THE GIBSON REPORT — 04-11-22 — Compiled By Elizabeth Gibson, Esquire, Managing Attorney, National Immigrant Justice Center — FEATURE: Fifth Circuit 🏴‍☠️ Attacks Refugee Women With Absurdist “Analysis” In Sanchez-Amador v. Garland! 🤮  

Elizabeth Gibson
Elizabeth Gibson
Managing Attorney
National Immigrant Justice Center
Publisher of “The Gibson Report”

 

Weekly Briefing

 

This briefing is designed as a quick-reference aggregation of developments in immigration law, practice, and policy that you can scan for anything you missed over the last week. The contents of the news, links, and events do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Immigrant Justice Center. If you have items that you would like considered for inclusion, please email them to egibson@heartlandalliance.org.

 

CONTENTS (jump to section)

  • PRACTICE ALERTS
  • NEWS
  • LITIGATION & AGENCY UPDATES
  • RESOURCES
  • EVENTS

 

PRACTICE ALERTS

 

EAD Rules Fully Vacated

NIJC: On Friday (4/8) we learned from the government that it would not file an appeal in AsylumWorks v. Mayorkas.  This means, happily, that the EAD Rules that delayed and in some cases denied access to EADs for asylum seekers are fully vacated.  The vacatur applies to both the 30-day adjudication rule and the larger rule that had more than a dozen changes to EAD eligibility for asylum seekers.

 

NY EOIR Asks ICE to Submit PD Stance 3 Days Before Hearings

EOIR: In an effort to reduce our interpreter non-usage and our continuance rates, the New York – Federal Plaza Immigration Court has asked DHS that PD positions be provided to the court on matters scheduled for a hearing at least three days before the hearing. This would allow cancellation of the interpreter order without cost to the court, and would permit another previously scheduled case to be advanced into the open hearing slot. In addition, the court is endeavoring to identify cases already scheduled which are likely to be granted PD based upon DHS guidelines. We have requested DHS’s assistance in this endeavor. [It is unclear whether other courts will request the same.]

 

Social Security Administration to Resume In-Person Services at Local Social Security Offices

 

NEWS

 

Disagreement and Delay: How Infighting Over the Border Divided the White House

NYT: The C.D.C. finally announced at the beginning of April that it would lift its public health border restrictions on May 23, around the time of the year when migration typically increases. But this past week, the issue of Title 42 flared up again as Senate Republicans and some Democrats in Congress held up Covid funding in an effort to protest the administration’s decision to lift the health rule and tensions over the issue flared in both parties. See also The Democratic revolt over Biden’s border policy.

 

Senators to restart bipartisan immigration reform talks

Hill: Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told The Hill that they want to bring together a group of senators interested in trying to revive immigration discussions — a perennial policy white whale for Congress — after a two-week recess.

 

Immigrant rights groups say ICE’s no visitation policy taking toll on detainees’ mental health

NPR: Visitations at federal and state prisons have largely resumed. Last year, for example, the Washington state Department of Corrections determined it was safe to reinstate visitations. But those who want to talk to loved ones in ICE detention must still rely on old-fashioned phone calls or video.

 

As Haitian migration routes change, compassion is tested in Florida Keys

WaPo: Although the Florida Keys have been an entry point for refugees fleeing communist Cuba since the 1960s, officials say the increase in arrivals of migrants by boat represents a shift in migration patterns. Since the start of the year, more than 800 Haitians have landed in the 113-mile-long Florida Keys, made up 1,700 small islands. Two of the landings occurred in Ocean Reef, an exclusive gated community near Key Largo that is home to some of nation’s wealthiest residents, officials said.

 

Cubans arriving in record numbers along Mexico border

WaPo: Cuban migrants are coming to the United States in the highest numbers since the 1980 Mariel boatlift, arriving this time across the U.S. southern land border, not by sea.

 

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees arrive at U.S.-Mexico Border

NPR: Thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the war have come to the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, where immigration agents are letting them into the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. See also Even with ties, Ukrainian families struggle to reach the United States.

 

Texas takes new border action; ex-Trump officials want more

AP: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday delivered new orders along the U.S.-Mexico border and promised more to come as former Trump administration officials press him to declare an “invasion” and give state troopers and National Guard members authority to turn back migrants.

 

LITIGATION & AGENCY UPDATES

 

CA2 blocks disclosure of docs on immigrant terrorist screenings

Reuters: U.S. appeals court on Wednesday said federal agencies properly withheld documents related to how they vet applicants for immigration benefits with the aim of uncovering possible terrorist ties, reversing a judge who ordered their disclosure.

 

3rd Circ. Says India Native’s Persecution Claims Inconsistent

Law360: The Third Circuit declined to halt the deportation of a man from India claiming he suffered political persecution there, reasoning that the immigration judge was correctly skeptical of his inconsistent accounts of the violence he claimed to have experienced.

 

CA5 on Unable or Unwilling to Control Persecutors

CA5: [W]hether an applicant’s subjective belief that authorities would be unwilling or unable to help them is sufficient for asylum eligibility when paired with country condition evidence supporting that belief, notwithstanding that the underlying events do not support that conclusion. We think not… When  she checked in, the police informed her “that the process would take at least two weeks.” She fled before those two weeks expired, and there is no evidence of  what  happened  with  the  claim.  Thus,  the  evidence  supports  the  BIA’s  finding  that  Sanchez-Amador  “successfully  reported  one  incident  with  the  gang member to the police, but did not pursue the issue.”

 

CA5 Equitable Tolling Remand: Boch-Saban V. Garland

LexisNexis: “Petitioner Jose Santos Boch-Saban, a citizen of Guatemala, seeks review of a Board of Immigration Appeals decision dismissing, as untimely, his appeal of an immigration judge’s order denying, as time and number barred, his motion to reopen and dismiss. We VACATE the Board’s decision and REMAND the case for consideration in the first instance of the issue of equitable tolling.”

 

Al Otro Lado Class Action Notice of Preliminary Injunction

DHS: Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas is a lawsuit that relates to the U.S. government’s use of “metering” at land  ports  of  entry  on  the  U.S.-Mexico  border.    The  Court  in  this  lawsuit  issued a Preliminary Injunction(PI) prohibiting the U.S. government from applying a rule known as the “third-country transit rule”(TCT)to certain people who were subject to “metering” before the rule took effect on July 16, 2019.

 

Pennsylvania State Police settle profiling, immigration suit

AP: Pennsylvania State Police settled a federal lawsuit alleging troopers routinely and improperly tried to enforce federal immigration law by pulling over Hispanic motorists on the basis of how they looked and detaining those suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, officials announced Wednesday.

 

11 Set Up Hundreds of Sham Marriages for Green Card Seekers, U.S. Says

NYT: Clients paid fees up to $30,000 as part of the yearslong scheme, an affidavit said. Some applications falsely claimed the clients had been abused by their spouses, prosecutors said.

 

San Antonio To Pay Texas $300K To End ‘Sanctuary City’ Fight

Law360: The city of San Antonio, Texas, has agreed to pay the state $300,000 to settle both allegations lodged by the state’s attorney general that it was violating the state’s “anti-sanctuary city law,” and a subsequent lawsuit seeking to remove the police chief from office for the alleged violations.

 

Banned Travelers Ask Judge To Revisit Dead Visa Applications

Law360: People who were banned from the U.S. under now-defunct Trump-era travel restrictions urged a California federal judge to order the Biden administration to revisit their denied visa applications, saying the administration’s attempts to redress the harm don’t go far enough.

 

Feds Keep Diversity Visa Order Paused, But Must Update Tech

Law360: A D.C. federal judge extended the stay of his order directing the State Department to issue more than 9,000 diversity visas while the Biden administration appeals to the D.C. Circuit, but he unfroze his directive for the department to update the technology for processing the visas.

 

House Committee Advances Bill Slashing Visa Country Caps

Law360: The House Judiciary Committee voted to advance a bill that would eliminate the Immigration and Nationality Act’s per-country cap for employment-based visas and raise similar caps on family-based visas, aimed at trimming immigration backlogs.

 

CDC Provides Public Health Determination and Order on Termination of Title 42

AILA: On 4/1/22, CDC released an order to terminate its Title 42 public health order on 5/23/22. The document assesses the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, provides legal considerations, and describes plans for DHS to mitigate COVID-19 and resume use of Title 8. (87 FR 19941, 4/6/22)

 

CBP Issues Memo on Title 42 Exceptions for Ukrainian Nationals

AILA: On 3/11/22, CBP issued a memo to its Office of Field Operations stating that noncitizens in possession of a valid Ukrainian passport or other valid Ukrainian identity document, and absent national security or public safety risk factors, may be considered for exception from Title 42.

 

USCIS Extends EADs for Certain TPS Syria Beneficiaries

AILA: USCIS is issuing individual notices to certain TPS Syria beneficiaries whose applications to renew Form I-766 are pending. The notices extend the validity of their EADs until September 24, 2022. Guidance on filing Form I-9 is available.

 

DHS/CBP/PIA-072 Unified Immigration Portal (UIP)

DHS: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Unified Immigration Portal (UIP) provides agencies involved in the immigration process a means to view and access certain information from each of the respective agencies from a single portal in near real time (as the information is entered into the source systems). CBP is publishing this Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to provide notice of implementation of the UIP and assess the privacy risks and mitigations for the UIP.

 

USCIS Implements Risk-Based Approach for Conditional Permanent Resident Interviews

USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a policy update to adopt a risk-based approach when waiving interviews for conditional permanent residents (CPR) who have filed a petition to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status.

 

Request for Comments: Form G-639; Online FOIA Request: Due 5/5/22.

 

RESOURCES

 

GENERAL RESOURCES

 

EVENTS

 

NIJC EVENTS

 

GENERAL EVENTS

 

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Elizabeth Gibson (Pronouns: she/her/ella)

Managing Attorney for Capacity Building and Mentorship

National Immigrant Justice Center

A HEARTLAND ALLIANCE Program

224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60604
T: (312) 660-1688| F: (312) 660-1688| E: egibson@heartlandalliance.org

www.immigrantjustice.org | Facebook | Twitter

***********************

As always, thanks Elizabeth. 

Sanchez-Amador v. Garland — The 5th Circuit Goes Off The Rails Again To Threaten Refugee Women of Color!

https://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/20/20-60367-CV0.pdf

The issue in Sanchez-Amador is whether a reasonable person in her position would believe that the Government of Honduras is “unwilling or unable” to protect her. On the facts set forth in the court’s decision, any reasonable person in her position would hold such a objectively reasonable view. Therefore asylum should have been granted.

For some context, Honduras has one of the highest femicide rates in the world. Indeed, it is “one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman.” See, e.g., https://news.sky.com/story/the-most-dangerous-place-in-the-world-to-be-a-woman-11950981

The Honduran Government is so totally corrupt, inept, and disinterested in protecting its citizens, particularly women, that recent past “President Juan Orlando Hernandez [is] on the United States’ Corrupt and Undemocratic Actors list, under Section 353 of the United States–Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act.” https://www.state.gov/u-s-actions-against-former-honduran-president-juan-orlando-hernandez-for-corruption/

Ricardo Zuniga, the U.S. Special Envoy to Central America recently said: “‘All we’re trying to do now is halt the slide’ of democracy and accountability, Zúniga said in an interview with The [L.A.] Times, ‘so that we can have some place to build from.’” https://apple.news/A9FpzsjRAQ2OoAyQZzHZm1A. 

In other words, any a semblance of the rule of law and honest, minimally effective government in the Northern Triangle has long disappeared. Conditions are rapidly getting worse, rather than better. Conditions are so bad, that a better Administration or a better BIA could probably establish a “rebuttable presumption of failure of state protection in the Northern Triangle,” thus properly shifting to the DHS the burden of establishing, against all odds, that “state protection” against gangs and other basically uncontrolled third-party actors would actually be effective in a particular case.

This common sense action would also facilitate rapid, efficient, consistent, and correct approval of many credible, valid asylum claims now stuck in the endless, largely self-inflicted, backlogs at the Asylum Office and in Garland’s dysfunctional courts, not to mention at the border following two years of illegal suspension of our asylum laws. That’s as opposed to the unseemly “Institutionalized Refugee Roulette” now being played by Garland and his subordinates.

According to the Supremes in Cardoza-Fonseca and the BIA itself in Matter of Mogharrabi, asylum law is supposed to be generously applied to grant protection even where persecution, although reasonably possible, is significantly less than likely. But, in Garland’s dysfunctional “courts,” the current reality for vulnerable asylum seekers has moved far, far away from those supposed “norms.”

Although most asylum applicants come from nations with well-established records of serious endemic human rights abuses, “asylum denial rates” at EOIR range from 10% or less to a beyond outrageous 98% or more denials! Cases with basically the same facts might be routinely granted in one courtroom while being uniformly denied, usually for specious reasons, in the next.

Moreover, while the overall nationwide grant rate of around 37% appears unreasonably low but perhaps still within the outer bounds of ”
plausibility,” most of those grants are “concentrated” in a relatively small number of Immigration Courts, basically in the Northeast and in California. A disturbing number of IJs and courts are allowed, perhaps even encouraged, by Garland and his denial-oriented, Trump-holdover BIA to establish “asylum free zones.” In other words, Garland has looked the other way while some of “his courts” have basically become de facto “asylum death squads.”

Back to Ms. Sanchez-Amador. Under the circumstances shown by Ms. Sanchez-Amador, a “reasonable woman” would not expect any effective protection from the Honduran Government. The respondent has shown that her “expectation of no protection” was “fulfilled” in this case.

The respondent credibly testified that a gang member said she had a week to either pay him money or become “his woman,” join the gang, and have involuntary sex with him, that is, he threatened to rape her. When she dutifully reported this to the police (despite their well-deserved reputation for indifference to attacks on women), she was told that they would investigate but that it would take two weeks, and offered her no other protection or options in the interim.

In other words, in response to an imminent, credible threat of harm, the police told the respondent that they would do nothing to stop the harm that would be inflicted upon her in a week. By the time the police “investigated,” assuming they ever did which seems doubtful in light of conditions in Honduras, the respondent would be either extorted or raped and forced to join a gang against her will. While police in Honduras might have a well-deserved reputation for corruption and ineffectiveness, gangs, on the other hand, have a reputation for being ready, willing, and able to carry out their threats against women, usually with impunity.

Elementary asylum law tells us that it is neither reasonable nor required that a refugee wait to actually be persecuted before fleeing to safety. That’s exactly what a “well-founded fear” is!

Yet a panel of male, right-wing judges of the Fifth Circuit nonsensically and disingenuously concludes that “one would be hard-pressed to find that the authorities were unable or unwilling to help her [because] she never gave them the opportunity to do so.” Poppycock! 

The police failed to offer the respondent any semblance of effective protection. Given the conditions in Honduras, and the credible threats the respondent had received, a reasonable woman in the respondent’s position would flee to safety at the first opportunity rather than waiting for the gang to carry out its credible threat of harm and for the police to, perhaps, but likely not, investigate after the fact!

Indeed, it’s no stretch to say that under the facts of this case, NO reasonable woman would have remained in Honduras if able to escape.  Moreover, NO reasonable factfinder would conclude that she lacked a reasonable possibility of persecution there!

The panel judges have perverted, perhaps intentionally, the criteria for asylum, the standard for review, and misconstrued the record to deny legal protection to this refugee woman. But, there is an even deeper problem here. And, it goes to Attorney General Garland and his mismanagement of the entire, broken Immigration Court system.

I daresay that NO asylum expert would have handled this potentially perfectly grantable case the way this Immigration Judge and the BIA did. This whole process documents an ongoing, biased, unprofessional, designed-to-deny asylum system that unfairly attacks and threatens “the most vulnerable among us” — targeting women of color in a particularly racist-misogynistic way!

I hope that his particular example of injustice, inhumanity, and unprofessionalism at all levels of the judiciary isn’t what awaits long suffering asylum seekers if and when the Administration finally lifts the illegal “Title 42 Blockade/Charade” on May 23. But, I have little reason for optimism. 

Beyond long overdue reversals of several Sessions/Barr bogus anti-asylum, anti-immigrant “precedents,” neither Garland or Mayorkas has shown much inclination to actually get asylum law right. Nor have they empowered or employed the human rights and due process experts who could lead them out of the wilderness in which their entire “denial and deterrence-oriented” system now wanders.

Perhaps ironically, the all-too-often lawless Fifth Circuit refuses to acknowledge even those modest actions by Garland to correct the law, notwithstanding the supposed “great deference” they claim to show the Executive in the area of immigration. Like much that the Fifth Circuit does these days, that “deference” appears reserved for White men and is not applied to vindicate the rights of “persons” who happen to be migrants, women, or people of color.

“Dred Scottification” of “the other” is NOT a legitimate legal theory. No, it’s part of the “anti-democracy activism” that threatens to destroy our legal system and take our nation down with it! ☠

🇺🇸Due Process Forever!

PWS

04-12-22

THE GIBSON REPORT — 04-11-22 — Compiled By Elizabeth Gibson, Esquire, Managing Attorney, National Immigrant Justice Center — FEATURE: Fifth Circuit 🏴‍☠️ Attacks Refugee Women With Absurdist “Analysis” In Sanchez-Amador v. Garland! 🤮