Trump is Dumped over Immigration Comments

During his 2016 presidential announcement, Donald Trump, best known for his foolishness, made highly offensive comments about Mexicans: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In response to this ignorant and baseless claims, NBC, which airs The Apprentice (Trump’s television show) and The Miss Universe & Miss USA pageant (which Trump partially owns), cut business ties with Trump.

In a written statement, Trump responded: “If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court.”

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Supreme Court Gay Marriage Decision

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the same-sex couples have the Constitutional right to marry in all 50 states.  This is a victory not just for U.S. citizens, but also immigrant same-sex couples who wish to marry and immigrate to the U.S.  They can now do so without the added burden of searching for states that allow the marriage to be legal.

While the U.S. Supreme Court held the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in 2013 allowing U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents the ability to petition for their immigrant spouses, this was not always easy for undocumented immigrants to travel to states that allowed the marriage to take place.  This ruling allows for same-sex immigrant couples to be married without additional burdens and obstacles.  This is particularly the case for undocumented individuals in Puerto Rico, where same-sex marriages were once not legal (pre-Supreme Court ruling) and who would have to risk traveling to the U.S. and states where same-sex marriage was legal.

To all same-sex couples nationwide, we enthusiastically congratulate you on this historic moment!

Sikh Turban Allowed in the U.S. Military

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Army has violated a Sikh college student’s, Iknoor Singh, rights by requiring he remove his turban and facial hair, in order to join a ROTC program. This lawsuit is a result of Singh being denied a religious accommodation for his religious dress

U.S. District Court Judge Jackson said a recent law that protects the religious freedom of those involved in the military prevents the army from barring Singh due to his religious dress.

This ruling does not necessarily mark a precedent for exceptions to the dress code as the military allows retaining beards for medical reasons. Religiously however, this is a victory for Sikhs who wish to join the military – they can now do so without sacrificing their religious beliefs.

Marriage Fraud Bill in Louisiana

A bill designed to prevent marriage fraud earned final approval from lawmakers in Louisiana on Wednesday. The bill would require a birth certificate, valid international ID, or passport for a person to receive a marriage license. The bill would also reportedly require that couples say, under oath, that they did not lie on marriage paperwork.

Opponents of the bill suggest that this is a restraint on marriage, where well-intentioned undocumented individuals and even American citizens who do not have the necessary paperwork, cannot marry their significant other.

To read more about this bill, click here.

Child Labor in India

According to UNICEF, an estimated 28 million children, ages 5-14, engage in child labor in India. While the Indian government claims to prioritize child labor and lessen this skyrocketing number, the Modi administration recently expanded the scope of child labor by redefining “work” in the Child Labour Prohibition Act, which will allow child labor only for “family enterprises.”

According to a report in the Economic Times, it means “children are helping the family in fields, forests and home-based work after school hours or during vacations, or while attending technical institutions.” This includes “carpet-weaving, beedi-rolling, lock and matchbox making.” This also leaves a lot of interpretation for “family enterprise” in a country with high levels of poverty and corruption.

This amendment will likely have devastating consequences to the future of millions of children in India who will either be forced to work to help support their families, or will be sold into a child trafficking ring where they are to “work” for a larger enterprise. Further, the focus will not be where it should – on the education system, which rewards those with money and means and forgets about those without status.

Hispanic Immigration in CA

The Pew Research Center recently released a report regarding statistics of Hispanic migration to California, since in 2014 California became the third state where white Americans were outnumbered by another racial group. By 2050 Hispanics are now expected to number 23.7 million in 2050, or 47.6% of all Californians. For 2060, studies indicate that Hispanics may not reach a majority by that year, when they are expected to number 25.5 million, or 49.3% of California’s population. Today, California is the nation’s most populous state, with more than 38 million residents. It has the nation’s largest Hispanic population by far, with about 15 million Hispanic residents, accounting for 38% of the state’s population. To read more about this study, click here.

Visa Bulletin for June 2015

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during June. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.

See the bulletin here.

Mellouli v. Lynch

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision in Mellouli v. Lynch that the Department of Homeland Security must prove that a state drug paraphernalia conviction relates to a federally controlled substance in order to prove deportability under the immigration statute. In the case, Mr. Mellouli, a lawful permanent resident, was ordered deported based on a Kansas misdemeanor drug paraphernalia conviction for possession of a sock used to hide four tablets of the prescription drug Adderall.

For purposes of removal, the immigration statute requires that a drug conviction under state law must relate to a controlled substance as defined by federal law. This requirement is important because some states ban additional substances than those regulated by federal law. In Mr. Mellouli’s case, the charging document had no specific mention of the controlled substance and whether it was controlled by federal law, but the immigration court and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ordered Mellouli deported from the United States.

Whereas courts defer to the BIA’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute. But Justice Ginsburg, writing for the Court, saw no need for deference here, because the BIA’s interpretation “ma[de] scant sense.” This decision will likely force prosecutors to make specific mention of the controlled substance in question as it relates to federal law, but will likely not impact the sheer numbers of deportations based on drug offenses.

See more at:

Undocumented Lawyer Admitted to NY Bar

After 3 years of struggle, Cesar Vargas, a Mexican-born 31-year-old New Yorker, became the first unauthorized immigrant in the state to be approved to work as a lawyer after the State Supreme Court’s Second Division Appellate Court granted his application to the bar. This sets a historic precedent as Mr. Vargas, who has been granted the deferred action allowing him to work, is the third unauthorized immigrant lawyer to become eligible to practice law following California and Florida in 2014.

In the opinion, the court wrote: “We find that Mr. Vargas’ undocumented immigration status, in and of itself, does not reflect adversely upon his general fitness to practice law,” adding, “Mr. Vargas did not enter the United States in violation of the immigration laws of his own volition, but rather, came to the United States at the age of 5 at the hand of his mother.”

“This wasn’t just about one person; this was about countless other students across New York State and across the country,” Mr. Vargas said on Wednesday night. “This is a precedent I wanted to make. I think this is really great momentum that is going to extend to other policies.”

Congratulations to Attorney Vargas on this tremendous victory!