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DOMA is Unconstitutional Initial reports say that the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") has been ruled unconstitutional.  When we have a chance to read the entire decision, we will post more with respect to how this impacts same-sex petitions for immigration. Here's a quote: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”

On June 17, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Syrian nationals can reapply for Temporary Protected Status ("TPS").  This means that individuals from Syria presently in the United States can apply for TPS, which will allow them to receive work authorization and remain in the U.S. until at least March 31, 2015.  This applies to both Syrians who previously registered for TPS and those who have not yet registered.  There are various requirements that must be met (notably, physical presence in the U.S. and no disqualifying criminal conviction).  TPS is often a "backup" status for individuals seeking asylum.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Proposal A so-called comprehensive immigration reform bill has been proposed.  It is over 800-pages long and, if passed, will drastically alter the legal and human landscape of the U.S.  From the first reports, it seems like there is a lot to like in the bill, but it still comes up woefully short of providing a humane, equitable, and fair immigration system.  Remember, this is just the proposed bill.  Contrary to rumors in some communities, no bill has passed and it will be at least months (if at all) before anything passes.  We will post a more detailed summary

 We've written before about the frightening number of ineffective lawyers in the immigration field. A study commenced by Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and published by the Cardozo School of Law, revealed that immigration judges believe that immigrants received “inadequate” legal assistance in 33 percent of the cases between mid-2010 and mid-2011 and “grossly inadequate” assistance in 14 percent of the cases. The New York Times documented that "Judge Katzmann blames predatory lawyers who are not familiar with immigration law for much of the poor representation. The immigrants who hire them often do

We’ve been fielding calls over the past two days about the new proposal by the Obama administration relating to waivers of unlawful presence for people applying for lawful permanent residency.  The issue is pretty complex, but we’ll try to give a bit of insight into what the proposal is all about.  (as a caution, this primer is very general and omits a lot of details for the sake of simplicity and coherence). A background on the terms: “Unlawful Presence” A person who enters the United States without being inspected by an immigration officer at the border (enters without inspection or “EWI”) accrues “unlawful

Yesterday, we argued a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for our client, Ms. L. The audio from the oral arguments is below. Ms. L fled China at the age of 19 after she was arrested and beaten for proselytizing and passing out Christian fliers at her high school. She arrived at Chicago's O'Hare airport and requested asylum. She was placed in detention and scheduled for a hearing before an immigration judge. Her family in the U.S. hired a lawyer who failed to appear for the hearing. The immigration judge rescheduled

The New York Times published an article today about the government's use of the "material support bar" in immigration proceedings. The so-called material support bar is worth discussing in depth to understand how broad the statutes defining terrorism really are. Under the Patriot Act, any person who provides "material support" to a "terrorist organization" is ineligible for any kind of legal status in the United States. On its face, few would take issue with this law. But the devil is in the details; both "material support" and "terrorist organization" are written so broadly that they can encompass almost any situation. A.  "Terrorist

In the Supreme Court's case of Demore v. Kim, the government claimed that 85% of cases before an Immigration Court "are completed in an average time of 47 days and a median of 30 days."  In that case, the Supreme Court found constitutional the statute which makes detention of some immigrants during removal proceedings mandatory (meaning that no judge has the authority to release the immigrant on bond, no matter what the circumstances).  To support its finding, the Supreme Court relied heavily on the government's statistics which supposedly showed that Immigration Court cases were completed very rapidly. Almost all people who

Where legislation fails, there is always policy.  Or at least that’s the Obama administration’s latest approach.  On August 18, 2011, the Obama Administration announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) will work together on a new initiative to focus their resources on the enforcement of “high priority” immigration cases, while clearing “low priority” cases from the administrative docket.   In the past few days, we've received many calls asking about this policy.  We'll try to provide some insight: -Does the policy apply to me? Unfortunately, like so much else in immigration law, the answer is not straight