Category: Immigration

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.

Ahmad Yakzan Consumer Quarterback Show

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan Appears on the Consumer Quarterback Show

On March 9, 2017, Attorney Ahmad Yakzan was honored by appearing on the Consumer Quarterback Show. He discussed several immigration related subjects ranging from President Trump’s Executive Order, to the new enforcement priorities, and investment visas. He also spoke about immigration reform and the need for the United States to attract the best and brightest. To see the show, click below.

What Should You Do if CBP Asks You to Unlock Your Phone?

There has been a lot of discussions regarding cell phone unlocking at airports These reports mention that CBP is asking US citizens and other individuals to unlock their cell phones before being allowed on flights, to check on their contacts. The simple answer is that you should not do it. It is a bit more complicated than that, however. In my case, if I were asked to unlock my phone, I will refuse such request, since some of my clients’ information is on the phone and they are covered under privilege.
What are the Facts?
A NY Times report mentions that CBP has been asking for US citizens to unlock their phones to check their contacts and social media. In the NY Times story, CBP forced a US citizen to do so and forced him to unlock his phone. I believe, and so does the US Supreme Court, that this is unconstitutional and is an illegal search and seizure request.
What is the law?
The US Supreme Court has ruled on the issue in 2014 in Riley v. State of California. in a nutshell, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement should get a warrant to unlock the phone. Without such warrant, the search will be unconstitutional. It is plain and simple.
What are the arguments for such requests?
The Administration has argued that such searches are needed to defend national security. Regardless of the reasoning, as mentioned above, this is unconstitutional. CBP might argue that US citizens, and other individuals, may not have due process rights at airports, which is false.
What Should You Do if You Receive Such Request?
“Ask for a Warrant”, and refuse to unlock your phone is what the Supreme Court in Riley said. Be adamant in refusing such order.

Hope Ninth Circuit Decision

Analysis of the Ninth Circuit’s Decision on Travel Ban

Well, to start with, judges are people. If you attack them, they subconsciously, will hold it against you. So please have some respect for other branches of government Mr. President.

What Happens Now?

So the three judges panel upheld the lower court’s ruling banning the ban. The court ruled that the Plaintiffs have an interest in allowing travelers in. The court balanced the national security interest and the potential harm to the Paintiffs and ruled that the harm outweighs the national security interest.

What Happens Now?

The Administration now has two options: ask for a full review by the Ninth Circuit or appeal to the Supreme Court. The two options are very tricky. The first one might be the better option however, since we still have eight justices on the higher court. The 4-4 decision threat might lead to a delay on the administration’s behalf until their nominee is confirmed.

What should the Administration do?

I believe that the best course of action is for the Administration to withdraw the order. I doubt that’ll ever happen, however. I think the the President’s statement during the campaign and the fact that the order discriminates against Muslim refugees taint the order and make it unconstitutional.

I don’t think that the battle over this is over by any means. The President just sent out a  tweet saying “See You in Court”. To read the decision, click here.

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. 

FidelUSCIS Cuba

Fidel Castro is Dead, now what?

I was stunned this morning Fromhearing that Fidel Castro’s dead. The relationships between the United States and Cuba nation have been thawing recently. They are election of Donald Trump and the death of Fidel Castro are definitely going to change US -Cuba relations for the long-term.

Obama promised that the embargo would be lifted if Democrats were elected this year. These two events might change the way that we see relationships fifth between the two countries. There have been many sticking points that stopped normalization of relations. Although we have opened our embassy for the first time since the 1960s, the Cuban adjustment act and several other things stopped us from fully normalizing relations with the island nation.

There are two possible ways but that’s the Castro may change US Cuba relationship. Castro’s death may lead to further thawing of relationships to the extent and Cuba’s peaceful transition into the 21st century. The other possible outcome is for a new revolution for the Island nation which would lead to a long civil war. This second scenario may mean that US policy might need to be strengthened and further support to the Cuban nation might be needed. In this scenario we might need to increase the number of Cubans allowed under the CAA.

No matter which scenario becomes reality, our course of action sold not be to further isolate Cuba. I believe that our policy should be further normalization with our neighbor to the south. This way we will win either way. I wish Cubans the best of luck in this very crucial time in their history.

Refugee Crisis Ahmad Yakzan

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan Participates in Discussion about the Global Refugee Crisis

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan participated in a discussion about the international refugee crisis. The discussion was held at Stetson University College of Law and included experts on international law.

Attorney Yakzan spoke about his experience in representing high profile individuals in affirmative asylum filings in the United States. He also discussed his recent visit to Lebanon and his experience relating to Syrian refugees.

The event was sponsored by the State Department and the participants included more than fifty international journalists most of whom were from Arabic speaking countries. To view the discussion visit this link.