Monday, November 10, 2014

No Hope But Lots of Change: Moving Forward on Immigration Reform with Republican Majorities in Both Chambers of Congress

by Anish Vashistha

The election was less than a week ago, and already many are trying to use the results to argue that Comprehensive Immigration Reform ("CIR") now has a real chance of being passed because Republicans will be able to take credit for it. Despite such optimism, the contrary argument made by Raphael Sonenshein in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the below video is more likely the reality:
NBC's News Conference, November 9, 2014 (start watching from the 8:17 mark)

Indeed, while President Barack Obama is still taking the position that he will implement CIR via executive order, the Republicans in the U.S. Congress continue to state that such unilateral action by the President will have severe political consequences.  The President's taking executive action before the end of this year may not appear as a rush because CIR has been debated for years, but the move will nonetheless appear hasty in light of an incoming Republican majority early next year.

Also rushed will be the below rundown of some of the latest published decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ("Ninth Circuit"), the federal appeals court that hears appeals from decisions by U.S. District Courts within the Western States as well as hears petitions for review from decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") regarding removal proceedings conducted within the Western States.

First, in Nguyen v. Holder, the Ninth Circuit in August of this year found that a Vietnamese man did commit what is termed a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude when he misused a passport to facilitate international terrorism but nevertheless ordered the BIA to grant him deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture because of the likelihood of his being tortured by the Vietnamese government upon his deportation.

Also in August of this year, the Ninth Circuit in Brown v. Holder found that an Indian man has a Constitutional right to U.S. citizenship as a means of avoiding deportation if he could show that the former Immigration and Naturalization Services ("INS") either arbitrarily and intentionally obstructed his naturalization application or that INS was deliberately indifferent to whether his application was processed.

Remaining in August of this year, the Ninth Circuit held in Lai v. Holder that a Chinese man's raising of information, which was not inconsistent to information he previously provided, for the first time only during cross-examination regarding his asylum application could not be subjected to an adverse credibility finding.

Finally, and finishing off the cases for August 2014 and thereby leaving subsequent cases to subsequent posts, the Ninth Circuit held in Singh v. Holder that being persecuted for multiple reasons, some of which may not be for protected grounds while others are for protected grounds, does not render one ineligible for asylum provided that at least one protected ground formed at least one central reason for the persecution.

Please forgive the rush, but as with the President, I am trying to catch up before the end of the year.

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