What’s Trump Done to Asylum?

There have been many recent changes (amid a flurry of proposals) to the immigration law as it applies to applications for asylum in the US. Both international law and federal law contain provisions for people to apply for asylum or refugee status based on past persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution in their native country. The persecution must be based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. There is a body of cases that have interpreted the asylum law, and its application in the US, since the 1950s. Yet Trump’s former Attorney General […]

America Immigration Law in Disarray

Since riding down the escalator to announce his candidacy for President, Trump has tried to change the policies and laws concerning people who are not citizens of the US. His attempts have, for the most part, failed because there are federal judges willing to rule against him when lawsuits challenging those attempts were filed. In January and March 2017, Trump signed executive orders trying to ban all Muslims from entering the US. Judges in the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals ruled that those orders were unconstitutional and granted restraining orders until the Supreme Court, in June 2018, entered […]

America’s Nightmare Border Cops

When the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) was created after the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, two agencies were merged to create Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). At the present time, CBP employs 23,000 Customs agents and 20,000 Border Protection agents. The commonly held belief is that purpose of these agents is to catch terrorists at the borders of the US, including seaports and border ports of entry, as well as any materials that are considered harmful to the US. However, the truth is not so clear cut. CBP has the authority to stop and question anyone at an […]

Is There Justice … in the Immigration Court system?

This past August 8th, the National Association of Immigration Judges filed a grievance/complaint with the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) based on the actions of US Attorney General Sessions, who ordered an assistant chief judge from Falls Church, Virginia, to travel to Philadelphia for the sole purpose of entering an order of removal against a person who had not appeared for a hearing. The immigration judge (IJ) who had handled the case had closed the removal case because the Office of Chief Counsel (“OCC”) in Philadelphia had not been able to prove that the person had actually received the […]

The Loss of 1,500 Kids in ICE Custody in 2017

In 1997, the administration of former President George W. Bush entered into a settlement agreement to address the problems that caused a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The “Flores Agreement” of 1997 became law when most of the provisions were included in Federal regulations. The “Flores Agreement” and regulations required that ICE officials detaining unaccompanied children (“UAC”) who entered the US without a parent or guardian provide 1) food and drinking water, 2) medical assistance in emergencies, 3) toilets and sinks, 4) adequate temperature control and ventilation, 5) adequate supervision to protect minors from others, and 6) separation […]

Separating Children from Parents Is it legal under US law? Under international law?

  It’s become clear that the zero-tolerance policy of the current administration began with a memorandum issued by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions this past April 6th (to clarify the memorandum he issued on April 11th, 2017, about “the prioritization of the prosecution of certain criminal immigration offenses”) has a direct result of separating children from their parents. In fact, there’s no limit to the age of the children given the evidence that nursing mothers have had their infants taken from their arms, with no hope of seeing them again. The mental and physical health risks of such actions are enormous […]

The Loss of 1,500 Kids in ICE Custody in 2017

In 1997, the administration of former President George W. Bush entered into a settlement agreement to address the problems that caused a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The “Flores Agreement” of 1997 became law when most of the provisions were included in Federal regulations. The “Flores Agreement” and regulations required that ICE officials detaining unaccompanied children (“UAC”) who entered the US without a parent or guardian provide 1) food and drinking water, 2) medical assistance in emergencies, 3) toilets and sinks, 4) adequate temperature control and ventilation, 5) adequate supervision to protect minors from others, and 6) separation […]

The Baker and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court decision is more LGBT-friendly than it seems

On June 4th, 2018, the US Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al. The case involves the 2012 decision by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (“CCRC”) finding that the bakery had violated Colorado law in denying a request by a gay male couple to prepare a wedding cake for their reception. The couple was getting married in Massachusetts because, in 2012, same-sex marriage was not legal, and they wanted to have a nice reception in the Colorado town where they lived. Indeed, Justice Kennedy, the author of […]

Travel in the Trump Era

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments sometime this spring on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which the federal government had appealed in the summer of 2017. The Supreme Court held off on hearing arguments in the fall of 2017 because it wanted to see what would happen with the case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, with the hope that it could resolve all of the issues with one decision. On this past February 15th, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a published decision in the case of International Refugee Assistance Project v. […]