Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Budget Cuts and Immigration Detainees

Federal immigration officials have recently released hundreds of detainees from detention centers around the country.  Officials stated that this was done in an effort to save money in light of looming budget cuts.  More releases are still possible depending on the outcome of budget negotiations.  A spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) emphasized that the detainees who were released were “noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories.”  
Officials would not specify exactly how many detainees were released or where they were released from.  Immigrant advocates have reported that detainees were released from detention in New Jersey, Texas, Florida, New Orleans, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and New York.
The government has not dropped the deportation cases altogether.  The detainees were merely freed on supervised release while their cases are pending.  Under supervised release, defendants in immigration cases will be required to report regularly at a regional immigration office.
You can read more about the releases here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Immigration -- Challenge to Guilty Pleas

The United States Supreme Court (Chaidez v. United States, 568 U.S. ____) ruled today that its decision in Padilla v. Kentucky holding that criminal defense attorneys must advise their clients about the clear important immigration consequences of pleading guilty before the plea is entered applies only to guilty pleas occurring after March 31, 2010, the date of the Padilla decision.  Under Padilla, a criminal defendant immigrant could challenge a guilty plea if he or she were not properly advised of the immigration consequences of pleading guilty because the failure to provide that advice is considered to be ineffective assistance of counsel.  While the Supreme Court found that for federal criminal cases, Padilla could not be applied retroactively, in Massachusetts, claims of ineffective assistance may remain retroactive to April 1, 1997 under Clarke v. Commonwealth, 460 Mass. 30 (2011).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Immigration Reform in the House

Today the House Judiciary Committee is holding a full committee hearing on “America’s Immigration System: Opportunities for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws against Illegal Immigration.”  Today’s hearing will have two witness panels. The first panel will examine the current legal immigration system and ways to improve it. The second panel will discuss the extent to which immigration laws have been enforced. 

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Goodlatte (a Republican), has opposed measures in the past that he regarded as amnesty for illegal immigrants.  In a statement released Monday, however, he noted that it would be important to carefully examine the current system in order to understand what isn’t working and how the system could be changed to work more efficiently and fairly.  Reforming our nation’s immigration laws,” he said, “is a massive undertaking and is too important to not examine each piece in detail.” 

You can find the House Judiciary Committee press release here and an article in the New York Times here.

Push for Same-Sex Couple Immigration Rights

John F. Kerry was never a friend of the gay community in the old days.  But, even old dogs can learn new tricks, and Kerry has evolved.  He filed Senate Bill 48 in an effort to secure permanent resident status for a gay Brazilian national facing deportation because he does not qualify for a spousal visa.  President Obama has shown some backbone in his second term and is proposing legislation to allow up to 40,000 foreign nationals in same-sex relationships to apply for legal residency and even U.S.citizenship.  Unfortunately, the proposal was not included in the immigration proposals that a bipartisan Senate working group issued last week, and which the President has largely accepted.  When DOMA is over-ruled, Glickman Turley LLP intends to be in the lead helping same sex couples in immigration matters.

See David Nakamura & Zachary A. Goldfarb, In Immigration Debate, Same Sex Marriage Comes to the Fore , The Washington Post, Feb. 2, 2013.