The Golden Door: June 2018
Legal and Policy Issues
We are closely monitoring state and federal immigration law and policy. Please check our social media accounts for more frequent updates.
Travel Ban 3.0 Upheld by Supreme Court
This week, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the Ninth Circuit's decision in its Trump v. Hawaii decision. The Supreme Court has upheld President Trump's third try at a travel ban, which means that it is still in effect. This is a shameful decision. The travel ban was clearly based on religious animus, but the majority of justices took the proclamation at face value.
The dissent by Justice Sotomayor explains that while the majority cherry-picks facts from the background of this case, "[t]he full record paints a far more harrowing picture, from which a reasonable observer would readily conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith."
The travel ban is one of innumerable ways that the administration is attacking immigrant families. It is up to us to keep making our voices heard.
Due Process Win in Supreme Court
In Pereira v. Sessions, Mr. Pereira came to the US in 2000 and overstayed his visa. In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) served him a "notice to appear" (NTA) in immigration court, but the NTA did not specify the date or time he had to appear. Later, he was denied a discretionary grant of permanent residency available to people who have accrued ten years or more of physical presence in the United States. Because his NTA came before his ten years had added up, it triggered the "stop-time rule." This rule states that the service of an NTA stops the clock that measures that accrual of time. However, the Supreme Court ruled, 8-1, that an NTA has to have the date and time of the hearing for this rule to apply. Since DHS often serves NTA's without the date or time of the hearing, this will positively impact many individuals currently in immigration court whose removal would cause an extreme and unusual hardship on US citizen spouses and children.
"Zero Tolerance" Policy Means Tearing Apart Families
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in April of this year that he is taking a "zero tolerance" approach to families entering our country over the southern border by charging them with illegal entry into the United States, a federal crime. While the administration claims that the parents (and sometimes the children) are "criminals," in reality, they are fleeing violence and many of them are seeking asylum. Under US and international legal standards, it is lawful to seek asylum at the US border, and detaining people for doing so likely violates international law.
The government is punishing parents for trying to save their children's lives. The family separation policy is causing enormous trauma for parents and children alike, who came to the United States to escape horrific violence in their home countries.
In response to massive public outcry and outrage, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) on June 20 intended to keep families detained together, indefinitely. It directs the government to build more family detention centers and to challenge a legal agreement stating that children cannot be detained for lengthy periods of time.
This week, a federal judge in California issued an injunction ordering that the families who have been separated by the government must be reunited within 30 days. The judge also has ordered the administration to stop taking children from parents at the border.
The court said: "We are a country of laws, and of compassion. We have plainly stated our intent to treat refugees with an ordered process, and benevolence, by codifying principles of asylum.... The Government's treatment of Ms. L. and other similarly situated class members does not meet this standard, and it is unlikely to pass constitutional muster." The order also states that "under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property."
It remains to be seen what happens with this issue, so be sure to follow frequent updates on ILAP's social media accounts. Go to www.familiesbelongtogether.org to find rallies all over the country tomorrow, June 30, including many in Maine.
Anti-Immigrant Bills Fail in House
Some great news out of Congress. The House of Representatives had two bills up for vote last week, one extremely anti-immigrant bill introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte, and another so-called "compromise" bill, also anti-immigrant, introduced by Representative Paul Ryan.
After the Rep. Goodlatte bill was defeated last week 193-231, Rep. Ryan's bill was tabled until this week, due in large part to calls from people like you. Wednesday, June 27, the bill was roundly rejected by the House, 121-300.
Keep the pressure on Maine's congressional delegation to pass legislation aimed at ending family detention and reuniting families, as well as legislation giving DACA recipients and TPS holders a pathway to permanent legal status.
Senator Susan Collins (202) 224-2523
Senator Angus King (202) 224-5344
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (202) 225-6116
Congressman Bruce Poliquin (202) 225-6306