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Report Faults Procedures for Issuance of NTAs |
On October 22, 2013, the Center for Immigrants’ Rights at Pennsylvania State University Law School released a report criticizing various practices related to the issuance of Notices to Appear in removal proceedings. Based on a survey and documents obtained through a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the report concluded that DHS issues NTAs against many noncitizens who fall outside the department’s stated priorities. The report also found that ICE rarely agrees to cancel NTAs or to join motions to terminate after the filing of an NTA with an immigration court. The report recommends that DHS require all NTAs to be approved by an attorney for legal sufficiency, cease issuing NTAs against noncitizens eligible for relief from removal or benefits before USCIS, and create new data fields to permit better tracking of NTAs.
The report is titled “To File or Not to File a Notice to Appear: Improving the Government’s Use of Prosecutorial Discretion.” It is available at http://law.psu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/pdfs/NTAReportFinal.pdf.
ICE Use of ACA Data: Not for Civil Enforcement Actions
ICE issued an October 25, 2013, memo to clarify that it would not pursue civil enforcement actions based on information submitted to obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The memo is reprinted at Appendix A.
USCIS Transfers Some I-130 Cases
USCIS announced that it has begun transferring responsibility for adjudicating Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, from the National Benefits Center to the California, Nebraska, and Texas Service Centers. A petitioner whose case was transferred will receive a notice of the transfer date, and the original receipt number will remain the same.
Refugee Numbers Reported for FY 2013 and 2014
DOS reported the admission of 69,930 out of 70,000 potential refugees in fiscal 2013, the closest to the authorized total since 1980. More than 19,000 Iraqis were admitted last fiscal year, the highest number since 2007, followed by refugees from Burma (a/k/a/ Myanmar), Bhutan, Somalia, and Cuba. Members of last year’s refugee population were resettled in 186 communities in forty-nine states. The administration has authorized the admission of up to 70,000 refugees in fiscal 2014 as well. See Appendix B for the presidential memorandum.
Consumer Financial Protection Board Rules on International Money Transfers
On October 28, 2013, new regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into effect to provide safeguards to persons electronically transferring money to foreign countries. Prior to payment, consumers must now be advised of the prevailing exchange rate, any fees collected by the transfer companies or their agents, and the amount of money expected to be transferred abroad. Consumers must generally receive a receipt stating when the money will be available for pick up, how to submit complaints, and what steps should be taken in the event of an error. The regulations will also generally provide consumers with thirty minutes to cancel a transfer.
Settlement on Alabama Law
On October 29, 2013, immigrants and civil rights groups filed a proposed joint settlement with Alabama to enjoin numerous provisions of HB 56, the state’s restrictive immigration law. In the proposed settlement, Alabama agreed that it could not constitutionally enforce a provision of the law requiring schools to determine the immigration status of newly enrolling students. Alabama also agreed that state and local police officers could not stop, detain, or arrest individuals solely to verify their immigration status. Alabama also agreed to pay $350,000 in attorneys’ fees.
California Supreme Court on Unlawfully Present Aliens Practicing Law
On October 16, 2013, the California Supreme Court called for supplemental briefing in a case asking whether otherwise qualified applicants who are present in violation of federal immigration laws could be admitted to the bar. The order came shortly after the enactment of legislation by the California Assembly—AB 1024—allowing unlawfully present applicants to be admitted to the bar. At oral arguments in September, the justices indicated that passage of such legislation would be required before the court could admit unlawfully present applicants.
[This is an excerpt from the Nov. 15, 2013, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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