Law Offices of George Giosmas

25 years of experience

Hollywood Florida Immigration Law Blog

U.S. appeals court overturns decision to deport man

In 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stormed a factory outside of Los Angeles, where they interrogated and arrested 130 workers. The raid was the result of a 2006 tip, in which the agents learned of possibly hundreds of immigrants working illegally at Micro Solutions Enterprises, a printer cartridge manufacturer.

Now 11 years later, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision to deport one of these employees, Gregorio Perez Cruz. The federal court decided that upon raiding the factory, ICE agents violated the law by arresting the workers without reasonable suspicion of their legal status. The decision may influence similar cases extending across California, Florida and the rest of the country.

House passes American Promise and Dream Act

On June 4, the House of Representatives passed the American Promise and Dream Act by a vote of 237 to 187. If signed into law, it could protect those in Florida who have protected status or participate in the DACA program. President Trump has threatened to end DACA and rescind protected status for immigrants from countries such as El Salvador and Honduras. However, the courts have stopped those goals from being achieved.

The vote was mostly on party lines with the exception of seven Republicans who voted in favor of the legislation. While the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, one lawmaker noted that the goal of the vote was to convince the Senate to take the issue seriously. That person noted that roughly 60% of Americans supported a plan to keep Dreamers in the United States. Those individuals were brought to the U.S. as children. In many cases, they hold jobs, pay taxes and are engaged in society.

Asylum seekers allege unwritten ICE policy in lawsuit

Florida residents may be aware that several of President Donald Trump's more controversial immigration policies have been challenged in the courts. The latest such lawsuit was filed in Washington, D.C., on May 30 by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 12 asylum seekers who have been denied bail. The plaintiffs allege that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an unwritten policy of denying parole whenever possible to deter what it sees as widespread abuses of the asylum system.

The plaintiffs, who are from Central America, Cameroon and Cuba are being held at ICE detention facilities in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. Individuals seeking asylum in the United States are not eligible for bail, but an official ICE policy introduced in 2009 allows them to be released on parole for humanitarian reasons. However, the granting of parole is becoming increasingly uncommon. In 2016, the New Orleans Field Office granted parole 76% of the time. In 2018, it was granted in only 2 of 130 asylum cases.

Immigration detention numbers continue to rise

For people in Florida dealing with the immigration system, immigration detention can be a particularly troubling concern. This is especially true as reports come in that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is detaining 52,398 immigrants, a record-breaking number that exceeds the number of detention places that Congress already agreed to fund for the year. The administration of President Donald Trump has widely publicized immigration crackdowns, and that rhetoric is reflected in the reality of detention for the largest number of people in the history of ICE.

Previous ICE officials criticized the practice, saying that the agency's policies were creating an unnecessary and damaging humanitarian crisis. This newer high number comes three months after reports highlighted that the number of immigration detainees had surpassed 50,000, itself a milestone. When reporters asked ICE for information about why it was detaining so many people, it said in a vague statement that each decision about whether to put people in detention was handled on a case-by-case basis in line with U.S. law and government policy.

What to expect at your master calendar hearing

Facing the threat of removal, or deportation, can be terrifying. Whether ICE detained you or a family member, you may fear your lack of options to stay in Florida and face uncertainty about what to expect of the process to come.

The first step of a removal proceeding is to receive a Notice to Appear, or NTA, from ICE. This notice will list the reasons for your potential removal from the country and when to appear in court. This initial court date is known as the master calendar hearing and although it is a preliminary hearing, can be one of the most important components in fighting your removal from the U.S.

Central American asylum seekers face long waits in Mexico

Florida residents may be aware that the Trump administration is engaged in a contentious legal battle with civil rights groups over its 'Remain in Mexico" policy. The policy requires asylum seekers from Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua to wait in Mexico until their claims can be heard. Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union say the policy violates international treaties and U.S. law, but the courts have so far backed the president.

There are currently about 2,400 asylum seekers waiting in the Mexican city of Juarez for their claims to be heard. Some of them have been told that they will not be able to appear before a judge until June 2020. When the controversial policy was announced in January, Department of Homeland Security officials said that immigrants would receive dates for their first court appearances after about 45 days. Media reports claim that only one judge is presently hearing these cases.

Cubans increasingly likely to face deportation

In the past, Cubans were generally allowed to live and work in Florida without much trouble. However, that policy is starting to change, and it has resulted in Cuban nationals being deported or not allowed to enter the United States at all. One man was taken into custody upon returning to Miami after his honeymoon. He was a permanent resident and had been in the United States since he was a child.

After a court hearing, he was granted a hardship waiver that allowed him to remain in the United States. The change in treatment of Cuban citizens began when Barack Obama was president and the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy was put to rest. It had allowed those from Cuba to remain in the United States if they managed to reach dry land. However, only those who had committed violent crimes were made a priority to be deported back to Cuba.

Trump administration wins unexpected victory in asylum case

Florida residents may be aware that the Trump administration is involved in a protracted legal battle with civil rights groups over the plight of Central American immigrants at the Mexican border who are seeking asylum in the United States. President Trump has referred to the situation as a national emergency and ordered asylum seekers who cross the border returned to Mexico to wait for a hearing. That policy was brought to a halt on April 8 by a federal judge in California, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed the ruling on May 7 with a decision that surprised many pundits.

Trump may also have been surprised by the decision as he has often been a harsh critic of the 9th Circuit. The lawsuit the court ruled on was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies on behalf of 11 Central American asylum seekers. The appeals court ruling does not put an end to the case, and many legal observers believe that it will eventually find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What should you know about voluntary removal?

Since Trump took office, ICE has been more aggressive in its pursuit of illegal immigrants without criminal backgrounds. More families have been split apart. More immigrants face lengthy detentions. And more people have taken extreme measures in the face of deportation.

The administration’s policies have led to a steep rise in the number of applications for voluntary removal. However, voluntary removal is most often a last resort, so you should be sure you fully understand how it works.

Trump proposes fee for asylum seekers

In a new memorandum sent to the U.S. attorney general and acting homeland security secretary, the Trump Administration ordered an overhaul to the asylum system that would include a fee for migrants seeking protection in Florida and other states. The administration claims that the current system is being abused by a surge of migrants who are overwhelming federal resources. Authorities have been given 90 days to find a solution that processes all applications within 180 days of filing.

Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security were unable to answer questions about how much asylum seekers would have to pay for applications or the percentage of migrants who would be able to make such a payment. They did say that the cost would not exceed the price of processing the applications. This new policy proposal comes after the recent proposal to force asylum seekers to stay on the Mexican side of the border until their hearings.