Panel PowePoint Presentation

Presented by:
Moderator: Christina Angell, Law and Mediation
Offices of Christina L. Angell, San Francisco, CA
Gary Caswell, Nunez & Caswell, San Antonio, TX
Monica Eav, Law Offices of Robert D. Ahlgren and
Associates, P.C., Chicago, IL
June 20, 2014 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Federal government agencies involved in immigration matters
and sources of authority
“Marriage” and “children” under immigration law
Forms of immigration status in the U.S.
Removal proceedings
Selected forms of relief from removal
I. Federal Government Agencies
Involved in Immigration
 Within the U.S.:
 Formerly: Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
 Since 2003: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
 Removal proceedings:
U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration
Review (EOIR)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE)
 Outside the U.S.:
 U.S. Department of State, Visa Office
I. Where does immigration law
come from?
 STATUTE: “INA” = Immigration and
Nationality Act, codified at 8 U.S.C. 1101
et al., e.g. “Section 245(i) of the INA”
 REGULATIONS: 8 C.F.R. et al.
 Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”)
 U.S. Courts of Appeal
II. “Marriage”
 To be valid for immigration purposes:
 Legal where performed (including same-sex marriage,
proxy marriage, first-cousin marriage)
 “Bona fide”, i.e., not entered into for the sole purpose of
obtaining immigration benefits
 Note: Marriage to a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent
Resident does not automatically confer any benefit or
immigration status to spouse or children
II. “Children”
 Unmarried
 Under 21 years old (generally)
 Child Status Protection Act sometimes prevents age-out
 Stepchildren
 Treated same as a biological child, if marriage was entered into before child
turned 18 years old
 No adoption or legal custody by stepparent is necessary
 Adopted children
 Adoption must take place while child is under age of 16 (generally)
 If Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption applies:
Adoption agency must be accredited by Council on Accreditation
Studies must be done in both countries re: fitness of the adoptive parents and fitness of
the child to be adopted
If child has two living parents, they must be incapable of providing proper care for the
 If non-Hague Convention adoption:
 Must establish legal and physical custody of child by the adopting parent/parents for at
least 2 years
III. Types of Immigration Status
 U.S. Citizenship
 Able to petition for other family members to immigrate to
U.S., can live/work inside or outside U.S.
 Legal Permanent Resident
 Able to petition for spouses and unmarried children only,
can lawfully work and reside in the U.S.
 Must not “abandon” residence in the U.S.
 Non-Immigrant Status
 Able to enter the U.S. for limited purpose
and timeframe
IV. Removal Proceedings
 AKA Deportation Proceedings
 Before an Immigration Judge in an Immigration Court
under the U.S. Department of Justice
“Respondent” = defendant
“Assistant Chief Counsel for DHS-ICE” = prosecutor
Charge(s): Present in the U.S. in violation of immigration
No age limit – babies can be named as respondents
Certain forms of “relief from removal” are available under
the INA
If relief is granted by the Immigration Judge, Respondent
usually becomes a Legal Permanent Resident, or at the
least will be allowed to continue residing in the U.S.
V. Relief: Asylum
 Can be filed “affirmatively” with USCIS or “defensively” as a
defense in removal proceedings
 Unable or unwilling to return to home country, due to past
persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution in
home country on the ground of race, religion, political
opinion, or membership in a particular social group
 Membership in a social group examples: Filipinos of mixed
Chinese-Filipino ancestry; young women of a certain tribe
who oppose female genital mutilation; Guatemalan
women; difficulties in defining social group for children
who fear gang-related violence in Central America
V. Relief: Cancellation of Removal
of Non-Permanent Residents
 Section 240A(b) of INA
 At least 10 years of continuous residence in the U.S.
up until the date that removal proceedings are
 Has been a person of good moral character during
the 10-year period
 Does not have certain criminal convictions
 Including certain crimes of domestic violence
 If removed from the U.S., LPR/USC spouse, parent(s),
and/or child(ren) would suffer exceptional and
extremely unusual hardship
V. Relief: VAWA Cancellation of
 “Battered or subjected to extreme cruelty” by U.S.
Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse or parent
Present in U.S. for at least 3 years before application
Good moral character during 3-year period
Cannot have certain criminal convictions
If deported, extreme hardship would result to the
respondent him/herself, or his/her U.S. Citizen/Legal
Permanent Resident child, or his/her U.S.
Citizen/Legal Permanent Resident parent
V. Relief: Special Immigrant
Juvenile Status (SIJS)
 Section 101(a)(27(J) of the INA
 Self-petition by a child (under 21, unmarried) who has been abused,
abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents
 1st step: Action in a state court that has jurisdiction over custody and care of
 Child is dependent on the juvenile court, or ward of the state, or under the
custody of an individual/entity appointed by the state/court.
 Judge must make specific findings that: 1) reunification with one or both parents
is not “viable” due to the abuse/abandonment/neglect and 2) it is not in child’s
best interest to be returned to home country.
 In many states, such as IL, child must be under 18.
 2nd step: File Form I-360 self-petition with USCIS, including judge’s findings.
 3rd step (in some cases, can be simultaneous with 2nd step): File I-485
application for permanent resident status.
 Generally, once an I-360 petition has been approved, Immigration
Judges will terminate removal proceedings to allow the child to continue
with the 3rd step.
V. Relief: VAWA Petitions
 Self-petition by an individual who resided in a domestic
relationship with abusive spouse, parent, or adult son/daughter
(elder abuse)
Abuser is/was USC or LPR
“Battery or extreme cruelty” (mental and/or physical)
If divorced, must file within 2 years of divorce, wait to remarry
1st step: File form I-360 self-petition with USCIS
2nd step (sometimes can be done simultaneously with 1st step):
File Form I-485 application for permanent resident status
Once I-360 petition has been granted, Immigration Judges
will usually terminate to allow Respondent to continue
with 2nd step.
V. Relief: U Visas
 Victim of crime that took place inside the U.S. (no time limit)
 Certain crimes qualify (e.g., rape, sexual abuse, domestic
violence, felony assault, stalking, labor exploitation)
 Victim was/is likely to be helpful in investigation
 Certification by one:
 Law enforcement
 Prosecutor
 Judge
 Non-immigrant status, but can apply for Legal Permanent
Resident status after 3 years of continuous residence with U Visa
 Once U Visa status has been granted, Immigration Judges
will terminate proceedings.
 Potentially applies were a child has been taken from his
habitual residence in one Contracting State to another
Contracting State.
 Addresses the issue of forum: where should custody
and visitation issues be decided? 91 Contracting States
Agree that it is in the best interest of the child that the
judicial or administrative authority of the State of his
habitual residence make custody/access
determinations (Preamble)
 Goals: Secure prompt return of wrongfully removed or
retained children and ensure rights of custody and access
of one Contracting State are effectively respected in the
other Contracting States
 Left-behind parent may file an application with the Central
Authority of the child’s habitual residence or any other
Contracting State for assistance (Art 8) or apply directly to
the judicial or administrative authorities (Art (29)
 States must use the most expeditious procedures available
(Art 2) and judicial and administrative authorities shall act
expeditiously (Art 11)
International Child Abduction
Remedies Act (ICARA)
 Hague Convention Implementing legislation for the
Wrongfully removed or retained children shall be
promptly returned
Left-behind parent may file in State or Federal Court
Courts shall not decide merits of custody
Prescribes burdens of proof for exceptions to return
Court ordering return shall order respondent to pay
court costs, legal fees, foster or other care, and
Exceptions or defenses to Return of
Child (BOP = Preponderance)
 “Well-settled”: If proceeding commenced more than 1
year after removal, the Court shall also order the return
unless it is demonstrated that child is now settled in the
U.S. (Art. 12)
 Age-out: Convention ceases to apply once child turns 16
(Art. 4)
 Petitioning parent was not actually exercising custody
rights at time of removal or consented to or subsequently
acquiesced in the removal or return (Art. 13a)
 “Mature Child”: Child objects to return and is of
sufficient age and maturity to have his views taken into
account (Art. 13)
Exceptions or defenses, cont’d
(BOP = Clear and Convincing)
 “Grave risk”: Return would expose child to physical
or psychological harm or “otherwise place the
child in an intolerable situation” (Art. 13b)
 “Human rights” exception: U.S. can refuse to send
child back if return would violate its fundamental
principles relating to human rights and
fundamental freedoms (Art. 20)
U.S. Supreme Court Cases
 Abbott v. Abbott, 130 S. Ct. 1983 (2010).
 Visitation only + Ne Exeat = Rights of Custody.
 Chafin v. Chafin, 133 S. Ct. 1017 (2013).
 Return of child does not render appeal Moot.
 Lozano v. Alvarez, No. 12–820 (2014).
 Secreting child location does not toll Art. 12 - 1 year rule.
Hypothetical #1 (Lopez Sanchez):
3 Mexican children are raised by mother, who separated from father since children were young.
In 2011, maternal aunt takes children across the border illegally to the U.S., to reside with maternal
Mother demands that children return. Aunt brings children to border, but oldest child refuses to
return to Mexico. Instead, he and 2 younger children turn themselves in to ICE border authorities.
Children are placed in removal proceedings by DHS.
Children are placed in foster care.
Mother files Hague petition in Mexico for her children’s return.
Mother files petition in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, TX.
Children’s pro bono counsel files asylum applications for children before USCIS.
Children’s pro bono counsel also files state court action regarding children and their biological
parents’ custodial and other rights.
In federal court action, children’s pro bono counsel argues that the relevant immigration statute
trumps Hague Convention. Also argues that the “grave risk of harm” and the “human rights”
exceptions to Hague Convention apply, due to allegations that mother’s ex-boyfriend was violent
and/or a gang member.
District Court judge orders return of children under Hague Convention but grants stay of order
pending appeal.
While 5th Circuit Appeal is pending, children are granted asylum by USCIS.
Children are now 16, 14 and 9 years old.
Hypothetical #2:
 Indian man comes to U.S. on an H1B work visa, wife
accompanies him with an H4 visa as his spouse. They go on
to have 2 children born in the U.S.
Husband becomes an LPR through his employer, but does
not file application for his wife.
Husband is abusive.
Wife wants a divorce and to stay in the U.S.
Pending dissolution of marriage, wife wants to return to
home country with children to visit her dying parent.
Husband says he will consider renouncing custody if she
agrees that she will not seek spousal and/or child support.
Hypothetical #3:
 3 children: 16-year-old born in Honduras who came to
U.S. illegally with his parents over 10 years ago; 10-yearold and 5-year-old, both born in the U.S.
Both parents are Hondurans who have been present in
the U.S. illegally for over 10 years
Father is primary breadwinner
Father gets arrested by ICE and is placed in removal
Mother files for divorce and wants to move back to
Honduras with 3 children

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