DHS Chief Announces End of “Catch-and-Release” Immigration Policy

By Peek & Toland on November 7, 2019

The Trump Administration vowed to end “catch and release” from its earliest days in power. “Catch and release” refers to the practice of allowing noncitizen immigrants to bond out of detention while awaiting their removal proceedings. Typically, these immigrants would not be released unless they could prove that they were neither likely to abscond nor a public safety risk. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through its (now former) Acting Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, renewed the Trump Administration’s intent to end the practice as to detained families. However, McAleenan did carve out exceptions to the new policy for unspecified medical and humanitarian reasons. McAleenan cited the practice as a significant cause of immigrant families and children remaining in the U.S. for years without ever obtaining legal immigration status. 

DHS Chief Announces End of “Catch-and-Release” Immigration Policy

DHS thereafter issued a statement outlining how they intended to implement this policy. The policy states if families show no fear of return to their native countries, DHS quickly will return them to their countries of origin. If the families do show fear of return, DHS will return them to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or the “Remain in Mexico” program. Under the MPP, the U.S. government has sent thousands of asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico where they must remain while they await court dates on their asylum requests. Critics of MPP have pointed out the dangers of sending these immigrants to wait in Mexico for undetermined periods, as well as the federal government’s failure to protect those who have shown a credible fear of persecution.

Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.

Posted in Immigration Reform

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DHS Issuing “Dummy” Immigration Court Dates in Misguided Attempt to Comply with Law

By Peek & Toland on November 2, 2019

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents recently have been issuing “dummy” immigration court notices to immigrants. The notices contain court dates that fall on weekends, holidays, and on dates that do not exist, such as September 31st. Times stated on the court notices also are inaccurate, as they may fall outside of regular business hours or in the middle of the night. ICE is issuing these false court dates to comply with a federal court ruling stating that all Notices to Appear (NTAs) must contain court dates.

DHS Issuing “Dummy” Immigration Court Dates in Misguided Attempt to Comply with Law

Before the court ruling, NTAs often contained no court dates, merely stating “to be announced” or “TBA.” These notices included no court dates because there was no mechanism for coordinating efforts by ICE and the immigration court system. Although the court ruling required that all NTAs include dates, there still is no communication between ICE and the court system. Rather than waiting for the implementation of any such system, ICE has proceeded with the faulty NTAs to speed up the immigration court process and cut off eligibility for cancellation of removal sooner. Cancellation of removal is a form of relief available to some immigrants who have been residing in the U.S. for ten consecutive years.

Even worse, although the dates and times on the notices are false, the NTAs themselves are not false. If immigrations do not show up as ordered, even if there is no chance that their cases will be heard, they risk deportation. Therefore, immigrants often must arrange to travel great distances to avoid removal, even though they have no valid court dates. In these cases, they will receive a future date and time to appear, which will require additional travel and time spent waiting for a court date.

The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the immigration cases of countless individuals and businesses facing immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf to get the outcome that you are seeking. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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Congress Calls on DHS To Explain Immigration Backlog

By Peek & Toland on October 24, 2019

In the past few months, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship convened a hearing to demand answers from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials about the continual increase in immigration processing delays. Currently, there is a 2.4 million application and petition backlog, which is the largest it has been since processing delays that occurred following September 11, 2001. These delays have had a significantly detrimental impact on some applicants, including families suffering from prolonged separations due to the delays. Businesses also are losing key employees and abandoning new projects as a result of these extensive delays.

Many attribute the continuing delays to new policies and procedures that the Trump Administration has enacted. These policies are creating more red tape and administrative burdens on petitioners, as well as constant requests for more information and increases in denial rates.

Congress Calls on DHS To Explain Immigration Backlog

According to USCIS officials, demand typically increases before a presidential election and then dips back down to more normal levels. In this case, demand increased in 2016, but the anticipated decrease has yet to occur. As a result, USCIS is understaffed for the demand, which the agency characterizes as unprecedented.

USCIS officials also noted that a backlog existed before the election, but has increased. They also stated that new security policies and requirements have necessitated closer scrutiny of documentation and more personal interviews, which have contributed to the backlog.

USCIS claims that increased fees to support increased hiring, technological processing developments, and shifting existing staff and workloads all could help address the backlog. Still, USCIS officials admit that addressing this level of a backlog will take a significant amount of time.

Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration

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