Cancellation of Removal

Increased Deportations Impact American Businesses

By Peek & Toland on June 2, 2017

President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants is already impacting some businesses as increased deportations deprive them of workers.

The Los Angeles Times reported the chilling impacts on businesses after Trump ordered an aggressive crackdown on as many as 11 million undocumented people in February.

The LA Times made reference to two memos released by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly directing immigration officers to broaden their enforcement and to conduct more raids on immigrant communities. The policy envisages placing undocumented people in detention whether or not they have a criminal record.

Officials have also talked about an expedited deportation process that would bypass the courts, although it would likely face a legal challenge.

Increased deportations impact business

The Los Angeles Times reported the Californian economy faces being hit particularly hard by increased deportations. Many industries that rely on immigrants were experiencing a labor shortage before Trump’s inauguration.

Undocumented workers make as much as 10 percent of the labor force in California, according to USC researchers. They are the backbone of the workforce in agriculture and construction. As many as 45 percent of all farm workers and 21 percent of those in the construction trade are undocumented.

Texas also faces a major impact from increased deportations, according to recent studies. Last year we noted research that found restricting the undocumented workforce in Texas would lead to significant economic losses to the state. The research estimated the total net fiscal effect of the state’s undocumented population brings in about $32.9 billion every year.

Increased Deportations May Impact Texas and California Business

California has about 2.7 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security estimated there were about 1.68 million undocumented immigrants living in Texas.

Research from the Pew Center found Texas, California, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois combined accounted for 59 percent of the undocumented population in the United States.

A recent report in Bloomberg stated increased deportations stand to drive up the wages of farm workers. Wages for agricultural workers rose 36 percent over the last decade as the Obama administration cracked down on unlawful migrants.

However, the Trump administration’s expanded deportation plan for undocumented immigrants threatens to put some growers out of business if its actions are not accompanied by increases in workers available. Bloomberg warned more food might be sourced from overseas.

The H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers could help alleviate the agricultural workers crisis. However, the program is oversubscribed and in need of reform, claimed Bloomberg.

The Austin-based immigration attorneys at Peek & Toland have years of success in helping immigrants. We can help you avoid complications that could endanger your rights and presence in the United States. For further information, call (512) 474-4445.

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Deportations Increased in 2016, States Department of Homeland Security

By Peek & Toland on May 22, 2017

The election of Donald Trump has renewed fears over mass deportations. However, Department of Homeland Security figures point to a rise in removals even before Trump arrived at the White House.

Figures released in December for the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 revealed the department apprehended 530,250 people in the United States and carried out 450,954 removals and returns of immigrants.

In 2016, border patrol picked up 415,816 people compared to 337,117 in 2015. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 114, 434 immigrants, compared to 125,211 the previous year.

The Department of Homeland Security in its press release said more people were apprehended in previous years, notably from the 1980s to 2008.

Deportations rose in 2016

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said the Obama administration was continuing to concentrate on deporting people who pose a threat to public safety.

He said:

“In FY 2016, we continued to better focus our interior resources on removing individuals who may pose threats to public safety—specifically, convicted criminals and threats to national security. “

President Obama took a relentless approach to deportations, particularly in the early years of his administration.

A report on ABC News noted in April that he deported more people than any other president of the United States.

From 2009 to 2015, the Obama administration removed in excess of 2.5 million people through immigration orders.

The figure does not include people who “self-deported” or were turned back at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

George W. Bush deported about 2 million people.

Deportations May Rise under President Trump

Donald Trump promised to deport as many as 2-3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. It would represent one of the biggest round-ups in U.S. history.

Before the election, he floated the removal of as many as 11 million illegal immigrants.

You can read some of the important questions about Trump’s immigration reforms here.

If you have a concern about any aspect of immigration in Texas or are facing deportation, we can help. Call our Austin cancellation of removal lawyers today at (512) 474-4445.

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More than Five Million Children in the United States Have Unauthorized Immigrant Parents, Research Finds

By Peek & Toland on May 19, 2017

More than five million children in the United States are growing up with unauthorized immigrant parents and it places them at a disadvantage, according to research.

Growing up with unauthorized immigrant parents means children are more likely to be exposed to poverty, limited English and lower preschool enrollment, states the Migration Policy Institute.

As many as a quarter of all children in the United States under eight-years-old are from immigrant families.

About 30 percent of these children grow up with unauthorized immigrant parents. Most of these children were born in the United States and are citizens.

millions of children have unauthorized immigrant parents

More than five million children have unauthorized immigrant parents

However, they grow up with the uncertainty of knowing that one or both of their parents may be deported. Many of these kids enter schools with unique needs that are different from those of U.S children overall.

Their challenges are different from those of children of lawful immigrants.

The report stresses they may face “linguistic isolation.” They are growing up in households that lack English proficiency and it affects their progress.

About 27 percent of children with unauthorized immigrant parents are limited English proficient. That compares with 16 percent of children of all immigrants.

The research from the Migration Policy Institute found the children of undocumented parents are far more likely to grow up in high poverty levels. While many children of immigrants fare well in the United States, it is not the same for children of unauthorized immigrant parents who are not legally able to work.

As many as three-quarters of children with undocumented parents are from low-income families at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. This compares to 51 percent of all children of immigrants and 40 percent of all children in the United States.

The report suggests a lack of advancement into higher-paying jobs for children of undocumented immigrants stems, in part, from their parents’ unauthorized legal status.

Last year, a report from the Pew Center found the percentage of children of undocumented immigrants is increasing in schools.

In 2014, about 3.9 million kindergarten through 12th-grade students were from undocumented families.

This was more than 7.3 percent of the total school population. The figures reflected an increase since the end of the recession in 2009 when these students numbered 3.6 million and accounted for 6.6 percent of the total.

At Peek & Toland , we fight deportations and aim to give families a more certain and hopeful futures.

If you require help with an immigration matter in Austin or elsewhere in Texas, please call us for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

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Mexican Government Warns of New Deportation Rules in the US

By Peek & Toland on May 17, 2017

Mexicans living in the United States have been urged to “take precautions” by the Mexican government after a controversial and high profile deportation in Arizona.

The Mexican government issued a warning after the deportation in February of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos.

The 36-year-old was deported after she reported to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix. Her attorney said she showed up for a routine “check in” regarding an ongoing deportation case, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The detention and deportation of Garcia de Rayos sparked protests and made headlines in the United States and Mexico.

Mexico warns of new deportation rules

Mexican government warns of new deportation rules

Mexico said the deportation reflected the “new reality” for the immigrant community under the Trump administration. On Feb. 13, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement conducted a sweep in Austin that resulted in the arrests of 51 immigrants, 23 of them with criminal records, reported the Statesman.

The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Mexican community in the United States faces a more severe application of migration controls.

A previous identity theft conviction led to the deportation of Garcia de Rayos.

The Los Angeles Times reported she grew in a small Mexican town 20 hours from the U.S. border. Her children are both U.S. citizens. They joined their father, who remains in Phoenix.

Garcia de Rayos lived in the United States since she was 14. Immigration agents arrested her during a workplace enforcement immigration raid nine years ago and convicted her of felony identity theft for having false papers that she used to secure work.

The felony conviction resulted in her deportation. The Trump administration said it is targeting so-called “criminal aliens” as it changes the deportation rules. The Mexican mother’s case underwent reviews at multiple levels, immigration officials stated.

Deportation Rules Change Leads to Advice in Austin

The Los Angeles Times article pointed out the Arizona deportation has sewed seeds of anxiety in the immigrant community.

In Austin, the teachers’ union Education Austin sent its union members a flier with advice entitled “What to do if ICE comes to your door.”

The flier recommends immigrants against speaking with ICE agents or even permitting them entry. It urged them to remain silent.

The deportation of Garcia de Rayos alarmed immigrants because she was complying with the rules and her felony conviction was almost a decade ago.

At Peek & Toland, we are committed to keeping immigrant families together. It’s a tough time to be undocumented in Texas. We have successfully fought many deportations. Read our immigration success stories here. Please call us at (512) 474-4445.

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Judge Orders Immigrant Services – In-State Tuition in Georgia

By Peek & Toland on May 1, 2017

The immigration debate in many states has centered on immigrant services. In Georgia, a surprise court decision suggests the state should allow residents who have avoided deportation to receive in-state tuition.

A report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated a judge in Fulton County ruled the state must allow residents who were granted a special reprieve from deportation to receive in-state tuition at universities and colleges in the state.

The ruling by Fulton Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan was released in the last days of the Obama administration. The judge said the state improperly refused to extend in-state tuition to the group. However, the people in question were declared “legally present” in the United States.

immigrant services are protected in Georgia when migrants were allowed in-state tuition

The plaintiff in the case was Rigoberto Rivera. He was brought to the United States as a child from Mexico.

For years Rivera and fellow plaintiffs waged a legal battle that made it all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court. However, their fight is not over.

Ten recipients of DACA recipients living in Georgia sued the Board of Regents in Fulton County Superior Court. They claimed they were entitled to the ability to pay the in-state rate which is more affordable than out-of-state tuition.

Rivera said he may now apply to Georgia State University to study political science and criminology.

The ruling comes nearly four years after Rivera and fellow plaintiffs began their legal odyssey, which at one point reached the Georgia Supreme Court. But the legal battle is not over.

The Board of Regents is planning to appeal the judge’s decision. The Superior Court’s decision remains on hold during the appeals process.

The other big uncertainty for the DACA recipients is whether President Donald Trump will extend the program.

The case relates to a state law from almost a decade ago that says noncitizens cannot pay the in-state rate for tuition unless they are “legally in this state.” The plaintiffs pointed to federal records that say recipients of DACA are lawfully present in the U.S. The abolition of DACA would undermine that status for the plaintiffs and other undocumented immigrants who have hitherto benefitted from DACA.

Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican from of Columbus, pledged to file a countermeasure in the General Assembly. His bill would prohibit anyone who lacks legal status from paying in-state tuition at public colleges. In-state tuition is thousands of dollars less than out-of-state rates.

DACA gave work permits to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children without authorization. It also gave them a temporary relief from deportation.

The “lawful presence” element was inherent to the ruling. Judge Tusan wrote officials at the University of Georgia were compelled to perform their duty in line with the federal definition of lawful presence.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says five states including Texas, offer state financial assistance to undocumented immigrants. However, Texas does not have a law that codifies it.

You can find out more about the DACA program here. If you need advice about your rights, call our Austin family immigration attorneys at (512) 474-4445.

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Deportation of Criminal Noncitizens – The Obstacles Faced by Trump

By Peek & Toland on April 28, 2017

President Donald Trump detailed proposals to increase the deportation of criminal noncitizens in his first week in office.

Undocumented immigrants who commit crimes will be prioritized for removal.

Although he scaled down a proposal to remove as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants to concentrate on up to 3 million with criminal records, doubts linger about the viability of the policy.

Writing in the Washington Post, Kari Hong, a professor at Boston College Law School, said Trump’s policies won’t work.

Criminal noncitizens face deportation

He claimed the approach will be expensive, bureaucratic and unwieldly. He cited the following reasons:

1 Criminal Records May Not Define Violent Crime

Criminal records are not always effective at separating violent and non-violent offenders. In other words, they are a clumsy tool to identify dangerous criminal noncitizens.

There are, for example, green card holders who are fighting deportation due to a crime like petty theft decades ago.

Hong said the definition of “violent” has confounded federal judges for decades. Until the Supreme Court finally stepped in, many noncitizens were deported from the United States because courts incorrectly concluded that state convictions for driving under the influence were crimes of violence. In one case in Virginia, spitting at a police officer was judged to be a violent crime and hence grounds for deportation.

2 The Immigration Courts Are Under Severe Pressure

Recently, in this blog, we highlighted the severe pressures on the immigration courts.

With the national backlog of cases inching up toward 1 million, the courts have almost no capacity to take on another massive influx of cases.

Hong said every noncitizen is entitled to a hearing no matter how he or she is rounded up. It’s not a rubber stamping exercise. As many as half of all those who appear before immigration courts win their cases. You can read about our cancellation of removal cases here.

At present, many noncitizens are waiting as long as three years for their hearing.

3 Deportation is Expensive

The cost of incarceration of noncitizens is extremely expensive. Trump has already floated the idea of building new immigrant detention centers.

Hong said as many as 30,000 people are currently locked up at an annual cost of more than $2 billion.

The growth in the deportation of criminal noncitizens envisaged by Trump would add to the costs of incarceration. More immigration officials would be needed to round up those set to be deported.

Hong makes the point that deportation was stepped up under the Obama administration and more than 2.5 million people were deported over the course of his eight years in office. Obama was nicknamed the “deporter in chief.”

However, the level of deportations fell during his second term, partly because of the costs involved.

At Peek & Toland , we realize this is a stressful time to be an immigrant, even if you are a green card holder. Our Austin family immigration lawyers can help you. Please call us at (512) 474-4445.

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Legal Ruling over Family Detention Centers Leads to Release of Immigrants

By Peek & Toland on April 10, 2017

Our Austin immigration lawyers have written in the past about the ongoing legal battle over the housing of women and children in Texas family detention centers.

Recently, hundreds of women and children were released from Texas family detention centers after an important legal case concerning childcare facilities at the centers.

The releases were greeted as a victory for immigrant rights advocates, who argue that it’s inhumane and not necessary to lock up undocumented mothers and kids seeking asylum in the U.S.

The Texas lawsuit focused narrowly on the issues of emergency rules to allow the facilities to meet Texas’ child care licensing standards.

Family detention centers

Family detention centers include women and children

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released more than 460 mothers and children from family detention centers in Dilley and Karnes. Austin Judge Karin Crump ruled against allowing the two privately owned facilities a state license allowing them to function as child care facilities. Her decision was appealed.

Grassroots Leadership brought the state lawsuit. On the back of the ruling immigration supporters argued there was nothing preventing the release of the remaining families.

The ruling was made in the final days of the Obama administration. Some commentators believe immigration detention centers will be increasingly used under the Trump administration.

Most of the mothers and children at the centers are from Central American countries. They are often incarcerated for months as their cases proceed in immigration court, reported the Huffington Post.

Some of the women and children are released to sponsors, often family members, so as immigration authorities are aware of their location.

ICE denied the releases of women and children in December were related to the court ruling.

Spokesman Carl Rusnok said ICE is reviewing the ruling as it relates to an operational license for the South Texas Family Residential Center. The center remains operational.

The Dilley and Karnes detention centers would be required to make sweeping changes to qualify as child care facilities under Texas law. The centers hold many families together in a single unit. The housing of children with adults they are not related to is a prohibited practice in Texas childcare facilities because of the abuse risk.

Also, under Texas law, the children’s presence at licensed child care facilities is optional, meaning they could leave. However, children are not permitted to leave the detention centers at Karnes or Dilley unless an immigration judge or ICE releases them.

Our Austin, Texas cancellation of removal lawyers can help you if you are fighting deportation. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

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Trump Administration Considers the Expansion of Immigration Detention Centers

By Peek & Toland on April 6, 2017

The setting up and growth of immigrant detention centers was one of the most controversial parts of former president Barack Obama’s immigration policy.

His successor Donald Trump is considering an expansion of the centers.

In January, The Hill reported Trump’s transition team asked the Department of Homeland Security about the agency’s ability to expand the use of its immigrant detention centers.

The report was originally sourced from Reuters. It said the team requested a large dossier of immigration information including details of the aerial surveillance effort. This program was set up by Obama in 2010. The aerial surveillance was intended to apprehend drug trafficking and illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexican border. It was later discontinued by Obama.

Reuters reported the requests were made at a meeting on Dec. 5 between immigration officials and the transition team.

Immigrant detention centers may be expanded

The team was also reported to be seeking information about the feasibility of building a border wall.

Trump made the building of a border wall a centerpiece of his election campaign. He said he would make Mexico pays. He later suggested U.S. taxpayers would pay but he would force Mexico to reimburse them.

Mexico has consistently stated it will never finance a wall. Many prominent politicians said they are concerned about the cost.

The United States Has More than 180 Immigrant Detention Centers

The United States has as many as 180 immigrant detention centers, reports NOLO. Texas houses some of these facilities. Typically, they are in rural areas far away from cities.

There are government-run and private centers. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lists 21 of its facilities in Texas.

The centers are controversial.  Typically, families are broken up with men and women being housed separately. Some centers have immigration courts and asylum offices inside their perimeters.

Detention Watch Network says the United States already has the largest immigrant detention center network in the world. It says in 2013, about 441,000 people were detained in a “sprawling system.”

ICE is required to maintain at least 34,000 detention beds at any one time. It relies on a network of county jails and private facilities, states Detention Watch Network.

The network’s Expose and Close report in 2012 listed alleged poor conditions at many of these facilities including inadequate access to medical care and legal counsel.

The controversy over indefinite detention in these facilities was challenged in the case of Jennings v. Rodriguez in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. The case concerned mandatory bond hearings for immigrants facing deportation hearings.

As well as looking at data on immigration detention centers, Trump’s transition team demanded all executive orders and directives sent to immigration officials by the Obama administration.

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to deport every undocumented immigrant in the country.

He softened his tone in December when he said he would immediately focus deportations on up to 3 million illegal immigrants with criminal records.

His timetable would necessitate an expansion of immigrant detention facilities in the United States.

This is a time of extreme uncertainty for undocumented immigrants. If you are facing detention and deportation, we can help you. Call our Austin immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.

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Failure to File Papers – Adopted South Korean Faces Deportation

By Peek & Toland on March 1, 2017

As experienced immigration lawyers, we are very conscious about the importance of filing papers. In some cases, a failure to file papers can be the difference between deportation and staying in the United States.

We were saddened to read a New York Times story about a man who was adopted from South Korea nearly 40 ago. He is in an immigration detention center in Washington State awaiting deportation because of his American parents’ failure to file papers years ago.

Adam Crapser is 41. He built a life in Oregon, married and raised children in the United States.

The deportation risk of a failure to file papers

Failure to file papers led to deportation

The fact Crasper has a life here in the United States meant little to the immigration authorities who are deporting him to South Korea, a country where he has not lived since he was three-years-old. He will be reunited with his biological mother in a small town more than three hours outside of Seoul.

Crasper was reported to be reconciled to returning to South Korea.

His case is not unique. Deportation can take place when people who lawfully entered the country when they were adopted were not naturalized by their adoptive parents.

Failure of Parents to File Papers is Widespread in Immigration

The scale of the problem is highlighted by the Adoptee Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. It claims as many as 35,000 people in the United States were adopted by American couples but still lack citizenship. Failure to file papers is widespread.

Crasper’s lawyer said the South Korean-born man lived legally in the United States under IR-4 documents that adopted children receive. Back 2001, the Child Citizenship Act made IR-4 holders citizens automatically.

However, the law did not benefit Crasper. It was not retroactive and did not benefit adoptees who were legal adults. Crasper missed the cutoff date because he was over 18.

The New York Times report said Crasper was adopted by American parents who turned out to be abusive. He was put up for adoption again six years later, but the second adoptive parents were also abusive. Both families were culpable of a failure to file papers.

Crapser did not realize there was a difference between being a permanent resident and a U.S. citizen until he was reunited with his sister, a naturalized citizen, four years ago.

Deportation proceedings began in 2012 shortly after he applied for residency documents and the authorities learned he had a criminal record.

At Peek & Toland , our experienced family immigration attorneys help people who are facing deportation or other immigration issues in Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown and other areas. Call us for a consultation at (512) 474-4445 and read our Texas immigration success stories.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration

Citizenship Birthright Case to Be Considered by U.S. Supreme Court

By Peek & Toland on January 4, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court considered an important citizenship birthright case shortly after the presidential election. The justices looked at whether congress acted unconstitutionally when it passed a law that made it more difficult for children who were born out of wedlock to U.S. fathers to gain citizenship than those of U.S. mothers.

Oral arguments were presented to the Supreme Court on Nov. 9. The citizen birthright case is considering whether Congress violated the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection when it made it harder for children born abroad whose fathers were U.S. citizens to qualify for citizenship themselves than children with mothers who are citizens.

If a child is born overseas and out of wedlock to one parent who is a U.S. citizen, the child may or may not gain citizenship.

The Supreme Court considered a longstanding presumption that favors the mother. In 1958, Congress passed a law that placed more onerous physical presence requirements on the father than the mother in birthright cases.

An important citizenship birthright case was considered by the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court considered a citizenship birthright case

While the father must have lived in the United States for at least 10 years before the child’s birth, the mother must have lived in the U.S. for just one continuous year.

The citizenship birthright case was brought by Luis Ramon Morales-Santana. He argued that the distinction unjustifiably discriminates on the basis of gender and is a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch argued that the distinction is based on the inherent realities of out-of-wedlock birth as opposed to gender. She claimed it is valid within the constitution. The outcome of the case will impact the legal criteria on a foreign-born child’s ability to ultimately inherit U.S. citizenship.

Morales-Santana was born in the Dominican Republic to unmarried parents. His mother was a citizen of the Dominican Republic. However, his father was a U.S. citizen because he was born in Puerto Rico. He lived there for more than 18 years. However, shortly before his 19th birthday, he left Puerto Rico for the Dominican Republic.

When Morales-Santana was eight years old, his parents married each other. He moved to the United States as a lawful permanent resident five years later.

In 1995, Morales-Santana was convicted of a series of felonies. He was placed in removal proceedings. He was not a citizen and could be deported as a permanent resident.

Morales-Santana filed a motion with the court asserting he was a United States citizen through his father’s citizenship.

The argument was rejected by the Board of Immigration Appeals. It concluded Morales-Santana’s father failed to satisfy the physical-presence requirement needed to confer citizenship on his child.

After a series of court hearings, the federal appeals court in New York struck down the law in the case and backed Morales-Santana’s entitlement to citizenship.

The U.S. Supreme Court considered two important questions at the hearing.

Key Questions Raised by the Citizenship Birthright Case

1 Did the decision of Congress to impose a distinct and different physical-presence requirement on unmarried citizen mothers of foreign-born offspring than on other citizen-parents of children born abroad, violate the guarantee of equal protection contained in the Fifth Amendment?

2 Did the court of appeals make a mistake in giving U.S citizenship to the respondent in the absence of an express statutory duty to do so?

You can read more about Lynch v Morales-Santana here. If you have a citizenship question or concern, please contact our seasoned Austin immigration lawyers. Call us for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration, Immigration Reform

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