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DHS Issues Final Regulations on Sexual Abuse in Detention Centers |
On March 7, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security issued a long-awaited set of final regulations applying standards required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act Standards to immigration detention centers.
Among other provisions, the regulations place new limits on the use of solitary confinement for alleged victims of sexual abuse and prohibit cross-gender searches of women. Staff members must also undergo training on issues relating to sexual abuse, and facilities are subject to outside audits every three years.
The PREA, which was enacted in 2003, applies only to correctional facilities run by the Department of Justice. The Obama administration announced in 2012 that it would apply similar standards to the DHS, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 required the Department to promulgate final regulations.
Immigrant advocates applauded issuance of the regulations and urged the DHS to ensure they are followed at the many state and local facilities that hold immigrant detainees on a contract basis.
The regulations, which take effect May 6, 2014, are available at 79 Fed. Reg. 13100.
President Obama Issues Executive Order Restricting Entry of Ukraine Opponents
On March 6, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order (E.O. 13660) prohibiting the entry into the United States of individuals who have undermined or threatened the stability of Ukraine. On March 17, 2014, President Obama issued an additional order expanding upon E.O. 13660.
The entry restrictions are issued under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes the President to suspend the entry of foreign nationals whose presence would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
E.O. 13660 said that individuals covered by the order would also be treated as covered by Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
The March 17 executive order authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on specified Russian government officials, individuals and entities operating in the Russian arms industry, and designated individuals and entities acting on behalf of, or providing material or other support to, senior Russian government officials. The sanctions are intended to target named individuals who wield influence in the Russian government and those responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine.
E.O. 13660 was published at 79 Fed. Reg. 13493 (Mar. 10, 2014) and is reprinted at Appendix A. The March 17th order is available at www.whitehouse.gov > Briefing Room > Presidential Actions > Executive Orders. The March 17th order will be numbered and published in the Federal Register at a future date.
American Institute in Taiwan Implements New Process for Visa Applications
On March 1, 2014, the American Institute in Taiwan began implementation of a new, streamlined process for visa applicants.
A new website (www.ustraveldocs.com/tw) can now be used to schedule visa interviews, pay visa fees, select an address for the return of documents, and track passports after the visa interview.
A call center has also been established for customer service inquiries, and is reachable at 0-701-080-1575 in Taiwan, 886-701-080-1575 outside Taiwan, and (703) 665-7348 in the United States.
LSC Releases Immigration-Related Memoranda
Pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the Legal Services Corporation released a series of memoranda addressing the eligibility of foreign-born U.S. residents for free legal services.
According to the August 12, 2012 memo (reprinted at Appendix B), recipients of LSC funding may not represent individuals granted relief under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program.
The memo issued on February 21, 2013 (reprinted at Appendix C), states that recipients of LSC funding may not use funding obtained through the Older Americans Act to represent elderly noncitizens without valid immigration status.
The memo issued on June 13, 2013 (reprinted at Appendix D), states that LSC recipients may represent derivative beneficiaries of applicants seeking U nonimmigrant status.
The memo issued on November 5, 2013 (reprinted at Appendix E), states that LSC recipients may use funds received from Native American tribes to represent individuals without verifying their citizenship or immigration status.
DHS Form for FOIA Requests
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a web-based form allowing individuals to submit and check the status of requests under the Freedom of Information Act via the internet. The submission form is available at http://www.dhs.gov/dhs-foia-request-submission-form.
[This is an excerpt from the April 1, 2014, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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