Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

Recently in Immigration Law Category

It is well established, as the Supreme Court noted in an opinion handed down this week, that "any alien convicted of an 'aggravated felony' after entering the United States will be deported." What is less well-known is what qualifies as an aggravated felony.

Upon examining this issue, the Court ruled that the federal statute used to determine whether a particular conviction constituted an aggravated felony is unconstitutionally vague. This means the definition of an aggravated felony under federal immigration law will need to be tightened up, and in the meantime, the rules for automatic deportation could be loosened.

Texas Can Enforce Ban on Sanctuary Cities, 5th Circuit Rules

With President Trump and his administration's focus on immigration, it's no surprise that immigration topics are often in the news. A bulk of the current news relating to immigration pertains to undocumented immigrants and the concept of sanctuary cities. Cities that consider themselves sanctuaries limit the amount of assistance that law enforcement and other government employees can give to the federal government when it comes to matters relating to immigration.

Immigrants detained pending deportation are not entitled to bond hearings every six months under federal law. That's the decision by a closely divided Supreme Court on Tuesday, reversing a contrary 2015 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In one of the two closely watched and highly controversial travel ban cases that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up on review this term, an order of dismissal has been issued. However, the dismissal only applies to Executive Order 13,780, a.k.a. travel ban 2.0, which had expired as of September 24, 2017.

As the Court explained in a brief order, because the travel ban in issue had expired, the legal case no longer presented a "live case or controversy." In legal terms, the case was ordered dismissed as "moot" -- which is basically the Court  refusing to hear a case where it can't fix anything anymore.

Despite two different federal appeals courts upholding the ban on the travel ban, the U.S. Supreme Court surprisingly reversed both rulings. However, even with their reversal, SCOTUS still limited the reach of the executive order issued by President Trump.

Primarily, the Court found that the ban could not be applied to individuals seeking entry who have sufficient, and legitimate, ties to the United States. The Court did find that in the absence of a prospective foreign visitor's ties to the U.S., the temporary travel ban could be applied.

In an odd stride for equal rights between the genders, and one that is sure to please the "dadvocates" out there, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws conferring citizenship to children cannot favor mothers over fathers. The decision does not apply to custody matters, but solely to issues involving the citizenship of a child born outside the borders of the U.S.A. to a parent that is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

In short, the Court struck down the distinction in the law that placed a stricter requirement on fathers than mothers, when it came to eligibility for their foreign-born child to obtain U.S. citizenship.

The US Supreme Court decision issued Tuesday confused countless people who read headlines much like the one above. Many people were in disbelief that a convicted rapist was saved from deportation by the Supreme Court.

However, like most legal matters that reach the Supreme Court, the actual issue was much more nuanced than the click-baiting, rabble rousing portrayal in the popular media. It basically boiled down to the difference between the way California and the federal government sees statutory rape. To the surprise of many, California law is actually stricter than federal law.

In what must be a shock to Mike Pence, Indiana's Republican Governor and Donald Trump's running mate, a federal appeals court confirmed that Pence did in fact discriminate against Syrian refugees. Pence insisted that his action in denying funding to any state agency that assisted Syrian refugees was not an act of discrimination. However, both the Federal District Court and Federal Appeals Court pointed out that Pence's action was discriminatory, and that he is going to lose the underlying lawsuit.

Last year, amid the crisis in Syria causing millions of people to be displaced from their homes, over half of which being children, countries around the world opened their borders and hearts. The United States has only accepted a small fraction of the displaced peoples. In Indiana, Pence wanted to impose an outright ban on refugees. However, in no uncertain terms, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals wasn't buying it.

No Deportation Relief for Undocumented Parents of Americans and LPRs

The Supreme Court announced a deadlock today in a case about an immigration reform measure by President Obama. It would have allowed millions of undocumented parents of American citizens and permanent residents to avoid deportation and live in the light.

Texas led 26 states in opposing the Obama administration's measure, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. After the ruling's release, the President issued a statement expressing regret that he could do no more for immigrants before his term ended.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a federal policy that temporarily protects undocumented immigrants brought into the country unlawfully by their parents from deportation. Along with the DREAM ACT, it confers some legal standing to undocumented immigrants, like the ability to work, go to school, or get a driver's license.

The state of Arizona had been pushing back hard against the third part, with then-Governor Jan Brewer signing an executive order in 2012 denying licenses for young, undocumented immigrants. But the Ninth Circuit has overturned that ban and permanently enjoined the state from enforcing it.