June 2018 was a Major Month for Immigration

June 2018 Immigration Developments:

I plan on going into more detail on the changes that took place, however this is a brief summary of the major developments, including policy changes, Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) cases, Attorney General’s decisions (AG), and several U.S. Supreme Court cases.

Matter of A-C-M-, 27 I&N Dec. 303 (BIA 2018). June 6, 2018. The BIA holds that the “material support bar” has no quantitative requirement. Being enslaved or forced to provide services to a malicious group can trigger the material support bar and keep applicants from immigration relief.

Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018). June 11, 2018. Overruled a very popular decision that was frequently cited to grant Particular Social Group Asylum for domestic violence victims fleeing their spouses. That decision was Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014). That case held that “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” could constitute a cognizable particular social group and are eligible for asylum.

Supreme Court decisions:

Pereira v. Sessions, ___ U.S. ___, No. 17-459 (June 21, 2018). The stop-time provision of the cancellation of removal physical presence eligibility requirement is not triggered by service of a deficient notice to appear (NTA), particularly when lacking the date and time of hearing. This holding extends availability of cancellation of removal relief to many persons in current or past removal proceedings who have been served deficient notices before acquiring the required ten or seven years of continuous physical presence (ten for nonpermanent residents, seven for lawful permanent residents).

Trump v Hawaii, ___ U.S. ___, No. 17-965 (June 26, 2018)Supreme Court (SCOTUS) upheld President Trump’s “Muslim Ban” or the “Travel Ban 3.0)”Section 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), gives the President authority to exclude foreign nationals from the United States and there was no establishment or discriminatory issue because the changes were a product of national security measures. This elaborated on the information and security agreements between participating countries, which facilitate secure immigration to the U.S. and which states failed to meet those standards.

USCIS to issue NTAs and referring applicants to ICE

PM-602-0050.1. Memo issued June 28, 2018. Titled “Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens.” This policy change will cause applicants to think twice before filing and attending interviews at USCIS regarding immigration applications and petitions, even if they are valid and eligible for relief, because officers can refer applicants to ICE after denying their petitions. Applicants may decide to not file or not attend their interviews for risk of being detained or deported, despite being eligible for relief.

Court Procedure:

Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018) on May 17, 2018 (noteworthy to include in this list). Immigration judges (IJs) and the BIA lack general authority to administratively close cases and restricting administrative closure to circumstances where it is explicitly provided for by regulation or settlement agreement. This decision complicates one of the key administrative requirements between administrative agencies, that an applicant not be in “immigration court” for USCIS or other agencies to consider their immigration filings. The court typically would “administratively close” a case so that applicants could pursue their applications with USCIS and other agencies, however this practice has been affected by the decision. The administration is concerned about this practice delaying the prosecution and disposition of immigration cases in court.