Immigration Enforcement

A federal judge has barred President Trump’s recent asylum ban, now forcing the administration to accept all migrants crossing the southern border who seek protection, rather than limit asylum requests to U.S. ports of entry. As of last evening, Judge John Tigar of the U.S. District Court of Northern California issued a temporary restraining order that will require the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to process all individuals crossing the California, Arizona, and Texas border. The bar will remain until a scheduled hearing to be held on December 19, when the judge will revisit the court’s view of a permanent injunction.

The judge’s bar quickly halts the administration’s new rule, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ accompanying policy guidance, which limit asylum pleas to official ports of entry between the United States and Mexico. The administration stated the restriction was necessary to protect U.S. national security from the migrant caravan, as 7,000 migrants, mainly from Honduras, began to arrive in Tijuana over the weekend.

The U.S. district court opinion describes the Congressional intent to offer asylum to all applicants, whether at designated ports of arrival or not, as explicitly cited under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In an article appearing in Law360, Lisa Pino offers expert analysis on the key points from USCIS’s new Notice to Appear (“NTA”) policy.  In the article, Pino notes that although the new NTA policy does not currently impact employment-based petitions, it nevertheless “is of concern to unauthorized immigrants.”  Pino writes that “unless applicants seeking immigration benefits are confident that their respective applications will be approved, their chances and risk of facing an NTA and a subsequent deportation proceeding in court have now significantly grown.”  Read the article here.

On September 27, the USCIS Office of Public Engagement hosted a live teleconference to inform the public how the agency will implement its new policy, or policy memorandum (PM), issued on June 28, 2018, “Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens.”  The policy aligns USCIS operations with Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.

The NTA requires the recipient to appear in court before an immigration judge, and is the first step in removal, or deportation, proceedings. After a brief overview of the new NTA policy, which supersedes previous 2011 USCIS guidance on the same topic, USCIS presented a Q&A series from more than 100 questions received by stakeholders. The USCIS teleconference participants represented a broad spectrum of the agency’s divisions including USCIS Field Operations, Policy, and Office of Chief Counsel.  USCIS also announced that the agency will soon host a public webpage about the new NTA policy implementation, and that information conveyed during the teleconference would soon be available in the USCIS electronic reading room.

The top 10 takeaways of the USCIS teleconference regarding its new NTA policy implementation include the following points: Continue Reading Top 10 NTA Takeaways: USCIS Goes Live to Reveal Implementation Plans of New DHS Deportation Policy

On Thursday, April 6, 2018, federal and state officials arrested approximately 97 workers at a meat-processing facility in Tennessee.  The charges faced by the individuals primarily relate to immigration-related offenses.

Media reports noted that the federal affidavit submitted in connection with the raid stated that the facility was targeted as a result of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criminal investigation related to whether the company had been filing false tax returns and avoiding payment of payroll tax.  The company’s bank reported repeated large cash withdrawals to the IRS, which prompted the investigation.  The IRS contends the funds were used to pay undocumented workers.

Continue Reading ICE Collaboration with IRS a Signal of Intra-Agency Cooperation Across Contexts