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Posts Tagged ‘Attorney General Eric Holder’

With Congress Refusing to Act President Obama Pursues Executive Action to Reform US Immigration Laws

June 30th, 2014 No comments
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Monday he would take executive action to reform the U.S. immigration system after hopes of passing legislation in Congress officially died.

Republican John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, told Obama last week that his chamber would not vote on immigration reform this year, killing chances that a wide-ranging bill passed by the Senate would become law.

The collapse of the legislative process delivers another in a series of blows to Obama’s domestic policy agenda and comes as he struggles to deal with a flood of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have entered the United States.

It also sets up a new battle with congressional Republicans, who accuse Obama of going beyond his legal authority to take executive action on issues such as gay rights and equal pay for women and men.

Obama chided House Republicans for refusing to bring immigration reform to a vote and said only legislation could provide a permanent fix to the problem.

“I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security; it’s bad for our economy, and it’s bad for our future,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden.

“America cannot wait forever for them to act. That’s why today I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”

The president directed Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to move enforcement resources from the U.S. interior to the border to promote public safety. He said he asked his team to prepare recommendations on other actions he can take unilaterally by the end of the summer.

Attorney General Eric Holder Vacates Board of Immigration Appeals Decision Regarding Same Sex Marriage

May 10th, 2011 No comments
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Attorney General Eric Holder today filed a very rare decision, vacating a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals related to the application of Paul Wilson Dorman, in which the BIA applied Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to his pending case.

Holder writes:

Pursuant to my authority set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h)(1)(i), I order that the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) in this case applying Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, be vacated, and that this matter be referred to me for review.

Saying the attorney general “has taken [an] extraordinary step” with the decision, attorney Eric Berndt — the supervising attorney for the National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities at the National Immigrant Justice Center — tells Metro Weekly, “It adds some heft to our requests for prosecutorial discretion in individual cases in which the foreign partner” of a same-sex bi-national couple is seeking a green card because of his or her citizen same-sex partner.

Attorney Lavi Soloway, a co-founder of Immigration Equality, has been one of the leading attorney-advocates on the issue of asking the government — the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and White House — to exercise that discretion. Soloway tells Metro Weekly in an email, “This development could be a sign that the Obama administration is looking for a way to protect gay and lesbian bi-national couples who are currently barred from the regular marriage-based immigration process by the Defense of Marriage Act.

Immigration Equality’s communications director, Steve Ralls, writes, “This seems to be a step in the right direction. I have little doubt that the recent, significant Congressional pressure on DOJ, led by Senator Kerry and Congresswoman Lofgren, played a key role in Holder’s decision.”

Of his current work at Stop the Deportations, Soloway says, “This is precisely why we must continue to advocate for the executive branch to implement administrative remedies to keep couples from being torn apart, remedies which include instituting a moratorium on deportations.”

In Holder’s decision, he goes on to state four questions that he directs the BIA to consider:

In the exercise of my review authority under that regulation, and upon consideration of the record in this case, I direct that the order of the Board be vacated and that this matter be remanded to the Board to make such findings as may be necessary to determine whether and how the constitutionality of DOMA is presented in this case, including, but not limited to: 1) whether respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union qualifies him to be considered a “spouse” under New Jersey law; 2) whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a “spouse” under the Immigration and Nationality Act; 3) what, if any, impact the timing of respondent’s civil union should have on his request for that discretionary relief; and 4) whether, if he had a “qualifying relative,” the respondent would be able to satisfy the exceptional and unusual hardship requirement for cancellation of removal.

Unlike in other cases in which Soloway has pressed this issue, this case appears to involve a couple who have a civil union in New Jersey — and not a marriage license in one of the jurisdictions that permits same-sex marriages.

It will be interesting to see what the Board of Immigration Appeals says about questions 2 posed by Attorney General Holder. Historically, U.S. immigration laws have not recognized same sex marriages or partnerships as being eligible for marriage-based immigration benefits.

To follow current immigration events and policy regarding same sex marriage, follow The Nunez Firm blog and website.

Is Attorney General Eric Holder Ready to Change Immigration Policy on Same Sex Marriage

May 9th, 2011 No comments
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Attorney Lavi Soloway tells Metro Weekly that Henry Velandia’s deportation proceedings have been adjourned, in part, because of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to vacate the Board of Immigration Appeals decision in another immigration case involving a same-sex couple on Thursday. Moreover, Soloway says, “The government attorney agreed to adjourn the immigration case.”

Velandia, who is from Venezuela, is married to Josh Vandiver of Colorado. The couple was married in Connecticut and live in New Jersey, and Vandiver has filed a petition seeking a marriage-based green card for Velandia, an I-130visa  petition based on the gay couple’s marriage.

Speaking with Soloway, their attorney in this matter, after the hearing, he tells Metro Weekly the immigration judge adjourned the deportation proceedings, which will place the matter back on the “master calendar,” which is more of a status conference and, more importantly for Velandia and Vandiver, removes the “immediate threat” of deportation or removal from the United States.

“The [immigration] judge said at the outset that he wanted to deal with the question of whether the case should be adjourned before we discussed anything else,” he says. “Despite the fact that he had earlier twice denied our motions for continuance. At this time, he essentially reversed himself.”

Of the reasons, Soloway says, “The first reason that he granted an adjournment was that the I-130 petition filed by Josh for Henry was still pending and he felt that it was appropriate to let the U.S. CIS to adjudicate that petition, and that it would be inappropriate to move forward until that happened.”

The second reason the judge cited, Soloway says, was Holder’s May 5 decision to vacate a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals related to the application of Paul Wilson Dorman, in which the BIA had applied Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to his pending case.

“He also cited the potential that he saw from the Matter of Dorman decision yesterday, which he reviewed it in court and discussed it,” Soloways says. “He cited the potential that the government might be looking at a different way of approaching the definition of marriage for immigration purposes, and so, it was appropriate to adjourn in light of that decision to vacate.”

This might suggest that US immigration policy pertaining to same sex marriage might be finally evolving after years of hard-line anti-gay immigration policies. Keep updated with same sex immigration news by following The Nunez Firm website and blog.

Justice Department To Sue Arizona Over Anti-Immigrant Law

July 17th, 2010 No comments
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The Justice Department has decided to file suit against Arizona on the grounds that the state’s new immigration law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives.

The lawsuit, which three sources said could be filed as early as Tuesday, will invoke for its main argument the legal doctrine of “preemption,” which is based on the Constitution’s supremacy clause and says that federal law trumps state statutes. Justice Department officials believe that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsibility, the sources said.

A federal lawsuit will dramatically escalate the legal and political battle over the Arizona law, which gives police the power to question anyone if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant. The measure has drawn words of condemnation from President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and opposition from civil rights groups. It also has prompted at least five other lawsuits. Arizona officials have urged the Obama administration not to sue.

The preemption doctrine has been established in Supreme Court decisions, and some legal experts have said such a federal argument likely would persuade a judge to declare the law unconstitutional.

But lawyers who helped draft the Arizona legislation have expressed doubt that a preemption argument would prevail. The law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in April, is scheduled to take effect on July 29, 2010.

Attorney General Eric Holder Might Challenge New Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law

May 4th, 2010 No comments
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Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were critical Tuesday of Arizona’s new immigration law, which requires police to question anyone about their immigration status if they have reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. Additionally, SB 1070 would make it a state crime if anyone is in the country illegally.

Attorney General Holder said the federal government may challenge it.

The critical comments came four days after Arizona’s governor signed a law designed to crack down on illegal aliens.

The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security are reviewing the state law, and are considering the possibility of a court challenge as one of the options.

Napolitano stated that they have deep concerns with the new immigrant law since it could drain federal money and staff from hunting down immigrants, concentrating on those who are in the country illegally, instead of those who have committed the most serious crimes.

If you are in the US illegally and want to know more about your rights and immigration situation, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will discuss your situation with you during a confidential consultation and help you better understand the options available to you.

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