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  Immigration - Legal News


A coalition of conservative-leaning states is making a last-ditch effort to keep in place a Trump-era public health rule that allows many asylum seekers to be turned away at the southern U.S. border.

Late Monday, the 15 states filed what’s known as a motion to intervene — meaning they want to become part of the legal proceedings surrounding the public health rule referred to as Title 42.

The rule, first invoked by Trump in 2020, uses emergency public health authority to allow the United States to keep migrants from seeking asylum at the border, based on the need to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It’s set to end Dec. 21, potentially upending border enforcement as Republicans are about to take control of the House from the Democrats following midterm elections and are planning to make immigration a central part of their agenda.

The states argued that they will suffer “irreparable harm from the impending Termination of Title 42” and that they should be allowed to argue their position well before the Dec. 21 termination date.

In a statement, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union which has been arguing to end the use of Title 42 called into question the states’ motivation for trying to keep the public health rule in force.


New Mexico will no longer deny licenses to practice law solely because of an applicant’s citizenship or immigration status, including some aspiring law students who arrived in the U.S. as children and don’t have a clear path to citizenship.

Announced Monday, the rule change from the New Mexico Supreme Court is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1. Several states already have provisions that disregard residency or immigration status in licensure decisions.

“The change in the licensure rule is grounded in the fundamental principle of fairness, and is consistent with New Mexico’s historical values of inclusion and diversity,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Shannon Bacon said in a statement Tuesday.

She said the shift aligns New Mexico with recommendations by the American Bar Association and provisions in at least eight other states that provide attorney licensing to some immigrants. All applicants are still required to graduate from law school, pass the bar exam and undergo further character vetting by a board of bar examiners.

The rulemaking drew immediate criticism from state Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce, as GOP candidates challenge two incumbent state Supreme Court justices in the November general election.


When a woman gashed her leg in mountains inhabited by snakes and scorpions, she told Joel Úbeda to take her 5-year-old daughter. Úbeda refused to let the mother die, despite the advice of their smuggler and another migrant in a group of seven, and helped carry her to safety by shining a mirror in sunlight to flag a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter near San Diego.

The motorcycle mechanic, who used his house in Nicaragua as collateral for a $6,500 smuggling fee, says the worst day of his life was yet to come.

Arrested after the encounter with U.S. agents, Úbeda learned two days later that he could not pursue asylum in the United States while living with a cousin in Miami. Instead, he would have to wait in the Mexican border city of Tijuana for hearings in U.S. immigration court under a Trump-era policy that will be argued Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Joe Biden halted the “Remain in Mexico” policy his first day in office. A judge forced him to reinstate it in December, but barely 3,000 migrants were enrolled by the end of March, making little impact during a period when authorities stopped migrants about 700,000 times at the border.


A Guatemalan man who lived in a Massachusetts church for more than three years to avoid deportation said Tuesday he’s hopeful a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision boosts his efforts to remain in the country.

Lucio Perez’s lawyer, Glenn Formica, also said in a virtual news conference with his client that the April decision in Niz-Chavez vs. Garland also potentially affects the cases of millions more immigrants living in the country illegally.

The high court ruled in the Niz-Chavez case that federal policy has long deprived immigrants facing deportation of proper notification.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement typically issues a notice of a person’s deportation proceedings and then provides the hearing date and other key details in subsequent communications. The court ruled all relevant information should be included in a single notice.

U.S. Rep. James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat who joined Perez for the news conference, said the ruling is an opportunity to renew legislative efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.

Perez left the First Congregational Church in Amherst in March after receiving a temporary stay of his deportation. He was among more than 70 immigrants nationwide who took sanctuary in churches during former President Donald Trump’s administration.


A woman who served a 10-year sentence in U.S. prison for lying about her role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide to obtain American citizenship, and then lost her bid for a new trial, has been deported to the East African nation and is likely to face prosecution there.

Beatrice Munyenyezi, who a U.S. judge said “was actively involved” in the killing of Tutsis in Rwanda, was convicted and sentenced in 2013 in New Hampshire. She served a 10-year sentence in Alabama and had faced deportation.

She lost her latest court battle in March, when the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district judge’s rejection of her petition challenging how the jury was instructed during her trial in federal court in New Hampshire.

Her lawyer, Richard Guerriero, confirmed in an email Saturday that Munyenyezi had been deported to Rwanda. She arrived Friday and was handed over to Rwandan authorities, according to state-run media there.

“Her deportation means a lot in terms of justice delivery to genocide victims,” said Thierry Murangira, spokesperson for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, according to The New Times.

Munyenyezi is accused of seven crimes connected to the genocide, including murder and complicity in rape, according to Rwandan investigators. She will be detained as investigations continue and her case sent to prosecutors, the newspaper reported.

In the United States, Munyenyezi was convicted of lying about her role as a commander of one of the notorious roadblocks where Tutsis were singled out for slaughter. She denied affiliation with any political party, despite the leadership role of her husband, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, in the extremist Hutu militia party.

She requested a new trial based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that came in 2017, well after her sentencing, and limited the government’s ability to strip citizenship from immigrants who lied during the naturalization process.



The Supreme Court on Thursday made it harder for longtime immigrants who have been convicted of a crime to avoid deportation.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for a 5-3 conservative majority that ruled against a Mexican citizen who entered the U.S. illegally and has lived in the country for 25 years.

The man, Clemente Avelino Pereida, had been charged in Nebraska with using a fraudulent Social Security card to get a job and convicted under a state law against criminal impersonation.

Not all criminal convictions inevitably lead to deportation, but Gorsuch wrote for the court that Pereida failed to prove he was not convicted of a serious crime.

Under immigration law, “certain nonpermanent aliens seeking to cancel a lawful removal order must prove that they have not been convicted of a disqualifying crime,” Gorsuch wrote.

In a dissent for the three liberal justices, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the court instead should have ruled for Pereida because he was convicted under a law that includes serious offenses, falling into the category of crimes of moral turpitude, and less serious ones.

“The relevant documents in this case do not show that the previous conviction at issue necessarily was for a crime involving moral turpitude,” Breyer wrote.

Immigrants with criminal convictions who are facing deportation can ask the attorney general to allow them to remain in the country, if the conviction wasn’t for a serious crime and they have lived here at least 10 years, among other criteria.


Reyna Montoya’s hands get sweaty and her throat feels like it’s closing just talking about the anxiety of every Monday this spring.

The immigrant rights activist who's shielded from deportation and allowed to legally work in the U.S. under an Obama-era program sets a 6 a.m. alarm so she’s alert when the latest Supreme Court decision may be posted online about an hour later.

Montoya, like 650,000 others enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, is waiting for the justices to release their decision on President Donald Trump’s attempt to end the protections. The high court heard arguments last fall and typically releases rulings on Mondays in the spring. But it's unclear exactly when an answer will come because the court sometimes issues decisions on other days as work wraps up for the summer.

“My gut hurts," said Montoya, 29, who is originally from Mexico but has grown up in the Phoenix area. “It’s this constant level of anxiety.”

Montoya’s advocacy group, Aliento, provides arts and healing workshops for other DACA recipients who struggle with not knowing their fate. She openly talks about going to therapy to quell her anxiety. The toll of the unknown — of who will take care of her financial assets, her mortgage — weighs heavy.

“When you actually pause and think about all the things you need to think about, it’s very daunting,” said Montoya, who sometimes feels guilty because others also have children to worry about.

Under intense pressure from young activists, then-President Barack Obama announced DACA in 2012. Commonly known as “Dreamers" after the failed legislation that would have provided a path to citizenship, these immigrants have been in the U.S. since they were children. Recipients went through extensive background screening to get two-year work permits and protection from deportation.

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