Detained immigrants must have bond hearings, judge rules

The Seattle Times

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government cannot keep certain immigrants locked up at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma without granting them a bond hearing.

The Department of Homeland Security routinely detain immigrants it apprehends for months, sometimes years –in one case a decade — after those people have resolved their criminal cases in state court and are released back into their communities.

While immigration officials begin proceedings to deport them, they are unjustly denied a hearing before an immigration judge who could determine whether they present a flight risk or a danger to the community, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ruled late Tuesday.

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Reminder: Deadline for Requesting Reopening of DOMA-Based Denials Is March 31, 2014

Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its decision in United States v. Windsor, striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, USCIS issues a series of FAQs explaining how the change in law would impact future applications and petitions for immigration benefits based on marriages between same-sex couples, as well as the treatment of cases that were denied prior to the change in law.

AILA Liaison reminds members of the March 31, 2014 deadline for requesting that USCIS reopen a petition or application based on a marriage between same-sex couples that was denied prior to February 23, 2011. To request reopening, send an e-mail to USCIS at and note that you believe the petition was denied on the basis of DOMA section 3.

Scholarships for DREAMERS

On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, “TheDream.US” announced the creation of a scholarship program for Dreamers – students who have grown up in the United States without immigration documents.  The program was launched by Carlos Gutierrez, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush, Henry Munoz III, the finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee, and Donald Graham, CEO of the Graham Holdings Company.  The program has other high-profile supporters including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, actor and director Diego Luno, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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Ninth Circuit Finds Limited Review for Expedited Removal Orders

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit concluded that there is jurisdiction to review the merits of a challenge to an “expedited removal order”.  Smith v. CBP, ___ F.3d ____, 2014 WL 91915 (Jan, 9, 2014).  Although the court ultimately rejected the petitioner’s merits argument, the case opens the door to future challenges by other individuals with different facts.

Under the “expedited removal” process, 8 U.S.C. §1225(b)(1)(A), an immigration officer at the border can issue an expedited order of removal against certain noncitizens applying  to enter.   This can be done immediately, while the person is at the border, and is completely at the discretion of the immigration officer if the officer believes that the person has made a false statement or does not have the proper immigration documents.  The applicant is turned away and is also banished from coming back to the United States for five years.

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What are the Financial Responsibilities of a Sponsor Who Immigrates a Family Member to the U.S.?

By Robert H. Gibbs

Sponsors of family members are surprised to discover that their sponsorship includes significant and long term financial obligations, even after a divorce.  In order to immigrate a family member to the U.S., the citizen or permanent resident petitioner, and possibly other cosponsors, must usually submit an I-864 affidavit of support to the U.S. government.  For a family of two, the support obligation to the applicant is currently about $19,387/yr.

Once the application is approved for the immigrant, the I-864 cannot be withdrawn and is enforceable by either the immigrant, or any government welfare agency.  The immigrant can enforce the support requirement, less any earnings on their part, in state or federal court.  A welfare agency can seek reimbursement of welfare benefits paid to the immigrant, such as SSI, food stamps, or Medicaid.

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Six Critical Things for Employers to Do When You Receive an ICE I-9 Audits

Time is of the essence if you receive a Notice of Inspection from ICE for your I-9 forms in order to retain a skilled defense attorney.

ICE inspection notices require that the I-9 forms be produced for ICE within three business days.  Contact immediately an attorney who has handled I-9 audits in the past so he or she can take control of the response and make sure that you do not act in a way that is harmful to your business.  Gibbs Houston Pauw has handled many such cases, from small restaurants to Fortune 500 companies, and obtained sizeable fine reductions.  GHP can handle these cases anywhere in the United States.

Begin by gathering up all the I-9 forms and supporting documents and checking against your employee list to make sure no documents are missing.  Be sure to make copies for your files of all the I-9 forms that are to be provided; best practice is to number all the documents for tracking.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Approval of I-687 applications

TO:                  Proyecto San Pablo class members and counsel

FROM:             Robert Gibbs, Robert Pauw, class counsel

RE:                  Approval of I-687 applications, FAQ

1. What does it mean when the AAO decision says that my I-687 application is approved? What documents should I receive from USCIS  to prove my status?

The AAO decision approving your I-687 means that your legalization application filed in 1987-88 has been granted and you are a Lawful Temporary Resident (LTR), pursuant to INA 245A.  After the AAO sends the file to the Nebraska Service Center, you should shortly receive an I-797 approval notice stating that you are approved for Temporary Resident status, and also an Employment/Travel Authorization card valid for four years.  Because the LTR status is only granted to amnesty applicants from 1987/88, the agency does not have the ability to produce an LTR card, so the approval notice and Employment Authorization card are what CIS is providing you to demonstrate your status.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Asylum Clock Class Action Settlement


B.H., et al. v. USCIS, et al., which was originally filed as A.B.T., et al. v. USCIS, et al. (hereinafter referred to as the ABT case), is a nationwide class action that challenged the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  The suit was filed in the federal district court in Seattle, Washington in December, 2011 by the Legal Action Center (LAC) of the American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.

The lawsuit challenged five specific EOIR and USCIS policies for administering the “asylum EAD clock”[1] in removal proceedings.  The asylum EAD clock is the tool used by the agencies to calculate whether an asylum applicant has satisfied the 180-day waiting period for eligibility for work authorization.  Asylum applicants are not automatically eligible to receive an EAD while their applications are pending.  Instead, an applicant who is otherwise eligible can receive an EAD only after the asylum application has been pending for 180 days.  The running of the 180-day waiting period is suspended for applicant-requested or caused delay of the adjudication of the asylum application.

The parties reached a settlement of all issues in the case.  The settlement agreement was approved by the district court on November 4, 2013 and will be implemented as of December 3, 2013.  This FAQ will describe the terms of the settlement agreement and the process for implementation.

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Settlement Reached in Class Action Lawsuit Over Arbitrary Asylum Clock

November 5, 2013

Federal Judge Approves Settlement Agreement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

On Monday, November 4, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ordered the final approval of a nationwide class action settlement agreement. The settlement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases. The changes will commence on December 3, 2013.

The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.

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Robert Gibbs Discusses Problems for Visitors at Airport Inspections, Seattle Times, Nov. 5, 2013

November 5, 2013

Suspicious Feds Turn Back Many Foreigners at Airport

Thousands of travelers are denied entry into the country each year because of a presumption in U.S. immigration policy that every arriving foreigner intends to stay. It can be difficult convincing authorities otherwise.

By Lornet Turnbull   Seattle Times staff reporter

Originally published November 4, 2013

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