The one immigration case I will not take- Chinese asylums

When China sends their people they do not send their best. If you look at the news media today most of the immigration topics relate to individuals from Latin countries namely Mexico and Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua) but one group flooding the U.S. with bogus claims comes unnoticed. The one immigration case I refuse to take, under any circumstances, is Chinese asylum seekers.

Over the past decade more and more Chinese have lawfully entered the United States on visas obtained under false information. They then proceed to file fraudulent asylum claims within one year of arrival and obtain a work permit 150 days later. These cases are almost always based on either: 1. Attendance of a home church in China; or 2. forced abortion.

Although its impossible to tell what percentage ( probably 99.9%) of these applications are fraudulent it is clear the Chinese have mastered abusing our immigration system.

To qualify for asylum in the United States you must establish that you have suffered past persecution or will suffer future persecution in your home country based on either your race, religion, nationality, membership in a “particular social group” or ethnicity. The cases from Central America and Mexico usually do not muster failing to prove a nexus on one of these 5 grounds listed above.  Whereas the Chinese are able to show harm based on “religion” or in the case of forced abortion “per se” classification.

Many offices located in the San Gabriel Valley near Los Angeles specialize in complying these fake claims and provide their clients with doctored documents from China. This makes it harder to deny the claims. Its all a matter of evidence and attacking credibility.

As an immigration attorney I do not believe every case I encounter can or should be approved and when it comes to Chinese asylum I hope the government prevails. Its too bad the media does not focus more on these fake cases rather than those who have established roots and have significant physical presence in the United States.

Jennings v Rodriguez- Stripping of constitutional protections against detention

 On February 27, 2018, in Jennings v Rodriguez, 15-1204, the Supreme Court determined that in the Ninth Circuit, (AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, WA, OR, NV) immigrants the government has detained and is considering deporting aren’t entitled by law to a bond hearing after six months in detention and then every six months if they continue to be held. 

It is previously held that such periodic bond hearings were required to provide constitutional safe guards.  Immigration is civil law and therefore the regular protections provided to those in the criminal justice system do not exist. Some immigrants have/are being held for months on end or even years waiting for their appeals.  A vast majority of these immigrants include those caught at the border and those with specific criminal records.  For example, an immigrant with any conviction related to a controlled substance is deemed a “mandatory detainee” and therefore is not bond eligible. However with the periodic bond hearings, after 6 months even a mandatory detainee could be given a bond by an immigration judge. 

This decision is a huge blow to immigrants and their advocates.  Besides providing no constitutional safe guards to the loss of liberty, it also pressures immigrants to drop their appeals and abandon the judicial process entirely. It is easy to dismiss these immigrants since they often have criminal records or no real plausible avenue to obtaining permanent residence or a “green card” however these immigrants often have family members in the United States who rely on them for support financially and emotionally. Families are now being faced with the very real possibility of separation for ten years or more upon deportation.  Further the harsh reality of immigration law is that many crimes that would be minor for a US citizen are a death sentence for an immigrant.

Since the ruling, the detained immigration judges are no longer entertaining any “Rodriguez” bond hearings.  

Supreme Court rejects DACA appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed the Trump administration a setback over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, which shields hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The court declined to take up the issue for now.

The high court said an appeals court should hear the case first. Sessions’ Justice Department  attempted to circumvent the justice system by going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, ultimately the risk failed.

What this means is those under DACA who were unable to renew previously will be eligible to renew for the time being. The deadline for DACA is fast approaching, March 5, 2018 and it does not appear a bipartisan bill will come to fruition. Much of the debate has about the potential for “chain-migration” if the DACA immigrants are eligible for relief. “Chain-migration” as politicians like to call it, is simply family immigration.  Although it is true that DACA immigrants upon obtaining lawful residence could petition relatives, those relatives would only be eligible for residence  if they entered the United States lawfully or had a petition filed before April 30, 2001, many individuals would not qualify and therefore the threat of potential “chain migration” is much lower than politicians like to proclaim. Moreover if DACA immigrants were provided lawful permanent residence, any petition filed would have to wait in line for years or until they became naturalized citizens no sooner than 5 years.

In reality the DACA immigrants are being used by both sides for political gain.

As a practical matter, many of the DACA immigrants I have met and helped over the years are outstanding individuals. The loss of the DACA immigrants is a loss for the United States.  If I were to propose a change in the immigration laws I do not believe abolishing all family immigration is reasonable or prudent.  Although I do see why removing some categories of family immigration is acceptable and shifting the visas elsewhere. For example, sisters or brothers are not the type of family relationship I believe merits a visa category or perhaps limit petitions from lawful permanent residents as opposed to US citizens. I would then recommend using these visas to expand highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs or other immigrants that provide a benefit to the United States.