Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Housing Authority in Texas

The Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with the Housing Authority of Victoria, Texas, resolving a complaint that the latter discriminated against a lawful permanent resident when it rejected his valid employment documents and fired him. The Housing Authority improperly demanded that the worker present more documents than necessary and rejected the documentation he presented, then terminated him based on his lack of U.S. citizenship.

“Employers should not reject valid employment documents because of a lawful permanent resident’s citizenship status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.

Details: Settlement agreement, https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1149396/download; DOJ media release, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-immigration-related-discrimination-claim-against-housing-authority


Foreign Nationals Serving in U.S. Military Challenge Trump Administration

Service members who enlisted through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program and who have not yet become naturalized U.S. citizens may be affected by litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and elsewhere. Several MAVNI soldiers brought two lawsuits (Kirwa and Nio) against the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and certain government officials challenging the lawfulness of Trump administration policies affecting their naturalization based on military service.

The MAVNI program, authorized in 2008, brought individuals considered assets to the U.S. military, including those with needed medical and language skills, into the U.S. Armed Forces in exchange for expedited U.S. citizenship. The Trump administration froze the program in 2016, and in 2018, the U.S. Army began discharging MAVNI soldiers. Lawsuits have followed. The Army also reportedly accidentally leaked sensitive information on 4,200 immigrant recruits between 2017 and 2018, many from China and Russia, risking interception by their autocratic governments.

Separately, the Pentagon has ordered the armed services to send green card-holding troops to recruit training, following a preliminary injunction in California.

Details: Federal class action litigation updates, http://dcfederalcourtmavniclasslitigation.org/; summary, https://www.thebalancecareers.com/military-accessions-mavni-program-3354096; Army Times article on data leaks, https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2019/03/08/army-reportedly-leaked-sensitive-info-about-thousands-of-immigrant-recruits-and-now-some-may-be-at-risk/; Stars and Stripes article on training resuming for green card holders, https://www.stripes.com/news/us/after-losing-court-battle-pentagon-to-send-green-card-holders-to-recruit-training-1.559132.


Appeals Court Temporarily Blocks Order to Stop Trump ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy for Asylum Seekers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has temporarily blocked an order that would have stopped the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers while they await processing of their U.S. asylum claims. Arguments by advocates on why the policy should not be in effect are due April 16 and the government’s arguments on why it should continue are due April 17, the three-judge panel ruled. An earlier order by a judge in San Francisco was set to temporarily halt the change in U.S. asylum policy.

Kirstjen Nielsen, then-Secretary of Homeland Security, directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to immediately expand the “remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers and other migrants during a border visit in early April. She directed CBP to return hundreds of additional migrants per day above current rates to Mexico, including individuals apprehended or encountered at or between ports of entry, and to plan for further expansion of the program, called the Migrant Protection Protocols, “beyond the locations in which it currently operates in California and Texas,” according to a DHS statement. Ms. Nielsen has since left her position.

Details: Ninth Circuit order, https://www.dropbox.com/s/zslpxgzoh9u7ufw/Innovation%20law%20lab%209th%20Cir%204- 12-19.pdf?dl=0; San Francisco order, https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5798893/4- 8-19-Innovation-Law-Lab-Order.pdf; Trump administration statement on policy, https://www.dhs.gov/news/2019/01/24/migrant-protection-protocols; DHS statement, https://www.dhs.gov/news/2019/04/07/secretary-nielsen-president-trump-assess-humanitarianand-security-emergency

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney client relationship. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.

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