The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will decide whether President Obama has the authority to declare that millions of immigrants can remain in the U.S. illegally. The Court will probably hear arguments in the case in April and likely rule in June. As we have reported previously, the lawsuit stems from provisions in the President’s November 2014 executive order expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and creating the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. These programs would protect from deportation millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. A lawsuit brought by 25 states has kept the executive order from going into effect. A District Court in Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit have both ruled against the Administration.
As many people have already heard, starting this month U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are targeting for deportation families who have fled violence in Central America. How many people could be affected by the raids is unknown, but it could be hundreds or thousands. In the first weekend of January, Department of Homeland Security announced that 121 individuals were taken into custody primarily from Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. Although there are legitimate concerns within the immigrant community, only certain families are actually affected by the ICE raids.
The raids are “focused on adults and their children who (i) were apprehended after May 1, 2014 crossing the southern border illegally, (ii) have been issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and (iii) have exhausted appropriate legal remedies, and have no outstanding appeal or claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws.” Since the raids are limited to individuals who meet all these criteria, many undocumented immigrants are not affected.
Immigration was a major issue for much of 2015. Despite the negative press, the news was not all bad for immigrants. Last week we covered some of the top developments of 2015 from January to June. Here are the top ones for the rest of the year:
California moves to allow undocumented immigrants to purchase Obamacare insurance.
Immigration was the spotlight issue of 2015. Everyone was talking about it from politicians to the media to the general public. Unfortunately, the discussions were often negative and focused on keeping people out of the U.S. Even though 2015 was bad for immigration policy in a political sense, legally there were a lot of positive changes mixed in with some disappointments.
Here are some of the top developments of the year:
It is all too common for nonimmigrants to be detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a prolonged period with little hope of release while their case is pending. We have a case right now of a person who has been held for over a year already. Fortunately in a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit stated that this detention raises serious constitutional issues. The court decided that individuals must be given the opportunity for a bail hearing and placed a high burden on the government to establish why an individual should be denied bail.
A frequent issue for people visiting the U.S. with a visa is how long they can remain in the country lawfully. A visa is a travel document that allows a foreign traveler to request admission to the U.S. at a U.S. border or port of entry. Typically, a visa will allow travel to the U.S. over an extended period. For example, B-1 and B-2 visas for business travelers are usually valid for 10 years. That permits these visitors to make regular trips to the U.S. over the 10-year period without having to apply for a visa for each individual trip. However, they cannot stay in the U.S. continuously for 10 years. This rule applies for any nonimmigrant visa although the overall length of the visa varies based on country and visa type.