, it best to know when to switch strategies.  That time is now.  

Birthright Citizenship--Whack-a-Mole Starts All Over Again in the Senate

Like the proverbial Whack-A-Mole game of our youthful carnival weekends, the anti-immigration crowd once again trumpets this unicorn as a solution to America’s undocumented immigration problem. Most recently Louisiana Senator David Vitter (he of prostitute fame) seeks to eliminate what some call “birthright” citizenship.

 I have blogged on this before, because this issue pops up each year, usually with a politician facing a primary, as a way to gin up support from the margins of the GOP. "Birthright citizenship" is a derogatory way of saying the following: If you are born in the United States, you are a citizen by right of birth in the United States. This was not always the case in America, at least as it applied to African Americans or Native Americans. It took the Civil War, and the 14th Amendment, to ensure that anyone born in the United States “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is a United States Citizen.

Since at least 1994, when Congressman Bob Stump (R-AZ) filed H.R. 3862 calling for, among other things, an end to “birthright” citizenship, the anti-immigration crowd has been championing the idea that the 14th Amendment does not mean what it says. The “anti-birthers” argue that a U.S. born child who is born of a mother or a father who are NOT “legally” in the United States is therefore not a citizen because their parents are somehow “not subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.

Some of these anti-birthers go so far as to claim that the Supreme Court has only on one occasion, and that in footnote, discussed the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The problem with a lie (among other issues) is that if you tell it often enough some folks will believe it is the truth (such as, we never actually landed on the moon). 

Well to help you out (and possibly steer some of our Congressman and Senators from the precipice of irrationality on this issue) let’s look at what the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means in the context of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

First, a little history lesson. One of the first acts of Congress, after the adoption of the Constitution, was the passage and signing into law of the Naturalization Act of 1790, a copy of which is framed in my office lobby. As noted in Wikipedia: 
This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were “free white persons” of “good moral character”. It thus, left outindentured servants,slaves, free blacks, and later Asians. While women were included in the act, the right of citizenship did “not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States….” Citizenship was inherited exclusively through the father.In order to address one’s “good moral character,” the law required two years of residence in the United States and one year in the state of residence, prior to applying for citizenship. When those requirements were met, an immigrant could file a Petition for Naturalization with “any common law court of record” having jurisdiction over his residence asking to be naturalized. Once convinced of the applicant’s good moral character, the court would administer an oath of allegiance to support the Constitution of the United States. The clerk of court was to make a record of these proceedings, and “thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States.
The Act also establishes the United States citizenship of children of citizens, born abroad, without the need for naturalization, “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens. 
So, prior to the Civil War, white people of good moral character were considered citizens of the United States. Beyond that rules on U.S. citizenship were, at best, haphazard. 

Second, under universally accepted rules of statutory and constitutional construction, we must consider the “plain meaning” of the words used, when they were used. “[S]ubject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant, in 1866: 
to exclude, by the fewest and fittest words (besides children of members of the Indian tribes, standing in a peculiar relation to the national government, unknown to the common law), the two classes of cases,- children born of alien enemies in hostile occupation, and children of diplomatic representatives of a foreign state,-both of which, as has already been shown, by the law of England and by our own law, from the time of the first settlement of the English colonies in America, had been recognized exceptions to the fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the country. Calvin’s Case, 7 Coke, 1, 18b; Cockb. Nat. 7; Dicey, Confl. Laws, 177; Inglis v. Sailors’ Snug Harbor, 3 Pet. 99, 155; 2 Kent, Comm. 39, 42. See, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)(citing Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 , 5 Sup. Ct. 41 (1884, and a LONG line of subsequent cases).
Quite clearly, the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” has long worked to exclude only the children of diplomats and native Americans who were members of sovereign nations. Everyone else born in the United States is a U.S. citizen by birth. Period. 

Third, and finally, the Supreme Court clearly and definitively ruled on the full and entire meaning of the 14th Amendment in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark in 1898, over 110 years ago! In that case, the court considered whether: 
a child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the emperor of China, but have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States.For the reasons above stated, this court is of opinion that the question must be answered in the affirmative. U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898). 
Mr. Ark, and the Supreme Court, have long ago resolved this question for us. Children born in the United States whose parents are not officially working on behalf of a foreign government are STILL United States Citizens. 

The proverbial “Rule of Law” standard espoused by the anti-birther movement would seem to stop these folks in their tracks. But, the anti-immigration, anti-birthe rmovement will not be stopped by law, logic or by fact. Nonetheless, besides being good public policy, it is good to know that the law is already crystal clear, and that no act of Congress is going to change what the Constitution says. As of yet, the anti-birther movement is still a small minority and does not have the power to adopt or pass the Constitutional Amendment necessary to strip citizenship away from U.S. born children. After all, and as noted by the Supreme Court in 1898, we fought a Civil War over this issue.