Month: July 2016

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 409 Comments

US – Mexico to Reevaluate Migration Crisis Response

The United States and Mexico make Commitments to Reevaluate the Strategy of Deterrence and Detention in Response to the Central American Migration Crisis

In early July, the United Nations refugee agency held a summit in Costa Rica on the Central American refugee crisis. The Summit gathered representatives from refugees’ countries of origin, transit and asylum countries, and NGO’s, addressed responses to the crisis and called for greater awareness and action regarding this issue affecting scores of migrants from the Northern Triangle region of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

At the end of the two-day meeting, participating nations offered commitments to a circulated document draft. Of particular note, the primary asylum countries, the United States and Mexico, have agreed to ensure the “timely identification and documentation, in particular at border areas, of persons in need of international protection” and to “implement, where possible, alternatives to detention.” The U.S., Mexico, and other contributors also agreed to set up a monitoring system on migrant displacement patterns.

These new commitments to reevaluating responses to the crisis come in the wake of the U.S. and Mexico largely pursuing strategies of deterrence, including the mass detention of migrant women and children, since the surges in Central American migration flows in 2014 and 2015. Following the pushback against such heavy-handed tactics by NGO’s, these latest steps by Mexico and the U.S. may signal the beginnings of a new strategy toward the plight of Central American migrants, and bode well given the UNHCR’s efforts to financially back closer monitoring of the situation in the region, as well as the planned migrants and refugees summit of the U.N. General Assembly on September 19, and a parallel summit organized by President Obama on September 20.



by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 339 Comments

Friday Feels: Casa de Paz

If you need a some inspiration heading into this weekend, you need to read this recent feature in Westword magazine. The article highlights the amazing work being done by Sarah Jackson, founder of Casa de Paz, a nonprofit that provides housing, meals, visits, and transportation to families affected by immigrant detention. We should also add that Sarah Jackson was recently honored by the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) for her work to support immigrants.

Below is an excerpt from the article, to read the full piece, click here.

“The experience that had the biggest impact on Jackson, though, was meeting a man named Abel on the Mexican side of the border. Abel had grown up in the United States, and as far as he was concerned, Mexico was a foreign country. He only spoke English, and he hadn’t known that he was undocumented until he went to get a driver’s license at the age of sixteen.

“So they were deporting him ‘back home,’ but his home was the United States, because his parents brought him here when he was a child,” Jackson says.”

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Immigration-Related Fines to Increase on August 1st

In an effort to keep up with inflation and increase enforcement of immigration laws, the Department of Justice announced that they will be increasing the penalties for hiring unauthorized workers and unlawfully discriminating against immigrant workers. The penalty hikes were authorized by Congress as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, and will go into effect August 1, 2016.

The most significant increase is for mistakes and omissions on the Form I-9. The minimum penalty for I-9 paperwork violations will increase from $110 to $216, while the maximum penalty will more than double, from $1,000 to $2,156. Civil penalties will similarly increase for violations of the H-1B, H-2B and H-2A temporary worker programs, such as misrepresentations on labor certifications, displacing US workers, and violations related to wages and working conditions. With these higher penalties in place, it will be more important than ever for employers to work closely with experienced immigration attorneys to ensure that they are following the proper procedures and avoiding costly mistakes.

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 101 Comments

Alcohol Incidents May Affect Visa Eligibility

Under U.S. immigration law certain medical, mental health and substance abuse issues are grounds of inadmissibility into the United States. As such, individuals who have certain diseases or who suffer from addiction to certain substances, including alcohol, may be denied a visa to enter the U.S. for any type of temporary stay, whether for work or pleasure. The U.S. Department of State recently announced that visa applicants who have been convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI or DWAI) during the five years prior to the visa application will be required to have a medical exam by a designated physician to determine if the individual suffers from a disease or addiction that renders him/her ineligible for the visa. Similarly, visa applicants who have had two such alcohol incidents within the 10 years prior to a visa application will be required to undergo the same exam process.

Furthermore, based on the new policy, the U.S. Department of State has begun to revoke visas of certain individuals who have already obtained them and may currently be in the U.S., with the result that such individuals would have to apply again for a visa in the event they depart the U.S., despite the current expiration date on their visa. At the very least, individuals who have a DUI or related alcohol conviction in their past should expect to be delayed abroad when applying for a visa at a U.S. Consulate. They should also be aware that they may be determined ineligible for the visa in which case their visa application would be denied. Please note that this rule has no effect on individuals who are lawfully present in the United States and do not depart the United States. Individuals who must travel internationally and have a DUI or related conviction in their past should seek counsel with an immigration attorney to understand the gravity of their situation and whether there are options such as a waiver of inadmissibility.