Monday, November 23, 2020

U.S. Citizenship Test


 

New US Citizenship Test Makes It Harder for Immigrants to Become Citizens

Lawful permanent residents seeking to become U.S. citizens will now be required to take a more difficult and longer citizenship test. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the change on November 13.

The new test increases the total number of questions from 100 to 128. Applicants will be verbally asked 20 questions and must answer at least 12 correctly, up from six out of 10.

A longer and more challenging test will likely prevent some immigrants from becoming citizens. It will also delay the citizenship process for hundreds of thousands more who are already waiting in months- or years-long backlogs.

The new test will apply to any person who files a citizenship application after December 1, 2020. These changes come on the heels of other targeted efforts that make it harder to become a U.S. citizen, including higher naturalization fees, increased vetting, and backlogs in citizenship applications.

The New Citizenship Test Questions Are More Complicated

Some of the questions have been made explicitly more difficult—even though there’s no evidence the old test wasn’t challenging enough.

While applicants previously may have been asked to identify one of the branches of government, they may now be asked to identify all three branches of government. Applicants who may have been asked to identify three of the original 13 states may now be asked to identify five of the original 13 states.

USCIS says one of the goals of the new test is to ensure applicants learn more about civics and history and aren’t simply learning names and dates.

For example, the old test asked, “What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?” The new test asks, “What does the Bill of Rights protect?”


Monday, November 16, 2020

Targeted Sanctuary Cities


 

ICE Is Targeting ‘Sanctuary’ Cities With Increased Enforcement and Massive Fines


In the final run up to the presidential election, the Trump administration has reinvigorated its attacks on undocumented immigrants in the United States by targeting so-called “sanctuary” policies and jurisdictions.

These attacks have come in two forms. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials started to issue fines against undocumented immigrants who have sought “sanctuary” in U.S. churches.

In a somewhat different vein, ICE has also singled out so-called sanctuary jurisdictions for immigration enforcement actions.

Both tactics are part of a concerted effort by the administration to demonize undocumented immigrants. The agency aims to portray them as a threat to public safety despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary.

Immigrant rights groups recently released documents that show that ICE officials plan to levy massive civil fines against undocumented immigrants. ICE uses the fines to retaliate against outspoken leaders of the sanctuary movement.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Turn Back Policy


 


Challenging Customs and Border Protection's Unlawful Practice of Turning Away Asylum Seekers

This case challenges the government’s policy – the Turnback Policy – of turning away asylum seekers at ports of entry (POEs) across the U.S.-Mexico border since 2016.

The plaintiffs in the case are Al Otro Lado, a non-profit legal services organization that serves indigent deportees, migrants and refugees in Los Angeles and Tijuana, along with individual, courageous asylum seekers who experienced CBP’s unlawful conduct firsthand. Their experiences demonstrate that CBP has used a variety of tactics – including misrepresentation, threats and intimidation, verbal abuse and physical force, metering, and coercion–to deny bona fide asylum seekers the opportunity to pursue their claims.

In April 2018, the government issued guidance formalizing and focusing the Turnback Policy through a policy of metering. Under the metering policy, CBP officials assert a lack of capacity and refuse to inspect and process asylum seekers, forcing them to wait in Mexico.

The complaint alleges that CBP’s refusal to allow asylum seekers access to the asylum process violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and the doctrine of non-refoulement under international law.

Plaintiffs are represented by the American Immigration Council, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Mayer Brown LLP.

On August 6, 2020, the district court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, allowing the case to proceed on behalf of all asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border who were or will be prevented from accessing the asylum process at ports of entry as a result of the government’s Turnback Policy. Specifically, the court certified a class consisting of “all noncitizens who seek or will seek to access the U.S. asylum process by presenting themselves at a Class A [POE] on the U.S.-Mexico border, and were or will be denied access to the U.S. asylum process by or at the instruction of [CBP] officials on or after January 1, 2016.” The court also certified a subclass consisting of “all noncitizens who were or will be denied access to the U.S. asylum process at a Class A POE on the U.S.-Mexico border as a result of Defendants’ metering policy on or after January 1, 2016.”



Monday, November 2, 2020

Court neglects to tell


 

The Government Wants Immigrants to Show Up for Court—But Neglects to Tell Them How to Attend Their Hearings

Over 60,000 people at the southern border have been forced to return to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. As they get sent back, U.S. government officials give them insufficient information about how to attend their immigration court hearings in the United States.

Then when people do not make it to their court hearings, the government asks the court to deport them because they didn’t show up to the hearing. We must do more to uphold our immigration laws and the basic concept of due process.

Under MPP, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials return people applying for asylum at the southern border to Mexico to wait for their immigration court hearings. U.S. immigration law requires certain protections for those placed into removal proceedings—including those sent to wait in Mexico.

One of the most fundamental of these protections is adequate notice of the immigration court hearing, so that migrants can present their case to a judge.

DHS officials are supposed to give notice—informally known as a “tear sheet”—that tells people when and where they need to arrive at a port of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border to be transported to their hearing in the United States.