In 2012, Congress reached a deadlock on a program that would have protected young immigrants from deportation if they had been brought to the U.S. as minors.
California's Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, not only legalized adult marijuana use but also provided some relief for people who had previously been convicted of marijuana crimes. Among other things, some marijuana-related felony convictions can be "redesignated" as misdemeanors after the sentence has been served. What does this mean for immigrants?
When an immigrant is convicted of a crime of violence, they are subject to mandatory removal from the U.S. They are also ineligible for many kinds of relief from removal. If this has happened to you, however, there may still be hope.
If you're from American Samoa, you probably know that you're a national, but not a full citizen, of the United States. You are eligible for a U.S. passport and can live and work in the U.S., but you're missing out on a number of other privileges of U.S. citizenship, such as:
Last December, the head of the immigration courts told all immigration judges to start using phone interpreters for any language but Spanish. The reason given was budgetary. Yet immigration judges and attorneys complain that telephone interpretation has serious drawbacks that can lead to unfair results. They also claim it is adding to the immigration court backlog.
Since 2007, Liberian immigrants have been allowed to live and work legally in the U.S. through a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. These programs allow nationals of certain countries to remain in the U.S. when conditions in their countries temporarily prevent them from safely returning there -- or when their countries are unable to handle their return.
Special Immigrant Juvenile status is offered by the United States to immigrant minors who are under the jurisdiction of a state juvenile court due to abuse, neglect or abandonment by a parent. Under federal law, immigrant youth generally qualify for the status as long as they:
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced that it is in "preliminary discussions" to close its international field offices and delegate their work to the State Department or U.S.-based USCIS personnel.
The case involved an asylum seeker who claims to have been wrongly denied asylum after a "credible fear" hearing before an asylum officer. But U.S. immigration law allows "expedited removal" of recent arrivals caught within 100 miles of the border, providing very limited opportunity to appeal. Now, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that he should have access to a federal court hearing before his deportation.
In November, President Trump issued a ban on asylum for people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. Under U.S. law, however, people can seek asylum at any location in the United States regardless of the method of their entry.