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3rd Circuit Hears Philly Sanctuary City Case

As former attorney general Jeff Sessions was headed out the door, government lawyers were in federal court trying to salvage his efforts against sanctuary cities.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard argument from the Justice Department that day, but it sounded like a losing one. Other courts have already said the administration cannot withhold funds from cities for not cooperating with federal immigration enforcement.

In arguing City of Philadelphia v. Attorney General of the United States, the federal government had an uphill battle when Sessions was there. But he resigned literally the same day.

3rd Circuit: Gov't Can't Treat K-4 Visas Like Tourist Visas

The Third Circuit took steps in a recent case to close an incongruous loophole in immigration law that leads to certain K-4 visa holders being removed wrongly. It reversed a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision that earlier found that a young Chinese woman could not change her status to become a permanent United States resident.

The law as it has been generally applied, said the court, "contravenes congressional intent."

Notice of Removal's Content Is Dispositive in Immigration Case

The Third Circuit really split hairs when it ruled that the content and justification of a Notice of Removal would determine whether or not an alien should be deported or not.

Narinder Singh petitioned the Board of Immigration Appeals to review his case. He moved the BIA to dismiss an order by his Immigration Judge that he should be removed and that he also was ineligible for removal of that order under U.S.C. sec. 1229(b)a because he was not continuously in the USA for seven years. Then the facts get nit-picky ...

3rd Cir. Actually Grant Habeas Petition in Immigration Case

Thanks to the difficulty imposed by Congress in AEDPA, it's more likely that you'll see a unicorn tap dance with Lieutenant Dan than you'll see a federal court actually grant a state prisoner's federal habeas petition -- and that you'll see a circuit court of appeals sustain the petition.

Well, someone call Gary Sinise, because the Third Circuit granted Jose Juan Chavez-Alvarez's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Chavez-Alvarez claimed the government violated his due process rights detaining him without a bond hearing since 2012. Reversing the district court, the Third Circuit agreed.

The Citizenship and Immigration Service operated beyond its powers when it adopted regulations requiring that immigrants seeking a "special immigrant religious worker" visa to have done prerequisite work in the U.S. under lawful immigration status, the Third Circuit ruled Tuesday.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, non-citizens may obtain a "special immigrant religious worker" visa which allows religious workers, such as ministers, to to eventually obtain legal permanent residency. Before applying, immigrants must have completed two years of religious work. If that work was in the U.S., it must have been done while in the country lawfully, according to the invalidated CIS regulations. CIS had argued that requiring legal status for previous U.S. work simply makes sense in the broader immigration scheme, which prohibits employers from hiring unauthorized aliens. The Third, however, was unconvinced.

Eager Judge Declares Obama's Immigration Plan Unconstitutional

This guy. How badly did he want to make headlines?

Late last month, President Barack Obama announced that he would use executive orders to push through certain immigration reforms. Republicans screeched. Congress bemoaned the trampling of their authority. States' attorneys general filed a lawsuit. Even a few members of the president's own party quietly questioned the move.

Even still, the most surprising voice has to be Judge Arthur Schwab of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, who has somehow found a way to rule on the constitutionality of Obama's actions mere weeks after they were announced.

Non-agricultural, unskilled, foreign workers may obtain visas to work in the U.S., if employers can prove that no U.S. workers will accept the work, under the H-2B visa program.

The history of the program is extensive and convoluted, but can be summarized; the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 ("INA") provided the framework for what is now the H-2B visa program. Responsibility for H-2B visa determinations changed departmental hands several times, and had ended up the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS").

Does Mandatory Detention Have an Expiration Date?

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, immigration officials “shall take into custody any deportable alien who has committed various crimes” when the alien is released from detention for those crimes. Officials hold those aliens without any possibility of release while awaiting their removal proceedings. It’s known as mandatory detention.

So what qualifies as a release from detention? And do immigration officials have to wait at the jailhouse door for an alien’s release, or can they take their sweet time taking an offender into custody?

Anti-American Attitude Doesn't Warrant Asylum

Shawn Allison, a native and citizen of Jamaica, entered the U.S. without inspection in 1994. In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security charged him with removability as an alien present without being admitted or paroled. Allison conceded removability, but disputed his date of entry. The immigration judge found him removable as charged.

Allison filed an application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). While he admitted that he was never physically harmed in Jamaica, he claimed to fear returning “because the Jamaican police and local gangs are anti-American and would torture or physically injury him. He further asserted that he would be targeted as a deportee from America.”

Is anyone surprised that Allison failed to persuade the courts with that argument?

Delayed Evidence Creates Credibility Problem

Gen Lin is a native and citizen of China. He entered the United States illegally in 2004. In 2008, he was served with a Notice to Appear before an Immigration Judge (IJ), and conceded removability.

To avoid removal, Lin petitioned for asylum, for withholding of removal, and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

Unfortunately, he had a credibility problem.