Kurapati v. USCIS
The court vacated and remanded, holding that an alien who is the beneficiary of an approved I-140, has applied for adjustment of status, and ported under INA §204(j), has standing to challenge the revocation of an I-140 petition. (Kurapati v. USCIS, 9/22/14)
Kerry v. Din
The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Kerry v. Din. A U.S. Citizen, Fauzia Din, filed suit against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, the U.S. Consul General in Islamabad, and the U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan after her husband’s visa petition was denied without an official explanation. The district court denied the case based on consular non-reviewability, which states that a consular officer’s decision in a visa petition case is not subject to judicial review. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the decision, finding that the respondent had a right to seek a definitive reason for the denial of her husband’s visa petition. Certiorari was granted on October 2, 2014 and the Supreme Court will hear the case in 2015.
Din is not the only visa applicant negatively affected by the policy of consular non-reviewability. USCIS approved Victor Ramirez for a visa petitioned by his wife, a U.S. citizen. When Ramirez appeared at the Juarez consulate, he was held and denied his visa because a consular officer had “reason to believe” – despite no criminal past – that Ramirez would engage in criminal activity in the U.S. Due to consular non-reviewability, no official explanation was given and Mr. Ramirez remains in Mexico, despite having been approved by USCIS for a visa. The outcome of Kerry v. Din could greatly affect how similar cases are handled in the future, hopefully ensuring that no visa applicant is denied their due process.
Mellouli v. Holder
The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Mellouli v. Holder and will hear the case in 2015. Moones Mellouli is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. who was arrested and nearly deported by ICE for possession of drug paraphernalia. Section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the deportation of noncitizens charged with crimes related to controlled substances; however, Mellouli’s charges are not directly related to a controlled substance and the circuits are split as to whether or not paraphernalia alone is enough to justify deportation. Mellouli v. Holder centers on how strict enforcement of broadly worded immigration policies can take away from an individual’s due process and dole out too-harsh consequences for minor offenses. The Supreme Court’s decision on the matter could have a great effect on future immigration policies.
NWIRP Files Suit Against Corrupt Immigration Official
Northwest Immigration Rights Project (NWIRP) filed a lawsuit against ICE Assistant Chief Council Jonathan Love for falsifying immigration documents in order to deny green card status for Ignacio Lanuza Torres. The complaint states that Love knowingly falsified a document that directly influenced an immigration judge’s decision to deport Lanuza and deny him green card status. In appeals, the deportation order was upheld. Lanuza’s immigration case was only re-opened when his new attorney uncovered the falsified documents. After five years in court, Lanuza was finally granted permanent resident status.
Matt Adams, NWIRP’s legal director, represents Lanuza in the suit against Love. He has called for a review of Love’s entire case history to uncover any other possible forged documents used to deny applicants in the past. After Lanuza’s green card was approved in January of this year, NWIRP filed an administrative complaint with federal officials to hold the ICE official accountable for his actions. The claim was denied in August and so far Jonathan Love has faced no repercussions for manufacturing false documents to be used in immigration court.
Court Strikes Down Arizona No-Bail Law for Undocumented Immigrants
The Ninth Circuit struck down an Arizona law that denied bail to undocumented immigrants charged with one of several particular felony offenses. Among others, the no-bail crimes included shoplifting, aggravated identity theft, sexual assault, and murder. On October 15, the 11-member appeals panel ruled that the law violated due process by punishing the individual before trial. Additionally, the court felt that there was no satisfactory evidence to suggest that undocumented immigrants were any more of a flight risk than those residing in the country legally.
An aide to Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio anticipates that the sheriff’s office will ask the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its ruling and, should that effort fail, bring the case to the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The no-bail law, approved by voters in 2006, was part of a larger movement in Arizona to shift immigration control to local police forces. These laws were meant to supplement what some criticized as unsatisfactory national border protection policy. Though some of the most contentious laws still persist, including a law that allows police officers to check an individual’s citizenship status while enforcing policies unrelated to immigration, the courts have overturned many Arizona state immigration laws over the last 18 months.
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