Blog posts tagged in current immigration law
Not content with arresting nearly 40 percent more immigrants on average since the new administration took office, in July 2017 the Department of Homeland Security and the White House began to investigate the possibility of expanding expedited removals, which would significantly alter the immigration landscape in the United States for a multitude of reasons.
The move would not be without controversy at a political level, but immigrant rights groups are incensed at what they argue would be a near-unlimited authority to arrest anyone without status, regardless of potential extenuating circumstances.
If you are undocumented, being conversant with the nitty-gritty details of the law may at least make your next steps more clear.
Since the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, it has been in the purview of first the Attorney General, later the Secretary of Homeland Security, to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to nationals of countries which have experienced significant natural disasters, ongoing armed conflicts, or other conditions that make it dangerous for nationals abroad to return home. As of this writing, there are 10 countries whose nationals receive TPS, but discussion in recent months has underlined the precarious nature of such a status. If you are under TPS now, it is critical that you understand how and when that status is granted and when it can be rescinded.
Requirements for TPS
Once the Secretary of Homeland Security has granted TPS to the nationals of a specific country, those people who are currently physically present in the United States may apply for benefits. However, mere physical presence is not sufficient to satisfy the requirements for status.
When a person applies for a nonimmigrant visa to visit the United States, there are strict requirements he or she must fulfill before the visa will be granted. (This applies even to countries that are a part of the Visa Waiver program, if they have a specific purpose in coming into the country.) While these requirements have been reviewed and slated for modification in recent months, there are certain factors that remain unchanged. One of these is the issue of immigrant intent. If you do not understand the rule, immigration issues may result.
Presumption of Intent – By Law
Section 214(b) of the Immigration & Nationality Act states explicitly that U.S. consular officers must presume that everyone who applies for a nonimmigrant visa has immigrant intent—that is, the intent to remain in the United States despite the fact that nonimmigrant visa applicants pledge to return home after their business is concluded. This means that it is not personal—no matter how you appear or how you speak, the consular officer is required to suspect that you have lied on your application.
On April 21, 2017, a Nicaraguan man applying for asylum in Florida was deported back to his native country, despite a history of threats made against him, and the fact that his application was in process. There has been considerable outrage over this matter, but also some confusion.
Immigration laws are not being enforced in the manner to which most people are accustomed, and this can lead to paralysis. Understanding your rights can help protect you.
Refugees vs. Asylees
In the current immigration climate, the concept of expedited removal is often bruited about by those in the know. However, many, including professionals, are unclear as to what expedited removal actually is, versus what it has been, versus what the current administration intends for it to be. The concept is complex, and if you or a loved one are going to be in a situation where you face the threat of being removed, it is critical that you know your options.
Origins of the Procedure
The concept of expedited removal—when a potential visitor or immigrant is turned around without being permitted a hearing or indeed many other due process rights that citizens possess—was first propagated in 1996, in the text of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). At the time, the procedure was only used against those who met the following characteristics: