Supreme Court

Government Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court over Travel Ban

By Peek & Toland on October 26, 2017

The Trump administration has sought to impose two travel bans against predominantly Muslim countries. Both have been challenged in the courts and held up. Now the revised travel ban will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In June a second federal appeals court held up the revised travel ban, reported Bloomberg. The Supreme Court took up the case and allowed some parts of it to go ahead, reported The New York Times.

A report on NBC News stated the Trump administration saw the U.S. Supreme Court as offering the best hope of granting what the lower courts have so far denied — permission to implement the president’s executive order on travel.

U.S. Supreme Court to consider travel ban

The Travel Ban will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

The government filed papers in early June appealing to the justices of the highest court in the land to take up its appeal.

It also wants to be allowed to enforce the contentious travel ban while the court decides whether to it will a full argument later on the legal merits of the case.

The NBC report said the Trump administration has some grounds for optimism. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court is back at full strength with the arrival of Neil Gorsuch, it is the most conservative body to consider the travel bans to date. The court has a reputation for deferring to presidents on national security issues.

However, the highest court in the land faces a tight timetable to consider the travel ban.

The initial travel ban that followed an executive order in February caused chaos at airports. Travel was blocked from seven mainly Muslim countries.

After President Donald Trump’s first order was blocked in the courts, the president signed the second one, imposing a ban on travel from Sudan, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. Iraq was removed from the original list.

During the travel ban period, the federal government was to assess the reliability of background information from the six countries that the State Department relies on to evaluate whether to issue a visa.

The second ban was also blocked by the courts. The order has never been enforced and the government faces an uphill task to persuade the justices it will be permanently harmed if it can’t start enforcement right away.

NBC spoke to Prof. Steve Vladeck, a federal courts expert at the University of Texas at Austin.

He said in June it could take months before the U.S. Supreme Court conducts a full hearing into the executive order’s legality. He said:

“It’s going to weigh heavily on the minds of the justices just what it would mean to put the order into effect now, especially when we’re looking at such a lag time on when the court might hear courtroom argument.”

The original travel ban was intended to prevent refugees from the affected countries for 120 days. In the chaos after the ban even some green card holders were affected.

The swift intervention of the courts meant normality resumed quickly, but long-term concerns linger for visa holders and other people from the impacted countries who live and work in the United States.

If you been impacted by federal reforms in the immigration system, please contact our experienced Texas immigration lawyers here.

Posted in Immigration Reform

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Supreme Court to Decide if Sex with a Minor Voids Green Card

By Peek & Toland on January 17, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court is to rule on whether unlawful sex with a minor is grounds to void a green card and deport a Mexican immigrant.

The nation’s highest court will review a ruling by the Sixth Circuit court. The court reaffirmed a Board of Appeals decision to deport the immigrant after he was convicted in California of having unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage girl.

The Sixth Circuit Court concluded the terms “sexual intercourse” and “sexual abuse” are synonymous in removal proceedings.

The sex with a minor case concerns Juan Esquivel-Quintana, a lawful U.S. permanent resident. He was convicted of violating a California law that makes it an offense to have sexual relations with someone under 18-years-old if the age difference between the two parties is more than three years.

Supreme court to decide immigration case about sex with a minor

Esquivel-Quintana has consensual sex with a 16-year-old who was his girlfriend when he was 20 and 21. The federal government wanted his removal from the country, claiming the conviction was “sexual abuse of a minor” – an aggravated felony.

If you are a green card holder in the United States, you can be deported for a range of offenses. Aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude are on the list.

The Supreme Court is to decide if a conviction under statutes in seven states that make consensual sexual intercourse between a 21-year-old and someone aged almost 18 a criminal offense, constitutes an “aggravated felony” under immigration law.

The list of aggravated felonies had grown steadily over the last few decades. However, it’s questionable if someone who commits a crime under a California law that is not a crime in many other states should face compulsory removal.

Juan Esquivel-Quintana pointed out the circuit courts appear to be divided over whether state laws that criminalize sex between 21-year-olds and people under 18 constitute sexual abuse of a minor.

While the Second and Third Circuits have ruled having sex with a person under 18 to be “sexual abuse of a minor” which is consistent with the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, the Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits have issued different opinions.

Esquivel-Quintana became a lawful permanent resident after arriving in the United States with his family when he was 12. He was charged with violating the California Penal Code in 2009.

If you are a permanent resident who is facing deportation over a crime, it’s essential to get legal advice from a dedicated Texas immigration lawyer as soon as possible. Call Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Immigration

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How Supreme Court Stalemate over Obama’s Immigration Plan Affects Undocumented Immigrants in Texas

By Peek & Toland on August 8, 2016

President Obama’s flagship policy to allow almost 4 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States has ended in disappointment after the Supreme Court was deadlocked.

The court was split 4-4 on Obama’s executive actions on immigration, meaning the policy won’t proceed during the remainder of his presidency.

Supreme Court stalemate leaves immigrants in limbo

The one line ruling was greeted by CNN as “crushing blow to the White House.”

The President didn’t attempt to hide his disappointment over the ruling. He said.

“For more than two decades now our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken. And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”

The programs in question were DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

DAPA would confer deferred action status to certain classes of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have kids.

DACA is aimed at non-citizens who arrived in the United States as children but remain undocumented. You can read more about the programs here.

What Effect Does the Supreme Court Deadlock Have on Undocumented Immigrants in Texas?

According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas has 1.5 undocumented immigrants which is the second highest number after California.

The ruling won’t mean drastic consequences such as deportation but it will continue the period of limbo faced by undocumented immigrants ever since the immigration reforms were first outlined by Obama in 2012.

Millions of undocumented immigrants had their applications for deferred action ready, only to enter a holding pattern as the issue became a political football and then a matter for the courts.

June’s ruling in United States v Texas was not a final ruling. Instead, it continued the injunction that prevents the deferred action programs from being implemented. The lives of about 4 million undocumented immigrants won’t be changed, and they will remain undocumented for the rest of Obama’s term.

The failure of the Supreme Court to make a decision means the case will now go back to the lower courts for further proceedings. It could also return to the Supreme Court, and the 2016 general election could determine whether the policy can be resurrected. If Hillary Clinton wins the election and appoints a Supreme Court justice, the fifth vote needed to allow the DAPA and DACA programs to take effect, would likely be secured.

A report on NBC said the deadlock in the Supreme Court could prove beneficial to undocumented immigrants because the implementation of DACA and DAPA would have been “an adrenaline shot to the arms” of the opponents of immigration and help supporters of Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee for President.

As Austin immigration attorneys who help undocumented immigrants, we can sympathize with those affected by this decision. However, the tie was not the worst possible outcome. If you are affected by DAPA or DACA, we can help you figure out the process. Contact us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Deferred Action

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