The Law Office of
Mark Kinzler, P.C.

Austin Immigration Law Blog

Trump proposal requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico

As news stories about the so-called Central American caravan continue to grow and change, President Trump is seeking new ways to block these migrants from crossing the border and requesting asylum. The president has made it clear that he wants to require asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while the request is processed. However, the increased risk of the asylum seeker's safety outside of Texas' border towns has caused some to protest.

The major threat is the overall safety issues surrounding ports of entry into the United States. Cartels often control the Mexican side of the border at ports of entry with the United States. Immigrants fleeing violence in their own country are at risk of facing similar risks at the border. This can include kidnapping and ransom attempts.

Federal judge bars enforcement of Trump asylum ban

Texas residents may be aware that the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump's recent proclamation that denies asylum to immigrants who cross into the United States illegally from Mexico. Arguments made by the civil rights groups were apparently persuasive because a federal judge in California issued a temporary restraining order on November 19 that bars enforcement of the controversial policy.

President Trump issued the proclamation on November 9 to deter immigrants traveling in caravans from Central America from entering the United States illegally. Many of the immigrants in these caravans say that they are fleeing desperate poverty and widespread violence in their home countries and plan to petition for asylum once they reach the U.S. border. However, the waiting times for asylum claims at popular ports of entry, like the San Ysidro crossing near San Diego, are currently several weeks long. Government figures suggest that many undocumented immigrants are seeking to avoid them by crossing the border illegally.

Migrant caravan spurs asylum debate

Media outlets in Texas and around the country have devoted much of their coverage in recent weeks to a caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States. The migrants say that they are fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras and plan to seek asylum in America, which has prompted a national debate about the asylum process and how asylum seekers differ from refugees.

The rules dealing with refugees and asylum seekers were drawn up in 1951 during the United Nations Refugee Conference. The United States codified the process into law in 1990 when Congress passed the Immigration and nationality Act. In order to be granted asylum, immigrants must be able to convince an immigration judge that they would face persecution if they returned home based on their race, religion, beliefs or nationality.

DACA college students continue to face challenges

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program seeks to help those whose parents brought them to the United States illegally find a way to live and work in the country legally, but many DACA recipients continue to encounter hurdles. Currently, about 800,000 people living in the U.S. are DACA recipients, meaning they came to the country illegally through no fault of their own, but paving a path to legal citizenship and finding gainful employment are issues that continue to plague this community.

In one such situation, a DACA recipient who spent her entire life in the United States prepping for a career as a nurse found out that she will not be able to sit for the NCLEX nursing boards in her home state. Passing the NCLEX, which is the test that determines eligibility for a nursing license, is a critical component of the student’s eventual path to citizenship.

Medical exam rules change for green card applicants

While many immigrants in Texas and across the country have been unsettled by recent changes to immigration law and enforcement, there are also some positive changes that could help legal immigrants obtain green cards. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that one requirement for a green card will be updated effective Nov. 1. In particular, the changes affect the required medical examination. This exam aims to ensure that an applicant does not have any health issues that could make him or her inadmissible to the United States.

If an immigrant wants to obtain a green card and become a lawful permanent resident, he or she must complete the medical examination. After the exam is complete, Form I-693 is used to submit the results to USCIS for processing with the green card application. As of November, the form must be signed by a USCIS-designated civil surgeon 60 days or less before the green card application is filed. The regulations will also ensure that the form retains its validity for two years after the date of signing.

Woman adopted while a minor must leave the U.S.

As a state that's home to many foreign-born individuals, Texas has its share of immigration news. However, a recent case in Kansas may be of vital importance and demonstrate the strictness of federal immigration laws. In the case, a South Korean-born woman must leave the United States despite being adopted during the period of her minority.

The parents brought the girl to the U.S. when she was 15. Though they planned to adopt her, the father was deployed overseas for two years in Afghanistan and his attorney assured him the adoption could be put off. Just over two years later, it was finalized. She became the adopted child and pursuant to Kansas law, a new birth certificate was created.

Another chance at asylum possible for some families

Some immigrants in Texas who may have been scheduled for deportation after having their asylum claims denied might get a second change under the order of a federal judge in California. On Sept. 14, the judge ruled that families in which parents had been illegally separated from their children should get a second chance to explain their credible fear of returning to their home countries.

According to the judge, the psychological state of the parents might have interfered with their ability to convey the credible fear. More than 1,000 families will be affected by the judge's decision. Around 400 parents who have already been deported will also have the opportunity to state their cases.

US sidesteps agreement with plans to detain immigrants longer

Since the late 1990s, there has been an agreement in place designed to keep children of immigrants coming into Texas or other states in the least-restrictive setting possible. The so-called Flores agreement, based on a 1997 case, also requires children to be released to family members after 20 days of detention. The Department of Homeland Security is proposing an end to this policy, which could result in children and families being detained longer. Part of the reason for the move is to deter individuals from crossing the border illegally.

The immigration detention agreement became an issue due to the enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy aimed at anyone entering the country illegally. This resulted in nearly 3,000 children of immigrants being separated from their parents, which sparked widespread criticism and accusations of inhumane treatment. Officials responded by saying the move was made because children couldn't be kept in criminal custody with their parents. The current procedure is to house immigrants who came over the border illegally in operational family detention centers.

3 common reasons for deportation

The United States welcomes close to one million immigrants every year. There is a reason so many people want to come to this country and start new lives. Jobs, economic freedom and social opportunities all attract people who want to create a better life. For many immigrants, though — including those who immigrate legally — deportation looms as a constant threat and fear.

Deportation refers to the process of removing a foreigner from a country and returning him or her to the country of origin. The following are some of the reasons why an immigrant may be subject to deportation from Texas or any other state in the United States.  

Legal immigrants targeted for deportation

Immigrants who are detained in Texas and other states are not necessarily undocumented. In some cases, they are permanent residents or otherwise legally in the country but are being held based on criminal convictions that occurred years or decades ago. If the Trump administration has its way, it may also detain those who have used any form of public assistance. This would include the use of public housing or food stamps.

It is believed that there are 20 million people living in the United States on a green card. In 2016, 1.2 million such cards were issued, and it is estimated that about a million are issued in any given year.

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