On May 16, 2019, during a speech in the White House Rose
Garden, President Donald Trump unveiled an ambitious “Bold
Immigration Plan for the 21st Century” that would dramatically
change the immigration law landscape in the United States. The multi-point plan
calls for permanent funding and enhancement to border security, an overhaul of
the nation’s asylum procedures, and a move to a more merit-based permanent
immigration system. Even if this plan does not become law, it does provide a
compelling view of the Trump Administration’s immigration goals and priorities.
President Trump’s plan calls for the establishment of a
“permanent, self-sustaining border security fund” that would be paid for
through fees and revenues generated at ports of entry. According to the Trump Administration, this
permanent fund would allow law enforcement to enhance and support border
security without having to wait on Congress to allocate funds. Additionally, the
Administration claims the fund would “make certain that 100 percent of people
and goods entering the United States are properly inspected at the border.”
At this time, the Administration has not yet provided any specific
details about the levels of fees that will be charged, how revenue will be
generated, how the fund will be managed, or how the fund will ensure a 100
percent inspection rate. President Trump has consistently made border security
a hallmark of his administration; therefore, it is likely this issue will
remain a focus of immigration policy.
to the Asylum Process
On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives
passed an ambitious immigration bill aimed at providing a path to citizenship
to almost 2 million undocumented immigrants, including “Dreamers” who were
brought to the United States as children.
This bill cancels and prohibits removal proceedings against certain
aliens, and provides such aliens with a path toward Legal Permanent Resident
The bill, titled American Dream
and Promise Act of 2019, would provide a 10-year conditional
permanent residency to recipients of the Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals
(DACA) program, and for other qualified young, undocumented, immigrants. To be
eligible, immigrants must have been younger than 18 when they came to the
U.S., and must have lived in the U.S. continuously over the previous
four years. Applicants will also need
to possess an American high school diploma or GED, and pass a background check.
Applicants who have committed certain crimes would be ineligible under the
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On April 25th, 2018 the Supreme Court heard oral arguments from both sides on President Trump’s highly scrutinized “travel ban”. The travel ban, now in its third iteration, prohibits entry of travelers from five Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya), as well as North Korea and government officials from Venezuela. Although previous versions of the travel ban were initially partially blocked by U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland, the Supreme Court lifted such injunctions in December 2017.
Since Trump first issued his travel order, setting off widespread chaos at airports just a few days after his inauguration, the issue has strongly shaped public perceptions of the new administration. It has also led to a string of defeats in lower courts, where judges ruled that the measure exceeded Trump’s authority and, in some cases, said it reflected bias against Muslims.
However, the Supreme Court of the United States has provided a friendlier forum, on this topic. The justices issued a ruling in June 2017 that allowed the second version of the travel ban to take partial effect. Then, in December 2017, with only two dissenting votes, they set aside lower-court rulings to allow the administration to put the third version into practice, a strong indicator of where the majority was headed.
Justice Samuel A. Alito rejected the notion Trump’s order could be considered a “Muslim ban,” noting it does not apply to most of the largest Muslim nations.
“If you look at what was done, it does not look like a Muslim ban,” he said.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s appointee, questioned whether the challengers had standing to sue in the first place. Foreigners overseas do not have rights in U.S. courts, he said. Plaintiffs who live in Hawaii sued, contending the travel ban was illegal, but “third parties can’t vindicate the rights of aliens,” Gorsuch said.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy portrayed the issue before the court as one of national security in which the chief executive, not the judicial branch, should be entrusted to weigh possible threats from foreign visitors.
A final decision by the Court is expected at the end of June. Meanwhile, the current version of the travel ban remains in effect during deliberation. Continue reading
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On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is being rescinded. The Department of Homeland Security personnel will take all appropriate actions to execute a wind-down of the program, consistent with the parameters established in Tuesday’s Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (hereinafter, “Memo”).
On September 6, 2017, fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeking to stop the rescission. During his candidacy for president, Donald Trump said that he intended to end DACA on “day one” of his presidency.
What Is DACA?
On June 15, 2012, under the Obama Administration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status. Continue reading
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