There was no shortage of controversial immigration cases in 2016. With immigration a cornerstone of the new administration’s agenda, 2017 is also likely to be a frenetic year in the courts.
Law 360 recently profiled some of the biggest cases of 2016. Texas played a major role in what was undoubtedly the most significant legal battle of the year.
Texas Takes on the President
When President Barack Obama sought to extend his flagship immigration policy, he was blocked by Congress. He enacted executive orders on immigration, only to be blocked by Republican-led states. Texas was at the vanguard of the action. It was one of the biggest immigration cases of recent years.
The case of United States v. Texas concerned the fates of 4 million undocumented immigrants. Obama’s reforms would have bought many undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents temporary relief from deportation and the chance to work. It also entailed an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan to protect undocumented children of citizens or permanent resident.
Last summer the orders failed when the U.S. Supreme Court was split 4-4. Obama’s attempts to appoint a ninth justice also failed. The reform is set to become history under the presidency of Donald Trump who is a fierce opponent.
You can read more about United States v. Texas here on our website.
Key Syrian Refugee Case is Heard in Texas
Attempts by the authorities in Texas to prevent the resettling of Syrian refugees in the Lone Star State were thrown out in June.
A Texas federal court rejected the attempt to bar Syrians, stating that a Texas agency lacked the basis to enforce a consultation requirement under the Refugee Act. The ruling was the latest setback for states that sought to restrict refugee resettlement. Indiana was also barred from stopping the arrival of refugees from Syria.
The state of Texas filed a lawsuit against the federal government and a nonprofit that supports refugees.
Abuse of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program
The EB-5 investor visa program is an effective way of bringing overseas investment into the United States but it remains controversial.
In April in a high-profile immigration case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Vermont ski resort owners and executives accusing them of taking part in an eight-year scheme that took $350 million from investors who hoped to obtain visas through the EB-5 program.
Under the EB-5 program, overseas investors receive green cards in exchange for their investments. However, in rare cases, the investors have lost their money without receiving any immigration benefit.
Battles over Immigration Detention Centers
Immigration detention centers remained controversial in 2016, particularly when women and children were housed in them.
Grassroots Leadership from Austin, an immigrant advocate group, gained a temporary injunction prevented the award of a child care facility license to South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley.
Judge Karin Crump in Austin prevented the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from issuing a child care license to the center at Dilley. More than 400 women and children were released from two detention centers by the federal authorities in December.
Texas was pivotal in the most important immigration cases of 2016. It is expected to play a central part in immigration battles in 2017. Often the authorities will try to treat immigrants in an unlawful way. It’s necessary to hire an experienced Austin immigration lawyer to protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445.