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Articles Posted in Immigration

BLOG-PHOTO-GREEN-CARD-ON-FLAG-copy-300x199The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, or so-called Green Card Lottery, gives a chance to millions of foreigners to receive a U.S. Green Card just by applying through USCIS.

There is no fee to enter the lottery and you can apply through www.dvlottery.state.gov. According to the Department of State, in 2010 there were approximately 50,000 Green Cards distributed throughout the entire world as part of the Green Card Lottery. The immigrant visas are drawn randomly among the entries.

The USCIS outlines a few requirements to enter the lottery if you are outside the U.S. You must establish that:

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HB 2315Be informed about your options.

As January 19, 2019 approaches, fear and uncertainty have begun to spread among the immigrant and undocumented population in Tennessee. Some families have relocated to other states, other families have decided to consult with immigration lawyers in the area, and still others are eagerly awaiting the immigration reform so longed for by many. Regardless of what your choice has been, it is unquestionable that you must be prepared for this date. Please, get well informed, and keep reading.

The United States Government has recently come under intense scrutiny for the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Denounced by many as overly harsh, President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, which calls for the criminal prosecution of those who enter the United States illegally, has undoubtedly brought the issue of family separation to the forefront of United States Immigration Law. In response to news reports and public outcry related to immigrant children being separated from their families at the border, on June 20, 2018, the President signed Executive Order No. 13,841. See 83 Fed. Reg. 29435 (2018) (the “Executive Order”). Nevertheless, many Americans are still confused as to what the Executive Order does and whether it will affect them.

First, it is important to understand the history that led to the creation of the Executive Order. After years of litigation over the issue of detention of immigrant children throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, in 1997, the Clinton administration eventually entered into a settlement agreement in the case of Flores v. Reno (the “Flores Settlement”). Seee.g.Flores v. Reno, 681 F. Supp. 665 (C.D. Cal. 1997). Under the terms of the Flores Settlement, the Government established minimum standards for initial detention of minors, created procedures allowing minors to contact detained family members, and established a policy favoring the release of minors to their close family relatives.

To make matters even more complicated, two (2) subsequent court rulings further held that the Flores Settlement applied to all minors unlawfully crossing the border, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, and that the Government had to process the asylum claims of those minors within an average of 20 days. Seee.g.Flores v. Lynch, 828 F.3d 898 (9th Cir. 2016). Simply put, these court rulings had the practical effect of either (1) requiring the Government to release entire families from detention after 20 days and during the pendency of their removal proceedings (the so-called “catch-and-release” policy) or (2) requiring the Government to separate families via detaining adults in one set of detention facilities and sending children to be placed in the custody of other family members or the Department of Health and Human Services.

TENNESSEE has recently come into the national spotlight for its passage of House Bill 2315 (“HB 2315”), a new law that changes the nature of how municipal governments in Tennessee can control how local law enforcement agencies coordinate with federal immigration authorities. Although Governor Haslam refused to sign HB 2315, he also refused to veto it, thus allowing HB 2315 to become a law without his involvement.

But what is HB 2315, and how could it affect you? Two (2) major effects of HB 2315 are: (1) municipal governments cannot force local authorities to refuse to comply with federal immigration officials, including immigration detainers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”); and (2) municipal governments that do prohibit local authorities from complying with federal immigration officials through a “sanctuary city” policy are ineligible to receive any state funding.

Immigration detainers are requests by ICE for local authorities to hold undocumented individuals who have been charged with a crime and who are already in jail for an additional 48 hours after they otherwise would have been released. From ICE’s perspective, immigration detainers allow ICE a window of time for federal authorities to detain individuals for immigration proceedings when they may otherwise not be able to apprehend such individuals before they are normally released. However, this perspective has been harshly criticized, with many arguing that such immigration detainers unlawfully or immorally commandeer state law enforcement officers for federal law enforcement purposes.

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