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Refugee Crisis Ahmad Yakzan

Trump Tells the World to Covfefe Itself: What Does Pulling Out of Paris Mean to Refugees ?

I am watching the President make one of the worst decisions that he has ever made; pulling out of the Paris Agreement puts it at bar with Syria and Nicaragua (which has not signed because it does not go far enough).

The Paris Agreement has been signed by almost every country in the world to safeguard our future. It sets goals for countries to meet to decrease the number of pollutants in the air to deal with global warming. Experts believe that global warming will lead to an international refugee crisis because people in low-lying countries will be forced to migrate from their countries to others.

The problem is that international refugee law, as it stands now, does not offer protections for environmental refugees. To qualify for asylum as a refugee, a person must meet the persecution bar under one of six protected grounds, which do not include environmental refugees. I was recently a speaker at a panel discussing the issue at Stetson University College of Law.  There are discussions to amend the Refugee Convention to allow victims of climate change to apply for refugee protections if they were truly subjected to persecution based on environmental issues. Applicants would be able to claim that they were persecuted by their government by the latter’s failure to protect the environment to protect them. This change would be cataclysmic and would be a major change in refugee law.

I think the decision was erroneous for many reasons. We are the world’s only remaining superpower and with us pulling out of the agreement, other countries will follow suit. International law is customary in nature, and such action will undoubtedly lead to major changes. It is enough for the United States not to sign the International Criminal Court’s treaty for many countries to refuse to ratify the convention. On a side note, this will be an issue in the 2018 election.

I am interested in your thoughts. Please comment or email me at yakzan@americandreamlawoffice.com.

sanctuary

Attorney General’s Statement on Sanctuary Cities Should Worry All Americans

In what I think is another distraction by the Trump Administration, Attorney General Sessions came out today and made a statement about sanctuary cities. The gist of the statement is that the Administration will not grant funds to cities who are sanctuary cities. The AG said that the number is in the billions. The AG also cited to several incidents where “illegal immigrants” killed US citizens, in what is a scare tactic to galvanize his base. I am not surprised by this statement but it has some grave consequences, which I will discuss in this post.

Why Should You Worry?

The first problem, and the main one, that I have with the statement is that the statement is not supported by evidence. The AG told us that most individuals the Administration is removing are “criminals” who have been convicted of murder and DUIs (I will come back to DUIs in a minute). No one disagrees that violent criminals should be removed from the US, unless they have some sort of relief from removal. After IIRIRA, individuals with serious crimes are barred from getting relief from removal. In other words, these individuals will get removed from the US regardless.

AG Sessions made it sound that immigrants are killers, which includes me, which is also a problem. Contrary to the Administration’s assertion, immigrants commit substantially less crimes than native-born Americans.

As to DUIs, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the appellate body for immigration cases has ruled several times that DUIs, without aggravating factors, are nor deportable offense. Coupled with the fact that enforcement priorities have changed, these statements reflect the Administration’s goal of removing as many as possible of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, and not only violent criminals.

Why Should Localities Refuse Detainer Orders?

Localities usually refuse detainers for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they are independent governments under the US Constitution. I believe that detainers violate the 10th Amendment because they federalize local police departments. Also, the federal government has not been financing these detainers, which means local authorities will not get reimbursed for holding someone, whose violation was so minor, that they should release him to save their resources. During the Obama Administration the federal government stopped using these detainer requests, especially after localities opposed them for lack of funding.

Th AG cited 8 USC 1373 to support the Administration’s position to block funding to sanctuary cities. The problem with 1372 is that it highly subjective and the Administration may use arbitrary rules to designate a city a “sanctuary city” even though it is complying with the law, like it is doing with LA. Until the federal government starts funding these local government, I believe that it is constitutional for them to deny such requests.

What Should You Do If You or a Loved One Falls Under a Detainer Request?

Contact and Immigration Attorney ASAP. If you can not afford one, contact the ACLU, Catholic Charities, or Lutheran Services to find a low bono or pro bono counsel. You can also contact us for help, and we would be more than happy to oblige.

Phillippines location

Democracy WINS! Judge Suspends Immigration Executive Order Nationwide

GREAT News!! Last night, a federal judge ordered the immediate suspension of enforcement of the President Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration. The order is nation wide and is effective immediately.
A not of caution however, the ban is temporary and has to be turned into a permanent ban after a merits hearing. The interesting this however, is the fact that the judge believed the arguments from the suing states that President Trump’s statements during the campaign show that the ban was in fact a “Muslim Ban”. I have been arguing this point since the order was issued and I knew that a competent judge will issue such ruling.
I have read reports that DHS and DOS have suspended enforcement of all things related to this order. This means that people who were turned away will be allowed to board plans to the US. Also, DOS will be reissuing cancelled visas. Lastly, all halt in adjudications from DHS and USCIS will be lifted.
I hope that this temporary restraining order will become permanent. However, the administration has already signaled that the order will be appealed. I will stay in touch to update you.

What to do if your country is included in the immigration Executive Order?

As many of you have heard, there is a lot of confusion regarding Mr. Trump’s Executive Order regarding immigration. There are several precautions that you need to take, and they depend on whether you are in or outside the US and whether your country is covered. 

If you are a national of the seven countries, please be careful. As far as we know, holders of non-immigrant visas from those seven countries are not being allowed to board planes headed the US. If you are one of these people, please contact an immigration lawyer.

If you are a lawful permanent resident and you are not being allowed to board a plane, please contact an immigration lawyer ASAP. Such prohibition is unconstitutional. Your family members in the US should contact your congressional representative in your state for help. 

If you reach the he US and you get detained or questioned, do not say anything and refuse to sign any documents, especially form I-407. This form says that you’re abandoning your residence in the US. 

If you are a lawful permanent resident and you are detained, request a hearing before an immigration judge. THIS IS CRUCIAL. 

We are her to help if you face any difficulties.