Napolitano Resigns as Secretary of Homeland Security
On July 12, 2013, Janet Napolitano announced her resignation as Secretary of Homeland Security, a position she has held since the start of the Obama administration. Napolitano will remain in her position until September, after which she will become President of the University of California system.
Napolitano was a prominent supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, but was criticized by many advocacy groups for the record deportation numbers recorded during her tenure at DHS. In June 2012, Napolitano issued a memorandum entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children,” establishing the basis for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Napolitano previously served as U.S. Attorney and Governor of Arizona.
Justice Department Enters into MOU with NLRB
On July 8, the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices announced the entry of a memorandum of understanding with the National Labor Relations Board.
The memorandum states that members of each agency should advise members of the public of the ability to file charges with the other agency if evidence of unlawful conduct arises during the course of an intake interview or other case processing. Moreover, when the agencies have joint jurisdiction over related charges, they will share information and participate jointly in any investigation.
The memorandum, signed by Lafe Solomon, Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, and Seema Nanda, Deputy Special Counsel for the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is reprinted at Appendix A.
DHS Issues Guidance on Implementation of DOMA Ruling
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor (see 18 Bender’s Immigr. Bull. 845 (July 15, 2013)), the Department of Homeland Security issued guidance regarding the impact of the decision on same-sex binational couples seeking immigration benefits.
According to the guidance, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in same-sex marriages with foreign nationals may immediately file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. With limited exceptions, the Department will look to the law of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was entered, not where the couple resides, to determine the validity of the marriage. The Department did not describe when such exceptions might apply, but said further guidance may be provided in the future. The FAQ can be found at www.uscis.gov > NEWS > July 2013 > Implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Issue FAQs Regarding Asylum Clock Settlement
On July 9, plaintiffs’ counsel in A.B.T. v. USCIS, a nationwide class action regarding the implementation of the “asylum clock,” answered frequently asked question about the recent settlement in the case.
According to the FAQ, the district court will hold a fairness hearing on September 20, 2013, to formally approve the settlement and dismiss the underlying lawsuit with prejudice. After the settlement is approved, EOIR will be required to amend an existing policy memorandum regarding the asylum clock, allow respondents to file asylum applications at clerks’ windows; and implement a system for starting and restarting the asylum clock for applicants who missed an asylum interview or had their cases remanded by the BIA or a federal appeals court.
The guidance was issued by the law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw, the American Immigration Council, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and the Northwestern Immigrant Rights Project. The FAQ is reprinted at Appendix B. The corrected class notice of the settlement agreement may be found at 18 Bender’s Immigr. Bull. 873 (Appendix A) (July 15, 2013).
Second Phase of U.S.-Canada Information Exchange
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced on July 3, 2013, the implementation of the second phase of the Entry/Exit information system, under which the United States and Canada can exchange biographic data collected from third-country nationals at all automated land ports of entry along the shared border.
Progress of eRegistry
The Executive Office for Immigration Review announced that as of July 10, 2013, approximately 5,000 immigration practitioners had completed both steps of the new eRegistry requirement. Practitioners wishing to register with the agency should visit https://portal.eoir.justice.gov/. Attorneys and fully accredited representatives are reminded that while registration is currently not mandatory for practice before the immigration courts and the BIA, such registration will be mandatory effective December 10, 2013.
[This is an excerpt from the Aug. 1, 2013, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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